An Inauguration Poem

My inauguration invitation has yet to arrive.

It surely will announce I’m the new poet laureate guy.

Big league thinkers are busily focusing on larger stagecraft.

With the words they could spare I sketched out this rough draft:

For Trump’s inauguration it may prove wise.

To consider a comparison to 13 of the other guys.

Washington could not tell a lie.

Trump says, “I knew George Washington–he was a great guy.”

Thomas Jefferson got the country a great deal on the Louisiana purchase.

Trump can get you a steal on Invanka’s new line of Beijing-made purses.

Millard Fillmore gave the White House indoor plumbing.

Trump says the First Amendment is what needs flushing.

Teddy Roosevelt liked to walk softly, but carry a big stick.

Trump prefers to tweet loudly from a tiny little fingertip.

Warren G. Harding is remembered for the scandal of Tea Pot Dome.

Trump’s overseas ventures leave open the back door to his throne.

FDR brought the Nazi fascists to defeat.

Trump made Steve Bannon his strategy chief.

John Kennedy and Jackie made the White House seem like Camelot.

Trump appointed JFK’s nephew to give us all chickenpox.

LBJ lifting his dog up by the ears seemed a tad cruel.

Trump meanwhile brags he grabs women by the poodle.

Nixon requested a Democratic headquarters break in.

Trump outsourced it to a Russian plumber named Putin.

Ford was portrayed as tripping over his own feet.

Trump’s big war well may start over a 3 a.m. tweet.

Carter was criticized for a time of national malaise.

Trump has really huge plans for our Republic’s final days.

Reagan helped dissolve the Soviet Union.

Trump prefers to enjoy their hotel rooms.

Obama served without scandal for eight years of hope.

Trump hopes to make “Scandal” his new reality tv show.

Trump used to be known for his so-called university.

Now he’s caused a surge in those seeking Russian degrees.

Trump claimed Obama’s a Kenyan Muslim, one of many lies.

But dare to criticize Trump and his fans demand know why.

If Trump’s words and deeds seem to you abnormal, you are one of plenty.

Who will not shut up, give up, nor look away, from today all the way to 2020.

 

2017 by David Schleicher (www.TheContranym.com)

Santa v. Trump: eerily similar

This holiday season, we set aside feeble attempts to compare PEOTUS Donald Trump to political leaders of the past. Whether Andrew Jackson, Hugo Chavez, Ronald Reagan or Huey Long, these analogies fizzle like a snowflake on a hot Texas sidewalk.

The comparison meriting more serious yuletide attention is that with Santa Claus, AKA Kris Kringle (or, some places south of the border wall, Papa Noel). The overlap is unavoidable:

  • Donald is gonna find out who’s naughty and nice (assisted by Chief Elf Vladimir and Deputy Elf Julian).
  • Like Santa, Donald got his position through old world charm and outlasting the competition, not some rigged popularity contest.
  • Like Santa, Donald loves to give things away. Whether cabinet posts to wealthy contributors or Crimea to Russia, his spirit of sharing knows no bounds.
  • Like Santa with Rudolph, Donald doesn’t fear turning to non-traditional picks to lead his team and is willing to overlook a red glow others considered disqualifying.
  • As with Santa and Mrs. Claus, we hear about his wife, but she rarely makes appearances.
  • Like Santa, he understands that it’s cheaper to make his products abroad.
  • Donald too has a little round belly that shakes like jelly (whether he’s ribbing the disabled or giving a wink of his eye to Kluxers).
  • Like Santa, he causes some children to lose sleep over what he may have planned for their families.
  • Like Santa, he will run his White House workshop as a family business.
  • Like Santa, he has his own high-speed, gold-finished, customized aircraft to better enable him to rapidly visit members of the working class.
  • Like Santa, he can give rise to a childlike belief, even in senior citizens.
  • Like Santa, his apparent generosity always turns out to be funded out of someone else’s pockets.
  • Like Santa, his mercantile concerns reach all parts of the globe.
  • Like Santa, he causes enormous crowds to gather, much to the consternation of others.
  • As with Santa, if you want to tick someone off, disclose to them he’s pretend.
  • Like Santa, some say he promotes a much-needed spirit; others suspect it’s all about the Benjamins.
  • As with a mall Santa, sometimes merely seeing him in all his grandeur is enough to cause some to want to run away in tears.
  • As with a bell-ringing Santa, he won’t tell you how much money is in his kettle.
  • Finally, when it comes to Donald and Santa, as hard as I may try, I am unable to suspend my disbelief.

Whether you and your comrades await presents from Ded Moroz/Grandfather Frost, Los Reyes Magos, Old St. Nick or someone else, I wish for you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, joyous Kwanza and festive Festivus, plus a family dinner at which views about the PEOTUS go unspoken (i.e., kept snuggled all tight in their beds), and a happy New Year.

 

This column originally appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald on December 20, 2016.

Top Ten Ways to Re-Elect Trump

Not too early to think about 2020. Hillary only got more than 1.5 million more votes than Trump and we can’t assume WikiLeaks, Putin and the FBI will always be there for him. As he did in 2016, he’s going to need Democrats and liberals to help him win in 2020. Here are 10 practical steps you Blue Americans can take to make sure you lose again:

  •  Focus on the past: A unified front is hard to defeat. If Trump is to win in 2020, Bernie fans must continue spending the intervening time villainizing the Democratic National Committee and obsessing about Hillary’s imperfections. Meanwhile, Hillary fans need to keep devoting their posts to how Bernie and his bros cost her the election by fighting too hard in the primaries.

  • Riot: Protesting peacefully is so passé. Sure, it worked for MLK and Gandhi, but what did they know? Loot and be violent instead. You’ll help keep independent voters away and give Trump the excuse he needs for a law-and-order crackdown.

  • Do it all: Why focus on meaningful opposition when you can feel good while accomplishing nothing? For example, sign an online petition pleading with the Electoral College to vote against Trump. You’ll not only get to turn your email address over to a stranger, you also will have expended your time on something that has zero chance of succeeding and that would cause a civil war if it did.

  • Avoid change: Treat this like any other loss and return to the old ways of doing things. Ignore Brexit and blue states turning red; focus on traditional polling methods, plus assumptions that voters can’t be that gullible/foolish/uninformed, etc. Also disregard the voice of millennials. Sure, Hillary would have won in a landslide if millennials were the only group voting, but they’re so young. And not full of good ideas like you were at their age. They see the world as it might be. Quiet them down while we reminisce.

  • Avoid creativity: Liberals have an unfair advantage with so many comedians, musicians, actors and satirists on their side. Democrats get unusual enjoyment out of things like donating to Planned Parenthood in the name of VP-elect Mike Pence. All such tendencies must be quashed. The Donald Trumps of the world hate being made fun of and we should respect that. Creative political dissent risks more people paying attention and ideas slipping through the armor we all have come to wear against views that are not already ours. Lay down your weapons.

  • Assume the best: Remember that if you act nobly, everyone else automatically will too. For example, if you promise not to criticize Trump, then the GOP and tea party will do the same if Trump loses in 2020, just as they showed only politeness and respect to the president and first lady the last eight years.

  • Treat Trump as normal: Believe your friends/relatives when they say this is no different than when Ronald Reagan got elected. If you don’t remember Reagan being a Muslim-hating, genital-grabbing, Mexican-labeling, disabled-ridiculing, white-supremacist-appointing sort of president, instead focus simply on the fact that he and Donald were actors before entering the White House. See, they’re not so different after all. Geez, relax a little, won’t you?

  • Assume opposition is free: As soon as you start to fear opposition to Trump is going to cost you (say, a Facebook friend, golf partner or business opportunity), drop it. How pleasant your life is right now matters much more than the world you leave your nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren. You’ll probably be gone by the time climate change kills millions — and whose grandchildren wouldn’t enjoy living closer to the beach?

  • Cancel your subscription: You could save some $3.50 a week for each newspaper subscription you cancel or don’t sign up for in the first place. Rely entirely on Facebook for your news. The crowds elected Donald; now trust them to tell you what’s what. The fewer the reporters to do the digging, the fewer the scandals to be uncovered and cause you alarm. Think of all the money and time saved if the Washington Post hadn’t had the staff to devote to Watergate coverage.

  • Tune out and give up: You’ve tried it for a couple of weeks now and liked it. You’ve joined those who don’t follow the news and found it’s easier on the gut than paying attention and fighting back.

Imagine: “TRUMP RE-ELECTED.”

[This originally appeared in the November 22, 2016 Waco Tribune-Herald.

The Day After Trump Loses

Wow. Hillary Clinton won with a bigger electoral and popular vote margin than seen since the 1980s. So much for that “50-50 nation.” Democrats also took the Senate. Between Democratic Party gains in the House and the defection of tea party supporters, Paul Ryan accepts that he will have to rely on some Democratic votes to be re-elected speaker of the House.

The rest of the world — Vladimir Putin and Julian Assange excepted — breathe a collective sigh of relief. Celebrations break out around the globe as the world’s citizens toast what did not happen.

Donald Trump has not conceded, but only his loyalists (about 20 percent) continue to admit they voted for him. They’ve quit calling themselves the “tea party.” Now it’s “the Trump Party.” To no one’s surprise, Trump’s team is announcing the launch of a media empire. Not IRT (“It’s Rigged TV”), nor WYT, but PUR (“Purity TV”). Fox News is terrified. It is right to be so.

Donald will wake up in a sweat at 3 a.m. tomorrow, terrified that he is no longer newsworthy. The Franklin Grahams, Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwell Jr.s likewise are panicked. Their brand of Jesus-loves-you-but-I-hate-you theocracy has been defeated by a new generation of evangelical leaders who prefer caring for the downtrodden to seduction by the siren song of political power.

Conservative thought leaders acknowledge the culture wars are over. No one cares about same-sex marriage anymore. The conversation on abortion turns to how to come together to actually reduce the need for and number of them, rather than obsessing over Roe v. Wade. The surviving GOP leaders (Reince Priebus is not to be among them) announce plans to improve rather than abolish Obamacare. Comprehensive immigration reform is visible on the horizon, the Hastert Rule having died the painful death it and its namesake so richly deserved.

Given the Trump (and Bernie Sanders) phenomenon, both political parties look seriously at ways to shrink what for decades has been the growing chasm between the wealthiest and the rest of the citizens.

Trump and his 1st Regiment of the Army of Deplorables promise to fight on. In the years ahead, they will win a rare election here and there, more often claiming victory for having ensured the electable Republican loses in the primary. These victories will be a replay of the Battle of Palmito Ranch — a skirmish the Confederacy won in May 1865, near Brownsville, Texas.

The problem is the Civil War had been over for more than a month, after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, on April 9. As with the Battle of Palmito Ranch, each casualty in Trump’s war will die in part from malignant futility.

Historians will wonder at the year that America came close to electing someone who showed every sign of a dictator-in-the-making, from gigantic ego to thin skin, from scapegoating to media-bashing. Future students will ask: Was it because of sky-high inflation, skyrocketing unemployment or the ravages of a contagious disease that the country almost did this?

No, their teachers will answer. It was because some people started telling themselves lies and eventually they believed them. And their lies got bigger and still they believed them. And eventually they could not tell truth from fiction. But it was stopped by record-setting numbers of voters turning out to say, no, we don’t believe it, you’ve gone too far, pull it back, you’ve left us.

Why did it take more than 230 years to elect an African-American and then a female, the students then will ask. No good answer.

Originally appearing in November 1, 2016 Waco Tribune-Herald, where David is a member of the Board of Contributors. Submitted to the paper October 25, 2016.

Election Day Antichrist Hunting

I was fascinated with all things Antichrist growing up. Whether the 1972 film “A Thief in the Night” or Salem Kirban’s novel “666,” I couldn’t get enough about the end times and this villain of villains.

I was terrified to realize that Ronald Wilson Reagan had three sets of six-letter words to his name. When Pope John Paul II was shot, I pondered if this would be the survived injury that I saw my Bible as predicting the Antichrist would miraculously recover from. The one thing I was sure of was that the Antichrist would be revealed soon, what with living in the end times and all.

Imagine my great disappointment upon eventually learning that the Antichrist of the biblical book of Revelation likely was code for the Roman emperor Nero, not someone on the evening news. Thankfully biblical scholars are not often listened to, so the game of Antichrist-hunting continues to provide hours of unabated entertainment among Christian fundamentalists and others worldwide.

The idea of the ultimate evil one tricking the world into worshiping him is forever appealing, particularly when knowing that in the end he is to be defeated and cast “alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

The idea of decoding the 666 secret and identifying his helper, “the false prophet that wrought miracles before him,” heightens the intrigue. One popular theory is that bar codes have a symbol for six at the beginning, middle and end, so the prophecy is fulfilled that we cannot buy or sell without this mark; perhaps we all will be tattooed with a barcode. Again, how crushing that the author of Revelation was signaling to Christians of his time that their persecutor Nero would be defeated, not us about bar codes.

An Internet search of “antichrist Hillary Clinton” turns up about 480,000 results, while one for “antichrist Donald Trump” turns up around 494,000. If there were any doubt that one can prove almost anything by stringing together small excerpts from any book a couple of inches thick — whether the Bible, the collected works of Shakespeare or the Quran — check out these websites.

You might as well squander time on Sudoku or Pokémon hunts as try to align micro-clues from scattered Bible verses with each wannabe leader crossing the headlines.

A more useful if devilish deduction is actually consistent with the idea of the Antichrist (i.e., contrary to the teachings of Christ) and requires far less tea-leaf reading. Asked the most important commandment, Jesus said loving God, then immediately added loving your neighbor. Asked who is a neighbor, Jesus used a parable involving the much-despised Samaritans to say it is likely the person you least find likable.

You could hear a thousand modern sermons and never guess it, but Jesus said nothing in the Bible about getting politically involved, abortion, homosexuality, protecting the environment or universal health care. Instead, the much harder assignment is loving your neighbor.

The essence of the Antichrist would thus be someone who teaches us to hate our neighbor. One who identifies a group (e.g. Samaritans) as despicable and scapegoats them. The genocidal hall of fame — with members like Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot — is full of leaders constantly on a purge, forever seeking an elusive purity in ethnicity, belief or both.

Proceed with your Antichrist quest this election season. Just don’t waste time decoding names. Instead ask yourself which candidate(s) spend the most time telling us whom to hate and why, encouraging collective punishment of those impure in ethnicity or belief. Then cast them alive into a ballot box of fire, lest you too be culpable.

[This column originally appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald on October 16, 2016.]

A Christian-Muslim Wedding Ceremony

 A few years back I performed a wedding ceremony for a couple with whom we are friends, with a Christian bride and Muslim groom. I was sadly surprised I could not find multiple sample ceremonies to work from. So here’s what I put together, in the hope someone out there finds it of use. Feel free to use and adapt as you see fit. And may your marriage last forever.

Marriage of BRIDE [Christian] & GROOM [Muslim]

          BRIDE and GROOM, you have come here today to seek the blessing of God, family, and friends as you join in this marriage of two faiths.

          First we hear these words from a translation of the Qur’an, referring to “People of the Book,” a group which includes Christians:

          This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues[–] if any one rejects faith, fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost (all spiritual good).

          Also these words from the Qur’an:

          Among His proofs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, in order to have tranquility and contentment with each other, and He placed in your hearts love and care towards your spouses. In this, there are sufficient proofs for people who think.

          And these:

          Interact with your wives in a good manner for if you feel dislike for them, it may well be that you dislike something in which Allah places much good.

          And finally these:

          Whoever marries has completed half of his faith. So let him beware of Allah regarding the other half.

          Now we hear these words from the Bible:

          But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no one separate.

          And these:

          If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

            If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

          GROOM, you have taken BRIDE to be your wife.  Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

          [The Husband answers: I do.]

          BRIIDE, you have taken GROOM to be your husband. Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, to be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

         [The Wife answers: I do.]

         BRIDE and GROOM will now exchange rings, as gifts that will remind them of their love and commitment to each other.

          By the power vested in me by the State of Texas, I declare you husband and wife.  You may kiss the bride.

          Now, may the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you and your marriage. For we ask the Lord to not only bless your marriage, but also to keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

          Amen.