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The Jesus Nut
In aviation, the term 'Jesus nut' refers to any part of an airplane so crucially important, were it to fail a pilot would have no fall back position. Fall down position, yes. Fall back, no. When the Jesus nut comes off, the consequences are catastrophic. Aeronautical game, set and match.
As horrifying a situation as that would be, it's an extraordinarily rare occurrence. As unlikely as Donald Trump becoming President of the United States. In which case, the Jesus nut will have come off of American politics.
The nut falls off, a nut gets in.
Unlike a fatal death spiral however, the country won't find itself in freefall. Despite a stunning departure from intellect, logic and other smart things too numerous to mention, we will not have to abandon all hope. U.S. presidents do not go unchallenged. Cannot become tyrannical autocrats. Are not kings possessing "off with his head" levels of authority. For all it's political foibles, follies and foolishness, the United States still rests upon a sturdy foundation of checks and balances that keep our leaders from going completely off the deep end. Although, starting Middle East wars and crashing the economy put us precariously on the brink.
In the 226 years since the office was created, we've had quite an assortment of leaders; a president with no teeth, a president with no brain, a pill popping president, admitted 'sissy' president, drunken president, rich and poor presidents, uneducated presidents, gluttonous presidents, horn dog presidents, big city presidents, hillbilly presidents, hawkish presidents and peace and love presidents. Given the historical precedent, as dangerous as he might be, even a contemptuous, narcissistic president could only do limited damage. And as much as I hate to admit it, a President Donald would unquestionably bring a number of unique distinctions to the office.
For starters, he'd be the first president to replace love of country with love of self. But, hey, no one's perfect. The closest to perfection in our collective political thinking is arguably President Abraham Lincoln. And he wasn't. History describes Lincoln as often being rude, using coarse language and, on many occasions, acting childishly petulant. I've never read that he called women 'fat pigs', defamed immigrants as 'rapists' or insulted entire nations but to some degree, President Donald has already borrowed more than a little somethin' somethin' from Abe's playbook.
President James Knox Polk had zero personality and was elected exclusively on his thorough understanding of the issues. With nothing but a personality - albeit it an "amazing" one - President Donald would stand out as the first leader of the free world to understand nothing; policy, foreign affairs, the constitution. Although, unencumbered by annoying facts or legal process he'd have government humming right along, incisively treating whatever popped into his head as truth which would be, administratively speaking, "uge!"
Our most married president - currently on wife number three - such conjugal diversity could place President Donald among our most monogamous leaders, keeping him from following in the philandering footsteps of President Woodrow Wilson who slept with a lady friend in Bermuda, Dwight D. Eisenhower who slept with his secretary in Washington or, John F. Kennedy who slept with Hollywood. Not to mention President Bill Clinton who ... well ... President Bill Clinton.
Some presidents maintained exercise programs; quirky though they might have been. President John Quincy Adams enjoyed swimming naked in the Potomac. President Herbert Hoover forced his cabinet members to join him outside, every morning, in any weather, to play 'catch' with a six pound medicine ball. They have nothing on President Donald who would get an even greater aerobic workout just by carrying his massive ego around all day.
Presidents Warren G. Harding and Lyndon B. Johnson supposedly named their penises. Having been called one on many occasions, President Donald would absolutely choose the 'best ever' presidential penis name. The obvious? ... 'Trump tower' ... Simple and endearing? ...'Little Donnie'... Bold and flamboyantly gallant? ... 'Sir Cumference'... It's all conjecture of course, but, knowing his penchant for gross exaggeration, I think something like 'The Magnificent 7' would be more like it.
When it comes to literature, President Donald would be the first Commander in Chief to read only books he's written. Such selectivity far outshines his Republican predecessors, President Ronald Reagan, who loved reading the comics in the morning paper, and President George W. Bush who likes looking at the pictures.
All presidents come under fire. Remarkably, President Donald would be the first one completely impervious to criticism. Cloaked in an impenetrable shield of personal wealth and privilege, he'd bully his way on the world stage, protected by a self image capable of turning aside insults and reality the way Iron Man's suit deflects bullets.
Famous internationally as the quintessential ugly American, here at home President Donald's avowed intolerance for 'losers' would lead to yet another superlative - our most compassionless president. Rather than uplifting the downtrodden and disadvantaged across this great land of ours, he'd be 'fantastic' at holding them up to ridicule, shaming them for their failures. In conjunction with an outstanding ability to foster racism, sow divisiveness and promote bigotry, he surely would make America grate again!
And yet, the single greatest consequence of a Trump presidency wouldn't be anything he does. It will be us acknowledging we have fallen so low. So lost our way. So allowed disappointment and frustration with the current state of government to make a shockingly mindless choice seem a viable option.
If that political Jesus nut does come off, we'll have no choice but to own it. A nation of apathetic, uninformed voters. Duped by the false veneer of celebrity. Swayed by nonsensical, bull in a china shop rhetoric.
With Donald Trump in the White House, our political system will not have suffered just the loss of a figurative nut. We, as a people, as a country once known for its greatness, kindness and equality, will have also lost our balls
Ian Seeberg 9/2015
Religion is popping up in all the wrong places.
Recently, an American born airline stewardess became a Muslim. She knew her religion forbade her from personally consuming alcohol but, didn't realize it precluded her serving it to passengers as well. The airline respected her new beliefs. They allowed her to wear a head covering with her uniform and other attendants served heathens mini bottles of Maker's Mark while she specialized in faith based beverages like soft drinks, coffee and tea. A crew member became uncomfortable with the arrangement and filed a complaint. The stewardess was placed on a twelve month leave of absence - human resources code for 'don't let the cockpit door hit you in the ass on the way out'. As a 'victim' of discrimination, she and a Muslim rights organization are now heading to court for a religious crusade against the airline.
What exactly should we make of this alleged harassment in the clouds?
By changing her belief system her functionality no longer matched her job description. Was it then religious discrimination if this new found orthodoxy caused her to perform only tasks she deemed appropriate? Was it religious discrimination if crew members, content to do their own jobs, weren't much interested in doing hers as well? And, was it religious discrimination if the piety of an outlier forced co-workers to adapt to changes in their jobs and the workplace?
Hell, no! Wake up, Miss Fly the Infidel Skies! The whole world is not out of step, you are! Houses of worship are specifically designated havens in which to do, say and practice whatever you believe in. Being on the clock, in business class, aboard a 757 at thirty thousand feet is not that place!
And, hey! How about you stop worrying about your religious freedoms being squelched and worry about mine being dissed! As a practicing Eight Days a Week Apoplectic you offend me by covering your head which is an insult to Seborrhea, the follicle God! Drinking well liquor, squeezing from the bottom of the toothpaste tube and tucking in shirt tails even when wearing a sports coat is also forbidden so, don't even! But eating food that has fallen on the floor is okay because acknowledging the existence of microbes and germs is against my beliefs. So, there! Deal with it!
The courts will decide the airline case but probably not address the bigger issue of religion being shoehorned into every phase of our society. People, most especially politician type people, are injecting sanctimonious mumbo jumbo and symbolism into anything and everything. I always wonder what baseball players think when they cross themselves and then strike out? Abandoned by their God? Lost favor in his, hers or it's eyes? If you're so concerned, spend more time in the batting cage and less time praying.
The hell with the courts, let's solve this 'in your face, religious overload problem' here and now. Unless you work in a church, a synagogue, voodoo shack on the bayou or as an accountant cooking the books for a televangelist, spiritual beliefs, sacred revelations, bible quotes and displays of fealty to any and all deities have no business being in business. Anyone who can't square their religion with their job, needs to get a new one ...either one... religion or a job.
As free thinking people in a democracy we can choose to make any concessions we're comfortable making. But when performing the obligations of a secular job in a professional setting no one should ever be compelled to conform to another person's religious requirements.
And let's agree that taking religion out of the equation has to happen before all this 'it's against my beliefs' nonsense spirals into an every man for himself, devotional cat rodeo! The day faith allows people to choose which laws to obey and which to ignore is the day my personal savior tells me to never pay property taxes again.
This would be chaos without end! The salesperson in a men's clothing store who refuses to sell leather belts and shoes because he's of the Hindu faith and cow's are sacred. A Jewish waiter who won't serve others lobster because shellfish is his religious no no. The bartender at Hooters who has a spiritual awakening after Allah whispers in her ear and shows up for work in a burka.
To the zealots who simply can't manage to turn off all that's holy from 9 to 5, I say, shut up, be happy you have a job and do it! Or, don't be happy, quit and walk away! Either way, shut up!
In the category of 'illegal and inappropriate religious dogma', the county clerk in Kentucky who went rogue and refused to issue same sex marriage licenses, is currently leading in the Joan of Arc Martyr of the Month sweepstakes. Sworn to uphold the laws of the land, she instead answered to the higher authority of her God who told her to pass on upholding this particular one. I was stunned! I thought having to answer to a higher authority referred only to Hebrew National hotdog commercials. Live and learn! She better hope God is in her corner because divine intervention will be needed to protect her from her defense attorney. An industrial strength imbecile, he brilliantly challenged the Supreme Court - the final word in our nation's laws, arbiter of American jurisprudence, sine qua non of all things constitutional - saying it was "questionable " they had the "constitutional authority” to make same-sex marriage a law. Furthering the argument that people with an online degree from The Peerless Digital School of Law and Web Design shouldn't be allowed to actually practice law.
Under the guise of religion or any other guise you care to mention, it's unthinkable people could ever cherry pick laws at their own discretion. That's called anarchy. Or, as it's more popularly known, Nigeria.
As for all this intrusive religiosity, President Harry Truman said, "a person should live their faith not talk about it." And, Jiminy Cricket said, "let your conscience be your guide." I have no idea what the significance of any of that is, only that it goes against my beliefs.
Ian Seeberg 9/2015