Sunday, July 14, 2024

A Letter to the Editor of The New York Times Regarding the Trump Assassination Attempt

To the Editor:

Political violence has no place in this country and I’m glad former president Trump wasn’t seriously injured by this heinous assassination attempt. But that should not prevent us from having an honest discussion about several things.

Just days before this happened, the president of the Heritage Foundation, authors of Project 2025, said we were “in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless if the left allows it to be”: an implicit call to violence.

One party, the Republican Party, has consistently blocked every attempt to stem the epidemic of gun violence in his country.

It was Trump’s supporters who attacked the Capitol and beat police officers.

It was Trump himself who said he could “shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it,” who said there were “fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville, who encouraged his supporters to beat up protesters at his rallies and has consistently used violent rhetoric in his campaign, who wanted to call in the military against Black Lives Matter protesters, who said that former Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Mark Milley should be executed and former Congresswoman Liz Cheney should be tried for treason.

Let’s be honest about which party—the Republican Party—has consistently endorsed violence as a legitimate means of resolving conflicts.

I’m not condoning what happened. I’m just saying that, given Trump’s and the Republican Party’s history of violent rhetoric, it’s not surprising.

Paul Hallasy

New York, NY

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Problem with Biden/Democrats and Trump/Republicans

It’s been a difficult week for me.

In the week since the presidential debate and Biden’s subsequent pushback, I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not Biden should drop out of the race.

The New York Times editorial board and several of their columnists (Thomas L. Friedman, Paul Krugman, Michelle Goldberg) have come out in favor of Biden dropping out. So have several senators and congressmen (including New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler). The Times isn’t a radical, left-wing newspaper and these senators and congressmen aren’t radical, left-wing politicians.

All are in agreement that Biden has done a great job as president and is a decent, respectable man.

That’s not the issue.

The issue is who can beat Trump. And Biden has been struggling in the polls since the get-go and it’s only gotten worse since the debate.

Of course, no Republican has said anything about Trump’s lies, his own erratic behavior, his multiple indictments (and convictions) or the fact that he tried to overturn a free and fair election. There’s absolutely a double standard here.

But in the television age, you need to be able to speak on television. It doesn’t matter how smart or experienced you are.

I’m glad Biden has somewhat overcome his childhood stutter, but that’s not good enough.

My takeaway from the debate is that lies told forcefully are more effective than the truth told weakly.

And I hate to admit it, but Trump is a creature of television, a reality TV star with a sixth sense for going after people’s weaknesses.

Personally, I think Gavin Newsom would wipe the floor with Trump. He’s extremely articulate and 20 years younger. And I would pick Gretchen Whitmer, who would also wipe the floor with Trump, as his running mate.

I know it’s late in the game. I’m not sure what Democrats should do.

I just don’t want us to make the same mistake with Biden as we did in 2016 when Democrats anointed Hillary Clinton, who was further ahead in the polls than Biden is now but had similar issues.

And I’m feeling an awful sense of deja vu.

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Happy Fourth of July! It May Be Our Last!

I just went to Target to buy a new fitted sheet, walking through TriBeCa to their Greenwich Street store. Everyone who can afford to has left town. Even the few “affordable” options have jacked up their prices for the holiday so that only the most wealthy can be spared. The only people I see are tourists and the poor people (like me) who couldn’t afford to get the hell out of Dodge. There are hustlers selling counterfeit goods on Canal Street. Walking down West Broadway, all the restaurants and high-end clothing and furniture stores are closed. Even they don’t want to deal with the tourists. Walking back home, the entire West Side along the Hudson River is closed off for the Fourth of July fireworks. I cut through SoHo and there are throngs of tourists clogging the sidewalks amidst a few hardy restaurants sporting American flags. Someone has blocked off the western end of Spring Street and is cooking on a barbecue grill in the middle of the street while a fire hydrant sprays away.

If I had to pick a movie to describe my mood right now, it would be either Nashville or Taxi Driver, those two great films from the ’70s that predicted the apocalypse because they thought that we’d never seen (or would see) anything as bad as Nixon and Watergate.

Little did they know.

I’ve been in a bad mood since the presidential debate (well, actually, since Gay Pride Day, which I completely ignored this year, its forced pressure to be happy being second only to New Year’s Eve). If you saw, or even heard of, the debate, you what I’m talking about. Watching Biden struggle through the first ten minutes (not to mention the remaining 80) was painful, like a punch to the stomach, especially considering who he was up against.

You know who I’m talking about.

What can I say about Donald Trump that hasn’t been said, except to say that I hate this man with a passion. He’s a liar and a bully, a pathological narcissist, and his lies during the debate went unchecked by the moderators. It wasn't until days after the debate that I was reminded that Biden had just flown across nine time zones to attend a fundraiser in Los Angeles and then three time zones back to Washington before the debate. No wonder he was out of it!

Even so, I would vote for Biden’s dead corpse before I voted for that sleazy opportunist and grifter, Trump.

It’s hard not to feel like this country is in full meltdown, what with Project 2025 and what Trump has already told us he would do if re-elected. (Hint: it rhymes with “retribution.”) And then the pièce de résistance came on Monday, when the Supreme Court (on the last day of their term, of course) basically upended the Constitution and told Trump (OK, any president, but let’s be real: Trump) that he could do whatever the fuck he wanted as long as it was within his “official duties” as president.

Remember when Trump said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it? Well now, thanks to the Supreme Court, he can!

So forgive me if I won’t be attending the fireworks (not that I ever gave a shit about them). But the overwhelming hypocrisy of celebrating how great we are seems especially hypocritical this year.

Happy fucking Fourth!