Saturday, October 01, 2016

Pop-Pop's Keys & Trump's Toxic Tweets

Fall is my favorite season of the year, a marker of the shift of time that compels many to look forward and back simultaneously.

The leaves begin to take on brilliant hues of orange, gold and brown as the weather begins to turn cooler and coats, hats, gloves and scarves once again become part of our wardrobe in certain parts of America.

For sports fans like me, Fall is one of the best times of the year.,

College and professional football kick into high gear just as the major league playoffs begin the race to the World Series.

And of course, sentimental sorts like me look with anticipation towards the holiday season to come, and back on memories of holiday seasons past.

Savoring that curious mix of feelings of anticipation, excitement and anxiety that accompany thoughts of Halloween, Thanksgiving and for our family, Christmas (I start listening to Christmas music in November by the way) and the approach of the New Year.

Now my birthday is in October, and like many people, I tend to become a bit more inwardly reflective and somewhat philosophical at this time of year as I look back fondly on the various stages of my life; thinking back on family and friends who are no longer here - places I that used to live and visit.

One of the saddest memories from my youth was back in the late 70's when my beloved maternal grandfather, whom we affectionately called Pop-Pop, was no longer able to drive due to the physical issues which naturally come with aging.

Pop-Pop, (right) with District Council 33 union leaders
He was born in a small town called Harrells, North Carolina in 1904 and first met his wife, my grandmother, at age four as their respective families knew each other and lived in the same county.

They married in 1924 and three years later my grandparents moved to Philadelphia in 1927 as part of the wave of hundreds of thousands of African-Americans who left the south seeking better job opportunities in cities in the North and West during the First Great Migration that took place between 1915 and the 1930's.

Like others, Pop-Pop and my grandmother left rural North Carolina to escape the repressive system of institutionalized segregation and discrimination, as well as the terror of lynchings that took place in many counties across the south.

According to data compiled by the Charles Chestnut Digital Archive, approximately 542 African-American men, women and children were lynched in the United States between 1915 and 1927.

Because of the horrifying things he witnessed in the early 1920's as a child in North Carolina, Pop-Pop remained wary and fearful of white people throughout his life, even though he worked with and knew a number of white people as a longtime employee of the Philadelphia Department of Sanitation; and a one-time treasurer of the union that represented them (see photo above), AFL Local 427 which later affiliated with AFSCME District Council 33 under the leadership of the influential former union President Bill McEntee - who personally visited my father in the hospital in his final days.
Pop-Pop grew up traveling by foot or on horse and wagon, so he truly appreciated and took great care of automobiles and loved to drive; I suspect he enjoyed the sense of freedom it gave him.

Space where Pop-Pop used to park on Peach Street 
During some of my numerous visits to see my grandparents, I often drove with Pop-Pop on the streets of West Philly, and he was a careful and attentive driver who always drove his old Chevy Nova calmly and considerately, and used turn signals and obeyed traffic signs and lights - I learned many driving skills from watching him.

At some point, there were a couple incidents that happened that made it clear that his age made driving a car a risk to himself and others.

So sadly, a collective family decision was made to take Pop-Pop's keys away - he never drove again.

Though it was for the best, it was a heart-breaking decision that left him crushed and likely even more cognizant of his age and declining physical condition - and aware that he was in the twilight of his years.

I vividly recall how hurt he was and how sorry I felt for him, and for me it was the first time that I was conscious of truly seeing a grandparent "age" and recognize their mortality.

So when I read that Donald Trump had sent out the disjointed rambling Twitter message "Did Crooked Hillary help Disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could help her in the debate?" to his millions of Twitter followers at 5:30am in the morning on Friday, I recognized his political mortality.

Trump in the opening of 2000 Playboy video 
Despite the fact that women make up over 50% of the U.S. population and he trails Hillary Clinton by wide margins in critical female voters, Trump remarkably continued to bash the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, as Clinton famously pointed out in last Monday's debate, the same woman he'd publicly and privately verbally and emotionally abused when she was only eighteen years old.

All because of her weight.

His totally false and intentionally demeaning accusation that she'd appeared in a porn video was made all the more absurd when it was revealed yesterday that Trump himself appeared in the opening of a softcore porn video produced by Playboy back in 2000.

As it becomes even more clear to those who weren't already convinced that Trump is woefully unqualified for any kind of political office, let alone president, it occurs to me that this 70-year-old man's use of his own Twitter account to publicly share the kind of demented half-wit garbage that spews out of his mouth is dangerous to him (and the Republican party) in the political sense.

What's sad about it is that all these adult children (from three different marriages...) he paraded about on the RNC convention stage this summer whom he brags about as being his advisers and the people running his company, none of them seems able to muster the courage to tell their father how delusional he comes off when he randomly Tweets about anything that comes into his head.

Even his son-in-law Jared Kushner, the publisher and privileged scion of a wealthy New York real estate family said to be one of Trump's chief campaign strategists and advisors despite the fact that he has zero political experience, doesn't seem to have the cojones (or sense) to tell his xenophobic, misogynist, racist loudmouth father-in-law when to shut the $%#! up.

No one in the Trump family seems willing, or able, to take away the keys to Trump's Twitter account even as he uses it to further destroy his chances of ever being elected president and crash his grandiose political ambitions.

Who knows? Maybe his children are privately embarrassed by their father's statements and behavior and  like millions of other people around the globe, just wish Hillary would be elected so Trump can disappear from the radar and begin to fade into obscurity.

Perhaps, as the season changes, they're content to see him Fall.

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