‘Sleepy Joe’? We Could USE a Nice Peaceful Rest!


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“Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s to the polls we go!” (All right, lots of our readers may never have seen Snow White, and don’t know this song or about the Disney-misspelled “Seven Dwarfs.”  Just roll with it.  Off to work we go!)

Trump’s favorite nickname for Joe Biden has been “Sleepy Joe,” for his supposed lack of energy, which in the Covid era mostly seems more like pure prudence.  But among all of Trump’s vicious nicknames, this one has always seemed to be the one that fell most short.  What’s wrong with “Sleepy,” especially when it comes from Grumpy — who gets advice from Dopey and despises Doc?

But now, bestowing that nickname seems like a dopey move for a different reason.

Trump is exhausting.  Having his reality-denying hand on the national steering wheel is exhausting.  Seeing him cozy up to dictators and kakistocracies is exhausting.  His fomenting racial divisions, whatever else it is, is also exhausting.  Seeing him give a wink and a nod to white supremacists is exhausting.  Worrying about brandished guns in polling places and state legislatures is exhausting.  Long lines in the polling places of those least able to defend themselves is exhausting.  Eliminating drop boxes, talking about tossing out legally cast legitimate ballots, seeing new chapters being written in the annals of voting under Jim Crow — which the fourth most liberal member of the Supreme Court, the Republican Chief Justice, was behind when the Voting Rights Act was gutted — is exhausting, especially for people of color.

Being lied to about Covid is exhausting.  Being lied to about having a vaccine by election day is exhausting.  The sense that we, among all countries, seem to be the one who is racing backwards, with our President not even putting up a fight — in fact fighting  against putting up a fight — is exhausting.  The resulting economic recession verging on depression is exhausting.  The wave of foreclosures, of evictions, of homelessness, of domestic violence — all of it is exhausting.

Seeing the President rejecting ancient norms of civilized behavior, in governing and in personal interactions, is exhausting. Not knowing if we will be the guardians of our system of government at the moment it collapsed is exhausting.  Having a mass media aimed not only at a high school grade level, but at rousing those juveniles into maniacal violence, is exhausting.  Not knowing where the stochastic violence Trump whips up will strike next is exhausting.  Not knowing if we’ll ever have a fair election again, if Trump wins. is also exhausting.

Writing up this woefully incomplete list, incidentally, is exhausting.

Enduring a never-ending hard sell from someone who only thinly veils his contempt for you is exhausting.

Watching others fall into the cult where they simply believe whatever their leader says, because that gives them power like a bundle of sticks tied together is stronger than all of those sticks alone, is exhausting, is exhausting.  Knowing that those bundles, fasces, are what gave fascism its name is exhausting.  Knowing not only that it can happen here, but that maybe it cannot not happen here, is exhausting.

Knowing the size of the economic and psychological mess we have to clean up, even if we start with today’s election, is exhausting.  Imagining those messes if we have to wait another four years, or longer — is beyond exhausting.

Realizing that it just might work, long enough to damage our society beyond repair, while the bug-eyed and the glassy-eyed adore the destruction they have wrought, is totally exhausting.

We don’t know that it won’t work.  We know that it is easier to destroy than it is to build.  We know that when disputes are to be settled through power and violence, the wise and pure of heart and spirit are at a disadvantage.  Cult members don’t get tired or worshiping, so long as they continue to believe.  Crackhead-equivalents who need their next fix of adrenaline and boosted self-esteem through social comparison — and embrace not having to give a damn about the cold hard stare of reality — they’re not going to tire of it until reality bangs their head like a gong, and that’s if they even notice that it happened and can figure out why.

Reading that last paragraph is probably as exhausting as composing it.

We’re all tired … so tired … so dead tired  We need resuscitation.  We need rest.  We need recuperation.  We need calm, soothing; we need a balm.  We need peace.  We need not to have our nerves constantly jangled.  We need not to have to live our lives in fear and anticipation of horror, like A Clockwork Orange’s “droogs.”

We need … we need … we need to be able to sleep soundly again.

Therapists tells us that, under Covid, people are having more, longer, and increasingly baroque nightmares.  Yes, sure, it’s Covid — but is it also fear of a never-ending burning of the nation at the stake by Trump?  The assault on accountability, the assault on even the ability to have a real discussion, that we saw in the first Presidential Debate — do we really want to keep living like that?

Whatever else Biden offers us — empathy, calm, decency, and of course a potential lack of sufficient vision to adopt solutions that are truly necessary and just, but maybe we’ll be surprised — what he offers us most is a more restful sleep.  We want to sleep, perchance to dream — not of Hamlet’s eternal void, but of an American that has lasted through this aberration and might yet,  with enough patience and grit and interpersonal respect and, yes, love — yet be reassembled into a Good and Great Society.

We’re sleepy, worn thin, frayed, tired.   Joe himself might very well be sleepy too.  “Sleepy Joe.”

Thanks for your reminder of sound sleep, Mr. Trump, when you gave him that name.  It just may be the one thing in the past five years that you actually got right.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 (in violation of Roberts Rules) when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Expelled from DPOC in October 2018 (in violation of Roberts Rules) for having endorsed Spitzer over Rackauckas -- which needed to be done. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. One of his daughters co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)