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Thoughts on the sommelier scandal


I’ve been closely following this brouhaha about sexist sommeliers and the raging debate it’s inspired about topics ranging from wine snobbery and elitism to employment opportunities for women in the wine business.

Given my long involvement in the wine business, which included exceptionally close contact with sommeliers, and given that I’m a gay man in an industry that traditionally has sidelined gay people, I feel entitled to speak my mind when it comes to questions of equity and abuse. The first thing I want to say is that this is a good debate. The wine industry—on the growing side, the production side, and the hospitality/service side—has been heavily dominated by men—specifically, straight white men–for too long. On the marketing-public relations side, that’s less true; women traditionally have been very powerful in P.R. But for that very reason, P.R. has been viewed (mostly by men) as the less important side of the wine industry, the province of “the weaker sex.”

I’m not big on quotas; no industry should be compelled to hire in the exact percentages of the U.S. population by gender, ethnicity, race, sexual preference, or anything else. Still, when a group has historically been excluded from participating in an industry, it should surprise no one when representatives of that group complain. It also should not surprise anyone that, where there is exclusion, there exists the possibility of abuse: some groups perceive themselves (and are perceived by others) as being more “worthy” and “talented,” and those groups—usually white men–believe they should support the existing power structure which, of course, benefits them.

I look back over my decades of involvement in wine and restaurants here in California and elsewhere, and I’m surprised that I didn’t realize sooner that the wine industry had serious equity problems. Back in the 1980s, when I was getting started, men ran everything. They made the wine at the wineries. They worked at the restaurants, both as chefs and as sommeliers. They ran the tasting groups, and they dominated the media, in books, newspapers and newsletters. Women were relegated to the sidelines. I remember Merry Edwards telling me the story of when she applied for a winemaking job at Schramsberg, in the 1970s. Her resume read “Meredith Edwards,” so the owner, one of the Davies, assumed the job applicant was male. When he met Merry for the interview, he was clearly taken aback. Merry asked him, “Would you have brought me in for an interview if you’d known I was a woman?” The answer was no.

I heard similar stories from a wide variety of women: Genevieve Janssens, at Robert Mondavi, described how she feared she’d be fated to work in the lab, not as a winemaker. The story on the restaurant floor was similar. Were there any female sommeliers or wine service people at top San Francisco restaurants in the 1980s and 1990s? If there were, I don’t remember any, but I remember male somms at Square One, Lulu, Rubicon, Farallon, Fleur de Lys, Postrio, Aqua, Boulevard, Hawthorne Lane and others. How come I didn’t find this overwhelming dominance by men weird or discomfiting? Because, I suppose, I wasn’t sensitive to the issue. Sometimes we have to forcefully be sensitized to these things; otherwise, we accept them blindly and blithely.

I was, on the other hand, acutely aware of the void of gay people in the wine industry in the 1980s and 1990s. Or, to put it more accurately, I knew people who were gay—or were said to be gay—and in some cases they were quite famous. But there was a silent agreement to not say anything. You couldn’t really come out of the closet; despite the wine industry’s supposedly liberal orientation, the actual towns of wine country were (and are) socially conservative. You couldn’t ask anyone if he or she were gay; that would have been unprofessional. And, as a writer, I knew for certain I couldn’t say in an article that someone was gay (not that it made a difference to the wine). Gay people (including Lesbians) were therefore hidden away, like the mad aunt in the attic. I’m not sure that, even now, things have changed that much.

The male sommeliers I’ve known and worked with have been in general a friendly, kindly bunch. But, again in retrospect, when I look back, I can see how thoroughly they dominated their local scenes. They were highly respected, especially if they were Master Sommeliers. They were looked upon by us lesser mortals as almost divine in their authority and knowledge—indeed, this is how they saw themselves. We all deferred to them, and they took advantage of it and acted in very royalist capacities. When I quit Wine Enthusiast to work at Jackson Family Wines—which, in my time (2012-2016), employed more Master Sommeliers than any other company in America—my feeling about them was that they were quite happy to be the resident muckety-mucks. They were a separate priesthood within a large, diverse employee community. This isn’t to say that I ever knew any sommeliers, Master or not, to engage in inappropriate sexual activities. I did not. But then, I wasn’t a woman, working alongside and for a somm. Nobody was making “moves” on me. And men in power were inappropriately compromising women in many industries, not just wine. So it would be unfair to single out the wine industry for sexism. The wine industry, like nearly every other industry grouping in America, was simply doing what America itself was doing.

The good thing about our modern society is that situations of such rampant inequity can’t exist for long. They’re exposed in the media; people naturally take umbrage at such outrages. Demands are made for reform, and industries must accede to these demands, or suffer the consequences. I think there are probably excesses: not every male who’s accused by every female of inappropriate behavior is guilty. There are two sides to every story. But overall, this scandal that erupted in the Court of Master Sommeliers is good news. It will make the wine industry fairer and more responsible. It might even make it less elitist. I’ve said for decades that there is way too much snobbery in the wine industry. I “get” it; I know why that is, and I confess to having done my part to aid and abet it, albeit unconsciously. But I always thought that, when it came to “Master” Somms and “Masters” of Wine, things had gotten a little out of hand. I think, although I can’t prove it, that women somms are less authoritarian, less given to power tripping than male sommeliers, and certainly less prone to sexual harassment. So if the field of wine service is more open to women, that will benefit the dining public. Women may be able to demystify wine (a rallying cry for the last 80 years) in a way that men could not—or did not want to.

New Wine Review: a Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, at 10 years


Longoria 2011 La Encantada Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $50 on release.

With these mature Pinot Noirs, you never know. I opened this one, which is a few months older than ten years, because the weather is turning colder and for the first time in many months, I’m in the mood for a red wine. The first thing I look for, in a wine of this age, is whether it smells clean and proper, or is showing signs of decrepitude. This is perhaps not the highest standard, but it tells the experienced taster what to expect, for better or worse. The initial sniff told me that the wine was just fine. No off-odors, no senescence, no “naked alcohol,” no raisins, no mold, just clean fruit—which is what you expect of a California Pinot Noir.

I sipped then, and the fruitiness reprised. Masses of raspberry essence. And something spear-minty and green, by no means unpleasant, a welcome taste of herbs that thrive in the cool, foggy Santa Rita Hills. Is there any sign of age? Yes. The fruits are rounding the corner from fresh to dried. But they’re delicious.

La Encantada Vineyard is located in the southern part of the appellation, along the Santa Rosa Road corridor, in the same vicinity as such famous vineyards as Fiddlestix and Sanford & Benedict. This latter was one I chose for an article I wrote years ago on California’s greatest vineyards. It was co-founded by Richard Sanford, who also planted La Encantada; this is the true historic heart of Pinot Noir in the Santa Rita Hills (although Highway 246, a little to the north, is probably more famous, post-Sideways). The master winemaker, Rick Longoria, who has longstanding ties of friendship in the region, has access to the grapes, as he does to pretty much any vineyard he wants (and he has his own Fe Ciega Vineyard, not too far away).

OK, so raspberries and mint is good stuff, but it would be boring if that’s all there was. Fortunately, there’s more. Baking spices—cinnamon, star anise, Chinese five spice—show up, giving the wine additional bursts of flavor. But flavor isn’t everything! The texture is just what Pinot should be: silky and smooth. Everything glides over the tongue, with none of the stubborn tannins of, say, Cabernet Sauvignon. Then there’s the acidity that always accompanies Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noirs. So stimulating! Gets the mouth juices flowing. You want food with it. I can imagine a well-charred steak, but, since I hardly ever eat steak, I have to mentally search for something else; seared ahi tuna is a serious candidate, and so is cream of mushroom soup.

Does the 2011 Longoria La Encantada have a future? Here, we get into the realm of personal preference. Yes, it has a future in the sense that it’s still alive and vital—“middle-aged,” as it were. It should hold in its present condition (given good storage) for several more years, gradually becoming more delicate and tea-like, but at the same time, the aroma, or, more properly, the bouquet will become sweeter and more captivating. A final word: the 2011 vintage was much defamed by almost everybody. A wine like this proves that generalizations are misleading. Score: 92 points.

Here’s why Trump wants COVID-19 to spread out of control


Chris Hayes, on MSNBC, got some flak when he accused “the entire Republican Party” of “actively trying to spread” coronavirus. The rightwing trumpthugs on Twitter were predictably outraged. “Fire this fraud!” said a guy who called himself The DC Patriot. “Get a grip you lunatic” tweeted another who identified himself as Cuban American. To these trumpers, it’s infuriating that anyone would say something so horrible about them and their Dear Leader.

Well, Chris Hayes is right. Trump wants COVID to spread across America, and so do his rabid cultists. Now, you’re asking why Trump would want to spread COVID. Fair question. There are two reasons:

  1. He wants to destroy America and all of its institutions. As I posted yesterday, he already said he wants the economy to crash; he wants the country to go to total hell; he wants everything to be a disaster, and he wants riots. He said these things, on Fox News; check out the link. What better device to bring about all those catastrophes and cause America’s downfall than COVID-19?
  2. There’s an additional reason Trump and his Republicans want coronavirus to spread in America. It mainly kills people of color. Black people have the highest death rate, closely trailed by Indigenous people and Latinos. (Whites and Asians have the lowest death rates.) Republicans desire a white America (or possibly a white and Asian America). We all know that, even if a lot of people are ashamed to admit it. Republicans can’t kill Black and Brown people the way Hitler killed Jews. They have to do it surreptitiously, and once again, what better way to kill people of color than a killer virus that’s raging out of control?

I know it sounds insane. But think about it: almost everything Trump says and does is insane. And the Republican Party never complains, never stops him, never distances themselves. This is because they want the same things Trump does: general mayhem in America (which they think favors law-and-order Republicans) and a lot fewer Black and Brown people (because they think people of color have less intelligence and vote Democratic).

By the way, this Republican desire to spread chaos and death in America through COVID is also related to their undermining and delegitimizing our democracy. We see this undermining in Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the election, an insanity that Republicans are glad to join him in. Why is Trump trying to undermine democracy? It’s more evidence of his debt to Putin. We don’t know what Putin “has” on Trump (I personally think it’s the pee tape), but we know beyond certainty that Trump has done everything he can to assist Putin; and one thing Putin detests is American democracy. Putin wants America to go down. Trump is sowing mistrust in our democracy, both here and abroad, because Putin wants him to.

Someday, an impartial jury is going to pronounce Trump and his associates guilty of all sorts of dreadful things. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know what their specific crimes are: treason, dereliction of duty, tax evasion, perjury, conspiracy to defraud the American people, interfering in elections…they’ve done it all, and far more. But I know, and you do too, that this is the most criminal regime in the history of the United States. I know, and you do too, that we’ve come this close to falling off the edge, or, rather, of being driven off it, by a cabal of individuals too treasonous, or too stupid, to care about the consequences of their actions. I know, and you do too, that we’re not out of the woods yet.

It was gratifying yesterday to hear Gen. Milley warn Trump (more or less) that the U.S. military will not sustain a dictator. That reassurance was very much needed, with so many of us worried that Trump, Pompeo and the rest of the thugs might not hesitate to impose martial law and overturn the results of the election. Gen. Milley seemed to be saying, “Don’t worry about this. We—the senior command structure in the Pentagon—will protect the Constitution, not Trump.” Still, until that fat ass, Trump, and his klepto spawn are out of the White House and out of government, I, for one, will worry. Hope for the best, people say—but prepare for the worst.

Troubled thoughts, one week after the election


I think I hit a new emotional low today. As if things weren’t depressing enough, what with the pandemic, Gus dying, and me staring my mortality in its dark face, I heard something that dreadful Mike Pompeo said, and it really freaked me out.

“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” he announced, with a smirk, at a press conference. He used the same phrase, “counting every legal vote,” that Trump’s slave, Kayleigh McEnany, has been using, a phrase implying that Biden’s five-million vote plurality was illegal. And he implied that Republican governors will make sure that electors from their state disregard the election results and instead appoint Republican stooges.

When I heard that, I had to go out for a walk.

The weather has turned chilly here in Northern California, after a spectacular six months of paradise, so I bundled up against the wind. And walked, and walked, and walked for many miles. My head and heart were so troubled. I really am not ready for a coup d’état by Republicans, but it looks like that’s what they’re planning. If we’ve learned anything about Trump and his storm troopers after four years, it’s that he means what he says—and when he says he won’t accept the results of the election, we have to believe that he won’t. He has the power of the Pentagon (including the National Guard) until Jan. 20, 2021, and I don’t doubt that he’ll use it if he feels like he needs to.

He also has the power of the millions and millions of “proud boys,” QAnons, and other white militia types, many if not most of whom have weapons and know how to use them. We elite coastal wimps, of course, do not have weapons, so if it comes to that, what are we supposed to do? History, so the old saying goes, is written by the winners. Trump and his lackeys understand that perfectly well. They’re prepared to be Genghis Khan, or Sherman riding through Georgia, pillaging, looting, burning and destroying everything in sight.

Look: Trump himself said, on Fox “News” (where else?), that America’s problems will only be “solved…when the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great.”

His acolyte Steve Bannon—now banned for life from Twitter for threatening to murder his political opponents—said the same thing.  “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

Their game plan is clear. It’s right there in plain sight. Burn it all down. Values, institutions, the Constitution, the opposition Democratic Party, the government, the federal agencies, the courts, the media, Hollywood, the LGBTQ community, foreigners, Muslims, liberals, and all the rest that they hate. And what would Republicans do when loyal American citizens resist their assault? “Put heads on spikes,” Bannon saidin other words, behead—Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. head, and Dr. Fauci. He would then “put [the heads on pikes] at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.”

Why are we not taking these psychopaths,Trump and Bannon, at their word? They said these things. Why do we assume they’re just indulging in hyperbole? They’re not. These madmen are for real. They cannot be stopped using ordinary means. No court decision will deter them, no complaining on MSNBC, no editorial in the New York Times, no Twitter appeal from Rob Reiner, no peaceful demonstration by the  National Federation of Democratic Women, no March on Washington, no letters to the editor, no appeals to Gavin Newsom or Kamala Harris, no Lincoln Project. If the Republican thugs think they can get away with a coup, they’re perfectly happy to do it, convinced as they are they will win. They’ve studied the history of revolutions, and they know that the best way to take over a government is to ruthlessly overthrow the old government, install themselves, and intimidate the citizenry from doing anything about it.

And these are the thoughts that so troubled me on my walk. I admit that I’m pretty depressed lately. I’d like to see some light at the end of the tunnel, something to give me hope that Biden and Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021, and we can restore normalcy to America (and that the pandemic will go away, and Gus’s tumor will shrink). But right now, I’m just not seeing any of that.

Good riddance to bad rubbish


He’s irrelevant. Trump, I mean. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

My name is Trump, King of Kings;

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

There is nothing left but ruins. His kleptomaniacal family, especially the sons, are still out there, ranting, waving the neo-nazi flag, egging his insane followers on to some kind of civil war. His freakish slaves, like Lindsay Graham and Devin Nunes, are urging him to fight on. Like Confederate soldiers who lost the Civil War, they’re screaming, “Trump Will Rise Again.”

But nobody cares anymore. The world has moved on. Foreign leaders have all congratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. George W. Bush wished Biden well. They’re glad to wash their hands of this horrible, crazy person, Trump. Even Fox “News” cut off one of his cultists yesterday; when she started lying about a stolen election, the anchor in essence told her to STFU. Imagine! Fox has been Goebbels to Trump’s Hitler; for an anchor to repudiate a Trump propagandist is the ultimate symbol: Trump is yesterday’s garbage. All that’s needed is for the truck to come by and take him to the dump.

Now these Republicans are saying Trump needs more time to “absorb” the fact that he lost. Again, nobody cares what he absorbs, or how long it will take. We don’t give a damn about his digestive process. It doesn’t matter. If he’s in pain, fine; he deserves it. All that matters is that the process legally continue. Let President-Elect Biden be given the money he’s entitled to to fund the transition. Let the Electors meet (in their mysterious, un-transparent way) to certify the election results and declare Biden the winner. Let life in Washington proceed normally (or as normally as Washington is capable of). Trump can play golf and gorge on Kentucky Fried Chicken and watch porn and tweet and do whatever else he wants, until Jan. 20, 2021. Then he can move to Mar-a-Lago, or go to another country, as he threatened to do if he lost, and live out his life hiring strippers and bullying everybody.

Or—another delightful scenario—he can bankrupt himself on lawyers. He’s going to get his ass sued all over the place. As USA Today just reported, numerous people are suing Trump civilly for defamation of character. His niece Mary Trump is suing him for cheating her out of her inheritance. He’s being sued for using his Trump Hotel in Washington for violating emoluments laws regarding his hotel. He’s being sued by Michael Cohen for non-payment of legal bills. The New York State Attorney General is investigating him for fraud. And the Manhattan District Attorney is conducting a criminal investigation into what looks like Trump’s fraudulent business dealings. Even if Trump wins all these cases, which is unlikely, he’s going to be embroiled in them for years. It’s going to cost him tens of millions of dollars for lawyers—and he won’t have the Department of Justice to protect him anymore or the RNC to siphon money to him.

Well, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. We’ve all waited years for Justice (also known as Karma) to catch up with Trump. And now, it is. Tick…tick…tick…Jan. 20, 2021 is less than 2-1/2 months away. Plenty of time for Trump to stew, to worry, to sweat, to be paranoid. Plenty of time for him to lie in bed, in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, and envision a horrible future. It’s an apt reward for what he’s inflicted upon America, and the world. “As a man sows, he shall reap.” And the 70 million Republicans, including a majority of white people, who voted for him? Frankly, I don’t give a damn. They’ve been infected with a fever dream. Now that Trump has been flushed down history’s drainpipe, I believe the fever will break. Slowly, they’ll come back to their senses. They’ll go through a Kuber-Rossian period of denial and bargaining and then eventually they’ll reach acceptance. President Biden is such a decent, moderate man, they’ll have nothing to hate him for. (Progressive Democrats are another story!) Sooner or later, the Republican reaction will be, “You know what? Biden’s not as bad as we feared. And he is a pretty spiritual, religious guy who respects traditional family values.” Not all Republicans will come around. The worst of the deplorables are literally unregenerate. But I don’t care about them. So let’s go on to win two Senate seats in Georgia, fire the repulsive McConnell, and begin to fix the damage Trump and his cult have inflicted on our country!

Tears of joy, tears of sorrow


Oakland went CRAZY on Saturday when news of Biden’s victory was announced. Spontaneous celebrations of joy erupted around the city, as they historically did in so many other American cities. The tens of thousands who turned out here comprised the greatest public demonstration of happiness since the last time the Warriors won the NBA championship. The streets around Lake Merritt were gridlocked with honking cars, flag-wavers, posters, people flashing the “V” sign, cheers, and above all, smiles.

I was returning from the gym when I heard the honks. I really wanted to get home and see how Gus was doing, but I just had to get involved. After taking a few pictures, the fever hit me, and I joined in the street dancing. Jumped up and down, waved my fists “Hell, yeah!”, and yelled my bloody arse off. Everybody was grinning and high-fiving, music was playing from every car stereo, and even the weather gods cooperated: a stunningly clear, blue sky, with mild temperatures and a clean, pure breeze. Biden weather.

Wasn’t it a pleasure to see the news reports from around the country? Millions of ordinary people turned to the streets just to express their sheer joy after the stress and tension of the last few months—no, make that the last four years. “Our long national nightmare is over,” were the words that occurred to me—Gerald Ford’s words–when the networks announced Biden’s victory early Saturday morning. I don’t think Trump was in the White House at the time, but if he had been and looked out the windows, he would have seen massive gatherings of citizens, celebrating his humiliating loss.

I just had to reach out to people. I made phone calls to friends, started conversations with perfect strangers. It occurred to me to buy a bottle of sparkling wine, so I went to Bay Grape, which my friend Josiah Baldivino owns. There was a line at the door. When it was my turn, the front door guy scanned my forehead for my temperature and let me in. I had some questions, so a floor staff guy helped me make my choice: a Cremant de Loire, made not from the traditional Chenin Blanc but from Cabernet Franc. As I was paying for it, I told the guy—he couldn’t have been more than 27—that he was witnessing an important day in American history. He said he knew. I was crying. Honestly, I haven’t cried as much in the last forty years as I have in the last three weeks. Between Gus (tears of grief) and the election (tears of stress), and then, when Biden won (tears of gratefulness and relief), I’m just a soggy old mess.

Which got me thinking. I find myself crying for two completely opposite reasons: Gus and Biden. But the tears feel the same: somehow, they’re both cleansing. Purifying. I don’t really understand it. I Googled “purifying tears” and came across this interesting comment. “The role of tears is to purify the souls of people in critical situations or of happiness. Tears help us to deeply penetrate into our being and to demonstrate [to] ourselves that we are capable of feeling something. The role of tears is well defined, because as there are tears of joy, so there are tears of pain. As a matter of fact, once with us, cry even our soul, which feels every emotion, every feeling. The tear is a symbol of joy and suffering and we must accept it because it represents our purification regardless of circumstances. The role of the tears is like rain, only that it does not wash streets, but souls!”

That’s what crying feels like to me: a washing of my soul. And it’s so strange that, in my life, two profoundly moving things are happening simultaneously: Gus’s impending death, and this miraculous election of Joe Biden. It’s almost too much to wrap my brain around.

Well, Gus isn’t getting any better. Sometimes, I put my lips on his swollen tumor, on the left side of his snout, and draw my breath in, to take the cancer out into myself. I know this is silly, but it can’t do any harm, and besides, Gus seems to like it. He’s always been a needy dog; he likes being with me, in close physical contact. But lately, he’s become even needier. Not in an annoying way. He’s an extraordinarily sweet little dog, with big, soft brown eyes, and his sweetness has been magnified over the last three weeks, like the elemental quality of sweetness in the Universe is coming through his body. I’ll have him euthanized when the time comes, but I find myself struggling with this dilemma: how will I know when the time comes? Marilyn told me she realized, in retrospect, that she’d kept her first dog alive too long, even when it was very sick, not for the dog’s sake, but for hers. “Don’t feel guilty if you put Gus down sooner than you think you have to,” she said. I think that’s a profound insight, but it still begs the question, how will I know? People say, “You’ll just know.” And I suppose I have to assume that’s right. I’ll just know.

But not yet. Maybe in the next few days, maybe a week or two. Then I’ll have to decide whether to get another dog. I can’t imagine coming home and not having Gus there waiting by the door. “Hi Little Baby,” I say, as he hops up with his front paws on my knee and looks at me, his tail wagging. But I’m old; I don’t know how much time I have left, and I don’t want to get a dog only to drop dead the next day. It wouldn’t be fair to the animal.

My wonderful next-door neighbor, Wendy, just got the cutest little puppy, Ish (short for Ishmael). I don’t know the breed. The little thing is so full of energy, a four-pound dervish of playful dogginess. Old Gus doesn’t quite know what to make of Ish. I see them together, and I think, “Gus is life leaving this plane, and Ish is life entering it. The cycle goes on.” Hardly the most profound thought, but it makes me cry. As do so many things these days.

After more than four years, it looks like The Resistance has won!


On August 22, 2016, I wrote my final post about wine on my blog. I told my readers, “Going forward…I will frequently write about politics… and I will certainly do my best to demolish the Republican Party, which deserves it.” My wine blog, which I’d been writing for more than eight years–since May, 2008–had been one of the most popular in the country. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands or, who knows, hundreds of thousands of folks read it. It added inestimably to my reputation, which already was considerable. I fully realized that, by switching directions, there would be consequences. “I’m sure I’ll lose readers, maybe a lot of them,” I wrote. “But I may also gain some new ones. Be that as it may.”

I stopped writing about wine for two important reasons. First, I’d just retired, at the age of 70, so since I was no longer working in the wine industry, it didn’t make sense to write about it. Sure, I could have assumed the position of the wise elder statesman, pronouncing on heady issues in the wine industry, and I’m sure lots of people would have welcomed that. But the second reason was more compelling: I felt morally compelled to do everything in my power to resist Donald Trump.

Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president. As a New Yorker, I knew who, and what, Donald Trump was. He was a ridiculous joke. He’d led the anti-Obama birther movement, one of the most insidious political phenomena in modern history. He was a vile person, amoral, a serial adulterer, a blowhard, a narcissist, a fool, a pathological liar, a mean, nasty con man. It was important for me, in the summer of 2016, three months before the election, to join what eventually became known as The Resistance and do my best to aide it, however humble that role may have been.

I spent the next four years doing whatever I could to express my horror and outrage, as Trump went from nominee to president-elect to president and proceeded to strive to create a neo-nazi, white supremacist, fascist regime under his authoritarian rule. It was very difficult for me, as I’m sure it was for millions of other Americans, to hear his lies and slurs on a daily basis. It was absolutely horrifying to witness so many people in this country rally to him. As a student of the rise of the Nazis in Germany, I saw terrifying similarities in America. There were moments when, in despair, I came close to giving up. But I never did. Always there remained in me the spark of righteous indignation. I knew he was an evil man. I knew he represented the end of our democracy. I knew he was the coming dictator our wisest pundits feared. I knew how much I loved my country. I knew how perverse his followers were. And so there was no question: I had to continue writing about him, attacking, demolishing, exposing.

Republicans taunted people like me. “You’ve let Trump live rent-free in your head,” they said. Yes, it was true that I was obsessed with Trump. But it didn’t bother me. Some things are worth obsessing over. Lincoln was obsessed with saving the Union. I never for a moment thought that I should forget about him and move on to something else to write about. No. I believe in our American democracy. It’s not always easy living in a democracy. As Churchill said, “Many forms of Government have been tried…No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”.

So for me, after some 1,200 anti-Trump posts, written over four years and two months, here we are, on the cusp of a Biden-Harris victory. It’s not a done deal, as our fraught nerves well know. The Coney-evangelical-radical Catholic Supreme Court, with its bigoted religious fanatics, could still weigh in and overturn the will of The People. There remain plenty of battles ahead. We, The Resistance, can take enormous pride in what we have accomplished: the overthrow of an illegitimate and criminal president. But we mustn’t rest on our laurels. The other side is still out there, plotting, lying, fomenting civil unrest. It’s still our moral duty to fight them.

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