AN ERA OF MISPLACED MANHOOD

Memorial Day. 2017. KELLEY KIDD. I have posted nothing since January 20, the day I went to Baltimore to a memorial for a friend who had just died from cancer or, more importantly for me, to visit with a sister of the friend who had died. It was inauguration day and my return the next day took me along the same highway through the nation’s capitol. Although my attention on those days was largely on Baltimore, my experiences with events in D.C. have led me to reflection more than to the sort of clarity that leads me to write.

The trip put me travelling through the nation’s capital on the inaugural day during the hour before the swearing in of the new president. So I was nearing Baltimore as he delivered what most Americans had hoped would be a successful effort to heal some of the wounds of the political campaign. The traffic was moderately heavy and moved well. Then the speech! It took me by surprise. After hearing many Trump speeches and reading several of his books, I was still unprepared for the belligerence of it, the attack that blamed all other elected officials for mistakes he alone could correct, and the no-holds-barred contempt for every nation other than his own. That night the enormously narcissistic tone of this inaugural was continued as the new President led off the dancing at two of three inaugural balls with dancing to “I Did It My Way.”

I attended the memorial service for my friend that evening. It was a backyard tribute to a woman whose kindness had once played a role in saving my life, a quiet recognition that the humble contributions of her life had been vital to those who received.Most of the recipients and mourners had been other women. Early the next morning I drove back through the Capitol on the way home to Georgia.

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