Friday, November 30, 2012

What I REALLY Want For Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I published my Christmas,..HOLIDAY LIST in this space. Although partly in jest, it was a legitimate list that was duly published on the now famous Christmas Central website for all interested family members to examine for gift ideas. But, what do I really want for Christmas? If I were King, and could remake the world by fiat, what would that world look like? What follows is what I really, really want for Christmas.

1. I want the “fiscal cliff” to be a real, honest to God cliff. I want television cameras set up to film all of our elected officials plunging to their deaths over that cliff, if they don’t compromise on a deal before January the first, 2013. Then, to replace them all, people will be chosen at random from the white pages of each Congressional district in America. If chosen, you must serve, no matter your profession or education. Accordingly, the next Congress would literally be an accurate representation of the people, as there would be carpenters, electricians, hair-stylists, truck drivers, and assorted cooks, waitresses, and firemen in Congress instead of 450 lawyers and a couple dozen heirs and heiresses.

2. I want to suspend the ageing process in my Dad and my dog. I want their health to be restored to a point that produces in them less humiliation, and in me less despair.

3. I want the church to once again become the patron of the Arts. When last we were, we sponsored some of the finest music ever written for a thousand years. Since we abdicated that patron status and turned it over to the secular world the results have been mixed. While the world did manage to give us Casablanca, the Godfather, Gershwin and the Beatles, more frequently, it gives us Two and A Half Men, Twilight, and 50 Cent.

4. I want every business in America to run as efficiently as my trash man, C.L. Taylor of Glen Allen Va.

5. I want bacon, fried chicken, sausage, and cheese to be altered molecularly so that they become the healthiest foods in the universe.

6. I want the manufacture of lite beer to be criminalized.

7. I want the smartest guys in the high tech field, the most imaginative dudes at NASA along with the money-making machine that is the porn industry to join forces and get to work on making teleportation a realty. It would sure make my life easier once I start having grandkids.

8. I want the most annoying people in America to all be publicly shamed into silence, all at once, in some grand moment of decency where all of America becomes repulsed by the mere sight of:

Kim Kardashian

Harry Reid

Nancy Pelosi

Alec Baldwin

The Ladies Of The View

Eric Cantor

Karl Rove

Glen Beck

Joe Biden

Paris Hilton

Joel Osteen

Pat Robertson

Chris Matthews

Charlie Sheen

Brad Pitt

Angelina Jolie

Sarah Palin

Mayor Bloomberg

Snoop Dogg

Paul Krugman

Jerry Jones

9. I want Tim Tebow to get married, then get traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars. So rejuvenated will he be with the change of scenery and regular sex, he will lead his new team to the Super Bowl and I will get to see every talking head on ESPN apoplectic with rage for three months.

10. I want to hear some preaching in 2013 free of pandering, condescension, and rhyming, and full of fearless, indignant rage. Occasional spittle would be nice.

11. I want to enjoy my profession again.


What about you? What would your world look like if you got your wish list fulfilled? It’s fun to contemplate, isn’t it?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Hope The Proctologist Was Right!

Some weeks are better than others.

This week has been one of the “others”. Suddenly, arbitrarily, bad news washes over you in waves. Just about the time you get your legs steady underneath you, a new wave rolls in nearly as powerful as the first.

First there was the unrelenting dissatisfaction with my business, it’s unpredictability beginning to dominate me in a new way that feels like oppression. Then there was a 6 AM disaster involving my dog and a bathroom accident. Looking back on it, there was much to laugh about and it would have made for a hilarious blog, but right in the middle of the episode, Pam pleaded with me, “PLEASE don’t blog about this!” Then finally early this morning there was news of a possible deterioration of my Dad’s condition. We will tend to that today.

It’s times like these when I need to look past the present and remember better days in the past, and look into the future with confidence, knowing that I am not a prisoner of this moment.

Like the Proctologist said to the man who was in pain because he had accidently swallowed a large marble…”This too shall pass.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The War On Christmas? Puhhhleeze...

Around this time of year, Facebook becomes inundated with complaints from Christians about how awful it is that Christ has been taken out of Christmas by our decaying culture. The “war on Christmas” fights on many fronts. Here are just a few.

An ACLU chapter somewhere invariably has a manger scene removed from some Courthouse lawn. Christians immediately get their stockings in a knot.

A clerk at Walmart greets a shopper with a “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Christians conclude that the four horses of the apocalypse are about to be unleashed.

Christians nearly drive off the road in fury when they see a flashing portable roadside sign advertising fresh X-MAS trees.

When some news reporter refers to the lighting of “holiday trees”, a flurry of phone calls and letters flood the station manager’s office.

When school systems refer to “holiday parties” instead of “Christmas parties” and greet everyone with a hardy “seasons greetings”, home-schoolers everywhere smile smugly, grateful that their kids don’t have to suffer similar humiliation.


Where to begin? To start with, I should say that sometimes, the things I just listed do irritate me. It does seem that people twist themselves in rhetorical knots with the politically correct “offend no one” approach to discourse this time of year. Holiday Tree? Frosty the Snowperson? Seriously? However, it is my opinion that the Christian reaction to all of this is equally irritating, and annoyingly inconsistent.

Where was the Christian community fifty years ago when Madison Avenue hijacked the birthday of Christ? I wonder how many Christians were there at the gates of Best Buys all around the country at the stroke of midnight on Black Friday? Why would we even want the celebration of the birth of our savior to be associated with the most out of control exhibition of greed known to mankind? Would having a clerk at Target say “Merry Christmas” make everything all right?

Christ was removed from Christmas in this country long before the first ACLU lawsuit. Does anyone really believe that anything approaching a majority of the people grabbing Tickle-Me-Elmo’s off the shelves of Toys-R-Us are doing so out of some deep-seated desire to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Why are we as Christians suddenly so thin-skinned that the culture has forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? Does it have anything to do with the fact that maybe we have too?

When Jesus talked about salvation he made it clear that Christians would forever be in the minority.
“… For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many will find it, but small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and few will find it.” So, why are we now so out of sorts to find Christianity and it’s celebrations minimized by our culture?

There is nothing stopping us from greeting all who we encounter with a ”Merry Christmas”. There exists no law preventing us from erecting manger scenes on our front lawns, nothing to stop us from buying our trees from only those merchants who bother to spell out the word Christmas. But if we are busy elbowing people out of the way to get that last smart phone at the Apple store, then we have no standing to criticize the store owner who thinks it might attract more customers if he tries to soft-pedal the baby Jesus thing. He’s busy doing what comes natural to him. What comes natural to us?

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Boycott Is Over. How Did It Go?

Well, my scream news blackout/boycott is over as of yesterday morning. As promised I refrained from watching, reading, or listening to any of the popular news outlets in America for two weeks. My theory was that my overall attitude and sense of well being would improve by swearing off the ranters and screamers of American politics. So, was I right?

First of all, I must confess to having been a bit bored with the “just the facts, please” news outlets. The Associated Press is a dreadfully dull outfit. It’s C-Span without video. Awful. I actually found myself wondering what I was missing. The world seemed eerily quiet, unnaturally free of existential angst. Without hearing Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck chronicling the coming apocalypse, it was tempting to believe that life had returned to it’s relentless monotony, grinding onward, free of Greek drama, but full of farce. Then I fired up the laptop and began wading through my old friends to discover all that I had missed while away.

“Secession Movement Spurred By Racism”

“Churches Offer Concealed Weapons Training”

“Obama Re-elected By Illiterate Society”

“Opposition To Susan Rice Nomination Is Racist”

“New Vending Machine To Dispense Caviar”

“Three Men Brawl Over Pair Of Sneakers In Middle Of Mall On Black Friday”

“ Teachers Hire Stand-ins To Take Certification Tests”

“Republicans Warn Of Shutdown Over Filibuster”


It would appear that there was plenty of drama, I was just blissfully unaware. But, is that a good thing? Doesn’t it behoove me as a citizen to know what’s going on in my country? Shouldn’t I be able to talk intelligently about whether or not the secession movement is, in fact, racist? Does the appearance of lots of bumper stickers in Texas and the existence of several petitions with 10,000 names scribbled on them qualify as a “movement”? My church doesn’t offer weapons training of any kind. Should this concern me? Have we totally missed some clear teaching of scripture on this subject? And what about these fake teachers taking tests for real teachers? Are the stand-ins Union members? If not, why not?

The fact is that although my attitudes have improved these past two weeks, I have felt constantly out of the loop, off the grid. I have been greatly disturbed to realize how much I enjoy my sources of propaganda. My daily helping of hyperbole, fear mongering and invective have been sorely missed. Denying myself exposure to it has taken away my sense of superiority. I am not able to hover above all the pettiness and drivel if I don’t know what the drivel-ers are saying.

So, I suppose I will return to my daily routine of pointing and laughing at the merchants of misinformation, all the while bemoaning the fact that too many Americans are doing what I’m doing.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Grovers 1997-2007...Thanks From MisterD

The day after Thanksgiving brings with it a throbbing ankle, twisted during a football game that my team lost 35-28, largely due to inconsistent QB play by yours truly. Somehow, at 54, I seem to have lost a step. Other than the outcome of the game, it was a wonderful day. Last night we decorated the tree together and watched Ralphie shoot his eye out…again.

Today, we will begin the process of Christmasizing the house, out with fall colors and in with the reds and greens, out with Pilgrims and in with the Wise Men. By tonight my house will look better than it does all year.

One more thing before I leave Thanksgiving. There’s something I’m thankful for that I never say enough about. It’s been over five years now since I retired from Youth work at my church. All of the kids that I worked with have now gotten on with their lives. I read about them all on Facebook. There’s an architect and a local news producer in Kentucky, an accountant in Atlanta. There are missionaries serving in China, a social worker in Tennessee. There are bright ambitious grad students all over the place. I see hostesses and bar-tenders, seminary students and advertising account executives. Best of all, I see husbands and wives, mothers and fathers doting on their precious children, the pictures of whom always bring a knot to my throat. Some have become raging successes, others have struggled. But most all of them are in fine health. I haven’t lost a one. I can honestly say that not a single one of them have disappointed me. Each of them added something solid and memorable to my life. When I see a troubling status, I lift up a quick prayer. When I read about some celebration, I celebrate a little myself. I realize now much more than I did when I was hip deep in all of their drama just how lucky I was to have known them. I still have their wallet-sized senior pictures magnetized to my refrigerator. To all of them…and they know who they are…here’s a big thank you from MisterD.

Oh…and would it kill some of you to drop in to see me over Christmas??

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2012 Christmas List

Let it be known far and wide that this year, I produced my Christmas list on Thanksgiving Day. I am not the last person to get it done like every year in the past. Now, perhaps the Christmas List Nazi’s will give me a break.




Doug’s Christmas List 2012


1. An online subscription to the Wall Street Journal

2. Sports jacket that will go with jeans/khakis

3. A year’s supply of beef jerky

4. Season two of The Boss

5. Stylish sweaters to replace the ones I borrowed from Dr. Huckstable during the filming of The Cosby Show

6. Barnes & Noble gift certificates in any denomination (except Presbyterian)

7. Long-sleeve shirts that are casual enough to wear to a barbeque joint but nice enough to wear to church without eliciting glances of scorn from the blue-hairs

8. Underwear

9. Running shoes, size ten, preferably with no neon colored stripes down the sides

10. Big honking leaf rake with the big fat rubberized handle

11. Gift certificate to Loew’s so I can buy stuff to organize the garage

12. A Republican candidate for President who doesn’t have bank accounts in the Cayman Islands

13. A year of good health for my Dad

14. A two week vacation for my sister Linda away from the crushing responsibility piled upon her shoulders…preferably in the Cayman Islands, where an inadvertent bank error results in Mitt Romney’s fortune being transferred into her account

15. $250,000 advance from Simon & Schuster to write my first book, tentative title,” The Fiscal Cliff-Notes, An Idiots Guide To Economics”

16. A cool hat

17. A Segway that I can give to Donnie so he doesn’t have to walk his route every day

18. Better spelling skills

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Want To Possibly Die Laughing? Listen To THIS!

Before reading this blog, please click on the above link.

I stumbled upon this audio yesterday on Facebook and I laughed until I cried. My laugh muscles were cramping. Seriously, if I had just drank water, I would have spewed it out all over the place like they do on TV. Now, I understand that humor is subjective, what is gut-splittingly hilarious to one may seem infantile to another, so I run a risk here.

This guy is leaving a routine voice mail for his boss as he is driving down the road, when he witnesses an accident in front of him. He then proceeds to describe what transpires in front of him in real time. I find everything about this audio to be fantastic. His detailed description of the event is priceless, almost lyrical, akin to a great play-by-play man in baseball. But then as the action picks up, it's "the laugh" that sends me over the edge. What I wouldn't give to be able to laugh like that. This guy 's laugh starts at the soles of his feet, passes through a gravel filter and then exits in waves of infectious fun out of his mouth. I can picture each of the little old ladies pummeling this guy as clearly as if they were in my living room. I have no idea who this guy is, but I would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart. For the rest of my life, I will have this audio file to go to when I need to take my mind off my problems, since nothing does the job as well as a good belly laugh.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Is Israel Our 51st State?

My church has been in the throes of an Israel fixation for a couple of years now. One day we walked in and found an Israeli flag hanging in the foyer. Before long, the leadership team was organizing trips to the Holy Land complete with full media participation. Then came invitations to local Messianic Jews to speak, then a Jewish music festival, a Passover celebration, and as my bulletin from this past Sunday informs me, a Hanukkah celebration coming soon. What in the name of David Ben-Gurion is going on here?

Well, for one thing, our savior was Jewish and it is impossible to fully understand his life and teachings without an appreciation of that fact. Christians still read the Old Testament, read and believe it. The Old Testament speaks often of the Jewish people as God’s chosen ones. We are warned to come against those chosen people at our peril.

For hundreds of years Christians took those warnings to mean that we as Christians should not persecute Jews, but that we should honor them and treat them with respect and kindness. When the Jewish people were being massacred by the thousands at the hands of Hitlers’ Nazis, it was Christians who led the charge for their deliverance. In light of history’s record of terrible treatment of the Jewish people at the hands of the Christian church ( see; The Inquisition), we have naturally evolved towards a much more favorable view of the Jewish people, partially as a way of assuaging the guilt of our awful past. I understand and support that evolution.

But in 1948, with the establishment of the modern nation-state of Israel, something began to change in the Evangelical world. Suddenly, everything was about the “end-times”. Books were written, seminaries taught about it, and an endless stream of predictions about Armageddon began to dominate discourse about Israel. Now, support for and protection of God’s chosen people morphed into support and protection for the nation of Israel. This is not a distinction without a difference.

America has strategic interest that match the strategic interests of Israel, and accordingly, they are our ally. In the screwed up world of the middle east, Israel is the only country that even looks and feels like a modern state to me, so I understand why we support them strategically. But, our church needs to calm down with the over-the-top middle school crush-style devotion to Israel as if it is some sort of litmus test for biblical fidelity to the Jewish people.

For one thing, which Jewish people are we referring to? There are roughly 14 million Jews on the planet. Around 6 million of them live in Israel, or about the same number who live in America. So, there are more Jews who live and have citizenship outside of Israel than there are citizens of the state of Israel. So, which Jews do we claim to support? And, exactly how far does this support and devotion for Israel go? Are we to have a death wish in this matter? Contrary to some of the rhetoric I hear from the pulpit of my church, Israel is not our 51st state. It is a modern, fully functioning nation, with its own strategic interests. Do you think for a minute that Benjamin Netanyahu wouldn’t stab this nation in the back if he thought it would advance Israel’s interests? Sure he would, and he would be right to do so, a feckless and ineffective leader if he did not. Right now, our interests are aligned, but when they diverge, he will fully advance his agenda, and we will advance ours. A little clear eyed realism would go a long way towards disabusing us of the silly notion that what’s good for Israel will always be good for the United States. The Jewish people and the State of Israel are not and have never been interchangeable terms.

So, knock it off with the Hanukkah celebrations, and while you’re at it, take the Israeli flag out of the foyer. I would hate for someone from a Muslim background to walk into our church to investigate Jesus and mistakenly think he had stumbled into the Jewish Community center.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Moving Day, in more ways than one.

Am I allowed to brag on my extended family for a moment? Since this is my blog, I suppose that I can brag on whomever I please, so permit me to say a few words about what happened this past Saturday.

My niece, Christina Garland, and her husband Paul, moved from their recently sold townhouse in the west end, to their Granny Till’s old house in Elmont where my Dad now lives. It’s a complicated story, but suffice it to say that at some point soon they will be building a house on the property, but in the meantime Dad will no longer be living alone.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, the big deal was the list of family members who showed up to help. On the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, I counted 16 pairs of hands on deck. Obviously, Bill and Linda led the charge. It seems like the two of them spend half of their lives doing things for other people, but you would expect parents to help their own children with a move. Christina’s sister Jenny was in charge of keeping the little ones all day. Jenny’s husband, Matt, was there, of course, and Paul’s Dad Roger along with Paul’s best friend, Jason. Then, my sister Paula, her husband Ron, and their son Ryan, home from college for the weekend were there as well. Hat’s off to any kid home from college who spends time helping his cousin move. Although I spent the first part of the day on an extremely rare Saturday appointment with a client who spent an hour referring to himself in the third person, I finally made it over there by 11. Meanwhile, my wife was busy preparing a feast to feed this crew. In this endeavor she was aided by her mother and father, her sister, and her sister’s middle school son. That’s right. My in-laws, and my sister-in-law chipped in half of their day to feed 16 people they are only related to distantly by marriage.

I have come to expect this sort of thing in my family. My understanding of family is that this is what families do. But the older I get the more I realize that this is not at all a routine occurrence any more. For a lot of families, you couldn’t get 16 people together on a Saturday if you were handing out fifty dollar bills and free beer. I’m grateful to be a part of one that demonstrates love for each other in this way. If you are part of such a family, you should be grateful too.

One of the 16 was not related to any of us. She was there strictly as a volunteer. Sometime around 2 or so, in the midst of all the lifting and organizing of boxes, I noticed that there was someone sitting close to my Dad in the living room. She had turned a rocking chair around to face him, right beside his recliner. At first I thought that it was Linda taking a break, checking up on Dad. But as I walked past them later, I recognized Lisa Martz. I hadn’t noticed when she arrived, but there she was with a large bible laid open on her lap reading to dad from the book of Philippians in a bright expressive voice, “ Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Dad was staring off into the distance, a faint smile on his face, as serene as a mountain lake at daybreak.

Later I learned from Linda, that Lisa does this a lot for Dad, comes over to the house and reads the Bible to him. Lisa had been in my Mom’s Sunday School class for years and grew to love her dearly. I suppose that this is her way of demonstrating that love. All I know is, it brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.

God bless you, Lisa Martz.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fiscal Cliff? Give The People What They Want

I need to go ahead and get this one off my chest before somebody gets hurt. The news is now filled with talk of the coming “fiscal cliff”. I’m already tired of this media construction. There is no cliff. That would suggest that if someone went over said cliff, they would plunge to certain and immediate death. Someone who plunges off of a cliff doesn’t die 6 months later of complications. Death is immediate, instantaneous, and relatively painless, if I correctly understand the functioning of the nervous system. No, the fiscal cliff involved here would result in higher federal income taxes for every working American, and automatic, across the board spending cuts for all departments of our government. (In other words, the fiscal cliff is what regular people would be forced to do if their family budget was under water, get a second job, and cancel cable). How high and how broad? Well, the fiscal cliff would increase tax revenue to the government by 19%, while reducing government spending by .25%. Yes. You read that right. We are talking a “draconian” slashing of government spending by .25%. This is what we are told will produce untold devastation to our nation, causing much rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, and social dislocation not seen since the destruction of Pompeii by Mount Vesuvius in 79AD.

Having said all that, a deal needs to get done, and soon. While I can make an argument that we would be better off long term if nothing was done, the American people have made it abundantly clear that they don’t care about the long term. What, we’re racking up one trillion dollars a year in debt, you say? Screw it, I want my food stamps, I want the interest deduction of my mortgage, and don’t even think about messing with funding for Sesame Street.

Ok, so here’s the deal. I have some advice for the Republican party. This is not the time to dig in your heels. You want to drive a hard bargain in these sort of negotiations? Well, win an election! President Obama just kicked your ass running on a clear platform of raising taxes on people making over $250,000 a year. The American people were fine with that. So, why are you drawing lines in the sand over a position that was just repudiated by the America people? Listen guys, if you think that the country will be destroyed by higher taxes on the rich, then enact them. Then sit back and watch the economy tank, and in two years send your candidates out there with the message, “See, we told you this was going to happen!!” Elections should mean something. You guys lost. Take your medicine. If you block a deal, the President will hang the fiscal cliff around your collective necks, and blame your party for everything bad that happens as a consequence…and he will be right to do so.

Any deal that is reached will make our debt problem worse than it would have been without a deal. But the American people don’t care about debt, and they have just spoken on the subject. Give the people what they want.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Thanksgiving Fable

It was the cranberry sauce that did him in. Cranberry sauce from a can. He had taken it from the refrigerator and hooked it up to the electric can opener. The thought had flashed through his mind, electric can opener? What, we’re too lazy for the old hand crank kind? We import oil from the Arabs so we won’t have to bother with hand cranked can openers? What a bunch of worthless, lazy bastards we have become. His mood was darkening.

Then he got out the small glass serving plate and turned the can upside down. Slowly at first but a sudden slurp later, the cranberry sauce wiggled across the plate. It bore the image of the can perfectly, every ridge clearly molded into it’s shape. He stood it on its end and stared.

What the heck was this, he thought, suddenly horrified. He grabbed the empty can, turned it in his hand to read the ingredients. Cranberries, sugar, water, and gelatin. He stared back at the crimson blob before him. Perfect, he thought. A perfect monument to man’s unquenchable drive to transform nature itself into something vile and disgusting. What on earth did those cranberries do to deserve this?

She had told him to slice it up in half inch portions and feather them smartly onto the plate. It will be festive, she had said. He did as he was told. The knife slid through  smoothly. These cranberries were planted, harvested, and cooked for this very purpose. It was their destiny to be cruelly humiliated in this way. They offered no resistance.

He wasn’t totally sure what feathering meant, but he supposed it had something to do with how they were to be laid on the plate. His first attempt looked scattered and not entirely festive, so he tried again with better results.

So, this is what his Thanksgiving had been reduced to. No apple cranberry casserole. No cooked cranberry dish at all. Cranberry sauce in a can would have to do. This would be the new normal. He stood over the plate in silence. His wife swooped by and offered faint praise...that’s nice honey, now do the second can, we need one dish for each end of the table.

He looked up from the plate, glanced around the kitchen into the living room. His kids were slumped on the couch watching a parade. His unemployed brother was buried in the classifieds, looking for a job. His annoying nephew’s head was festooned with top of the line earphones, which thankfully kept his vile grunge music private. The only people interested in this meal were his wife and his dog.

The second can looked funny. It slid out more quickly but not as intact as the first. He suspected that perhaps it was bad. Was it even possible to get a hold of bad canned cranberry sauce? If so, this was surely it. There was a troubling gash in the side, and an equally disturbing rim around the top. Quality 
control was a lost art anymore, he thought. Someone at the cranberry plant had taken a bribe and now families all over America were about to eat bad sauce. Well, not THIS family.

Looking back on it afterwards, he couldn’t remember how it had all gotten started. He looked down at his hands. They were bright red. His breathing was labored, his heart was pounding, a feeling close to exhilaration coursing through his veins. A blob of mashed potatoes was slowly sliding down the television screen, partially obscuring Al Roker’s face. Black eyed peas rolled down the hall which led to the front door. His mother-in-law’s face would be forever burned into his memory, mouth agape, wide-eyed horror in her eyes, a patch of sweet potato casserole plastered across her face, a melted marsh mellow clinging to the end of her nose. He seemed to remember throwing a slice of cranberry sauce at his brother. The memory was cloudy and moved in slow motion. Everyone had frozen. The nephew had removed his earphones and smiled broadly. Then it was all a blur. At the beginning, his wife stood with her hands at her sides in dumbfounded astonishment at the sight of her stuffing flying through the air in tightly pressed balls. But soon, she was in the kitchen madly throwing Tupperware containers full of brown sugar and flour into the air.


The dog was jumping from place to place in tail-wagging glee, happily cleaning up the largesse. Soon, it was all over. The only thing left on the table was the big bird and two baskets of Hawaiian rolls. Everyone froze in place, chests heaving from the exertion, eyes alive with fun, remnants of cranberry sauce crusted in everyone‘s hair. All eyes were now on him. He, after all, had started it, and now it was over. What to do? What now?

Anyone up for some turkey sandwiches?... he heard himself say. A thunderous cheer rose through the house as everyone gathered around the table. He began carving the turkey amidst the unbridled glee that had overtaken his family. The sandwiches were delicious, the conversation uproarious. After the meal, his father-in-law reminded everyone, that nobody had said a blessing. Everyone looked at him. He stood from his spot at the head of the table, a lima bean sliding off of his head as he rose. Everyone closed their eyes as he began to pray.

“ Lord, we thank you for this day. We thank you for our lives. We thank you for this food that we just finished eating, and the rest of it that we threw at each other before. We ask your forgiveness for the waste, but we thank you for this memory from the bottom of our hearts.”

After the meal, everyone picked up rags and mops and sponges of every shape and size and began the cleanup while the Cowboys and Lions played on the TV. As the nephew walked out the door, he stopped, looked up at his uncle and said, Dude, two words for you...Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.

Thanks, came the reply. And that’s three words, knucklehead.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Shame On You, General.

When Bill Clinton was famously caught using a cigar inappropriately with Monica Lewinsky in the oval office, many seasoned observers thought that we had reached a new low in public, high profile adultery. Never before, they said, had such a powerful man been caught engaging in such reprehensible behavior while holding high office. Well, the lesson here is to never say never.

Over the past few years, the American people have been treated to the indignity of:

Arnold Schwarzenegger having a love child with his maid.

Governor Mark Sanford leaving his wife and four kids for a hot Brazilian commodity broker.

Senator John Edwards having a love child with a campaign worker while his wife was dying of cancer.

Congressman Anthony Weiner sending nude pictures of himself to some random college girl from Seattle while his wife was pregnant.


And now to this list of dubious distinction, we can add Four Start General David Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, having an affair with his biographer who just happens to be voluptuous and twenty years his junior. The General’s wife of 38 years, Holly, is reported to be devastated by this news and not very happy with the former US commander in Afghanistan. Lucky for Petraeus, he had to good sense to hold off consummating his relationship with Paula Broadwell until after he had accepted the CIA directorship job since adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

What to make of all this? First of all, one should never conjure up a convoluted explanation when a simpler one will do, that is, men are pigs. On the other hand, what do all these incidents have in common? All of them are powerful, accomplished men. All of them except Petraeus would be considered at least reasonably handsome. For those of you who have googled a picture of Anthony Weiner…I am grading on a curve. All of these men are were married to older women, and all of them fell for a much younger, hotter version of their wives. And finally, all of them have careers that grant them lots of opportunities to cheat. Each have jobs that require lots of travel, an enormous amount of time apart from their families, especially in the case of the General. But there is one thing that sets the Petraeus case apart from the rest. The first five men on this list are politicians. As such, I expect a certain level of sliminess, a certain amount of amoral opportunism. In my mind, any political figure in this country with anything approaching real power, I suspect them of infidelity already. But General Petraeus is one of the highest ranking and most celebrated officers of his generation. He comes from an institution that promotes real talent and achievement. You don’t become a four star because your Daddy made a lot of money. To become a leader of men at his level, you must have demonstrated genuine leadership skills, and a level of discipline unfathomable for most of us. What happened to honor? What of honesty? What of integrity?

All of these adulterers are miserable failures as men, but for me, the General is the worst. I expect nothing in the way of honor from my politicians so I’m seldom disappointed by them. But I expect better from Four Star Generals. There’s a reason that adultery is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It’s because it reveals a lack of judgment, loyalty, and honor.

Shame on you, General.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

True, But Disappointing.

Yesterday I bragged on Facebook about my prediction, back in April, that the Giants would defeat the Tigers in the 2012 World Series. My sister Paula, with characteristic disregard for my tender feelings, posted a reply that began thusly, “Nobody cares, Doug.” She then pointed out that the television ratings for the World Series were less than the ratings for the latest Alabama v. LSU game, the insinuation being that college football is better because more people watch. I might counter with the fact that just because more people watch Jersey Shore than Parenthood doesn’t mean that Jersey Shore is “better”. But I cannot deny the fact that baseball has fallen from favor with most Americans. Fifty years ago it was the national pastime. Today it’s considered a relic of the past and is probably 4th or 5th in popularity among American sports fans. This sad fact joins many other things that are true but disappointing:

# Although God has created nothing that tastes better than bacon, it’s perhaps the most dangerous food for the human heart ever ingested by man. Why, God? Why do you do this to us?

# The most comfortable clothes in my closet always seem to be those that are the most egregiously out of style.

# Whenever I buy the latest technological device, it is declared obsolete as soon as I remove it from it’s box.

# People like Justin Bieber and Ke$ha become multi-millionaires before they can even vote, but classically trained musicians have to get second jobs at the Home Depot to make a living.

# The most Godly, wise, and hardest working pastors labor in obscurity, while the most ignorant and arrogant preachers end up on television.

# The New York Yankees and the Miami Heat exist as proof that money can buy championships. Not every year, but more often than not.

# Joe Paterno, Donald Trump, and Nancy Pelosi exist as proof that wisdom does not always come with age.

# Our political system stopped producing statesmen about the time that television was invented.

# Dwight Eisenhower and David Petraeus were both famous generals. They both had extramarital affairs. One became President, the other fodder for TMZ. Welcome to the Age of the Tabloid.

# Fifty years ago, Fifty Shades of Grey would only have been sold in seedy adult bookstores in bad parts of town. Today it is the number one selling novel in America.

# The vast majority of American flags are manufactured in…China.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Suffering From Withdrawal

Day three of my HYPER-NEWS blackout. I’m staying “informed” only through the Associated Press website, the business news section of the Wall Street Journal, and the top of the hour news broadcasts on radio. A few observations.

The AP website is about as boring a thing as I have ever encountered on the internet. No screaming, misleading headlines, no flashing ads for mortgage refinancing floating across the screen, no woman with disturbingly large breasts imploring me to try a testosterone boosting cream. Just long detailed articles chronicling the news of the day, with not very many pictures. It’s like an online version of C-Span. Z-zzzzz. Meanwhile, at this very minute Rachel Maddow is probably leading off her show with shocking news of secret Republican plans to outlaw oral sex in San Francisco…and I’m missing it. Right now, Bill O’Reilly is escorting some pin-headed liberal out of the “No-Spin Zone”, Glen Beck is reporting on skyrocketing gun sales and the bourgeoning hybrid seed business. I bet The New York Times is running the latest Paul Krugman piece about his man-crush on Nate Silver. But all I’ve got this morning is a long boring story about the national security intricacies of the David Petraeus resignation.

The one thing I’ve noticed over the past three days is just how much time I spend consuming news. By eliminating the 13 sources that make up this boycott I have freed up lots of time during my day. The question becomes, what to do to fill the hours? I could take up a hobby, learn a foreign language, devote more time and energy towards making more money. I could buy an old pick up truck and rebuild the engine, after I took a class to learn how the internal combustion engine works. The possibilities are endless.

The real test of this two week Scream-News moratorium will come if and when there is a real crisis. Say, Israel’s air force decides to take out Iran’s nuclear reactors, or Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are both killed in a meth lab explosion in the Cannon office building. That’s when I’m really going to miss Rush Limbaugh’s instant analysis, and the unhinged commentary of the Daily Kos.

For now, I soldier on.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Experiment, And A Look At History

I am about to conduct an experiment. The election is over. My guy lost. Now, everywhere I look there are either stories of the coming apocalypse, or proclamations declaring the death of the Republican party. Any fair reading of history tells me that both assertions are ridiculous. So, here’s my plan.

For the next two weeks starting at 7 am Friday the 9th day of 2012, I will institute a self-imposed ban on the following outlets of information:

1. The Drudge Report

2. National Review


4. FOX News

5. The Huffington Post

6. The Daily Kos

7. The O’Reilly Factor

8. Sean Hannity

9. Rush Limbaugh

10. CNN

11. Stephen Colbert

12. The Daily Show

13. PBS

In addition, I will refrain from reading the Editorial Pages of both the New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. To obtain my news, I will consult the business pages of the WSJ with a high degree of skepticism. After two weeks I intend to measure my mood, my level of confidence and the quality of my thoughts. My hypothesis is that all three will show dramatic and measurable improvement. I will then report back to you with the results.

We live in a world where the “news” is delivered 24/7 in a hyper, opinionized way by manic and intensely competitive “personalities”. I try to expose myself to a wide range of them, but I find myself not so much informed as unnerved by the whole process. And, I believe it has contributed greatly to my feelings of isolation and despair when it comes to my country. So, this experiment begins.

Now, to those of you who feel exultant as well as those of you who feel despair at the outcome of this election, I offer the following history lesson. The election of 2012 will usher in neither a 50 year reign of Democratic Party dominance, nor the death of the Republican party. How do I know this? History. Here’s my theory. In times of great uncertainty and tumult, the American people have often warmed up to a beefier, more aggressive and dominant attitude toward government. However, when the crisis passes, the American people have consistently preferred a lighter touch, as follows:


World War 1 and it’s upheaval usher in Woodrow Wilson and his merry band of Progressives bent on transforming American society. As soon as the war was over, and before the ink was even dry on the Treaty of Versailles, America quickly soured on Wilson’s Progressives and opted for 12 years of laissez faire Republicans. It was time to have fun and make money, and we did both in record breaking ways. Then the Great Depression and the rise of totalitarian regimes round the world ushered in FDR and the New Deal. Things got scary, so we wanted our government to beef up and protect us. After the war was over though, we got tired of all the fussiness, all the rules and regulations and do-gooders. It was time to rebuild, to get back to growing the economy and making some money. Yes, that nice man, General Eisenhower will do nicely. Then the civil rights movement and the social upheaval brought on by the war in Vietnam turned the sixties into a caldron of chaos. Whenever that happens, America turns to government and so we got LBJ and his Great Society’s war on poverty. Which was fine and dandy until the radicals started getting a little too weird. Then it was time for some law and order, and who better for that job than the Republicans and Richard Nixon? But, America doesn’t much care for paranoid crooks in the White House so we decided to give a big-toothed southerner a try. Thankfully Carter gave way rather quickly to Ronald Reagan. When he left and was replaced by his Vice-President, the first George Bush, the temptation was to believe that this time, the Democrats really WERE dead. Wrong again. Hello Bill Clinton.

The pattern should be pretty clear by now that the preferred political philosophy of the American people is highly fungible. The pendulum swings in slow motion sometimes, but it does swing. In 2012 America, has turned once again to Obama. We have experienced in the past ten years the worst terrorist attack in history and the second worst economic collapse in our history. Time for an aggressive, vigorous government. But, as sure as day follows night, these trying times will fade, this government will overreach, and the American people will tire of the Nanny state at some point.

That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it. Oh, and one more thing. I’m going to do a better job of praying for the President than I did during his first term. Now that he’s our guy for another four years, he’s my guy too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A BAD Day At Chick-Fil-A????

On election day I had one of the most shocking, disheartening experiences of my life. No, I refer not to the results of the contest but to something far more disquieting, far more damaging to my sense of well-being and normalcy. I actually had a bad customer service experience at Chick-Fil-A!!

I’m not a big fan of fast food, but when I do get a hankering for greasy, delicious chicken, I prefer Chick-Fil-A. I suppose that in the 8 years or so since the Short Pump store opened, I have made 200 trips to the place. Actually that number makes it appear that I am quite the fast food fan, but do the math folks, that’s only twice a month!! It has always been the same thing, delicious chicken, impossibly cheerful employees, sparkling clean tables and despite the lines, jet-fast service. Until election day.

I had just stood in line for 45 minutes exercising my franchise and had worked up an appetite. I noticed that there wasn’t a long line of cars in the drive-thru so I pulled up, and walked inside for a sausage egg and cheese biscuit. There was a long line but nothing out of the ordinary. Immediately I noticed that my fellow patrons seemed edgy, irritated. Perhaps they were frustrated by the voting process or something. Soon, it became clear what the source of this strange vibe was. Something foreign and sinister had crept inside my Chick-Fil-A…bad service! The cheerful cashiers seemed irritable, shaken. There were four of them hovering around one cash register in frustration. Three more were visibly distraught about the pace at which the cooks were delivering their orders, even to the point of verbal confrontation. In 8 years I have never heard an ill-word exchanged by anyone on the payroll. What was happening?? It was as though someone had screwed with the space time continuum and I had been transported to a Jeff-Davis highway McDonalds on the Southside. An Asian man in the line next to me was getting more agitated by the minute and was muttering furiously in some unknown tongue. When his order was finally complete he loudly proclaimed, “ Bad Work!! Too much time!! Too much time!! Bad work!!”

When my traumatized cashier finally handed me my order, she apologized profusely and begged my forgiveness. I said not to worry and thanked her, to which she replied in a trembling tone…”My pleasure…”

It occurred to me when I got in my car to leave just how well run a business is Chick-Fil-A. After 8 years, I had just had my first bad experience. That’s 8 years of outstanding customer service, in a fast food joint! Are you kidding me? What a record. The fact that I am even writing about this testifies to what an anomaly it is! What it proves is that even the best run enterprises in the world have bad days. What sets apart Chick-Fil-A is that when they have one, it’s big news. So I write not to complain, but to praise. The fact that I had my first bad experience means that I’ve got 8 more years of, “It’s a great day at Chick-Fil-A“, and, “My pleasure” in my future. Oh, and by the way, my sausage egg and cheese biscuit might have taken a while to arrive, but it was awesome.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ten Things I Learned Last Night

Congratulations to my Democratic friends. Your guy gets four more years. Your political philosophy has carried the day. He won fair and square. Once again he has a Republican House and a Democratic Senate. There are huge economic problems facing the Republic. Godspeed.

What have I learned about my country? Several things actually.

1. This from Jay Nordlinger: “ Gerald Ford once said,” A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”…to which the American people have just replied…”Yeah, so?”. It turns out that Mitt Romney was right about the 47%. My country does not seem overly troubled by trillion dollar deficits into infinity as long as by borrowing all that money, their government can still take care of them. The Era of Big Government is not only not over, it is ascendant. The Republican notion of smaller, more efficient government, and self-reliance doesn’t sell.

2. Class warfare works. Although I can make an airtight economic argument for taxing capital gains at a lower rate than wages, to most Americans it seems “unfair”. The 2000 year old proverb that there are two ways to make money, man at work, and money at work, and the assumption that money at work is better may make economic sense, but when successful men and women pay a lower tax rate accordingly, it is now seen as a bad thing.

3. When nearly 50% of the population pays no federal income taxes, a political party that sells tax cuts above all else will have limited appeal.

4. Although there are many people in this country who are appalled by abortion, there are a greater number who are appalled by the prospect of losing their right to an abortion. Similarly, on a wide range of other social issues from gay marriage, the decimalization of marijuana, and immigration reform, the Republican party positions face increasing head winds from a rapidly changing demographic. America is no longer the land of Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, and Andy Griffith. It’s now more like Jersey Shore, Modern Family, and The View.

5. Jesse Jackson Jr. is the new Teflon Don of politics. Dude can get caught embezzling money, get diagnosed as bi-polar, and spend election night in the Psych ward at the Mayo Clinic and STILL win re-election!

6. Republican men running for higher office ought never to open their pie-holes on the subject of rape.

7. Now would be a great time for the Libertarian Party to publicly admit that they are a national joke. 1% of the popular vote…really??

8. Entitlement reform is still the third rail of American politics. Apparently, we’ve decided to keep those checks flowing and let our grandkids figure out the math after we’re gone.

9. Since we re-elected Barack Obama, I guess that means that we aren’t a racist nation after all.

10. This morning, Chris Christie starts Weight Watchers.


So, now we can all just move on, go about our lives like nothing ever happened, because basically, nothing did. After 2 billion dollars worth of television ads, we’ve got the same President, the same divided Congress, and the same economic and social problems we had before. My hope is that they will be so exhausted after all of this that they won’t have the energy for too much mischief. Maybe since they are stuck with each other for a while longer, they will try to agree on something. Or maybe they’ll just become more entrenched, more petulant, more of a national disgrace. I hope that the President will do better, that the country will do better this time. If not, well, we can all look forward to another fun-filled election in 2016. Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie in a no holds barred mud-wrestling fight to the finish, with the fate of civilization hanging in the balance. It will be “the most crucially significant election choice the American people will have faced since,… since,… well, since 2012.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Endorsement

I will cast my vote for Mitt Romney tomorrow. I will make the joyless slog from the Short Pump elementary school parking lot through the partisans handing out sample ballots on the sidewalks. I will check in at the A-H table and smile at the white-haired lady after she finds my name in her registrar’s book. The thought will enter my mind,…when the baby boomer generation has to be depended upon to provide these election day volunteers, will there be enough of us who can be bothered? I will enter the booth and follow the instructions carefully. It will surprise me, but my heart will begin to beat faster, my soul’s way of telling me that in the grand history of civilization, what I am doing is rare… precious. The first vote will be for President, then there will be the Senate contest between George Allen and Tim Kaine. I will vote for neither man, so disgusted as I have been with this Hobson’s choice. I can either give George Allen another shot, who promises if elected to do all the things he never bothered to do the last time he was in the Senate, or I can reward a career rubber stamper like Tim Kaine, whose one claim to fame is that he balanced the budget as governor, something all previous Virginia governors have also done since our state constitution requires it. Then I will proceed to the Congressional race between Eric Cantor and William Powell. Again, I will refrain from rewarding either one of these mental midgets, Powell being an untested party hack, and Cantor being thoroughly tested and found utterly incapable of an original thought. Then there will probably be several ballot initiatives that no one knows anything about, a couple of paragraphs of government-speak asking the citizenry to give local town councils the authority to paint every third house red in the event of a nuclear accident, or some such thing. Then I will exit the booth and pick up my “I Voted” sticker from the nice Rotarian volunteer beneath the exit sign of the gymnasium.

This will be my 9th Presidential vote. My first was as an 18 year old when I proudly pulled the lever for James Earl (Jimmy) Carter. I remember that my hands were shaking. I remember thinking, now, I am a man. With each successive vote, my hands have shaken less. The event loses a shade of its romance with each exercise, becoming less and less noble, more and more civic duty. Part of this is my fault. Cynicism has eaten away at the great expectation of possibility that should always accompany the democratic process. I have wrongly held politicians to a standard of consistency and statesmanship that I have not been able to achieve in my own life. I expect politicians to askew self interest while I merrily look out for number one in most of my endeavors.

The tipping point was 2000. Bush v. Gore. Hanging chads. Battalions of lawyers. Ugly accusations of cheating, collusion, and the visceral hatred on the faces in the crowds in Palm Beach County. Ever since, election day has brought with it a sadness for me. The ideological battles have shrunk from principled to grubby. Bad faith is the coin of the realm. Instead of proudly backing a champion, I vote for the guy least likely to fiddle while Rome burns, the candidate who embarrasses me less, the guy who insults my intelligence less frequently, the one less likely to drive us all off a cliff.

Then I will go to work, and forget about the whole thing for a few hours. After dinner, I’ll watch the returns. My guy might win. The other guy probably will win. As soon as a winner is declared, I will move on. No balloons will drop from the ceiling of my house. No confetti will be flying. And I will be silently annoyed every day that I still see campaign signs in the median.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All You Need To Know About College Football


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Feeling Dumb...

Recently, I asked my daughter to send me a reading list of some of the works that she has been pouring over for the last year and a half in grad school at Wake Forest. She is studying English Literature, I like to read, so I thought it would be nice to get on the same page…as it were…with her, so I can better understand what her scholastic life is like. She forwarded the following list:


Ralph Waldo Emerson:


“The Poet”

“The American Scholar”



T.S. Eliot:

“The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock”

Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“The Birth-Mark”

Truman Capote:

"In Cold Blood"

Walt Whitman:

“Song of Myself"

Jonathan Safran:

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Toni Morrison:


Amy Tan:

“The Joy Luck Club”


So far, I’ve read everything on the list up to Whitman. I’ve loved everything except “The Poet” which was just too airy and bored me to the bone. Emerson and Eliot are pure genius, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing has always seemed beautiful to me. But the best thing about the list that Kaitlin sent me was her editorial comments about each recommendation. Without her permission, I share a few of them here:

About Whitman she says,” Whitman radically changed the American intellectual/artistic landscape. He collapsed the body/soul divide…”

Concerning Emerson’s poem, “Uriel” about which she will be writing a paper she explains, “ I’m going to read “Uriel” through an Ovidian lens, because in the Metamorphoses, Ovid writes about “discordant concord” as “the path life needs”, and I think “discordant concord” is rampant in “Uriel”. Ovid explains that fire is the enemy of water, but “moist heat engenders all things”. Both Ovid and Emerson complicate traditional binaries.”

Ok, she lost me at “Ovidian lens”. It is a continuing fascination for me to observe my children and the paths they have taken. I have a daughter whose mind burns with a passion for great writing, who reads great works of literature almost three dimensionally and takes such great joy in stumbling onto the centuries-old truths found there. I have a son who, as a composition student, daily reaches within himself to create music, and thinks in a musical language few can speak. What baffles me is the realization that when I was their age, the deepest thought that ever entered my head was, why is it that if you pour beer directly into the bottom of a glass, a huge head of suds rises to overflow onto the counter, but if you tilt the glass slightly, you can empty the entire bottle without spilling a drop…WHY??  For me, “discordant concord” is a perfect description of the 2012 Boston Red Sox, and I had to Google “binaries” and I still don’t know what it means. The apple may not fall far from the tree, but it must pick up 50 IQ points on the trip.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Election Prediction Update

Regular readers of this blog will recall that I have predicted that President Obama would win reelection in 2012, most emphatically here and here. Now that there are only 5 days until the election, the question is, have I changed my mind?

The low point for the Romney campaign was on September the 17th when his now famous 47% video surfaced. Since then however, the Romney campaign has done virtually everything right. Obama’s pre-debate strategy had been not to run on his record, but to demonize his opponent. Millions of dollars of ads ran depicting Romney as a vulture capitalist, hater of women, hater of minorities, and all around bad man. That strategy was vaporized by Romney’s performance in the first debate. Americans saw a man who seemed even-tempered, in command of the facts and thoroughly presidential. In contrast, Obama seemed totally annoyed at the fact that he had to spend his anniversary on a stage with an opponent that he refused even to look in the eye. By every measure, the night belonged to Romney, and he has been on an uninterrupted roll ever since. Even Obama’s better performances in the subsequent debates were not enough to put the genie of his inevitability back in the bottle.

Still, the race is terribly close, the margins in key swing states razor thin. The path to victory for Romney is still much more perilous. People forget how difficult it has been historically to defeat an incumbent President. It’s only happened 3 times in the past 50 years. In 1968 LBJ resigned rather than run for reelection, in 1980 Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter with help from a 3rd party candidate who pulled away 6% of the vote, and Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush winning only 43% of the vote because of Ross Perot’s candidacy which pulled a whopping 19% of the vote. So, incumbency is a powerful weapon in presidential politics.

While I have been surprised by the strong showing of Romney, and equally surprised at the rattled, chaotic campaign being run by the President, I still believe that Obama will eek out a slim electoral college victory with the very real possibility that Romney wins the popular vote. Much depends on turnout. No matters who wins, it will be extremely close and afterwards, be prepared for torrents of conspiracy theories from the losing side. The air will be thick with charges of voter suppression, intimidation, rampant racism, and fraud. My advice will be to turn off the television for a month, and turn your life back over to saner pursuits.

If Obama wins with 50.1% of the vote, it will be hailed as a triumph of democracy. If Romney wins with 50.1% of the vote it will prove beyond doubt that America is irredeemably racist.