When I watched President Trump address the crowd in Elkhart, Indiana, I saw a connection to, of all things, Minnie Marx’s brood of madcap hellions, Groucho, Harpo and Chico.
Before you conclude that I have taken total leave of my senses, I’ll remind you, as the Spanish surrealist, Salvador Dali, once remarked: “The sole difference between myself and a madman is the fact that I am not mad.”
When Trump holds one of his rallies, his intention isn’t simply to rev up his base, taunt the media and give us a few laughs at the expense of the media. He is also gauging the crowd’s response to certain topics. He’s calculating if the Wall continues to be something his people care about; if they’ve personally experienced a benefit from the tax cuts; if they approve of his releasing us from the Paris Accords and the Iran deal; and even if they support his moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
The reason I liken his approach to the Marx Brothers is because before they would begin shooting one of their movies at MGM, the boys would test their routines on the road. The bits that got laughs outside L.A. would wind up in their movies. The set pieces that died onstage in Chicago or Denver would be buried and forgotten in Chicago or Denver.
What’s more, the people notice and recognize that when the President refers to the nation or the economy or even the 2016 election, Trump says our nation and our economy and even our victory, so unlike his arrogant predecessor who was so full of “I,” “me” and “mine,” that even when it came to the execution of Osama bin Laden, Barack liar-nObama made it sound as if he had joined the Navy Seals in repelling down from the helicopter and had personally led the charge up the stairs of the Pakistani villa, where he shot and killed the deranged architect of 9/11.
⦿ I don’t believe I am any more patriotic than any of you. However, when I listen to most of the politicians and federal functionaries in Washington, D.C. and consider the outrageous behavior of people like Chuck clown-Schumer, Nancy Puelosi, scum-Adam Schiff, mad-Maxine Waters, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Clapper, John Brennan, Susan Rice and Samantha Powers, I can’t help thinking how contemptible it is that people who have been blessed to have been elected or appointed to serve this great country have chosen, instead, to betray everything for which she stands.
⦿ When I was younger and would hear people refer to California as “God’s country,” I assumed it was because it had such great weather; magnificent mountains, deserts and coastlines; and some of the richest and most fruitful farmland in the world. Today, when people continue to refer to it as God’s country, it’s only in recognition of Jerry Brown’s delusions of grandeur.
⦿ Considering the amount of lunacy in the air, it should be no great surprise that some people seem more terrified by the prospect of a trade war than one involving armies and perhaps even nukes. When it comes to trusting people to do what’s best for the American economy, it makes far more sense to me to trust a guy who has made billions of dollars duking it out in the real world with construction unions, building inspectors and mobsters, than a bunch of half-baked mediocrities who have devoted their lives to running for public office.
It occurs to me that the same crowd that was certain that Trump was going to land us in a nuclear war with North Korea are now terrified that China and the EU are going to demolish our economy because Trump is calling for tariffs on steel and aluminum and demanding a re-do on treaties like NAFTA and TPP.
As I see it, when one side has been right about removing job-destroying regulations, building a wall and confronting Little Rocket Man, and the other side has been wrong about, well, everything, it would seem to make a great more sense to string along with Trump.
⦿ It sometimes occurs to me that I might well be the exception to the rule when it comes to American heterosexual males. For openers, I hate watching football and basketball. I have only liked a handful of westerns in my life. I prefer songs from the Great American Songbook Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Rogers, Kern, Loesser to nearly everything that has come along in the meantime.
Most telling of all, I even hate driving. But for that, I can at least fix the blame. It’s all because of my father, who decided for some peculiar reason that he was the ideal driving instructor.
It was a Sunday morning late in my 15th year when he took me out to prepare me for my driver’s test. It started out innocently enough. He had me drive around the empty parking lot of a local supermarket.
He then had me drive over to Sunset Boulevard and turn west. The famous street has a lot more hair-pin turns than you might imagine if you have only experienced it watching Billy Wilder’s homage to silent movie legends.
As scary as that was, my dad then directed me to turn onto Beverly Glen, which has more twists than a pretzel, and drive into the San Fernando Valley, which I barely knew existed at the time. My relatives all lived on the city side of the hill, so I only had this vague impression that once you came down on the other side, you might be within sight of San Francisco.
My dad, who was either a sadist or a masochist or a weird Russian-Jewish combination of the two, then had me drive north or is it west? on Ventura Blvd., the main thoroughfare in the Valley. But, apparently, my dad bored quickly once I didn’t appear to be placing our lives in jeopardy, so he then had me drive through the canyon until we hit Pacific Coast Highway, which by then was thick with fast-moving traffic.
By the time crazy Sam Prelutsky finally decided that I had mastered the basic principles and directed us homeward, I felt as if I had driven across the continent, at times while drunk and blindfolded.
It may be my imagination or a faulty memory, but I seem to recall that by the time I finally pulled into the driveway, he had to pry my icy cold fingers off the steering wheel.
I do recall thinking that my trusty old Schwinn bicycle had served me well up to that time and fervently wished that we lived in a small town where it might remain my main mode of transportation. But, alas, I passed the driving test a month or so later and have dreaded driving for the last 62 years.
By now, I have no doubt that in this car-crazy society of ours, some of you are questioning not whether I am an American male, but whether I was lying when I claimed to be heterosexual.