Agent Orange versus my optimism/pessimism

The Trump adult male scions – THEM I need a name for; any ideas?

Arthur could hardly find any questions at all to ask me for Ask Roger Anything:

What the hell should we call the Orange Guy? I personally don’t want to use his surname, title, or anything else that would indicate respect for him that I don’t have. What’s the alternative(s) without being too childish?

I think this is a personal decision. I’ve seen Drumpf (based on the family name) which carries over to the proto-Nazi activities such as vilifying the press, and I briefly used that, but it’s a pain to spell. Others drop the T from the surname and refer to him as Rump because he’s such an ass.

I was quite taken by Hair Furor, but it works better in writing than in spoken word, because it sounds exactly as it’s SUPPOSED to sound.

Currently, I’ve settled on Agent Orange, a defoliant used during the Vietnam war to destroy the enemy’s plant life but which managed to harm or kill innocent civilians and American troops, because I find him toxic. A guy named Michael who I knew for only a short time died from it in the early 1980s. I’m not married to that term, but it’ll do for now.

All things considered—interpret that as you want—are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? If pessimistic, what are a couple things that if they changed might make you more optimistic? And if you’re optimistic, what’s your secret?!

Yes. I mean I’m optimistic because my faith requires it. I don’t mean this in a doctrinaire way, but rather how I take being a Christian. I believe, honestly, that people can change, that we all have a shot at redemption. I’m pessimistic because, despite my faith, that’s what I tend to default to, from painful experience.

Melancholy gets in the way too, and it’s not just me: Americans who voted against AO are feeling unprecedented dread and despair.

I’d be more optimistic if I thought we were all dealing with the same facts. There was this story about the Trump adult male scions – THEM I need a name for; any ideas? – involved in some unsavory pay-for-play scheme, for the second time since the election.

Someone, who I know personally, chimed in and said it was “Fake news. Fake news. Fake news.” And she said, “Research it.” I said, I did. And she said, “Please, check with Trump sources,” by which time the boys were backpedaling, not knowing HOW their names showed up on the invitation.

I wrote, “They realize they’ve been caught doing something egregiously wrong and try to change the narrative, to be kind. You do not seem to understand the definition of ‘fake news,’ which [contains] articles that are false, written to deceive. These are mainstream news sources [TIME, the Wall Street Journal] playing the appropriate role as the fourth estate, ignoring a politician’s spin…”

I also cited Mark Evanier, who noted: “You get the feeling we’re facing four years where the response to every single criticism of the Trump presidency will be that it’s a lie, the evidence is phony and even it were true, we don’t care what anyone says.”

And it went on from there.

John Ziegler, conservative radio host: “Over the years, we’ve effectively brainwashed the core of our audience to distrust anything that they disagree with.” The quote was in a New York Times story about how conservatives are now using the term “fake news” for anything they disagree with. And even educated people are buying into it.

We can’t fight climate changeGLOBAL WARMING if we can’t agree it’s happening. Plus the nominees for Cabinet positions under Agent Orange are anti-environment, anti-labor, anti-education, et al. How optimistic do you want me to be? Still, we try.

Only slightly off topic: NO one should ever use the phrase “Do your research” on social media without a link to the research THEY are referring to. As a librarian, I need to know WHAT sources someone is quoting that I need to investigate. I’m sure I’ve written that before, but after the aforementioned incident, I feel the need to reiterate it.

Jaquandor asks a similar question:

Is it just wishful thinking that I increasingly see Trump as the somewhat accidental victory of a dying worldview?

I find in AO’s victory, and some right-wingers in Europe, including the Brexit vote, a return to tribalism. When the world is scary, with bombings and shootings and stabbings and trucks being used as weapons, I suspect that there will be a certain desire for a “good old days” that doesn’t exist, that closing the borders ultimately won’t fix.

I would like to think of it as a dying worldview, but I’m not convinced I’m right.

I think things are likely to get pretty cruddy short-term

Now THAT I agree with!

The family saw a production of Camelot at the Capitol Rep in downtown Albany on Christmas Eve afternoon. It was EXTRAORDINARILY good, with knights and ladies and even the leading lady doubling as instrumentalists. But at the end, I was incredibly sad.

That ideal of working things out under the rules of law, and brainpower, lost! War won out. And this was a day or two after Agent Orange called for a nuclear arms race.

…but I remain optimistic long-term. Am I dumb to think that?

Well, no, you’re not dumb. Without hope, what is there?

At our most recent Christmas Eve service, I read aloud Isaiah 11: 4a, 5-9, which contains the familiar, albeit misremembered, passage about the wolf and the lamb. Either it is a prophecy, or it is an entreating that we help make it happen. Either way, I am not without hope.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “Agent Orange versus my optimism/pessimism”

  1. I love this post – so thoughtful and discerning. I am not feeling very hopeful with the trump and the trumpettes (like the AO but have refused to capitalize his name as my way of coping) I am feeling hopeful that politically naive people (me especially) are learning about the political machine. I am more hopeful because people with influence are speaking out, good people are rising to the surface to write about injustice, people are researching their news sources, and many more people are reacting by protesting discrimination and racism. Response times are quicker and voices are louder…

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful replies! I’ve had similar issues with what to call Agent Orange (and the only resistance I have to that is the abbreviation AO is too similar to BO for Barack Obama). I also go annoyed with predictive typing always trying to change “Drumpf”. It’s a work in progress for me, too.

    But I’m not optimistic about the next 2, 4, 6, or 8 years (depending on election results). Part of the reason is the whole “fake news” thing you mentioned, and the Right’s use of it in a deliberate attempt to delegitimise any facts they find inconvenient or merely dislike for partisan reasons. What DOES help me, though, is the huge outpouring of people committing to resist Don and his regime through democratic means.

    I do, however, have hope. Always.

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