Connecting the Dots: Are you satisfied and comfortable?


  • John Bos FILE PHOTO

Published: 8/19/2022 3:26:41 PM
Modified: 8/19/2022 3:23:16 PM

One connection to the world outside of my home is in a monthly gathering via ZOOM entitled “Living Fully, Aging Gracefully, Befriending Death.” As you may perceive, it is a monthly gathering of “older” adults who are sharing their own lives and times with each other. We used to meet in person until the pandemic pushed us onto the internet.

Each month we focus on one third of that title. Our past gathering focused on “Living Fully.” Our focus was on “advice,” using Ron Padgett’s poem How to Be Perfect as a conversation prompt. His poem offers a litany of brief do’s and don’ts such as “Expect society to be defective. Then weep when you find that it is far more defective than you imagined.” Google Padgett’s poem. You will find something there that connects with you.

I wept. Society is far more defective that I could ever have imagined. What is feeling so hopeless at this moment is that it feels like there is no way out of America’s nosedive into authoritarianism. I have read that when people are driven by fantasies, by resentment, by an internalized sense of inferiority, there is no redemption in anything. Winning elections, burning effigies, even shooting at other citizens does not soothe their anger but instead deepens the spiritual and moral void that haunts them.

So-called Republicans, who privately acknowledge that Trump broke more than one law, not to mention ethical tradition, don’t care. They don’t give a damn. What is most important to them and their base right now is that they somehow see Trump and his campaign to “drain the swamp” in Washington as giving meaning to their lives. Trump’s daily barrage of emails and Truth Social pledges “to rid the country of the “personal persecution” by the “Radical Democrats” that led to “Impeachment Hoax 1” and “Impeachment Hoax 2” is giving them “beliefs” that bring them alive. Beliefs that transcend the law. They don’t care about the law and are working from the ground up in large cities and small villages to ensure that the Trumpublican party wins future elections, not by popular vote, but by voting in secretaries of state and their minions to decide which votes count and which votes don’t.

The messaging from Trump took me to the constant stream of emails I received the day after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago. I am on Trump’s email list because, like watching Fox News, I wanted to hear what the extreme Right is saying. In one of the emails I received, the Trump machine wrote “These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents.”

“Nothing,” the email continued, “like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before, and it’s important that you know that it wasn’t just my home that was violated — it was the home of every patriotic American who I have been fighting for since that iconic moment I came down the Golden Escalators in 2015.” Does Trump’s base really believe that Mar-a-Lago, with its required private club membership requirement, has a place for them at that golden table?

While the war on civility began with the 2016 election, “Civil war” is one of the many terms we now use too easily. The American Civil War was a bloodbath driven by the inevitable confrontation between the Union and the organized forces of sedition and slavery. But at least that Civil War was about something.

Today, we the people are facing a different form of violence. We are not facing organized armies and militias in the South marching on federal institutions. What I see us facing are random threats and unpredictable dangers from people who spend too much time watching television and plunging down QAnon rabbit holes.

Tom Nichols, in a recent Atlantic article, nails it. He wrote, “Donald Trump is central to this fraying of public sanity, because he has done one thing for such people that no one else could do: He has made their lives interesting. He has made them feel important. He has taken their itching frustrations about the unfairness of life and created a morality play around them, and cast himself as the central character. Trump, to his supporters, is the avenging angel who is going to lay waste to the ‘elites,’ the smarty-pantses and do-gooders, the godless and the smug, the satisfied and the comfortable.”

Are you satisfied and comfortable?

John Bos is a Greenfield resident. “Connecting the Dots” is published every other Saturday in the Recorder. He is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times and the editor of a new children’s book “After the Race.” Questions and comments are invited at


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