America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 21, 2020

President Donald Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell couldn’t have more different styles. They have two things in common, however, which make them extremely dangerous when their self-interests align: both are corrupt and addicted to money and power. Trump is shamelessly overt while McConnell prefers to fly under the radar. Trump is constantly in everyone’s face, an intimidation tactic that served him well in business, while McConnell, the quintessential politician is the ultimate snake in the grass.

Trump’s narcissistic flamboyance and McConnell’s southern gentleman veneer often have them at odds. They clearly dislike each other, but they need each other. Neither has an ideology beyond opportunism. Neither respects “Christian” values, although they both pander to groups who do, the best example being their stances on abortion and gender issues.

Almost every significant accomplishment of the Trump administration was facilitated by McConnell. Without the Senate Majority Leader’s…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 18, 2020

The Biden-Trump debates, the first of which occurs nine days from now, will not be as eloquent or long-winded as the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, but they will be equally momentous. They will also be ironically similar in some ways, more so in light of Attorney General William Barr’s bizarre comparison of slavery and mask wearing.

They won’t be eloquent because no debate involving Donald Trump can be. They won’t be as focused, because it’s impossible to stay centered when one participant doesn’t respect truth and shamelessly says anything he believes will throw his opponent off his game. If you’ve ever done any formal debating, you know the worst kind of opponent is an undisciplined, ill-informed one. My father used to say, “Never argue with an idiot.”

Trump will do what he bragged to Bob Woodward about: attempt to enrage Biden and keep him off…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 19, 2020

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She fought for equal rights, not only for women, but for everyone. Because I honor her legacy, I will not attempt to memorialize her here. Many people far more qualified than I have already done that. The best thing I can do to honor her is help assure that the things she achieved are not lost.

The way to accomplish that is to immediately begin fighting against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s determined effort to fill her seat on the Supreme Court with yet another reactionary judge appointed by Donald Trump. If that sounds crass, consider that McConnell and Trump have been salivating over this moment for months, waiting for Ginsberg to die. The speed with which both men have pounced on the opportunity speaks for itself.

Trump and McConnell dislike each other almost…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 15, 2020

If you watched any news last week you probably saw coverage of Donald Trump’s indoor rally in Nevada. You probably also saw a maskless, sixtiesh guy wearing a red MAGA hat standing shoulder-to-shoulder, hip-to-hip with hundreds like him saying “I’m not afraid. God takes care of me. If I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die.” Let’s parse that for a moment.

He obviously was aware of the risk of being packed in with thousands of other sardines for hours. Nevada’s state health website ( reports that the positivity test rate for COVID-19 in that state is currently over 10%. If 3,000 typical Nevadans attended the rally, we would expect 300 of them sprinkled through the crowd to be carrying the virus. But people who attend Trump’s rallies are not typical. Because they reject mask wearing and tend to ignore social distancing, their infection rate is almost…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 11, 2020

In 1974, the United States lived through what felt like its worst existential threat since the Civil War. We’d defeated the British twice early in our history, the Spanish in the 1890s, and been instrumental in achieving victory in both World Wars. But those were external threats. Americans always react well under attack, (today is nine-eleven,) but when the threat is internal, we work against ourselves.

The Civil War nearly destroyed the country because half of our great, great grandparents believed it was acceptable to base our economy on slavery. The 1974 crisis was preceded by a decade-long war that wasn’t supported by a majority of Americans and that might never have expanded beyond border skirmishes except for a falsified report of a naval battle in the Gulf of Tonkin that never happened. After 58,000 deaths and years of street demonstrations, Richard Nixon’s attempt to…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 8, 2020

Trump’s relationship with the military has disparate elements, but that’s not to say it’s complicated. It’s really quite easy to read. It began with the Vietnam-era draft. Due to the unpopularity of the war, the Government instituted a birthdate-based lottery system. Each year, every date in the calendar was put into a randomized bingo machine. Every American male over eighteen cringed as numbers were drawn. If your number came up early, you were most likely going to Vietnam. It was Russian Roulette with a 365-chamber revolver. On the other hand, what could have been fairer than random selection?

Except that random selection excluded people with deferments (employment, marital status, school-related) and those with enough money and political influence to buy their way out. I had a deferment because of my job as a NASA and defense contractor. I was ecstatic over not being shipped out…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, September 1, 2020

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson offered some advice on Tuesday to people who are afraid Donald Trump might lie, cheat, and steal his way to re-election: behave as if you think Biden is trailing instead of up by nine points in the polls. “…be paranoid that Trump’s encouragement of right-wing violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin might tip that vital swing state in his favor. Worry that Democrats are not paying enough attention to Michigan and Pennsylvania; that Biden’s polling lead in Florida might be a mirage; and that states such as Georgia and Arizona might not really be as purple as they now appear to be. Then act vigorously on those concerns, and be confident that if you do, Trump is toast.”

The complacency of the 2016 Clinton campaign that somehow failed to notice Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania slipping away will not be allowed to take…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 31, 2020

When my younger son was a high school junior he was attacked in the school cafeteria. Since my son is white, and the boy who jumped on him in front of hundreds of students and three teachers was black, it looked like a racial incident. In our highly diverse county that prided itself on racial harmony, that set off a knee-jerk chain reaction of events. Both boys, who were good students with clean records, were suspended during exams week.

The truth was that the two sixteen-year-olds were friends and teammates. No harm was done and the boys wound up shaking hands. The testosterone-charged incident arose over (what else?) the attentions of a girl at a party the previous weekend. It was a minor thing that would have gone unnoticed and completely forgotten the next day if not for the intervention and over-reaction of a politically…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 26, 2020

It was no coincidence when David Duke, convicted felon and former Grand Wizard of the KKK tweeted that our new president had their backs, the new president being Donald Trump and “they” being White Supremacists. It was no coincidence when heavily armed militia members in camo garb occupied state capitols in Michigan and Kentucky after Trump tweeted that supporters needed to resist Governors who issued mask orders to prevent the spread of COVID.

It was no coincidence, either, when armed vigilantes showed up to confront demonstrators in Kenosha, WI in the wake of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. That occurred after two days in which the Republican Convention pounded away at the need for law and order, outlining an alternate reality in which Democrats favor lawlessness, Godlessness, and socialism. It was Trump pumping up his base of angry people who support his…

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America the Beautiful

Alan Zendell, August 21, 2020

For months, Donald Trump and his supporters, have been labeling his Democratic opponent “mentally deficient.” Biden has been in politics long enough to have his own folk lore, which seems to revolve around his so-called gaffes. That started in 1987 when he quit his first presidential run amid charges of plagiarism. It was as unfair then as it is today. Politicians rarely write their own speeches; the charge that Biden had quoted from a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock without attribution was a lesson in placing too much trust in a speechwriter.

In 1987, the bar was still pretty high for politicians. The nation hadn’t yet been exposed to a politician like Donald Trump who revels in lying, misquoting people, and inventing conspiracy theories on the fly. Since accusing his opponent of lying would undoubtedly backlash on him, Trump instead focused on…

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