Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sent 11/3: An Uncracked Cut & a Bolivian Miracle & a Brief Ramble

Tree Dahlias As Seen Today from the Deck

All my coffee mugs have special meaning for me. They remind me of places I've been or people I love. This morning I knew I had to get my morning buzz from my very special mug that I ordered from Roy Zimmerman, the brilliant musical satirist of "VOTE HIM AWAY" fame. There it is on the left:
Grounds for Impeachment
I use a Melita filter. I often leak a few drops when I check to see if the mug is sufficiently full.

But THIS morning, I was getting coffee all
all over the counter! I thought, "Oh no! There can be only two possible reasons for so much coffee on the counter:

  • My hands are starting to shake so much that I might be getting Parkinsons Disease (very large Oy Vey!)


  • The mug has cracked! (an even larger Oy Vey!)

The symbolism of my precious COVFEFE mug cracking on Election Day was almost too unbearable to contemplate. It reminded me of the time I was watching the final Mondale/Reagan debate at Mondale headquarters in San Francisco. The race was close and it seemed that this last debate was crucial. As we watched in silence, experiencing Reagan's weird charisma (I am certain he has the unconscious power to hypnotize people), the giant paper Mondale banner hanging from the ceiling came loose and slowly drifted down and settled over the television. We sat there unmoving, silent. The symbolism was obvious, heavy. We knew we'd lost.

I decided I had to check the mug. So I poured the coffee out into another mug less freighted with meaning for this day, and I poured water into COVFEFE and put it in a bowl. I knew, if the mug was cracked, I would NEVER mention it until the election was absolutely settled. I waited.


Imagine a successful and peaceful election taking place...
"... Amid extreme polarization and racial division, on the back of violent protests, while battling voter trust and fighting one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world." (NY Times)

The circumstances sound familiar, don't they? How could ANY country have a peaceful election under those circumstances? Right? Guess what! Boliva just did! Small unstable Bolivia, after 195 years of political turmoil. 

Here's the history: Evo Morales, the country's first indigenous President, successfully lifted hundreds of thousands out of poverty. But by the end of 14 years in office, he had become autocratic -- persecuting opponents, harassing the press. When he ran again for President in 2019, there were charges of election fraud, and much protest from the right and the military. Morales fled the country. It was considered a coup.

A very conservative interim President was appointed, Jeanine Anez. She ALSO had an authoritarian streak and repressed Morales supporters, to the extent that government forces killed 23 Indigenous people during a pro-Morales demonstration. 

A new election was scheduled, with Morales' chosen successor Luis Arce running against conservative former president Carlos Mesa. People were terrified that this new election would also be the source of violence and fraud. 
But it wasn't! Everything proceeded peacefully. Mr. Arce won with 55% of the vote vs. 19% for Mr. Mesa. 

The conservatives, with the help of the military, drove the social reformer leader into exile. They assumed the levers of government power, planned a new election, in which another social reformer was elected! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? AND IN BOLIVIA! 

  • THE CONSERVATIVES IN POWER ACTED IN GOOD FAITH. That's almost impossible to imagine, isn't it? After driving the reformer out of the country, for some reason they wanted an honest and peaceful election more than they wanted to win. And they went to a great deal of trouble to plan the election and educate the voters so that this would happen. Maybe they actually believed in democracy or something?

  • THEY HAD OUTSIDE ELECTION OBSERVERS. These trained experts from around the world were there to report any fraud or harassment that would compromise the vote. Oh how I long for outside observers, like the Carter Center sent to Bolivia and countries around the world! Yes, our former President helps others have truly democratic elections. But of course that can't happen here. We're special! Oldest democracy in the world! Or should that be "democracy" -- always with quotes?

  • BOLIVIA HAS NO ELECTORAL COLLEGE. In their country they do this very weird thing of just counting up all the votes and awarding the election to the candidate who has the most. As we all know now, we don't just have the Electoral College but the Supreme Court, the House of Reps with two votes per state (for what reason??) and goddess knows what else standing between us and a straight-up majority rule outcome.

On Saturday, Elizabeth and I went to the Embarcadero for a walk. But first we went to SF MOMA and then had lunch at a wonderful Chinese restaurant, FANG, on Howard just off Third Street. They have lovely outdoor table. It's not typical Chinese fare (which I love too). It's special, but not too expensive -- around $12-$15/dish. They gave us beautiful tea with flower buds that opened.

Here's Elizabeth's photo of me snapping the Coit Tower sculpture made of rainbow doors. That's right, foks. You're looking and plain old painted doors.

I thought it was so deligtful that they put these little bronze turtles on this low wall. Elizabeth said the real purpose was not to delight but to keep skateboarders away.

I bought a small print for $5 from this man. Just amazingly complex drawings, inspired by his dreams. And it all packs down into a trailer that he can tow behind his bike!

Saber-toothed tigers and mastodons once roamed here. Well, maybe not EXACTLY RIGHT HERE --- but San Francisco.

This beautiful owl medallion is in the sidewalk.

The whole wonderful urban environment is the project of Emperor Willie Brown....errr.... I mean MAYOR. Mayor. He was a great emporer, got many classy things done like this Embarcadero walk. He wasn't such a great Mayor. He didn't care much about poor people.

Oh! It's getting late! I've got to get this to you. No more commentary. Just photos now.
Let's thank Dr. Fauci now that we have the chance!

That's all for now, my dear Bloggelinis! I want to get this to you before we all go into hyper crazy state when the election results start coming in. Also, Carolyn and I are going to take the pups to the beach! And you know, it gets dark early these days.Terry


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