I am posting this blog post on Valentines Day with only the very slightest nod to love, friendship, the life of St. Valentine, the history of the holiday or the specific women I have loved and nearly loved in my life. I put a Happy Valentine’s Day balloon on my parents door and gave the aunt with whom I share a roof a smaller balloon. After leaving the library where I am typing this a friend who went to school with Sean Spicer in high school and is temporarily without a car is going to buy me a hamburger. I did send one woman I actually have care for a Valentine’s Day note online but it is not a romantic day. This all falls into the American Me part of the post. I also changed the spark plug on my lawn mower and cut and vacuum raked the large lawn around the house where I live for much of the day. But politics is much on the mind of many Americans and it is much on my mind as well.
Michael Thomas Flynn, Mike T. Flynn, has resigned his White House appointment as National Security Adviser. He was the 25th National Security Adviser serving from January 20 to February 13, 2017. Many people including me, believed that to some degree he and the vision he laid out in book The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, co-authored with Michael Ledeen, laid out a key component or sets of key components of President Donald (yes John !) Trump’s military philosophy and grand strategy. Some, like me, who believe such things, really do not know the book as well as we should. Flynn was only technically in office since the Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2017 but he has served in the transition position more or less since the election. I have said in a recent previous post here that he and Bannon, De Vos and a few others may represent the first real members of the far right to have key roles in an administration in many years. But Flynn served as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, was reared in a family of Democrats in Rhode Island and had many moderate credentials. He has a Rhode Island connection in common with Sean Spicer who was both a fellow Rhode Islander himself and unlike Flynn attended the very distinguished Catholic boarding school — Portsmouth Abbey in that State. Spicer, Flynn and Bannon all had in common an Irish Catholic background, military experience and service as well as appearing to challenge the political correctness of our time as a real threat. Now Flynn is out of the loop. that will be a reality which will be visited again to some degree over time. Spicer has said that Flynn has been fired by President Trump. However, it is also reported that President Trump had no particular problem with Flynn’s initial contact with the Russians and was aware of it. The strong and tough man seems to have struggled awhile against the inevitable. But at the time of this posting his resignation is a well established fact. One has to ask what this may portend for the future of the Trump Administration, it seems that the way they have been doing business has a cost and Flynn has paid and himself become part of that cost.
So that is the big news, as Confirmations continue in the Senate and the President seems to be getting mostly what he wants we are also seeing that he can lose a key figure who never needed a Senate confirmation. The follow through from the transition and the new Trump era is moving forward with some alacrity. But there is also plenty of committed resistance, close scrutiny and outlandish attacking going on with the trump Administration at its center. The sense of many Americans, again such as myself, that America needs a dynamic new direction, does not assure the Trump Administration of broad support for his policies and initiatives. He will have to build that support and confront the criticism and deal with the costs and outcomes of the things he does. The change in the Supreme Court that will come with appointing Gorsuch to fill Scalia’s seat should be one conservative for another. It really does seem to me, a Catholic Christian, that there ought to be a Protestant Christian on the court and Gorsuch is such a judge and such a man. But there will be acrimony and Gorsuch has already said that Trump’s comments about the US judiciary were disheartening.
Disheartened is a state of mind which I know very well. I am so very disheartened at so many levels. My resources are strained, my options constrained and my prospects few. That colors my view of the world and of the country. Lots of people are disheartened about their careers, professions and communities these days. Perhaps some of the anger associated with this time comes from such an overall position in life and in their minds.
This post is largely about American me… It is less of a personal post than the last one but it still carries some personal baggage pretty well. This is of course my personal blog. One cannot help but feel that the Trump administration is being savaged by much of the media when one turns on the recent television broadcasts of important major media events in many cases that have included the Golden Globes, several episodes of Saturday Night Live, The Grammy Awards and any number of other events. America has also seen a wide variety of demonstrations and protests and the social media networks are buzzing with anti- Trump activity. Although there are crowds supporting Trump and there are many on the social media supporting him as well. But the striking thing is how much flack he is taking from the media. We cannot say for sure how much it all matters. The President seems to be making adjustments for the struggle, and he still catalogs perceived slights from the media. His nominations seem likely to get through the Senate and Flynn seems not likely to represent the coming collapse of the administration any time soon. On the other hand there is trouble and plenty of signs of it.
There is a television series on public Television called American Experience which is at the least kind measure a pretty good show, with a broad title which allows them to choose a wide variety of topics and subjects for the many episodes. I am sure the producers of the American Experience can predict the course of the show into the near future. But the ) of the American experience that all of us will have to live is not so very easy to predict. The challenge of this moment in history is very real. I am invited to go to the confirmation of my nephew in Dallas in a couple of weeks where my sister works at a Catholic school. I hope to go, but my resources and energy are too limited for me to feel really enthusiastic about the trip even for such a good cause and reason. I hear a lot of Catholics worried about the mistreatment of Mexicans especially but also those hoping the Trump administration will bring new protections for religious freedoms. But I am largely preoccupied by the many crises in my own personal life. My own American Experience is precarious and largely bad these days.
I had two friends nominated for Grammys this year. Barry Ancelet and Sam Broussard were nominated as were other Cajun artists in the regional roots category which my ethnic community and the associated Creoles frequently dominate. I consider the distinguished Professor Ancelet a friend although just barely. Hewrote the lyrics and the Warren Perrin’s brother in law (Mary Broussard Perrin’s brother) wrote and performed the music. nwith they nor any Cajun artist won the category this year. I also have a friend named Julie Yannatta who was my study group partner at Tulane Law School She has founded Be Why or Being the Why which has produced and supported various recording artists and their works. She participated in the win of her artist White Sun for beast New Age recording. Julie and I have drifted in and out of touch but she is definitely a friend. I was happy for her and disappointed for Ancelet. I had been especially thing of Julie partly because she was sick and I was worried about her and whether the event would worsen her recovery. While she was not breathing well Maddie Briann Aldridge daugheter of Jamie Lynn Spears who was my Facebook Friend for a good while and who is the sister a multi Grammy winning Britney Spears who is also form Louisiana — little Maddie was fighting for breath and life as well after an ATV flipped over and held her under water. Both people I care about seem to be OK. Britney was not in evidence at the Grammys and posted this about that time:
So there was a fundamental sense of relief as I watched the Grammys. But as I watched the show and found out results on social media I enjoyed the entertainment but was very disappointed at the absence of these categories and others from the television spectacle broadcast on CBS. While the Grammy Awards Show could not be bothered to cover large portions of recording excellence they could make room for a full out assault on Trump as a political and media figure using political media and music tools. This reached its zenith in the performance of the Tribe Called Quest. That is a lot of acrimony so early in a regime.
So this is the environment in which a new Justice and a new Cabinet are being introduced to America. As is almost always the case I am not so much reaching the end of the post but simply stopping it. This American me wishes all of you a Happy Valentine’s Day — although I have had happier ones, myself. There is evidence of America in a worrisome place and I cite a great deal of it in this blog now and then. But people are finding it easier not to choose us, key grad schools see foreign student leave when they seldom did before, but the trend is broader than that. American me finds it hard to feel optimistic but still does not completely despair.