I can’t even…

There have been so many distressing articles about Donald Trump that you think nothing could possibly break through to elucidate something worse.

Yesterday, Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief of The Atlantic, one of the oldest and most venerable magazines in the United States, published this article on Trump’s disparagement of members of the military across generations. Trump has publicly and privately called people who served “losers” and “suckers”, including those who were wounded, captured, or killed in action.

Some of the people interviewed for the story think that Trump can’t understand anyone being motivated by anything other than personal gain, especially monetary gain.

This inability to understand the fundamental nature of public service would be shocking enough coming from a president of the United States who is elected to serve the country and its people, but one particular incident in the report saddened me on an even deeper level.

On Memorial Day 2017, Trump visited Arlington National Cemetery, a short drive from the White House. He was accompanied on this visit by John Kelly, who was then the secretary of homeland security, and who would, a short time later, be named the White House chief of staff. The two men were set to visit Section 60, the 14-acre area of the cemetery that is the burial ground for those killed in America’s most recent wars. Kelly’s son Robert is buried in Section 60. A first lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Robert Kelly was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan. He was 29. Trump was meant, on this visit, to join John Kelly in paying respects at his son’s grave, and to comfort the families of other fallen service members. But according to sources with knowledge of this visit, Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” Kelly (who declined to comment for this story) initially believed, people close to him said, that Trump was making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force. But later he came to realize that Trump simply does not understand non-transactional life choices.

from Jeffrey Goldberg’s article, Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’, The Atlantic, Sept. 3, 2020

How could anyone, standing with a father at his son’s gravesite, not have the decency to either offer sympathy or maintain respectful silence?

Trump’s lack of compassion and humanity frighten me even more than his inability to govern and to protect the health and safety of our country. He and the press team at the White House are denying the reporting, but Goldberg’s reporting is well-sourced and has been corroborated by other reporters using their own sources. Sadly, it is also entirely believable because Trump has often publicly disparaged those who have served in the military, including the late senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain. For the White House to claim that Trump never said things that are archived in recordings, tweets, etc. only compounds the problem. Denying your lies is just another lie and another reason not to believe anything you say.

I have always believed that character matters and have used it as one of my top criteria in voting. I have made my plan to vote in the November third election and urge all US citizens to make sure they are registered and have a plan in place to safely and securely cast their ballot so that we can unequivocally elect Joe Biden so our country can begin the healing process and restore respect and human decency within and beyond our borders.

October at MASS MoCA

For the last several years, it has been my privilege to be in residence with the Boiler House Poets at MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in North Adams, Massachusetts. I grew up in the area and I am always happy to be back in a familiar and beautiful place with engaging and talented poet-friends. I usually blog daily while I am there, but, for a number of reasons, I was unable to this year, so I thought I’d do some catch-up posts about it.

While we met as the first group of poets in residence through a collaboration with Tupelo Press and the Studios at MASS MoCA, we are now a self-directed group and, for our week together in October, we decided to do manuscript reviews. I am relatively new to giving feedback on chapbooks/poetry collections and to putting my own manuscripts together, so I appreciated the opportunity. It involved a lot of preparation before the residency as we shared manuscripts, read, and prepared comments. I was very busy with sandwich-generation caregiving and was concerned I wouldn’t be able to prepare, but I managed to get sick, the silver lining being that I needed to rest and stay away from people for their protection, so I holed up in my room and did manuscript work.

I was so impressed by the work I was reading and learned a lot from the discussions about each manuscript. Mine was the last manuscript to be workshopped and I was super nervous. It was a new version of my manuscript that deals with generations of family, our relationship to the North Adams area, and the massive changes that have taken place there over time as it moved from being home to mills, then to electronics, and eventually to the largest modern art museum in the country. The discussion was very helpful and led to the realization that I need to re-focus the collection again.

I have a lot of work to do on it, but I haven’t gotten to do much with it yet. The week I was in North Adams was the one in which hospice decided to decertify Nana. Things became even busier than they had been and I still haven’t been able to find time/brain to go over all the comments, digest them, and start revisions. I did get to do a bit of work before I left North Adams and I am pondering somewhere in the back of my brain here and there, so I hope that I will be able to make progress when I can get back to work.

Will 2019 be the year that I finally manage to get the manuscript ready to send out?

Fingers crossed…
*****
Join us for Just Jot It January! Today’s pingback link is here: https://lindaghill.com/2019/01/10/jusjojan-2019-daily-prompt-jan-10th/
More information and prompts here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/12/31/what-is-just-jot-it-january-2019-rules/

One-Liner Wednesday: Maya Angelou on humanity

“We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in
each other and recognize that human beings
are more alike than we are unalike.”
— Maya Angelou

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/08/30/one-liner-wednesday-its-surreal/

One-Liner Wednesday: Love in action

“For all our limitations, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love.”
— Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ paragraph 58
(In recognition of the ongoing Paris climate talks, I am sharing some quotes from the papal encyclical.)

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays!  Find out how here: http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/09/one-liner-wednesday-escape/

One-Liner Wednesday: motivation

“Any technical solution which science claims to offer will be powerless to solve the serious problems of our world if humanity loses its compass, if we lose sight of the great motivations which make it possible for us to live in harmony, to make sacrifices and to treat others well.”
— Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ paragraph 200
(In preparation for the upcoming Paris climate talks, I am sharing some quotes from the papal encyclical.)

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays!  Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/25/one-liner-wednesday-living/

One-Liner Wednesday: love in action

“For all our limitations, gestures of generosity, solidarity and care cannot but well up within us, since we were made for love.”
— Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ paragraph 58
(In recognition of the ongoing Paris climate talks, I am sharing some quotes from the papal encyclical.)

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays!  Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/09/one-liner-wednesday-escape/

One-Liner Wednesday: Words

“I am by nature a dealer in words, and words are the most powerful drug known to humanity.”
– Rudyard Kipling

This post is part of Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays. Join us! Details here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/03/18/one-liner-wednesday-on-editing/

One-Liner Wednesday: Hildegard of Bingen

“The earth which sustains humanity must not be injured, it must not be destroyed.”
~~~ Hildegard of Bingen

I chose this quote for today because this is the feast day of Saint Hildegard of Bingen and because of the upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City on Sunday.

Join in with Linda’s One Liner Wednesday:  http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/one-liner-wednesday-sleeping-in/