Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017: What Comes Next?

Monday, May 29th, 2017 marks the 564th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks. It was also John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. And it is also the 64th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norga reaching the summit of Everest. 

In this country, it also happens to be Memorial Day

One should never say, Happy Memorial Day. It is not a happy kinda day no matter what the local retail establishments are telling you about their sales and promotions. This is a day to remember those who have honored this nation with the ultimate sacrifice and by a natural extension, those who served but who no longer march beside us. 

On this particular Memorial Day, I recall with love, affection, and great respect the veterans of my family: my dad, my mother and father-in-law, my step-mother-in-law, and my uncles. All of them held the Constitution to be as sacred a document as any holy book. All of them believed those truths to be self-evident. And every one of them went to war knowing they might be putting their lives on the line for We, the People and our Constitution. It doesn't get more sacred than that. Those who died, from the American Revolution forward, died so we could be living in a place where all men (and women) are created equal. If we lower our expectations, if we lower the bar of what is and is not acceptable behavior, if we stand by and do nothing as the Constitution is under siege, we are not doing our collective job as We, the People; we are betraying those who died in defense of exactly that. 

Unless you're Ivanka....and then it's time to party:

I can't say I'm not worried about our country. I am. I worry about a guy who goes to Europe to visit our allies, embarrasses himself and the nation with his lack of knowledge, understanding, and basic diplomacy, then comes back heralding what a great success the trip was. Chancellor Angela Merkel, a scientist and politician all rolled into one Teutonic powerhouse, disagreed with that assessment. At a rally in Munich on Saturday, she said,
Die Zeiten, in denen wir uns auf andere völlig verlassen konnten, die sind ein Stück vorbei. Das habe ich in den letzten Tagen erlebt.Wir Europäer müssen unser Schicksal wirklich in die eigene Hand nehmen.
The times when we could completely rely on others are a bit over. I have experienced this in the last days. We Europeans really have to take our fate into their own hands. 
That was a not-so-veiled admonishment that America and Great Britain can no longer be counted upon to be reliable partners. She's not wrong, you know. The British have their own issues  with Brexit, and that takes up a whole lotta space right now, rightfully so. But what's America's excuse? A guy who sits on the throne at 3 a.m. sending out ridiculous tweets? Yep. That's the one. The least he could do is spell-check.

Whether or not he was entitled to be in the front row, shoving someone aside is just not done. Whether it's another child on the playground or a fellow head of state, we teach our children bullying is not acceptable in any form, and one would certainly expect his parents would have done the same. Thank goodness that Montenegro's Prime Minister, Duško Markovićwas the adult in the room, and said:
This was an inoffensive situation. I do not see it in any other way. I had the opportunity today to thank President Trump personally for his support, speedy ratification of the Accession Protocol in the U.S. Senate, the overall support for Montenegro’s Euro-Atlantic integration and of course the further development of our bilateral relations. But,when journalists are differently commenting this scene , I want to tell you that it is natural for the President of the United States to be in the first row.

If you think for one New York minute that the Prime Minister was even mildly not offended, well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you. For all I know, Mr. Marković's the beast that ate Yugoslavia; who knows. In this time at this moment, he took the high road and, quite frankly, set the adult example for the toddler-in-chief. No matter what he thought at the exact moment he's being shoved aside, he declined to criticize of embarrass the head-of-state of another country. Not that the lesson will stick.

Say what you want about this president, but do not defend the streams-of-incontinence that come out of the oval potty in the middle of the night, and do not defend school yard bully behavior. 

New French president Emmanuel Macron took on the toddler directly with the simplest of gestures: the handshake.  As President Macron  told Le Journal du Dimanche:
 Ma poignée de main avec lui, ce n'est pas innocent, ce n'est pas l'alpha et l'oméga d'une politique mais un moment de vérité. Il faut montrer qu'on ne fera pas de petites concessions, même symboliques, mais ne rien surmédiatiser non plus.
My handshake with him is not innocent, it is not the alpha and omega of a policy but a moment of truth. We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but we must not over-mediate either. 
What an interesting tidbit of diplomacy! Old fashioned, yet so modern. So direct, so subtle, so French. As they say in France, "Yasher koach, Monsieur Le President!"

There were so many moments of monumental chagrin during this trip, it's hard to pick just one as my favorite. Certainly the "Having a great time, wish you were here," note in the guestbook at Yad Vashem would be amongst the top contenders. Wandering out of his meeting with Bibi, only to be led back in by his handlers was another fond memory. And who can forget his speech at NATO, when he completely misunderstood how the treaty organization is funded and works. Ever hear of Article 5?  Apparently, our feckless leader has not. This is kind of a key issue here. 

Best picture, however must go to the Vatican. You cannot possibly beat the family picture.  

The Addams family does Rome. 

The Wifely Person's tip o'the week comes from the Free Melania Movement:

Dress for the job you want.....

NOTE TO MY READERS: Thank you to all who wrote to say the first word was Sunday, not Monday. For reasons I cannot possibly explain, the final version of what I saw said MONDAY. When I started the episode, it was indeed Sunday, and therein lies the error. I thought I corrected the first line early on.  How it appeared corrected on my side, but not outside remains a mystery to me. That said, the appropriate Ziggyism is "99% of all computer issues can be isolated between the keyboard and the chair."  I will own the error. <sigh>


  1. I don't want to rain on your Memorial Day parade but my fact-checker says that Memorial Day was Monday, May 30th -- not Sunday the 29th.

    Absolutely loved the Tip of the Week.

    1. Ummmm. not sure what you mean. Today is Tuesday, May 30th. Yesterday was Monday, May 29th, which was Memorial Day observed in 2017.

      If you are suggesting yesterday was Monday, May 30th, you need a better calendar.

    2. Guess it's time to throw out my 2016 calendar -- what year are we in now? Have we had the Presidential elections yet? Sure hope Hillary wins.