It is the first Saturday of November today. The morning brings me the peace and calm that eluded me during the week. Murray, First Son’s puppy, sprints about the garden like a mad dog unleashed in a new place. He does not disrupt my peace, but that is before I discover the poo he left inside the old music room last night. The chooks, startled by a mischievous Murray, celebrate their release from the coop but their squawks only temporarily break the tranquility of a morning that is touched by the occasional cool whiff of fresh hillside breeze. The nosy magpies and noisy parakeets add to the harmony that The Mrs and I have infused into this creation of ours, our garden. There will be those who say they are as raucous as an open-air Italian food market but for me, their chirps and tweets are as musical as the flute section in a Rossini overture. I walk through the open side gate and the alluring scent of my neighbour’s rose garden awakens my senses. Perfect.
But then it begins. Should I have brought a book with me? I should, at least once, use their nook designed to be a reading corner. But, what about the mozzies? It is still early and the bloodsuckers will be still hunting for victims. Talking about suckers, I think of losers. The way Trump describes the fallen US soldiers as suckers and losers. He may very well lose the election just because of that. John McCain’s widow decided to do something rather than just be angry with the President’s description of her hero.Yes, the late John McCain was a war hero. War heroes, we should honour them lest we forget. Instead, Trump dishonoured their fallen heroes. Will Cindy McCain have done enough to flip the traditionally red Arizona to the Democrats? One would think insulting the nation’s war heroes would be the ultimate act of treason by their Commander-in-Chief, right? Yet there we have it. Over 70 million of Americans just voted for Trump last Tuesday. Go figure! But who can? There is simply no ounce of logic that can describe it in words, let alone justify it. Trump’s loyal base is predominantly less educated, white and live in the sticks. But, many live in rich cities with thriving economies like Miami in Florida too. Yet, this time round, the landslide that many pundits predicted Trump will lose by, has been largely avoided with the help of Cubans and Latinos. Didn’t Trump make it clear he dislikes black immigrants? Don’t they come from shithole countries, he asked? Didn’t he say Nigerians will never “go back to their huts”, after visiting the United States? In May 2018, he said undocumented immigrants are animals. His failure to treat the pandemic as a serious health threat to the American people raises the spectre that here is a man who is only concerned about saving his own political career. He puts his re-election success ahead of the lives of his people by prioritising an open economy over the proven measures of social-distancing and washing hands when COVID cases were starting to increase. He politicised the simple and effective responsibility of wearing masks. Lockdowns and contact-tracing are tough choices to make but when governors adopted such policies when the science said there is no other choice, he tweeted his army of loyal supporters to LIBERATE those cities. He is playing with people’s lives with his political games, over 240,000 dead and almost 10 million infected in the country whilst he presides over his election campaign. Yeah, for him, that’s all that matters – four more years. Enough about him. The garden’s tranquility has been unnecessarily broken. There is no sign of the dreaded mozzie. So, I decide to head towards the reading nook where I can rest awhile to clear my head from the incomprehensible Americans, yes, all 70 million of them.
Murray is telling me he is hungry. He does not practise fasting and I should not impose my discipline on him. Let me pick a few cherries for Murray first.
Whilst Murray is exploring the garden and looking for a good spot to do his “early morning business”, I decided to sit by the creek and listen to the gentle sounds of running water. Now, that is relaxing and soothing, isn’t it, Murray? Murray? He’s nowhere to be seen. Murray used to stick close to me, a bit like my shadow. But of course, he is now two years old. He isn’t so “liam-liam”, (hokkien for clingy) anymore. Which is good. I never liked him standing at the toilet door, waiting for me to finish “my job”. I had to be as quiet as possible knowing he is within hearing distance. He is becoming lazier too. Or, maybe smarter. He doesn’t think a smart dog should be fetching the ball over and over again when all I do is throw it away every time he brings it to me. He is often seen lazing in the sun rather than running around chasing a tennis ball these days.
Murray, where did you go? He tells me he wants to explore the front garden. Maybe I should too. Just so I can genuinely praise The Mrs for the effort she has put in this week. Unlike her, I have neglected the front garden due to time constraints. The clock does not stop ticking when I occupy myself at work or watch the progress of the US election. The latter has seen me spend much time in front of the TV this week. The neighbours have not been back this year. The pandemic has snipped their wings – they haven’t been able to fly anywhere since Christmas. They could come back, of course, but they cannot imagine being stuck in a hotel room for 14 days. Plus, it would be risky to be stuck in a plane with the likelihood of being seated next to someone who may test positive. So, we have not seen them all year and being the good neighbours that we are, we have been looking after their garden whilst they are stuck overseas. Murray, don’t run out to the street, ok?
But, it didn’t take me long to ask myself what do 70 million Americans see in Donald Trump? I can understand the Taiwanese barracking for him; after all, they would look to him as their saviour against China’s President Xi who has repeatedly said Taiwan is part of China and will one day be reunited with the mainland. Somehow, Trump’s blatant lies and divisive tweets do not faze his supporters. They love him because they don’t see him as a politician even though he has been in politics for over five years now since he announced he was running for presidency in June 2015. Why are these 70 million Americans not turned off by Trump when he tells the world he will not accept the results of the election should he lose because it will mean it was rigged and stolen from him? And that he will not promise a peaceful handover? That’s just nuts that the leader of the supposedly greatest democracy of the world can risk a civil war in his country just because he will not accept the will of his people! In the US, more than 1,000 people are dying from the coronavirus every day in recent weeks. Yet, these voters believe him and his quackery about the pandemic. Downplaying the virus is of course self-serving for the President who believes he cannot lose the election, but it is costing misery and death in America. Donald, you’re a quack. Quack, quack. Why is Donald Trump so popular despite his many flaws? Or is it because of his thorough disagreeableness and his proclivity for malicious bullying that almost half of the American population flock to him? After all, he denigrates all and sundry – his opponents as well as his allies – but never once has he criticised his supporters. Stop! I should stop talking to myself. It is disturbing that I am so out of touch with reality. I cannot see what 70 million Americans see. What is so good about their President? By now, the tranquility the garden offered me is totally gone and I should also leave.