The Gathering Gloom

gathering-gloomWe spent the weekend at Cedar Hill State Park, enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures while contending with seasonal allergies. By late Saturday, a cold front moved in, bringing pop-up thunderstorms, sustained winds and overcast skies that lasted well into Sunday. Still, we were able to grill steaks on Friday and lamb on Saturday. And a quick visit to the repair shop on Friday enabled us to flush again. As with most things, we took the good with the bad.

We also spent some time following both the inaugural events and the Women’s March on Washington. After hearing President Trump’s inaugural address, we were reminded of Late Lament, the poem by Moody Blues drummer Graeme Edge, which can be heard near the end of the group’s classic hit, “Nights in White Satin.”

Breathe deep the gathering gloom,
Watch lights fade from every room.
Bedsitter people look back and lament,
Another day’s useless energy spent.
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one,
Lonely man cries for love and has none.
New mother picks up and suckles her son,
Senior citizens wish they were young.
Cold hearted orb that rules the night,
Removes the colors from our sight.
Red is grey and yellow white,
But we decide which is right.
And which is an illusion.

The purpose of this post is not to be political. Rather, it’s intended to capture a moment in time spent together in Cloud 9. On this particular weekend, we felt we had no choice but to “breathe deep the gathering gloom.” Friday’s peaceful transition of power brought about a new era in Washington, one that President Trump seemed determined to distort beyond recognition.

We found it telling that he chose to inflate his ascent to the most powerful seat in government, despite facts that would have brought others to a humbler posture. He not only lost the popular vote, but also took the oath of office with 60 percent of Americans disapproving of him. Then, on his first full day in office, he dispatched his press secretary to take the media to task for underestimating the size of the crowds attending his swearing in.

“But we decide which is right. And which is an illusion.”

The new president made his fortune as a real estate developer. When Jon worked at The Dallas Morning News, one of his tasks was to take the “romance” copy provided by real estate agencies and strip it of its superfluousness. To Jon, it makes perfect sense that the linguistically unpolished new president with the real estate background would resort to such superfluity as his default rhetorical style.

President Trump isn’t a speaker but a talker, and his talk is filled with exaggerations, distortions and outright lies. In other words, he talks the way any number of people would over drinks or after hours, embellishing sometimes incredible claims with assurances of sincerity such as “really” and “totally.” He just talks and talks and talks. He has no interest in artfully communicating ideas. He also seems to have no understanding that a politician’s utterances are more signals than statements. And it’s that lack of understanding — of introspection — that makes him dangerous.

But we decide which is right, and which is an illusion.

The gathering gloom of the Trump era will only be dispelled by clear-eyed, level-headed citizens who hold him accountable, not only for what he does but also for what he says. We need not spend our energy uselessly, wandering around in the colorless moonlight. Mr. Trump may well be our Talker in Chief and our Twitterer in Chief. But he is also our Commander in Chief. There’s not much a little fresh air and sunshine won’t fix. So let us decide which is right. And which is an illusion.

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