‘Montreal’ — #Lyrics To A Love Ballad

This is just me fooling around. I have specific music in my head as I write this that someone provided, but the lyrics aren’t 1-1 to the beat. That’s for no other reason than I don’t know anything about music. But it’s fun to write anyway. Enjoy.

Montreal
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

she’s the type of girl
leaves you aghast with her sass
she’s a really lovely lass
she makes you dream of her ass
she’s just out of your grasp I’m afraid
she’s a city like no other
makes me sing for glee

Montreal
princess of the north
Montreal
wife of the snow
makes you go for a roll

nothing can compare
to how she makes you want to stop a spell
let me dwell on your smile
I’m just a mortal guy

Montreal
princess of the north
Montreal
wife of the snow
makes you go for a roll

wish you’d be mine
Montreal
your smile is a mile long

A Modest Proposal: Chelsea Handler Should Run For President

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While I frequently suggest that someone like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert run for president, given the crisis we’re in and the current political climate, it seems as though center-Left people should go for broke and get Chelsea Handler to run for office.

I say this because any candidate that any candidate that the Democratic Party fields will be attacked in such a manner that whomever the candidate is would needs to be tough as nails. The only person I think of who could give as good as she got is Chelsea Handler. She has a rapier whit and she could eviscerate the dogs of rhetorical war that would be let loose against anyone in her position.

Now, there are some obvious issues: like Donald Trump, she has no governing experience. There is also a sex tape of her released by a vengeful ex-boyfriend to deal with. But given how batshit insane it is that Trump became president, that probably wouldn’t be as big a deal as you may think.

A lot depends on the state of affairs in 2020. If Trump has managed to plow through all the scandals and the Democratic Party is completely prone, it seems that things will be so desperate that people will be willing to give her a chance.

Also, a lot depends on the state of politics in 2020. Will we be tired of celebrities being president, or will we have fallen off the cliff and now that’s what we expect. That’s something I just can’t answer at this point.

The Great Undoing: 2020 & The Death Of The Republican & Democratic Parties

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The Republican Party started about 1856 when several groups, including the Free Soil Party, The “Know Nothings” and the last vestiges of The Wig Party merged. Though they ran a candidate in 1856, a gentleman with the nickname of The Pathfinder, it wasn’t until the victory of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 that the party really came unto its own.

The Republican Party has proven to be surprisingly popular and resilient over the decades, but it appears one Donald J. Trump has killed it. I say this because while Republicans seem likely to grow in power due to the rot the Republic currently suffers, the GOP that I have known my entire life is effectively over. The Republican Party now has become an enormous fetid, rock hard diamond of ideological fecal material lodged in the sewers of the American government.

Because of the likes of faux populist intellectual Steve Bannon, the long-term trend of the party is grow in power while at the same time becoming a parody of itself. It is possible, not probable, that Trump himself on a personal level may smash the Republican Party to bits in 2020 simply because the divide between the Trump-loving base and the Republican Establishment will grow so enormous that the party will split in two like a sinking Titanic.

Unfortunately, the same forces threatening the Republican Party are also threatening the Democratic Party. Republicans have become so obsessed with power and winning at any cost that they are inflicting unprecedented pressure on the center-Left. The Progressive base of the Democratic Party may split from the centrist Democratic Establishment and we’ll have not two, or three, but four parties vying for the presidency in 2020. This, of course, opens an enormous hole for Trump to plow through and it’s very possible that he will sail through the Electoral College to a second term.

Should that happen, which it may not, we will possibly see the greatest political turbulence in American political life since the Civil War. And, remember, all of this is happening in the context of a gradual shift from a constitutional democratic republic to a simple autocracy bound only the populace’s unwillingness to admit this new harsh reality. And that doesn’t even begin to address the efforts of some on the Far Right to force through a Constitutional Convention through state legislatures.

But back to parties.

What might we see happen under this scenario? Depending on the self-evident mercurial personality of Donald Trump, Trump may either inherit the Republican Party brand simply because he controls the base with a near Messianic power, or he may out of sheer spite ditch the name and start a Trump branded party. Meanwhile, the Establishment wings of both the Democratic and Republican parties may merge, leaving a rump Progressive Party to fend for itself.

It’s possible that 20 years from now, there will again be two parties — the Trump Party and the ReDem. I can’t see a Progressive Party lasting very long for various reasons.

Remember, put all of this in context. In the next five to ten years, technology is likely to dramatically reshape the American economy in ways we can just barely fathom currently. So, it’s possible that Trump Party will grow in power accordingly and we’ll swerve into a Theocratic Fascist state out of default, if nothing else.

Regardless, it’s unlikely the current two party system is going to stay very stable in the coming years.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va.

Twitter Is A Threat To The Republic #Resist #Startup

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Trump, apparently, has repeatedly stated that he wouldn’t be president but for his use of Twitter. I tend to agree with him. The question now, of course, is can we go back to “normal” once Trump leaves office. That’s open to debate at this point.

What’s not open to debate is what a grave threat to the American Republic Twitter is as it is currently conceived. It’s just horrible. It’s damaging public discourse in ways large and small. Twitter sets the daily agenda for the chattering class, and as such the fact that it’s the playground of bots, haters and paid Russian trolls is cause for concern to say the least.

What’s worse, Twitter seems completely unwilling or unwilling on a managerial level to do anything about this enormous mess. Now, in an ideal world, I, personally, would have both the funds and the skills needed to design a startup platform that would crush Twitter and I’d be a successful entrepreneur, etc., etc., etc. Alas, that just isn’t the case. I am, however, a dreamer and I can make the case for a new platform that would be designed from the ground up to be a “Twitter Killer.”

If I could implement a Twitter Killer, it would be designed from the ground up to address trolls and bots. It would be designed from the very beginning to be a platform for debate that had some sense about it. It would be attentive to the needs of users and designed for actual conversation. Twitter isn’t very good for actual discussion, to say the least.

I would propose that we bring back two concepts from the dawn of the Internet being open to the public: chat rooms and message boards. If you were to somehow seamlessly and intuitively combine these two concepts together in a platform, I think you’d see ready success.

Right now, there’s Slack for the enterprise when it comes to real time text chat. But as best I can tell it’s not archived and searchable (maybe it is, I don’t know) and it’s not designed for the masses like AOL Chat rooms where. It kind of blows my mind that we rely upon Twitter to do what AOL Chat rooms used to do. It’s weird that we’ve gone backwards over the course of the last 20 years. But we have.

Meanwhile, I would also bring back the concepts of Usenet which were, at one point, pretty powerful and successful. If you updated Usenet in such a way that it provided an easy way to discuss a topic using threads, I think people would really enjoy it. Now, I am well aware that Reddit exists, but it’s just too difficult to use and doesn’t implement threading the way Usenet did.

Additionally, in this fanciful scenario, I would lean heavily on video chat. I would have a feature whereby you could have up to four people on screen as part of a recorded video conference. All of this would be nicely threaded and have inline editing, which would be pretty sweet.

It seems to me that if you were really attentive to the needs of former Twitter users and had a feature set as I have described above, a lot of people who wade through the verbiage of Twitter would be more than happy to give you a chance. A lot celebrities, though leaders and content providers would love the feature rich nature of such a service and if you thought it out enough from the beginning you could probably steal a march on Twitter.

Unfortunately, I can’t do this myself, so I’m left daydreaming. It just would be really cool to be able to ditch Twitter and start from scratch. I guess under the right circumstances Reddit could do much of what I have described, but they don’t seem all that interested in changing in the direction I want and need as a user.

Something needs to give, regardless. We need a new service that fills the function of Twitter but in a way that doesn’t give rise to racist, misogynistic bigot presidents. Once you gave people an option, one with the same aim as Twitter but did its cultural job a lot better, I think people would flock to it.

American Autocracy #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It is too easy to look at the developments of the last year and say, “Lulz, nothing matters!” But that would be a grave injustice to the American experiment in self-governance. We are now in dangerous territory. We like to think only places like Russia and Turkey can succumb to the power of an autocrat and become a “managed democracy.”

At least, that’s what I used to think.

But recent developments make me realize that unless something changes we are slouching towards a new era in American governance. A number of things are coming together at the same time. Dark money, the rise of the Steve Bannon style of populism as well as Donald Trump himself are all shaking the foundations of the American Republic.

If this was an earlier age, historians would say our Republic was gradually slipping into an Empire, with a very specific quirk: the Emperor was elected every four years, but in fact only left office because the Constitution limited him or her to eight years in office. What’s more troublesome is it’s possible America is going to lurch into a “managed democracy” — or already has — and there’s no going back. When a nation has become so divided and partisan that not even accusations of pedophilia can knock a US Senate candidate as Alabama’s Roy Moore out of the race, you know something’s wrong.

All of this leads to the question of what to do. Are we doomed? Is this how the American democratic constitutional Republic ends? Are just one stop away from becoming a quasi-theocratic fascistic state?

Every time I get despondent and assume the worst, I realize I just can’t give up. I just can’t give up on the traditional concept of the United States that I was born to assume was always there. Here are some ideas on how to if not fix, at least ameliorate the problems facing us.

Don’t Enrage, Engage
This is something that the individual can do, regardless of social status or power. Instead of living in your personal political bubble, be willing to engage in cogent political discourse with someone who disagrees with you. Doing so in person is even better. President Obama said something to this effect in his parting speech. Social media — especially how easily it is to for outside forces to influence it — may be what we look back as the deathblow to our American democracy. We have to engage. We have to at least attempt to talk to people we don’t agree with, even if they are angry and think everything we believe is “fake news.” This is really tough and even I find myself not doing it nearly as much as I should.

Liberals Need More Empathy
I’m not suggesting liberals have to compromise everything they believe in. But liberals need to at least attempt to understand why they’re hated so much. Liberals are hated so much that the people who hate them don’t even really understand why they hate them. Liberals too often come off as smug. About half the country is really hurting and is only going to hurt more as technology takes low skill, high wage jobs like truck driver away. It’s a delicate balance given how the Right is full of rage and absolutely refuses to compromise in any way. The Right wants absolute power and absolute victory at all costs and liberals need to take this cold hard fact seriously.

Those are two pretty easy fixes, now let’s move on to some more existential solutions that are probably significantly more difficult to implement.

We Need A New Social Media Platform
We need to burn the village to save it. We need to kill Twitter. Twitter is a real threat to our democracy. I have repeatedly suggested that a new platform designed from the ground up to address the problems of Twitter should be designed. It also might be used to aide and abet people who wanted to protest the Trump Administration should it do something drastic like fire Bob Mueller. A new social media platform designed to fix the problems of Twitter marketed correctly would probably be a success from the get-go for several reasons. A lot of Left leaning celebrities would flock to such a service if they felt more safe. They, in turn, would bring fans and content along with them.

We Need New Leaders
If the rise of Donald Trump has show us anything, it’s that the world of celebrity and entertainment is now completely fused with politics. The center-Left needs to fight fire with fire and recruit leaders from the entertainment industry. I would suggest someone like Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert would be a great start. But, really, I would even go so far as to say someone like Chelsea Handler might do the trick given how costic our political life has become.

Those solutions, too, don’t even begin to address the deep seated problems with the American Republic. The United States really is two different nations now and it is up to us to prevent a civil war. It is very possible that the Blue States will bolt the United States for no other reason than they feel they are no longer welcome. It will be interesting to see how that exactly plays out.

Should the worse happen and Trump fire Bob Mueller the gauntlet will be thrown down, the Rubicon will be crossed. We get our answer. We will learn once and for all if “American exceptionalism” has at last come to an end.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. You can reach him at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Why War With The #DPRK May Be Inevitable

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While it pains me to admit this, I fear we have to accept that war between the United States and the DPRK is almost frightfully inevitable in the near future. When I say “near future” I say sometime between now and Election Day 2018.

I say this because Donald Trump not only lacks basic human empathy, but his personality is such that he will desperately want to boost his poll numbers by Election Day 2018 so Congress doesn’t flip and lead to his impeachment and conviction. What better way to do exactly this than to do a preemptive war against the DPRK in just the right way so by November 2018 American television screens will be plastered with the imagines of the oppressed citizens of North Korea being liberated.

The moment a preemptive war with the DPRK starts, the political clock will be stopped and restarted. The moment the war starts, there will be a darkness at noon not seen since 9/11. And Trump will not only see an enormous boost in his popularity, he will also be a war president with all of the additional power that is associated with that designation.

There is a real risk that should a war with the DPRK begin, that we’ll wake up a few later and there we’ll be in a significantly more dystopian world than we ever imagined. The what’s even more troublesome is many liberals will, once the war starts, be quite supportive of a war with the DPRK because the people of the DPRK legitimately do deserve to be liberated. It’s just that up until this point, the cost of that liberation would be so tragic and so costly that we did not give it real honest thought.

But now, because of the self-evident mercurial nature of Trump what was once unthinkable is now definitely thinkable. If 3,000 deaths on 9/11 are enough to fundamentally change the American experience, imagine what 30,000 American expat dead caused by a preemptive war with the DPARK might change. It seems obvious that we’re rushing towards a dark and dystopian future because of a possible war with the DPRK.

I’m not saying I can predict the future, but I am saying the conditions are there for a preemptive war with the DPRK. All I can say is we will have to be prepared to fight for the American Republic when a war with the DPRK tests it beyond what we could have possibly imagined would ever happen.

Is It Even Possible To Engage Trump Supporters At This Point? #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Something I struggle with is engaging Trump supporters. I struggle to understand their psychology. I worry that if people like me dismiss Trumpist out of hand, that will lead to some very bad things down the road. Like, actual violence in the United States as the county finally tears itself apart like a sinking Titanic.

It is really easy — intellectually lazy, even — to do just that. To simply wince, wave your hand and assume that because Trump supporters continue to be sycophants for a racist, misogynistic bigot that they aren’t worth talking to.

I have struggled to talk to them since Trump got elected and more often than not, I just got angry. One of the more difficult issues to address when it comes to Trump supporters is their America First isolationism. For a “globalist cuck” like myself, it’s difficult for me to grok someone who completely rejects something that seems pretty self-evident: that the United States having a proactive foreign policy is a force for good across the globe. How do you engage someone who rejects 70 years of conventional wisdom? That particular issue is so difficult for me to process that I simply don’t know where to begin.

I don’t know if I’m not smart enough or what when it comes to this particular issue. How do you address the world view of someone who rejects the basis of Pax Americana? They want America to turn inward in a way not seen since before World War II. I just don’t have a ready argument for people who reject any source of facts I might produce on the matter as “fake news.”

But I think some of it all boils down to the absolute rage and feeling of disenfranchisement that that core group of 37% of the electorate that supports Trump no matter what feels. It now, in hindsight, is obvious that because of technological and economic changes that someone like Trump was inevitable. Someone was going to see an obvious political opportunity and strike. Little did we ever imagine that it would be a celebrity TV gameshow host who would do it. And with the help of the Russians, no less! But it happened.

That Russian interference is something that should give all patriots pause for thought. That American conservatives are so detached from the world I know and love, that they feel so disenfranchised that they would willingly ignore what is tantamount to treason on the part of the Trump campaign simply because they want to turn back the policies of the first African American president is pretty mind boggling. The only thing I can compare it to is Vichy France.

We need a national conversation between the rural Trump supporting world and the urban progressive world. We can’t just give up. If we give up we’re doomed. We’re doomed to a civil war. Any student of history will tall you that in the late 1850s, a similar dynamic was afoot in the American body politic as the industrial North with free labor grew increasingly distant from the slave based South.

I love America and I don’t want a civil war. So, that’s why myself and people like me who consider themselves center-Left have an obligation to try to engage Trumpists. We have to figure out how to engage them without compromising to such an extent that we give up everything we believe in. It’s extremely difficult, however.

The crux of the problem we face is just that. Technology has made is so easy to live in our own little bubble that that we aren’t forced to come up with arguments to use against people who disagree with us the most. Bac 30 years ago, we all had a common reality and could agree on the facts. Now, too often, at least with Trumpists, anything they don’t agree with is “fake news.”

When I’m feeling in a particularly bleak mood, I think a civil war is inevitable. It definitely seems that way right now. But if the right leadership arises maybe, just maybe, I’m wrong. We need leaders willing to unite us, not divide us. But it could be we’re doomed and we’ll look back at this era in our history as the precursor to a civil war or worse.

#Trump, A Reassessment: Mulling The Long Con #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For about six months after Trump’s election, I was so angry that I seethed with rage. Now that I have calmed down considerably, I find myself struggling to understand why Trump won and what is continued appeal is for roughly 37% of the American electorate.

We have to understand that Trump is a product of social media. Something about the rise of social media has made people extremely partisan. Some of it has to do, I think, with how easy it is to block or otherwise avoid people who disagree with you. So, both sides simply wallow in an echo chamber of things they agree with, leading to the breakdown of the traditional basic need of democracy to have consensus, compromise and synthesis. Throw in dark money, gerrymandering and Russian meddling through bots and paid trolls and you have us where we are today.

And, yet, we have one significant thing to be thankful for: Trump has no political ideology. He has no strategy. He’s all about the tactical win. He’s all about winning the moment. If Trump had the rock-hard ideology of, say, Pat Buchanan, we would be in serious trouble indeed.

But, as it stands, there is no Trumpism without Trump. Whatever magical mystery power Trump has over a sizable chunk of the electorate is attached to him personally. So, really, the only way to get rid of Trumpism is to completely vanquish Trump personally as a political force. That is quite tricky because the American Republic is on such shaky legs for various reasons that the core problems that allowed the Trump caner to fester will remain for many years to come.

One issue is people like me are too quick to enrage and not engage Trump supporters because, well, we’re at a loss as to where to begin. Where do we begin to engage people who we feel support a racist, misogynist bigoted nativist? I struggle to do that for various reasons. I closest I can come is seeing that the blind rage of people in rural areas about the modern liberal order was so great in 2016 that they were willing to overlook any flaw on Trump’s part because they thought he would, in fact “drain the swamp.”

That’s the thing that I think people like me have the most difficulty understanding: that core group of people who support Trump really do support the authoritarian chaos that he has caused since he came to power. That’s what they wanted. It’s difficult for secular humanists like me understand why “values voters” could possibly support the thrice married Trump. But they do. They do because they know that while he’s using them for his own political needs, he will, in fact give them the reach around that they have longed for so desperately. He gives them a sense of power that they haven’t felt in decades, if ever. The fact that it’s all a gross political ploy doesn’t phase them.

Another thing people like me struggle to understand is that fact that rock hard core group of Trump supporters that aren’t going anywhere really do think a Hillary Clinton administration would have been worse. They actually, to this day, really think that. They may be a lot more quiet than they were election day night, but they still think it.

Which raises an interesting counter-factual. What if Clinton had won? What would the world look like a year after the election? Probably something like this: instead of Trump’s tweets causing chaos from the White House, they would incite the Republican Congress to look for any number of different reasons to impeach Clinton and they probably would have gotten pretty damn close.

But Trump won. So we have to deal with the consequences. One of the crucial unknowns is will things snap back into place once Trump finally leaves the public sphere, or are we doomed. Are we going to suffer a Russian-style autocracy from now on because of the damage that Trump has inflicted on our body politic, or will we go back to some semblance of normalcy once he’s gone?

The answer to this question lies, in great part, to who succeeds Trump. If it’s Mike Pence, probably things will be more likely to snap back into some semblance of being normal. However, if Trump manages to last a full term, or even get re-elected, all bets are off. It is possible, probably probable, that we’ve reached some sort of event horizon whereby the realms of celebrity and politics are so muddle that they are indistinguishable.

It may be that the person who manages to heal the divides caused by Trump — and they are many — won’t be a traditional politician at all, but a liberal celebrity who manages to bridge the gaping wound that Trump has caused in our national psyche. The longer Trump stays president, the more likely it will be, say a Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart who succeeds him. I like to think that the only person who stands up to the middle school bully is the middle school class clown and it would make a lot of sense if someone like them took up the challenge of bringing down Trumpism. Though of late I’ve begun to think that the only person who could handle the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune any Democrat would suffer at the hands of FOX News’ bullshit would be someone tough as nails like Chelsea Handler.

The most ominous aspect of all of this is it’s possible we’re doomed. It really is possible that the United States is now a failed state and the only thing keeping it together is Trump himself. It’s possible that Trumpists are so completely deluded and brainwashed by their bullshit bubble that once he’s no longer in power things will grow dire indeed. And that doesn’t even begin to address the possibility that someone really dangerous — a charismatic Right-wing nutjob with an ideology — may learn from the mistakes of Trump and inflict the final death blow to the American Republic. That we really may fall of the precipitous into a dystopia.

I would like to think I have some hope that that worse case scenario won’t happen, but I don’t. History doesn’t go in a straight line and there are absolutely no assurances that the good guys will win. All we can hope is that some sort of sanity will return to American political discussion sooner rather than later.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

‘Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump’ — #Lyrics To A Pop Power Ballad

This would be a song like Elton John’s Someone Saved My Life Tonight. That’s the vision, at least.

Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or peform

the time has come to admit the truth
the painful kind I’m afraid
the type you don’t want to admit to yourself
the leader of my nation is scary
he has ruined the office for the time being

we’re all going to have address our fears
things have gotten so bad, so very bad
it doesn’t seem as though things will return to normal
anytime soon the way things are going
don’t leave me alone with Trump
don’t leave me alone with Trump
don’t leave me alone with Trump

the women have come out of the woodwork
like clockwork it seems they tell the same story
a story that would leave anyone distressed
Trump wants to get under their clothes
do to them God only knows
so let me plea to you once again
whatever you do don’t let me suffer
don’t leave me alone with Trump
don’t leave me alone with Trump
don’t leave me alone with Trump

Late Night Mulling Over A “Twitter Killer” #Startup

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I still think the time is ripe for a “Twitter Killer” startup that also served the center-Left community. I say this because a lot of content providers, celebrities and thought leaders are unhappy with Twitter’s abuse problem and difficulty of use. At the same time, those people are also opposed to the Trump Administration. So, it makes a lot of sense for a new service to accommodate the two groups from the ground up.

Two things have been lost since the 1990s — “chat rooms” and “discussion boards.” So, why not design a service from the ground up that updated and combined those two services in an intuitive manner while also leaning heavily on video chat.

It makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. Of course, this is the point where you ask if I think it’s such a great idea, why don’t I do it myself? Well, I don’t see that as my purpose. My purpose would be to help organize it and promote it.

But, who are we kidding, it’s not like this is actually going to happen. The only way I could see it maybe happening is if Trump fires Bob Mueller and there’s a groundswell of people who want to protest on a regular basis.