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These are tough times in all of America

We are fighting the coronavirus, Covid-19, destructive derechos, economic collapse, global warming, gun violence, grievously high rates of poverty, unemployment and underemployment, rising debt, governmental cruelty and deception, schools struggling to open, an accelerating transfer of wealth and power to the top, hurricanes, a resurgence in opioid addictions and suicide, continued rampant sexism, tribalism and racism all at the same time and all in a national election year.


The current Republican administration and the challenging  Democratic party laid out their responses to our very serious challenges at their respective conventions. The last two weeks of political theatrics didn’t give us much comfort at a time when Americans could use some comfort. What I saw was one party that sees our pain while the other party spent most of their time blaming others for the pain. The party in power that has gotten us here offered nothing new. They also seemed overly pleased with their hapless response to the causes of our pain, the pandemic, the economy, inequality, racism, global warming and spreading poverty.  Their path forward: distrust your neighbor, especially Sleepy Joe.     

The Democratic party at least offered some plans, hope and dignity.  


The first show was put on by the Democratic party where Joe Biden was on full display. He appeared  not in front of crazed admirers but isolated on empty stages and in videos. Most of the set pieces show him intimately interacting with ordinary people. These vignettes  had to already exist before the pandemic. Give Joe credit for anticipating that kindness counts for something. It seems like every time he ever did something kind and considerate there must have been a camera on the scene, or maybe he is truly a nice guy.

Joe Biden came off as  a decent man.

Joe Biden has been in public life a long time. We all know his flaws and his ability to commit honest gaffs. We can all identify with this imperfect man.  The former Vice President came off as a competent and decent man, someone we all would like to have a beer with. This will make it more difficult to watch him and his family dragged through the dirt in the coming weeks and months.

Normalcy was on display and was welcome. The word empathy replaced toughness in our national dialogue for four days. Decency replaced dominance. There was more talk of unity than there was of division. Hope was being sold as a more powerful tool than anger and fear. Transparency trumped shouting down the truth. Light showed through  the fog of darkness and deception that we have been living with. Of course with time the light could go out, and we will be left in the snarly dank world of insults, lies and cruel tweets. We will have to keep the batteries charged. We must keep fresh the fact that for four days decency was once again the norm.


Monday morning I  watched our president accept the Republican nomination. He spoke for over an hour.He is obviously in trouble. He was also troubling. He seems to be afraid to stop talking. He repeated his exaggerated claims of success and continued to spew  lies about his critics and the opposition party. We got to listen to victims, generals, policemen, Ice agents and other warriors speak of existing and imminent threats, sometimes forgetting that it has been the administration’s job for the last 3 1/2 years to lessen the stress on our nation. Now we have been  told that sleepy Joe Biden will lead the evil Socialists and liberal monsters who are planning to pour over the hill and ravage us all. I think most people would really welcome anyone like Joe who might come into their town and ravage the virus and seek to make life more comforting.

With the country in a downward death spiral the party in power told us at the Republican convention that we are doing great because of the leadership of Donald Trump. We don’t need to correct  our course, we just need four more years. They were in absolute political mode, blind to the tragic events swirling about them in real time. Reality seemed to have been too scary to show on television so the Republicans created an alternative world of not so real threats. After 3 1/2 years of promising to diminish the federal government they have pretty much retired all effective government solutions. Promises made. Promises kept.

The Republican plan is clear: denigrade the disabled, demean the accomplished, fear the different, hate the other, ignore the needy, attack the weak, degrade women, delegitimize facts and demonize opponents. 

Promising a different approach to governing Donald Trump has lived up to his promise. Unfortunately he has been chaotic, ineffective, and has disassembled all norms of truth, morality, decency and competence. For four days the Republicans spoke of optimism and hope, but completely ignored the damage that their indifference has reaped. Most notable is America’s failure to curtail the coronavirus. Only a handful of countries didn’t get the message that it was a serious national threat and required a national response. The consequence has been that we dwarf all the world with over 6,000,000 cases, 180000 deaths, a continuing rate of 1000 new Covit-19 deaths a day and an additional 100,00 deaths expected by December . Our rudderless nation has been uniquely inept. True to Mr Trump’s promise not to take us to war, the federal government did not insert themselves into a leadership role in our fight with the virus. Promise made. Promise kept. Hooray for us, no corrections will be needed, and for the first time in its history the party didn’t present a plan or platform for the future.


It was made clear that healthcare is none of the federal government’s business. Promise made . Promise kept.

Before hitting the links our president informed us that we wouldn’t want to be New Zealand as they are having some new cases. We would love to be New Zealand. Following a national lockdown where everyone was paid to stay home, they have been living a normal virus free life.

As of August 10th New Zealand had 110 consecutive days without a single local coronavirus transmission. Their streak was broken when five cases grew to 83. Their President was all over it. Auckland was shut down and quickly rapid testing and a national task-force of contact tracers and quarantine teams swept in. That is what they do. No one complained. They know how fortunate they are.

We are learning how unfortunate we are. The President’s convention this week discussed the pandemic in the past tense, blind to  the reality that more people died of the virus during their four days of blather and denial than in the tragic terrorist attack on 9/11. 

Larry Kudlow, Director of the United States National Economic Council spoke at the RNC convention and assured us with the pandemic over we are in a magical V shaped economic recovery. This isn’t true but sounded good. Republicans promised an upbeat message. Promise made. Promise kept. Ugh. The effect of our failures are so tragic and will be long lasting.


The stock market is soaring with massive transfers of wealth to the largest corporations and the very rich. Promise made. Promise kept.

The rest of us have not been so lucky. Food lines have doubled in the last few weeks. Evictions and foreclosures have resumed. The recovery stimulated by borrowing 3 trillion dollars has been on hold until it is politically helpful to the Republicans to have a handout recovery in October.

For the first three years of the Trump Administration we  continued  our economy recovery on pace, although not as much as the last three years of the  Obama Administration.  It did require juicing the economy with a top heavy tax cut that will have to be paid for by our children and grandchildren, to the detriment of the working class. Donald Trump has consistently sacrificed wealth equality for short term corporate profits.


As promised 100 Obama rules to limit global warming have been eliminated. The Trump administration has ignored science clearing the way for horrendous results.

During the Republican convention…

Heat waves and high winds have led to massive damaging fires in the west that are still out of  control. 

Hurricane Laura  moved across the overheated waters of the Gulf hitting our shores with high winds and bringing wave surges and flooding.  

We are still recovering from the derechos that devastated our midwest farmlands.

The Republicans see no reason to change now, with corporate profits soaring. Promises made. Promises kept.


Our country is based in having law and order . We all want an orderly community whose laws protect us but are fair and just.

From Trump’s tweets we have learned that the Republicans want the protection… but just for their folks from those folks. Since the convention Donald Trump has resurrected the transparent use of “Law and Order” as a racist trope . It has however been a non – starter in these times. 

The most telling and most chilling story from last week evolved around the power and honor bestowed on men with guns, particularly white men, and our broken system of justice. The victims of this cruel power have been mostly Americans with black and brown skins.  America’s promise of freedom and justice for all still remains just a promise. 

Kenosha, WI.  

Jacob Blake is still paralyzed after being shot in the back seven times while being in the grip of his murderer while his children watched. A bystander’s video show that the killer was a white policeman. Jacob was black. Fox news, the Republican party, and the police unions don’t quite get that there was something wrong here. Peaceful protests and violent criminal acts followed in Kenosha, Wi. 

The Blake family continues to plead for unity and love, and their message is working.

The McCloskeys’ convention message to white America

Patricia and Mark McCloskey

Mark and Patricia McCloskey appeared at the Republican National Convention to warn that Democrats want to “abolish the suburbs.” Their vision of America is premised on fear—and dominating others.  In June, the two lawyers brandished  a pistol and an AR-15-style rifle at Black Lives Matter protesters who were marching past their house. The couple got  an invitation to speak at the Republican National Convention.  Patricia McCloskey  told viewers, “Make no mistake. No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

Soon after a 17 year old  bought into Donald  J Trump’s convention message and headed to Kenosha, Wi. 

Kyle Rittenhouse shown at a MAGA rally.

Kyle Rittenhouse walked unchallenged  past the police carrying a  long gun and then shot and killed two protesters.When we start to believe in Donald Trump’s alternative reality bad things can happen. Our country is suffering serious hurt. This aging shyster is oblivious to the pain he has caused and remains unapologetic .

Summing up

After eight nights of political entertainment, the conventions are over. America remains adrift and in serious trouble. 

Both parties left us with something to fear. The Democrats are fearful of Donald Trump, bad police and losing our democracy. The Republicans left us with a fear of government, the deep state, hoards of immigrants, all refugees, the ballot box, socialized medicine, black lives matter,  protesters, science, different people coming into your nice suburban neighborhood, cheating Chinese, evil Iranians, raping Mexicans, regulations, facts,  the mainstream media and communal democracy.

I had hoped to  see our current president caught in tender moments that would display his humanity. We saw mostly self love. He continues to appeal to our darker side, to our basest instincts of fear, anger and hate.For those who favor returning America to normalcy, the one bright spot on the horizon is the fact that Donald Trump seems to be in a self destruct mode. In full view, every day, he repeats stranger and stranger scenarios that he has gleaned from dark corners of the internet. His bullying  and chaos have gotten tiresome. His dishonesty,  empathy deficit and bluster is becoming less charming . With America’s future at stake his incompetence is now a liability. 

He is determined to stay in power.

Ever action he takes is blatantly political. I think that he worries that after losing  the protection of his presidential power he will be arrested for his crimes while in office. He may then regret telling those enforcing the law, ” Kick the s–t out of them.” and “Slam their heads into the car door frames”.

Donald Trump really doesn’t want that to happen, he doesn’t want you to vote.

Please vote, your future depends on it.

John Osler

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