There are a few topics I feel obligated to touch upon before the eclipse hits next week and begins the countdown to Armageddon.
In case you haven't heard, immediately following the eclipse, the mysterious Planet X—also known to a select few as Nibiru—will make an appearance and it will be found to be on a collision course with Earth. According to David Meade, who is a conspiracy theorist and (probably) Science Editor for Fox News, Nibiru will strike Earth on Sept. 23, wiping out all life on our planet.
This is apparently why the Arizona Wildcat football game against Utah was moved to Friday, Aug. 22.
In the time remaining, I am on a personal quest to find a mythical creature. It's not the Yeti or Bigfoot; it's something far more mysterious. This creature is not being spoken about only in whispers, but openly on right-wing talk radio (to which I am horribly addicted) all over America. I've even heard mention of it on MSNBC. The bipartisan nature of this myth somehow makes it all the more compelling.
There are unsubstantiated reports of people claiming to have voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then Donald Trump in 2016. I know, that whole Nibiru thing is more believable, but this myth won't go away. I heard some guy on the radio the other day actually make that claim.
I think I've figured it out. I've said this before and I mean it: Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all racists are Trump supporters. So, imagine there's this guy who is not a racist, but he voted for Donald Trump. He knows that that puts him on the same side as the neo-Nazis and the Klan and Alabama Crimson Tide football fans and he doesn't want that.
He thinks about it for a while and comes up with a plan that just might be crazy enough to work. He'll tell people that he voted for Obama in the previous election but had a change of heart four years later. Yeah, they'll buy that!
I suppose I could talk about philosophy and policy, but partly what it boils down to is that there's no damn way that somebody is going to vote for a black guy one time and a bigot four years later.
• Like just about everybody else, I've been reading a lot about the opioid crisis. I'll admit that, in my life, I haven't always had the most thoughtful and caring views on drug use and abuse, but I'm trying to get better. There is obviously a lot of blame to go around. I read something recently in The Economist that was stunning.
There's a small town called Kermit in West Virginia, the state that is basically Ground Zero in the crisis. Between the years of 2007 and 2012, a pharmacy in Kermit—a town of only 400 people—ordered nine million hydrocodone pills. Do you think some kind of alarm should have gone off somewhere?
• Finally, I usually get incensed, but this time, I had to laugh when the President of the United States said something really, really stupid. It was during the bombast storm about North Korea last week that President Trump tweeted that the United States' nuclear arsenal is now "far stronger and more powerful than ever before..." (Is there a difference between "stronger" and "more powerful?")
Anyway, he went on to tweet that his first order as President was to "renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal." I realize that we live in a post-truth world, but even that's not true. His first couple orders concerned his desire to take health insurance away from millions of Americans and a hiring freeze, respectively. But who's counting?
When you've got one-third of all Americans willing to believe the most outrageous falsehoods as long as they are spouted as part of an effort to hold back the mongrel horde and you don't give a damn about the other two-thirds who know you to be a weak-willed liar and a bully, you can say just about whatever you want with impunity.
But being a cockeyed optimist, I have to believe that even the most diehard Trump supporter, in a rare moment of clarity, has got to read that tweet (or have somebody read it to them) and think, "That can't possibly be true."
President Trump wants us to believe that, on his orders, the entire American nuclear arsenal was renovated and modernized ... in 200 days! Think about that. If Whirlpool wanted to renovate and modernize its line of washing machines, it would take years. And I dare say that thermonuclear weapons are a tad more complicated than washing machines, even those with a special spin cycle for delicates.
As it turns out, all he did was order a review of the country's nuclear readiness. That review, which other presidents have called for since the end of the Cold War, is ongoing and probably won't be completed this year. Any renovating and modernizing would actually take years, if not decades.
The simple fact is that most of us know that Trump is a liar. I think a fair amount of his supporters know deep down inside that he's a liar (although he's THEIR liar). But do you wonder if he knows that he's a liar?