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Farewell, America

No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently.

America died on Nov. 8, 2016, not with a bang or a whimper, but at its own hand via electoral suicide. We the people chose a man who has shredded our values, our morals, our compassion, our tolerance, our decency, our sense of common purpose, our very identity — all the things that, however tenuously, made a nation out of a country.

Whatever place we now live in is not the same place it was on Nov. 7. No matter how the rest of the world looked at us on Nov. 7, they will now look at us differently. We are likely to be a pariah country. And we are lost for it. As I surveyed the ruin of that country this gray Wednesday morning, I found weary consolation in W.H. Auden’s poem, September 1, 1939, which concludes:


“Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.”

 
I hunt for that affirming flame.

This generally has been called the “hate election” because everyone professed to hate both candidates. It turned out to be the hate election because, and let’s not mince words, of the hatefulness of the electorate. In the years to come, we will brace for the violence, the anger, the racism, the misogyny, the xenophobia, the nativism, the white sense of grievance that will undoubtedly be unleashed now that we have destroyed the values that have bound us.

We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone.

We all knew these hatreds lurked under the thinnest veneer of civility. That civility finally is gone. In its absence, we may realize just how imperative that politesse was. It is the way we managed to coexist.

If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.

This country has survived a civil war, two world wars, and a great depression. There are many who say we will survive this, too. Maybe we will, but we won’t survive unscathed. We know too much about each other to heal. No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things. Nor can we pretend that democracy works and that elections have more or less happy endings. Democracy only functions when its participants abide by certain conventions, certain codes of conduct and a respect for the process.

No more can we pretend that we are exceptional or good or progressive or united. We are none of those things.

The virus that kills democracy is extremism because extremism disables those codes. Republicans have disrespected the process for decades. They have regarded any Democratic president as illegitimate. They have proudly boasted of preventing popularly elected Democrats from effecting policy and have asserted that only Republicans have the right to determine the nation’s course. They have worked tirelessly to make sure that the government cannot govern and to redefine the purpose of government as prevention rather than effectuation. In short, they haven’t believed in democracy for a long time, and the media never called them out on it.

Democracy can’t cope with extremism. Only violence and time can defeat it. The first is unacceptable, the second takes too long. Though Trump is an extremist, I have a feeling that he will be a very popular president and one likely to be re-elected by a substantial margin, no matter what he does or fails to do. That’s because ever since the days of Ronald Reagan, rhetoric has obviated action, speechifying has superseded governing.

Trump was absolutely correct when he bragged that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his supporters wouldn’t care. It was a dictator’s ugly vaunt, but one that recognized this election never was about policy or economics or the “right path/wrong path,” or even values. It was about venting. So long as Trump vented their grievances, his all-white supporters didn’t care about anything else. He is smart enough to know that won’t change in the presidency. In fact, it is only likely to intensify. White America, Trump’s America, just wants to hear its anger bellowed. This is one time when the Bully Pulpit will be literal.

The media can’t be let off the hook for enabling an authoritarian to get to the White House. Long before he considered a presidential run, he was a media creation — a regular in the gossip pages, a photo on magazine covers, the bankrupt (morally and otherwise) mogul who hired and fired on The Apprentice. When he ran, the media treated him not as a candidate, but as a celebrity, and so treated him differently from ordinary pols. The media gave him free publicity, trumpeted his shenanigans, blasted out his tweets, allowed him to phone in his interviews, fell into his traps and generally kowtowed until they suddenly discovered that this joke could actually become president.

Just as Trump has shredded our values, our nation and our democracy, he has shredded the media. In this, as in his politics, he is only the latest avatar of a process that began long before his candidacy. Just as the sainted Ronald Reagan created an unbridgeable chasm between rich and poor that the Republicans would later exploit against Democrats, conservatives delegitimized mainstream journalism so that they could fill the vacuum.

With Trump’s election, I think that the ideal of an objective, truthful journalism is dead, never to be revived.

Retiring conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes complained that after years of bashing from the right wing, the mainstream media no longer could perform their function as reporters, observers, fact dispensers, and even truth tellers, and he said we needed them. Like Goebbels before them, conservatives understood that they had to create their own facts, their own truths, their own reality. They have done so, and in so doing effectively destroyed the very idea of objectivity. Trump can lie constantly only because white America has accepted an Orwellian sense of truth — the truth pulled inside out.

With Trump’s election, I think that the ideal of an objective, truthful journalism is dead, never to be revived. Like Nixon and Sarah Palin before him, Trump ran against the media, boomeranging off the public’s contempt for the press. He ran against what he regarded as media elitism and bias, and he ran on the idea that the press disdained working-class white America. Among the many now-widening divides in the country, this is a big one, the divide between the media and working-class whites, because it creates a Wild West of information – a media ecology in which nothing can be believed except what you already believe.

With the mainstream media so delegitimized — a delegitimization for which they bear a good deal of blame, not having had the courage to take on lies and expose false equivalencies — they have very little role to play going forward in our politics. I suspect most of them will surrender to Trumpism — if they were able to normalize Trump as a candidate, they will no doubt normalize him as president. Cable news may even welcome him as a continuous entertainment and ratings booster. And in any case, like Reagan, he is bulletproof. The media cannot touch him, even if they wanted to. Presumably, there will be some courageous guerillas in the mainstream press, a kind of Resistance, who will try to fact-check him. But there will be few of them, and they will be whistling in the wind. Trump, like all dictators, is his own truth.

What’s more, Trump already has promised to take his war on the press into courtrooms and the halls of Congress. He wants to loosen libel protections, and he has threatened Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos of Amazon with an antitrust suit. Individual journalists have reason to fear him as well. He has already singled out NBC’s Katy Tur, perhaps the best of the television reporters, so that she needed the Secret Service to escort her from one of his rallies. Jewish journalists who have criticized Trump have been subjected to vicious anti-Semitism and intimidation from the alt-right. For the press, this is likely to be the new normal in an America in which white supremacists, neo-Nazi militias, racists, sexists, homophobes and anti-Semites have been legitimized by a new president who “says what I’m thinking.” It will be open season.

This converts the media from reporters to targets, and they have little recourse. Still, if anyone points the way forward, it may be New York Times columnist David Brooks. Brooks is no paragon. He always had seemed to willfully neglect modern Republicanism’s incipient fascism (now no longer incipient), and he was an apologist for conservative self-enrichment and bigotry. But this campaign season, Brooks pretty much dispensed with politics. He seemed to have arrived at the conclusion that no good could possibly come of any of this and retreated into spirituality. What Brooks promoted were values of mutual respect, a bolder sense of civic engagement, an emphasis on community and neighborhood, and overall a belief in trickle-up decency rather than trickle-down economics. He is not hopeful, but he hasn’t lost all hope.

For those of us now languishing in despair, this may be a prescription for rejuvenation. We have lost the country, but by refocusing, we may have gained our own little patch of the world and, more granularly, our own family. For journalists, Brooks may show how political reporting, which, as I said, is likely to be irrelevant in the Trump age, might yield to a broader moral context in which one considers the effect that policy, strategy and governance have not only on our physical and economic well-being but also on our spiritual well-being. In a society that is likely to be fractious and odious, we need a national conversation on values. The media could help start it.

But the disempowered media may have one more role to fill: They must bear witness. Many years from now, future generations will need to know what happened to us and how it happened. They will need to know how disgruntled white Americans, full of self-righteous indignation, found a way to take back a country they felt they were entitled to and which they believed had been lost. They will need to know about the ugliness and evil that destroyed us as a nation after great men like Lincoln and Roosevelt guided us through previous crises and kept our values intact. They will need to know, and they will need a vigorous, engaged, moral media to tell them. They will also need us.

We are not living for ourselves anymore in this country. Now we are living for history.

Mark Your Calendar...

Saturday, December 17, 2:00pm

Klezmer & Holiday Swing in Provincetown
null
  
Saturday, December 17, 2:00pm
Free Concert with $10 Museum Admission...Free for PAAM members

Leslie Boyle (vocals), Lary Chaplan (violin), Alan Clinger (guitar), Ron Ormsby (bass), and Bart Weisman (drums)
 
508-487-1750
460 Commercial Street, Provincetown 

Spend the day Shopping in Provincetown and catch a wonderful Holiday Concert!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Re: Don't We Have a Rule that Bars Chains From Provincetown?

This town is going to hell really fast with 7-Eleven and CVS coming to town.  What's next? A Walmart?
9:09 am est 

Re: CVS

Someone is splitting hairs and using semantics to define what a chain store is. No matter what they say,they are chain stores  and businesses and they are here and they provide services, merchandise and employment. That is why the town needs CVS.
9:08 am est 

Re: Victor's

USING TOWN WATER

SINCE VICTOR BUILT THE CONDOS, RESTURANT, AND THE DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE STREET, HIS LANDSCAPE AREAS HAVE BEEN WATERED NOT BUT HIS OWN WELL BUT WITH TOWN WATER AND THE TOWN BEEN TOLD AND CONTINUES TO DO NOTHING ABOUT IT.

THE SWAMP NEEDS TO BE CLEANED OUT!
9:07 am est 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Re: CVS

Oh, Yes, Two People Who Didn't Want Noise Next to Riley's

and then the town, under Panagore, wrote a noise restriction that unfortunately was so poorly written that it had to be denied by town counsel at town meeting. Two people crying about "awful noise" that would come from a club. so now we get a CVS and what is next? a Macdonald's!

A club fit well with the location and would have been great. a CVS is disgusting. It opens up the town to franchises and suburban life.

Two people protested and the BOS became emotional and stood up for stopping loud noise. what a foolish action that now brings this--a CVS--to Bradford Street.

I am disgusted by this decision. Poorly thought out and with the blessing of the BOS. No vision. No strategic thinking.
8:35 pm est 

Re: CVS

So who got the          to allow CVS to come into town?

The town needs to be audited.

The swamp needs to be drained.

This issue needs to be raised people! They are killing the town for money!

Someone is gaining. They need to be accountable.

DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!
7:42 pm est 

Re: Chain Stores
 
"Can you imagine what a $4 burger would do to this town?"

Yeah, it would give ordinary folks and tourists a reasonably priced meal so that they don't have to mortgage the house to eat lunch.  Maybe then they could spend the money saved on Tee shirts, knick knacks and bric a brac from some of the other retailers in town. 

I'll tell you my story.  When a popular "             " opened a couple years back, me and the hubby tried it out.  I ordered the lobster roll from the special board.  The waiter asked me if I wanted fries with that.  I naturally thought he was presenting my with an option like fries instead of chips or cole slaw. 

Imagine my surprise when the check came and I was charged $10.00 extra for one potatoes worth of french fries! That was on top of the $18.00 special lobster roll.  No use arguing about it.  He asked me and I said yes.

Needless to say, we never went back there to eat.  We still see a show there now and then, but their food will never again cross my lips or assault my wallet.

I'll stick to the               for lobster rolls.
7:38 pm est 

Re: Confirmation Requested

File this one under fake news.


Didn't happen, he was not arrested, not tracked down, no threats, nothing.
7:33 pm est 

Re: Donegan & Andrews

Are We Carrying spouses on town-funded insurance plans?

This is not what we voted for. Even giving selectmen insurance was an oddity but surely we are not here to fund their spouses. Some transparency here would be good.
7:31 pm est 

Re: Chain Stores

If you bothered to read the bylaws or follow the meetings when Kiehl's and the little yogurt shop next to Twisted Pizza opened, you'd know that town can only regulate the physical design of stores so that they fit in (no drive-thrus, no big signs, etc.). Town can't stop competition or prohibit a particular company from operating here.

If you want to protest CVS, talk to their corporate office and the Rileys. Neighbors protested the theater they wanted to open this summer, and CVS has been eyeing that site for years.

You can see the CVS proposal that was submitted to the Historic District Commission on the town web site: http://www.provincetown-ma.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/16635
7:30 pm est 

Re: Donegan & Andrews

Can someone confirm the Selectman are really receiving Health Insurance???? WTF Seriously
 
7:28 pm est 

An Inquiry - Victor's

I know its off season, but why does the town allow Victor to use the parking lot in front of his development for his own personal staging area for construction  and landscape material? Just sayin, he gets everything he wants from this town.
 

7:27 pm est 

Re: Don't We Have a Rule that Bars Chains From Provincetown?

"Our two hardware store are parts of national chains and so are most of our real estate businesses. So I think precedent has been well set that chains are not only allowed but welcomed and certainly needed for goods, services and employment. Most everyone will welcome CVS for these reasons."

NO they are not.  They belong to buying groups.  They are locally owned not owned by a "Chain".  Subway is franchised. And with that goes the identification system that makes it look just like a Subway in Everett or the Bronx.  CVS stores are really chains.  They are owned by a major Corporation and have the same general appearance no matter here they are located. 

A chain can be defined by ownership and number of locations.  If chains were allowed in town then Provincetown would no longer have even close to the present look and feel.  A unique shopping mall does not exist.  They all have a mixture of chains with a smattering of local flavor.  A shopping mall in Chelsea has the same look and feel as one in Dallas.  If that is what most in town want then that is what we'll get.  Then we can stay or go.  Personally, I'll go.
7:25 pm est 

Re: Soup Kitchen

A final note to the issue with the soup kitchen ...

My best friend dines there several times a week. If you saw her would she fit your mold of "looks needy", likely no. That being said since she was charged out of her proper unemployment by a crooked boss she can't afford rent and bills and still feed herself 3 meals a day now that she's out of work for 2 months. Does she dress well? yes, does she drive a decent car? Yes but can she find a job to help right now? No

Don't assume you know someone's needs based on your perception. In season she does very well but now the money has left town.
7:23 pm est 

From Wayne Martin

This is the contents of the Email in its entirety that I sent to the Truro TM after she refused to meet with or talk to the parties involved in the latest TPD criminal action, which she obviously could not wait to start sharing with people she was not supposed to be sharing it with. My Email was sent just hours before the lastest slanderous lie was posted about me on Mypacc!
Email to Truro TM goes as follows (The problem is there is no date and time it was 100% fabricated by the TPD!!! It supposedly occurred on Dec 1st this is what was related to me by the EPO I have no idea when or where. I was told you could find this out seeing how it's my understanding that your the TPD's direct boss now, that's why I'm coming to you for answers! I and several others will be talking to Mr. Bumps attorney and others about handling our cases against the town of Truro pertaining to police misconduct and corruption. You and the selectmen have been notified several times about what has been going on with the TPD, how they have been committing crimes and violating citizens rights and you have utterly failed to correct the problem in fact it just seems to be getting worse! In case you didn't know this makes all of you culpable in their illegal acts and liable for their past and future misdeeds.
Just to make it perfectly clear and like I have told you and the selectmen in the past several of us that know them all to well do not consider the TPD a Law enforcement agency they are to be considered a criminal entity who are dangerous to the public and never to be trusted!!! I would hope when it's time to replace Takakjian "who should have been fired a long time for his crimes" which I'm told will be soon you should go outside the Department to hire a chief seeing how most of them belong behind bars and this will be the only way the TPD will ever have a chance to be respected by the local citizens. Unless I'm mistaken it seems that once again you will refuse to meet with me or any of us on these matters and you will do as little for us as possible! Your job is not to protect criminals it's to serve the public and the taxpayers I suggest you and the selectmen start doing it.
I should have known that you would be of no assistance to me because of your past actions in similar matters that was my mistake thinking any of you have changed.
Once again I'm requesting that this correspondence is forwarded to the selectmen in a public forum to make the public aware of what continues to go on with the TPD and their town officials!
I also intend to notify the papers of your refusal to look into these matters or even take them seriously in any way.
So you know barring any unforeseen difficulties I will be running for selectmen again and any harassment, slander or libelous statements coming from the TPD or Truro town officials will not be tolerated as this was the case last time I ran.)
I would love to see them try to arrest me for threatening any one based on this email. What the Truro TM did just do is conspire with the TPD to intimidate me and others which will certainly be helpful in the lawsuit against the Town of Truro.

7:21 pm est 

Re: Donegan & Andrews

What fool would deny health insurance for a selectman? These people volunteer countless hours to the business of the town every year for no pay to speak of. The Chair is almost full time, if not that at least. Stop complaining and take care of our public employees and volunteers, they are hard to find and to keep.
7:14 pm est 

From Wayne Martin - Re: Confirmation Requested

Are you people absolutely friggin nuts no I did not threatnen the Truro town manager not get arrested for anything and I most certainly did not ever use dogs to hunt deer with like the TPD reported to the EPO's which they and the rangers already knew for a fact from seeing me and talking me while hunting last week. What did happen is the TPD got caught making a false report to a law enforcement agency which is a crime and slandered me at the same time!!!  After which I informed the Truro TM and the Selectmen in the form of Email because she refused to meet or talk to the parties involved in the matter that this would be added to the lawsuit that I and several others either already have or are in the process of against the Town of Truro.
To the admins of Mypacc this is exactly why this site and others like it should not allow lying losers to post anonymous slanderous lies about others!
7:13 pm est 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Re: Don't We Have a Rule that Bars Chains From Provincetown?

"Surely a CVS will hurt Adams Pharmacy and hurt Outer Cape Health pharmacy. And even more, it creates a suburban look for this historic town."

Ha ha ha, are you kidding me? Anything historic about this town is being erased at an alarming rate. Rich people are buying up historic houses, gutting and pottery-barn-ing them so fast it makes one's head spin. They're unrecognizable and dwarfed by the giant, looming McMansions. Commercial St. looks like one giant flea market. The historic character of this town is a thing of the distant past. Face it, people come here to shop, drink, and have sex. Nobody is visiting to admire the historic architecture.
11:34 pm est 

Re: Don't We Have a Rule that Bars Chains From Provincetown?

Chains in Provincetown? Sure,there are a few. The main thing is to keep out McDonald's. Can you imagine what a $4 burger would do to this town?
11:32 pm est 

Confirmation Requested

Can someone confirm if Wayne Martin got arrested in Truro for threatening the town manager And resisting arrest.
11:31 pm est 

Re: Don't We Have a Rule that Bars Chains From Provincetown?

Our two hardware store are parts of national chains and so are most of our real estate businesses. So I think precedent has been well set that chains are not only allowed but welcomed and certainly needed for goods, services and employment. Most everyone will welcome CVS for these reasons.
11:30 pm est 

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