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After the Storm: Politicians and Pundits Nominated for Oblivion

In 1932 Ernest Hemingway published a masterful short story of the sea in Cosmopolitan magazine titled “After the Storm.” The narrative concerns a conch fisherman who, after engaging in and escaping a violent barroom brawl and knife fight, heads out on the water in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane and discovers an ocean liner sunk just below the surface. Being an opportunist of low order, he attempts a scavenger effort to retrieve valuables from the dead inside, but is ill-equipped and unable to break through the glass of the portholes. Others arrive before he can return outfitted with the necessary tools, and they claim the treasures for themselves. He ends up with nothing.

I was reminded of that story during the recent political free-for-all in our nation, euphemistically referred to as the campaign season and presidential election. A kind of symbolic parallelism piqued my attention and provoked the impulse to ponder.

A certain “glass” failed to be broken and an “outside party” stepped in to claim the big prize. The opportunity of a lifetime, hovering right before the fingertips, dissipated suddenly like steam on wind. Then, descending like a black curtain, the crushing agony of defeat prevailed. Well, so much for the brawlers; however, what exactly are the implications for a shoreline ravaged and scarred by the forces of a “brutal typhoon”?

The wounds remain open still for many as evidenced by the street demonstrations erupting in major urban areas across the country. Those who clasped their cheeks aghast and expressed incomprehensible indignation at Donald Trump’s reserving the right to question the election outcome are now burning cars and breaking store windows protesting that very thing. Not seemingly, however, as a passionate dedication to a candidate or principle, but rather simply as an ironic and blatant hypocritical display. And what about the rush for visas? Canada anyone?

Nevertheless, for those of the “never-Hillary” or the “enthusiastic Trumpster” camps, the first of what might be identified as three stages has been fulfilled. Hillary Clinton has been vanquished—and at this point in time, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s dictum regarding “no second acts in America” certainly applies. Adios, Hill and Bill. And the second stage, that of Trump’s putting together a transition team and assembling high-level appointments, is now underway. That second stage is key to alleviating the anxieties of those uncertain of Trump’s suitability for the office. The United States is led by a president, not a dictator. Those surrounding the president as advisors and in the cabinet exert tremendous support and influence in the course of policy and actions taken. The fact that Trump has always exhibited great strength as a delegator bodes well for the acquisition of political-leadership experience in his administration.

Finally, however, if one accepts the warnings of a bevy of economists and financial gurus, the third stage is on the horizon and should be acknowledged and prepared for now. And a most unpleasant stage it would appear to be, that of a global financial meltdown and/or escalating military action on a wide scale. This eventuality would have to be faced regardless of who had won the election, and it’s incumbent upon Trump’s administration to apprise the public and make that clear early on as well as offer reassurance that everything possible will be done to ameliorate the suffering and hasten the recovery. (Skeptical? See, for example, Jim Richards’ new book debuting this month, The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites’ Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis.) It’s crucial to get out ahead of the game because the political left will attempt to exploit this to the max and blame “Trump incompetence” for it all, just as Obama blamed Bush for Obama’s eight years of economic sluggishness.

In a “banana republic,” those on the losing side, or those who conspicuously opposed the eventual winner, would be rounded up and summarily executed. Simply a cleansing and consolidation process. (Even in such a democratically advanced nation as Turkey, actions fearfully similar have of late been occurring.) Fortunately, we reside in the United States of America where tradition has excluded such extreme reprisals; nevertheless, shouldn’t there be consequences of some sort suffered by influential individuals who were traitorous, mendacious or just plain stupidly wrong? How about, let’s say, complete banishment from the public eye and public discourse forevermore? And, indeed, I have a number of candidates in mind and shall herewith address a few of them individually and directly.

The George H. W. Bush family. You’re supposed to be Republicans. It was shocking and disappointing to see you, papa Bush, cozy up in joint endeavors with Bill Clinton as he began assembling his “money machine” under the guise of charity. Sonny “W.” Bush, you let us down big time by turning American education over to that Democratic reprobate Ted Kennedy. Then you, sonny Jeb, refused to honor your pledge from the Republican primary debates to support the eventual nominee. So, a pox on your “dynasty.” May the sunset consume you all. The next time daddy proposes his parachute-jump reenactment, why don’t you all join him? Over the ocean. Sans parachutes.

Mitt Romney. Let’s say it together. You’re a loser. Trump is a winner. But a more accurate label for you now would be “traitor.” You actually attempted to sabotage Trump’s chances of carrying Utah. Please don’t ever show your wimp-laden face in any “Republican context” again!

John Kasich. Another backstabbing, pledge-breaking narcissist. Did you really harbor the insane illusion you could win as the primary season neared its end? Or were you simply the little spoiled spoiler inflicting a mad vengeance? Whatever, the sooner you’re confined to an institution for political has-beens, the better.

David Brooks and George Will. You’re very lucky fellows. God gave you both intelligence, intellect, education, language, connections and platform—and you totally screwed it up. A liberal friend of mine noted once that you, George, sound so brilliant and formidable with every opinionated utterance, but they turn out eventually to be mostly incorrect. And you, David, sit there on PBS representing a conservative seat, when you’re at best a RINO. The unforgivable sin here though is how badly you both misunderstood Trump the man, Trump’s supporters and the societal shift taking place. You even bought into the opposition’s key ploys. Go back to your ivory towers, lock the door, throw away the key and please don’t even look out the windows ever again.

Glenn Beck. You once had the brass ring in hand, but it’s all slipping away now. Listening on radio, I admired your lessons about history during the campaigns—quite informative. But you allowed a deep personal animus toward Trump to cloud your thinking and programming to such an extent that you cut off your own legs “at the neck.” You did, after the election, eat crow and actually offer a brilliant self-analysis: “My mistake was this. I took Mr. Trump literally but not seriously. His supporters took him seriously but not literally.” Well, the crow may be cold, but I fear your goose is cooked.

Although the list might go on ad infinitum (Bill Kristol, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Meg Whitman, etc.), there were, of course, many perspicacious individuals in political settings and the media who did sense the “sea change” and what it really meant and got it right. Ben Carson, Rudi Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, to name only a few. And not to overlook the real grandmaster of political analysis and politician psychology—Rush Limbaugh. He had it nailed from the beginning—and those who don’t think so, obviously don’t listen to him and consequently don’t know whereof they speak. But the greatest recognition belongs to Donald Trump himself for the early and significant accomplishment of exposing the incestuous “establishment” relationship of the Democratic and Republican parties with each other, the media and Wall Street, and the inside-the-beltway power-elitist domination of our society, economy and culture today. How utterly phony and self-serving they all are! But laud and congratulations to those who called it correctly—and a detailed explanation of why they did so—will have to wait for another time and a different blog post. The task at hand is to salvage the ship’s wreckage and bury the dead.

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Mark Scheel
Mark Scheel grew up in east-Kansas farm country. He attended both Kansas State University and The University of Kansas, majoring in psychology and English. Prior to writing full time he served overseas with the American Red Cross in Vietnam, Thailand, West Germany and England, taught at Emporia State University and was an information specialist with the Johnson County Library in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. His stories, articles and poems have appeared in numerous magazines including The Little Balkans Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Cincinnati Poetry Review, The Kansas City Star, Heritage of Kansas, Samisdat, and Poet as well as many sites online such as Common Ground News. His literary activities have also involved membership in The Kansas Authors Club, a seat on the board of directors for Potpourri Publications Company and an editorial position with Kansas City Voices magazine. He co-authored the book Of Youth and the River: the Mississippi Adventure of Raymond Kurtz, Sr., and his collection of stories and poems, A Backward View, was awarded the 1998 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award. His most recent book is titled The Pebble: Life, Love, Politics and Geezer Wisdom.

6 comments to After the Storm: Politicians and Pundits Nominated for Oblivion

  • I would have to add that the biggest loser was the mainstream media. They have lost all credibility as a reliable source of unbiased information. They have acted like PR surrogates for the Clinton team, avoiding an scandalous information about her and heaping tons of misinformation about Trump.

  • Don Frankel

    Mark, something occurred to me before the voting. No matter who it turned out the GOP of the Bushes, Romney et al, was over. They knew it too.

    I sort of feel sorry for George Will and Bill Kristol as they don’t like The Donald Himself because they believe deeply in the Protestant Ethic and The Donald Himself calling people losers and liars does not conform to their sense of propriety. So I think that’s where their animus comes from. But naah I don’t feel sorry for them. Will has got to be one of the most boring people the good Lord ever made and Kristol is a pompous ass.

    Tom is right that the biggest losers are the Mass Hysteria but also their Polls. I’ll have more on that tomorrow.

  • Tom,

    Yes, I should have stressed that more, perhaps. Did you see 60 Minutes tonight where in the interview Trump alluded to media bias? Thanks for the comment. BTW, I’m almost finished with Christ in His Fullness and I’ll comment to you direct when I’m done.


  • Don,

    On Will and Kristol, I think you’ve got a good point. But it was hard to tell during the campaigns who was truly offended by Trump’s vulgarities and who was simply trying to use that as a wedge to drive between Trump and the religious right. There was so much hyperbolic propaganda thrown about that the truth fell way far behind. I’ll be watching for your take on the polls, etc.


  • Don Frankel


    Good point Mark. How much of that was real outrage and how much of their consternation was just politics. It’s not like these people have any credibility as far as I’m concerned. I don’t want to sound like a moralist. If someone paid me to yakkty yak yak, I’d do it to. But that’s about all they do so I don’t have to believe it either.

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