I’m in Jacksonville Florida, camping out in a Starbucks about two miles from the hotel I’m staying in, which is packed with people getting ready for 2018.
Last night, I was in a large banquet room, which I think because of the recent storm, is now the restaurant and bar. It was the only food option. I watched people drink and yell at the top of their lungs at the football game broadcasting on a huge wall mounted screen. “Let’s go Bad-gers!” a man bellowed over and over, trying to get others to join in. Another man had what looked like a cowbell that he shook as hard as he could. It was loud and depressing.
In less than five hours, EST, it will be 2018. 2017 was easily the most interesting year I’ve experienced in America since 2009, the start of the Obama administration. Donald Trump has changed political landscape more than any other American politician in my life time.
He is what he is. You either dig the man or you don’t. Between Trump, his family and the Republican party, he is, ironically, the one who has kept it real. For the last week or so, Orrin Hatch has been in my thoughts. Recently, when he and other Republicans gathered around Trump to kiss the ring after the tax bill passed, he said:
Mr. President, I have to say you are living up to everything I thought you would. You are one heck of a leader, and we’re all benefiting from it. We are making headway. This is just the beginning. If you stop and think about it, this president hasn’t even been in office for a year and look at all the things he’s been able to get done. I hope we get behind him every way we can and we’ll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world. We are going to keep fighting. And we are going to make this the greatest presidency we have seen, not only in generations, but maybe ever.
Hatch is 83 years old. He is a career politician, who at some point, thought he could be president. He’s a lot of things, stupid isn’t one of them. However, he just incinerated all of that in a couple of statements. Besides the mega suck up to power barf he projected a few days ago, there’s another recent statement, where Hatch said, in part, that Trump, as far as presidents go, was “one of the best I’ve served under.” Wow. Way to shove a blade into your guts.
Senator Hatch is part of (for now) a branch of government, the Legislative, equal in power to the one Trump presently tees off in, the Executive. Hatch doesn’t serve under any person. He serves the Constitution, just like Trump. What Hatch said is demonstrative of where the Republican party is now and how much Trump has transformed it. They do serve under Trump. Hatch spent forty years in the Senate, only to blow out near the end of his political life with reputation annihilating statements such as these. There is nothing he can say or do now to regain the ground he gave up. Pathetic.
Even more so, the whining of Republicans as they try to denigrate the reputation of decorated Vietnam War veteran Robert Mueller and his investigation. The weakest of the litter, Matthew Gaetz, representing Florida’s 1st congressional district, whose 2008 mugshot screams perv, wants Mueller fired. Right now! It’s an outrage! Like a lot of elected Republicans, Gaetz hasn’t spent much meaningful time on the street, besides all the times he’s been pulled over. They doth protest too much. So much that as little as you know of what Mueller’s up to, you can tell that it’s upsetting snowflakes like Gaetz. It’s amazing how hard these men and women are happy to land on the wrong side of history. Trump, who drops one provably false statement after another, gaffs whenever he gets near a live microphone, is the guy they’re staking their political futures on. Please, proceed.
These are the invitations to the dance that will be a big part of America 2018, as November nears. Those high on what they call the “blue wave” they anticipate bringing in decisive numbers Democrats to both houses should put away their surf boards, not oversell their unproven position, and get to work. Walking ten miles with a car balanced on your head would be easier than flipping either House, let alone both.
My outlook isn’t at all bleak, it just requires constant verification. I read the news but I study history. America changes slowly but as far direction, it’s been going pretty much the same way since the first human was sold into slavery on American soil. As far as substantive change, historically, statistically, the electorate isn’t all that interested. A great majority of Americans might tell you that all is not well currently but their grievances might be starkly opposed. The blood and soil crowd isn’t going away.
My optimism is up-armored and is invested in one demographic, which is young people. Ever since I wasn’t young any more, I realized that they are always the ones to look to. In November, I hope that as many as are legally able to do so, vote. Who they vote for isn’t my business. I just want to see them in the mix.
It took two cramped flights to get to Jacksonville. I have thirty three shows in six countries starting on 01-01-18. I’ve been waiting for this since I wrapped out of Dreamland on 12-14-17. Holidays and other portions of “downtime” are strange periods of life-on-pause. I’m Captain Willard in the Saigon hotel room.
No matter how I try, I can never maintain the discipline I have while on the road when I’m off it. The last two weeks in Los Angeles were good for listening to music and spending hours every day working on writing projects but the time had none of the urgency that is ever present when I’m out here.
The fact that tickets have been sold, that there is expectation, the chance of failure if I do not give all allegiance to the performance, is the line I live to walk. To be succinct: I can’t wait to get out there.
Work is vengeance. And I’m always working.