Some of you, no doubt, are familiar with the Grey Panthers, a group formed in 1970 to combat forced retirement which has gone on to bring progressive senior citizens together in support of a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. Last Monday, after I returned home from delivering my first Marx lecture, Susie and I went to a meeting of the Carolina Meadows Democratic Club. Carolina Meadows has 600 residents in Independent Living and roughly 150 in Assisted Living. The CM Democratic Club claims 423 members [before Susie and I joined], and assuming not every Democrat here has taken the trouble to join, we Democrats would seem to be 2/3 or more of the CM residents.
The meeting very definitely had a Grey Panther feel. There was a sea of grey hair, and plenty of canes, walkers, and hearing aids. Thanks to some very imaginative gerrymandering, Carolina Meadows lies in Mark Walker’s bright red Congressional District, so there is not much hope, even in a wave year, of unseating him. That leaves state house and senate seats and other local contests, which I shall do my best to assist. But this is only February, so it will be a while before my agita can be translated into useful political action. Meanwhile, I am left to stew and fret and anguish about the daily assaults on the elements of democratic political institutions. Which brings me to my mean spiritedness.
I have hated the powerful, reactionary men and women who dominate our politics all of my adult life. My contempt for them is a settled component of my personality, as familiar and unalterable as my facial tics. I do not give either of them much thought because I have lived with them for more than seventy years. But I have developed a new, and therefore especially vivid, detestation for the young princelings and princesses of the Trump entourage. The jeunesses dorées, as they were called in the ancien régime, of Trump world: Ivanka Trump, Donald Jr., Jared Kushner – and Hope Hicks. Privileged, smug, greedy, self-satisfied, ignorant, malevolent, possessed of a boundless and utterly unwarranted self-assurance, they preen and parade before us. It would gravely underestimate their self-delusion to say of them that they had been born on third base and thought they had hit triples.
Donald Jr. and Jared are already in Bob Mueller’s crosshairs, and now Hope Hicks is about to have her turn. It warms my heart [this is the mean-spirited part] to think that she may find herself indicted for conspiracy or lying to an FBI agent or Grand Jury or even, deo volente, for participation in a money-laundering scheme. I desperately want them all to be brought low, for the smugness to be wiped from their faces, to see a hunted look in those lifeless eyes. I would confess to schadenfreude if I felt the slightest schaden about my freude.
It is cold outside, even here in North Carolina. The prospect of their downfall enables me to sleep at night.