Bernie Day is upon us


Last night I was Ubering and I got a ride request at the old landmark Johnnies Coffee Shop on Fairfax and Wilshire.  It was lit up like Christmas and surrounded with placard bearing Bernie people cheering at passing cars. The exterior had been Bernie-ified with hagiographic muraling and artwork.


Enthusiasm was infectious.  My rider, a young man bedazzled in campaign togs and paraphernalia, reluctantly broke away from a group of friends plotting Election Day volunteer assignments. Door knocking? Yes! Phone banking?  We’ll do that too!

He needed to get home, to Beverly Hills, in time for curfew.  And by Beverly Hills, I mean all the way up, as Fat Joe would say, way up past the Hotel, past the reservoir where Jake Gittes lost the tip of his nose, up where the architectural showcases perch on the spines of the ridge tops looking down the city like glass box gargoyles.   He was 17.

“Tomorrow 8 PM, is going to be the most stressful day of my life, even more than the SAT.”

I asked him for a prediction.  Even though he was unable to cast a ballot, he didn’t want to jinx it.   As a backstop, there was always the hope of a Hillary indictment before July.  But he hoped they didn’t need it.

Tomorrow is now today and in a few hours, by the time most of you have read this, we will know the answer to the first question.

He talked on, cheerfully dogmatic, about the banks and the oil companies running the country, how they had to be stopped, and how that would help put an end to inequality. He was a Mini-Me Bernie, minus the Brooklyn accent, chattering away in the back seat, texting friends, making plans.  He was so sweet about it, one couldn’t mock him, even in the privacy of one’s thoughts.

If nothing else,  this primary election, the first to matter in my lifetime, found a way of gathering a critical mass of idealists to each side.   None were more positive and hopeful, in LA anyway, than the Bernie people. It speaks well of them.

When I got home I turned on the TV and saw that MSNBC had “called” the election for Hillary, before any ballots had been counted.


A Drama Surrounding a Phenomenon


Leave it to David Brooks of the New York Times to coin the perfect weasel phrase suitable for PBS viewers:  “…the fact that there is all this violence and all this drama surrounding the whole Trump phenomenon could be nervous-making and it could drive some people.”

Uh, which people? Drive them….to what?  What is the drama referenced here? Does it involve a woman being surrounded by a jeering mob and pelted with water bottles and eggs as she walks alone and undefended into a Trump event?


Does it involve cold-cocking someone on the way to the parking lot?

The media loves the passive voice, never more so when it discusses the Trump campaign. It is awfully coy, even now, months into it, as to just who is doing what to whom, and how.


Let us try a simple thought experiment. Pretend the man in the picture is wearing an I’m With Hillary t-shirt.  Pretend the people in the crowd are conservative white males, hounding and obstructing his ingress to a Clinton rally.  Would this not be the lead story on cable news for weeks on end? Would this not be the touchstone for endless think pieces on the rise of literal, as opposed to hypothetical, fascism in the United States?

Take a good look at the expression on the man’s face. Would you trade places with him for a moment? Is his constitutional right to peaceably assemble to hear the candidate of his choosing being protected or abridged in this case?  By refusing to make this distinction is the press not, in effect, siding with the mob?

The media has been writing journalistic permission slips to rioters going back to Ferguson.  When convenience stores are looted, this is the fault of the police for over-reacting.  When thugs descend on a Trump event to assault and badger the attendees, if not shut the event down entirely, Trump’s rhetoric is blamed.

Piece by piece, the guardrails to the electoral process are being disassembled and removed.


What’s with the Mexican flags?  What’s with the gang signs?  The death threats?

One can outsource the assassination gambit to an unnamed “cartel” to avoid the reach of the Secret Service, but to verbalize something, to put it in writing, is the first step toward action.  What begins in wish fulfillment ends as all Pygmalion-like creation myths do. Carve a woman from marble and your own feverish longing,  and you will fall in love with her.

The firecracker is coming.

Let’s hope it’s only that.