March Madness


On March 23, Barack Obama, unique among American presidents for his fluency in Austrian, stopped off in Buenos Aires to assure Argentinians that the average American is shamefully ignorant of foreign languages. Our president understands how to spread goodwill everywhere. People all over the world take pleasure in knowing they are superior to Americans. Argentinians, unlike Americans, are fluent in Spanish and proud of it.

Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in July 2011, is suing the Norwegian government over his treatment in prison. He’s only five years along on his 21-year sentence and faces sixteen years of isolation, unable to communicate with his admirers and supporters. Sure, his victims’ loved ones are missing their children and siblings as well, but they’ll get over it while he has to endure over a decade and a half of loneliness.

On March 21, Donald Trump told Wolf Blitzer during a CNN forum “I am the least racist person you’ll ever meet.” Some people interpreted this to mean that Blitzer doesn’t get around much. Most people understand that The Donald was saying that he is just the least racist person ever heard of anywhere at any time.

On March 22, Donald Trump told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo, “I understand foreign policy, I understand security as well as anybody.” Devoted Trumpists were surprised and a little upset at their hero’s unwonted diffidence. They expected him to reveal that, as a result of regularly consulting himself, he knew more about foreign policy than anybody anywhere.

No one will think badly of those Americans upset over the 31 dead and 270 wounded in the Brussels air port bombing this month, but we must not permit obsessing over foreign tragedies to blind us to the terrors gripping Americans on our own soil during this dreary month of March.

On March 20 a wave of coultrophobia gripped the campus of Emory University. Chilling slogans; “Trump in 2016,” “Accept the Inevitable: Trump 2016,” and “Elect Donald Trump;” had been chalked up on several buildings by some unknown terrorist or terrorists. As one student explained, “I’m supposed to feel comfortable and safe [here], but this man is being supported by students on our campus and our administration shows that they, by their silence, support it as well… I don’t deserve to feel afraid at my school.” She did not explain why she didn’t deserve to be afraid and opinions may differ on that question, but her fear was clear and inspired a student rally.

The student newspaper reported that 40 students displayed signs calling on everyone, or someone, to “Stop Trump” and “Stop Hate.” Advancing on the Administration Bunker they chanted “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

University President James Wagner, joined by members of the College Council and Student Government Association, promptly sent emails to address student concerns about “values regarding diversity and respect that clash with Emory’s own.” Wagner wrote that he intends to implement “immediate refinements to certain policy and procedural deficiencies, regular and structured opportunities for difficult dialogues, a formal process to institutionalize identification, review and [the] addressing of social justice opportunities and issues and a commitment to an annual retreat to renew our efforts.” Counseling services are available to students suffering from hives, vapors, disordered digestions and Donald-driven delirium.

Fear also gripped the University of North Dakota earlier in the month when Professor Heidi Czerwiec looked out her window and saw a couple of armed college-age persons in camo gear. She immediately dove under her desk and called 911. When the operator explained that routine ROTC exercises had been announced beforehand, the professor pointed out that ROTC exercises were unnecessary and irresponsible. She is determined to continue recoiling in fear and vows to call 911 from under her desk every time she sees a recurrence.

As we Mainers have grown accustomed to expect, the University of Maine at Beans Corner (UMBC) already has policies in place designed to forestall such tragedies. Unregistered pieces of chalk over a quarter inch in length are strictly forbidden on campus. The Counseling and Cleansing Center works with the Campus Police to maintain a round-the-clock watch for any deviations from diversity. ROTC, armed services recruiters, uniformed servicemen, and unrepentant veterans have been barred from the UMBC campus since 1968.

The March torrents of terror are not confined to Brussels airports and American campuses. Earlier in the month, a 12-year-old girl was arrested and booked into juvenile detention after she pinched a boy’s posterior portion. She claims it was just part of game popular at Milwee Middle School, but authorities have no patience with such “games.” The little fiend has been suspended and faces battery charges.

The girl claims she “regrets” the incident and the state attorney said the charge will be dismissed once she completes a diversion program that includes community service and a drug test. It remains to be seen whether such leniency will expose the lads at Milwee to further abuse by rapacious females.

The net mass of American terrors was reduced when Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s spokesmammal, Rich Davidson, explained that his employer was not proposing criminal penalties for all climate change deniers. He only wants to learn whether ” the Department of Justice is doing its due diligence to investigate whether fossil fuel special interests are leading a coordinated fraudulent effort to deceive the American people.” He believes corporations may be in a violation of the federal civil RICO statute if they are deliberately misleading the public.

The senator took no climatology courses in college but he married a marine biologist and has delivered over 50 speeches in the Senate on climate change, so he knows all about it and can’t stand people who disagree. Nevertheless, he believes they are entitled to their opinions as long as they don’t influence a lot of people.

The Congressional Budget Office has dropped a tentative effort to estimate the cost of building extensive re-education camps in Alaska.

The Manhattan Messiah launched another brilliant campaign Tweet last week when he accused Ted Cruz of publishing a revealing picture of Melania Trump. Apparently Cruz had nothing to do with it, but he might have done it if he had thought of it. The veracity of the accusation is, in any case, irrelevant.

The relevance of the accusation is that it gives the Great Wall Builder a pretext to attack Heidi Cruz. Personal attacks, inevitably justified as defensive stroke imposed by his opponents, have worked very well during his nomination campaign. His next step was to find a candid photo of Heidi pulling an ugly disgusted face which he obviously provoked himself. We can expect this to go on and on. And on.

In a remotely related event, Stephanie Cegielski, the former spokeswoman for the pro-Trump Make America Great Again PAC, has disavowed her former hero on the grounds that “he has gone too far with the vitriolic statements and lacks substance when it comes to policy.” Word reaches me that Great Donald’s henchmammals are digging, deeply and widely, for candid pictures of Stephanie. Although this seems probable, my informants could be lying to me.

Or I could be lying to you.

Finally, during an interview with the Washington Post editorial staff late this month, Donald Trump praised yet another admirable feature of Donald Trump. It turns out that he has had as many as 25-30 people telling him “Oh, you have nice hands,” every time he mingles with the Many-Headed. We all need to take a moment to ponder what an extraordinary thing this is. I myself have been shaking hands for nearly 75 years. I shook a lot of hands when campaigning for the Board of Freeholders in New Jersey and lots more when campaigning for Congress in Maine. Yet no one, not a single man or woman, has ever said a kind, or critical, thing about my shaking hand.

Yet when this amazing billionaire descends from his tower to mingle with the multitude, they step forward, thirty at a time, to praise his hands. How many people have had that experience?


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