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America desperately needs a woman president. I thought that in church Sunday as we sang, “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you,” a gorgeous hymn with a chorus of Alleluias, and the altos around me sounded like my old aunts, and the teenage acolytes, both girls, stood up so straight and solemn, holding candles, as a woman priest read the Gospel.

woman president

Two days before, I sent my friend Heather off with her one-year-old daughter at 6 a.m. and put her into a cab with a stroller, fold-up crib, big suitcase, utility bag, and purse, and strong-minded toddler, to go to the airport and fly home to New York. The night before, she sang at a big jazz club downtown, tossing off Hoagy Carmichael, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Lennon-McCartney, and now she arose cheerfully, packed up, headed out the door, no sweat. It was a glimpse of heroic competence such as few men could manage. Barack Obama, yes. The current guy? Oh my God. Have you ever seen him carrying a child? Can you even imagine it? Him changing a diaper? No way.

Standing at a lectern and hollering about injustice is an act; motherhood requires discipline and commitment.

Standing at a lectern and hollering about injustice is an act; motherhood requires discipline and commitment. But we Democrats have a 78-year-old Vermont socialist with a bum ticker knocking on the door. We desperately, desperately need a woman president but Liz is too robotic and Amy is too Midwestern. She’s running for president but she sounds like she’s running for county commissioner. She lacks poetry.

I am fond of Bernie, being 77 and retro myself, but I tell you: a man our age belongs in a glass case; he is fighting the battles of yesteryear. He reminds me of the men who picked me up when I was 16, hitch-hiking home, and they wanted someone to listen to them, so I did. They were angry at the government, their bosses, and their wife, and for twenty miles they unloaded. They stopped at my road and I thanked them, but I wouldn’t have elected them president.

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Donald J. Trump is the issue, not capitalism. He is a living monument to the impotence of journalism. Every honest writer has beaten on him and the man is fresh as a daisy. He walked away from impeachment as if he’d won the heavyweight championship of the world and he set out to purge the administration of all appointees who don’t kiss his shoes. He pardoned a whole string of big-time chiselers at the behest of pals of his and will likely pardon Stone and Flynn and Manafort, his consiglieri, and if he shot somebody dead on Fifth Avenue, he would pardon himself, and his people wouldn’t blink. If he issued an executive order canceling the 22nd Amendment and declaring himself president for life, the Supreme Court might object but he would simply ignore them. Chief Justice Roberts has no fighter planes or tanks at his command. If Trump renounced Jesus Christ and spat on the New Testament and burned it, the evangelicals would stick with him because, having stuck with him this far, it would destroy their transmission to make a U-turn. So the November election is crucial.

If he’s re-elected, he’ll change the rules of spelling and capitalization to make his style the correct one. Him and me don’t agree about this but he’s the boss and his word goes and this sentence will be perfectly gramitical a year from now, U weight and sea.

I’m too old to fight. If the scholars of the Electoral College want him, then so be it. My ancestor John Crandall was a minister in Salem, Massachusetts, in the 17th century and he preached against the Puritans who cut off the tongues of dissidents, but he lost that argument and had to leave. If Donald the First beats the old socialist and we must flee to Canada, so be it. The second term of Trump, however long it lasts, will be more amusing when viewed from afar.

There is no wall to climb over. There are places in North Dakota where there isn’t even a barbed-wire fence, you just walk down a gravel road. The national anthem is more difficult than ours but we can learn it. The bacon is round, not in strips, but the rules of hockey are the same, and they have modern medicine. Democracy is a long-term problem and, at 77, I’m a short-termer. I just want to have a good time. Good luck to the young. Montreal will suit me fine.


Garrison Keillor

Reposted with permission from Prairie Home Productions