Wednesday 4 November

It’s the afternoon of the night before. Last night saw the declarations from the US Elections begin to trickle in. There has been a long history of uncertainty even the following morning as to what the final result might be and this election was no different. What has been different is the standing President has been posturing about election fraud and even declared himself the winner. For both statements he had no evidence. The truth is that all elections are not over until every vote is counted and even then in the case of a dispute or legal challenge the decision may change. It does seem that the successful candidate will not win by a ‘landslide’ (as many Trump supporters have said) but by a narrow margin. Biden manages to maintain at least a certain decorum, the opposite of the sitting President who trashing about with threats of going directly to the Supreme Court shows that he does not even understand legal process.

I’ll be happy when the whole thing is over. It has cost millions of dollars and so much time which surely might have been better spent on alleviating the pressure on ordinary folk and businesses caused by Covid-19 and this administration’s woeful mismanagement of it. How is it that in the UK we manage elections so much more speedily?

Last Wednesday I paid my 3-monthly visit to the doctor and informed him that, as I had only just learned, President Trump would be holding a rally in Tampa the following day. I suggested to him that he would doubtless be busy in the near future! He advised me that with this type of infection there are usually four spikes and we are on only on the second!

Covid cases are on the rise again throughout USA (as in Europe) and Florida is no exception. One of my colleagues asked me what had happened in Tampa that the numbers had risen so drastically yesterday. I replied that Trump held a rally here only last Thursday! Yet these political rallies, and there have been about five with Trump in the each of the last few days, have all the characteristics of ‘super-spreader’ events according to Dr Fauci. From the very top there seems to be acceptance that masks are unnecessary. Folk with this opinion would not even be allowed entry to a supermarket without one so how do the same people feel it is OK to act irresponsibly at a rally?

Later in the evening after Trump’s visit to Tampa I visited my local, O’Briens Irish Pub. The car lot was unusually packed with large trucks each sporting large flags and placards displaying the owner’s Republican affiliation. Inside the bar (which is really an outside tiki bar) red shirts and MAGA hats and loud conversation were the order of the day. It was just a little intimidating as visitors set the tone for the habitual drinkers. It appeared that the rally organizers were among this gathering. Indeed when I saw the newsreel of Trump at the rally I recognized 3 of his local ‘henchmen’ among those gathered in O’Brien’s. People who would have shared time together most days were almost in rival camps. It was awful. At least I was grateful that one of the organizers asked me first if I wished to be in a group photo opportunity he was creating.

Walmart have cleared all their guns from the shelves. They clearly are expecting unrest and indeed this may follow. If the President has already started trumping about electoral fraud before the counting is over and without any evidence then confidence in the system (which saw him elected last time) will have been threatened.

MAGA (make America great again) might be a laudible aim, except that it may already have been ‘great’. Rifkin was never may favourite politician but even he this morning said that the world needs America to be great again and that their willful absence from Climate talks, World Health Organisation and many other fora upsets the balance of power in the world. Standing apart from dialogue with China does nothing but increase the power of China.

Let’s change the subject if not the location! I was in O’Briens a couple of days ago whenit became clear that one of the customers considered that when the English and Spanish arrived on the shores of America they found no one there. Pushed on this she really thought that the invaders were the only folk around. Another advised that the American indians were there long before. And I added that the Irish American indians were also there seeking to defend the shores by throwing potatoes at the ‘immigrants’ and layering cabbage leaves on the beach to impede their progress (because there was a lack of banana skins). She lapped this up too!

Bert is 77 years of age, rides a Harley and, dressed in leathers with long grey hair and a ‘cowboy hat’, looks every bit the Hell’s Angel. He was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and later flew passenger jets all over the world. He’s a great guy and while he was away up north over the summer he let another friend live for free in his house. Now he’s back that friend is staying with me. I was happy to help him out. I was not happy when I discovered last night that he had been helping himself to half of a cooked pork loin I was saving for a decent meal after a long day at work! Grrrr!

I’m really pleased to be keeping up with my decision to compose a psalm setting a week. It’s beginning to form a substantial corpus of music set to the new psalm texts. I’m also pleased to be invited to play for the inaugural recital of a newly extended hybrid (digital and pipes) organ in the neighboring parish. Already the largest pipe organ in the diocese it now has a new console to accommodate 4 manuals and an additional forty stops. I went to try it out yesterday and it certainly packs a punch! I’ll play Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster. Thank God for muscle memory! The resident musician has invited nine diocesan organists to take part and they’ve put me last on the programme!

The liturgical composer David Haas still commands much negative attention. A 28-page document details his modus operandi and statements from victims which make his description as a serial sexual abuse perpetrator very credible. The local bishop must have thought so too as on Friday he released a statement which effectively banned him and his music from the diocese.

I’m loving the changes to my working week. I now work Saturday through Wednesday which gives me 2 consecutive days of effective weekend. So here I am on Wednesday afternoon back home typing up this blog. Tomorrow I will probably go kayaking and Friday will potter around the house until the early evening when I have a wedding to play for .

The weather has suddenly changed. At night the temps drop to around 60F but during the day they climb to mid 80s. The clocks have just gone back so our mornings are brighter earlier and evenings darker sooner. My AC stopped last week and so I called out the installer, a parishioner. He sent out a technician within the hour who fixed the issue. We Brits really need additional tuition in the use of AC systems. We don’t need them back home so filters and leaks are just another challenge.

Stay safe and, if you are an American reading this, stay peaceful until the dust settles on the Election and truth emerges anew.

One thought on “Wednesday 4 November

  1. Great blog phil. So many issues! I do hope that Americans vote for the right person and nothing corrupt taunts that decision. I’m always pleased to hear of your playing and composing abilities which h I liken even to how Bach himself must have operated. Respect! Shame that there’s no swimming pool news or animal visits to your estate but how much can you get in one blog! Enjoy your days off. Love Andy

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