Burke: Dear God, stop Trump so I can write about other things

If Trump would stop being Trump, I could write about work songs, knitting, beer, birders, anything.

By Tom Burke

Stop. Stop. Stop. Please god, stop the pain! And stop the president from lying. Stop the president from tearing our country apart over Dreamers, immigration, race and the national anthem. Stop the president from taunting an unstable North Korean leader who commands an arsenal of nuclear missiles.

And God, please stop the president from destroying the State Department, the EPA, the separation of powers, the FBI, the Department of Justice and the rule of law. Stop the president from ignoring Russian hacking attacks against our political system and free elections. Stop the president from saying, “No collusion,” and “Fake News.” Please, please stop Donald Trump from being … Donald Trump.

Christian evangelicals apparently believe God (their Christian god, not Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, Krishna, or Akaipurakh) made Trump our president. They really do according to Steven Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine and leading Pentecostal figure.

And if the evangelicals’ God can do that, why can’t He unmake him president, or at least change his heart, or give him a heart … or a conscience, sense of duty, and, if it’s not asking too much, a soul?

‘Cause I really, really want to write about something else.

But until Donald Trump begins to act like the president of all the people and not simply indulge his narcissism or pander to his shrinking base, I can’t. I feel I must speak out (just like I felt it was my duty to serve our country almost 50 years ago) against this existential threat to our republic, our democracy and our freedom.

I don’t want to write about Trump. I want to write about what happened to the rich and centuries-old tradition of the music that helped coordinate labor (laying railroad track), relieve boredom (cowboys crooning to the cattle on nightwatch), arouse passion (Woodie Guthrie’s 1930’s union songs), and commemorate occupations, jobs, and industries. You know, work music.

I want to find out where today’s work music is; what tunes folks writing code for the video game “Resident Evil 7” sing together as they work, as Scottish women who waulked tweed sang as they softened the wool by pounding it on a stout table; the songs that keep social customer care strategists in sync, as clipper ship sea chanties kept everyone in step as they toiled ‘round the capstan; and where’s the music immortalizing folk heroes (such as John Henry and Little Joe the Wrangler) among mobile applications testers, ethical hackers and cloud community advocates?

I want to write about birders. And not just the ones who flock to Eagle Days on the Stillaguamish, but those who are out in December doing the annual Christmas Bird Count.

And I’m fascinated by those still collecting stamps, contra dancing, or collecting vintage VW micro-buses and joining dozens of other car enthusiasts Thursday nights at the Dairy Queen on Bothell-Everett Highway in Mill Creek.

Is knitting making a comeback? Has it ever left? I know a local beer pub hosts a dozen or two millennials for Sunday night knitting: knit one, purl two, increase, decrease, cast off, try a new IPA.

I want to write about that.

There are other things that interest me and, I think, might interest Herald readers: Corvette car collectors, model railroaders, the seaplane base in Kenmore, and a tour of the Boeing factory.

But instead, I ponder mysteries like why the president tweeted, “Thank you for all of the nice compliments and reviews on the State of the Union speech. 45.6 million people watched, the highest number in history.”

Now that’s — sorry — fake news. Totally untrue. Deliberate. Easily provable (or disprovable). And a quick check of Nielson ratings shows his SOTU was only the sixth-most watched SOTU (and this 2018 address was two-million less than his 2017 speech to Congress).

What drives that man to say those things? What is in his brain or in his heart to be so blatantly dishonest?

If the president. Of the United States. Lies about Nielsen ratings. And lies about the size of his inauguration crowd, and denies he bragged about abusing women, and lies in the State of the Union speech about his tax cut being, “the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history,” what else is he lying about?

Is he lying about Russia? Is he lying about his finances? Is he lying about collusion? Is he telling the truth about anything?

At this writing the Nunes memo is being released. It may be a nothing-burger; but Trump averred, before he released it, (editor’s note: and after), that it vindicates him. Is he lying again? God, please let Robert Mueller finish his investigation. Don’t let Trump fire Rod Rosenstein. And please; please, please let our democracy work. Don’t make a lie out of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Woodie Guthrie’s anthem, “This Land is Our Land.”

Tom Burke’s email address is t.burke.column@gmail.com.

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