Briefly, some personal history with regard to me and my relationship with drinking. It wasn’t my idea, my parents were only social drinkers, not even everyday drinkers – it was my next-door neighbor and friend’s idea (shout out to Joey D). It was right about the time of President Kennedy’s assassination, 1963, and I was thirteen or fourteen. My father was a Colonel in the USAF and he/we were stationed at Travis AFB in northern California. Though not frequent drinkers my parents had a well stocked cellar of wine and liquor for the rotating poker and bridge nights they hosted. One night when the folks were out, Joey came over and asked if there was any booze around. I said sure and showed him the cellar’s stash.
He had a flask and said watch this – and poured some whiskey or vodka or something into the flask, then, with water, filled the bottle up to its previous level. We hit the streets just wandering around taking sips and it was fun, an adventure. That’s my story anyway. That technique carried me all through high school; but it wasn’t something I did on a regular basis.
Not until I was turned onto pot, then cigarettes, did I become a frequent user. By then I was eighteen and could legally drink 3.2 beer (in Colorado), and became friends with the only black kid in our school, a transfer from New York who lived with his uncle on the edge of town (shout out to Larry T. I’m not making this up), who could buy anything he wanted at any drive-through. (Because he was black and, I guess, the clerks assumed he must be 21 and at the university because the town was pure white, except for the “chicanos”, and athletes at Colorado State.)
Further on down the road
I’ll skip ahead a couple years. I met a girl (shout out to her) who had a friend who was a heavy drinker, and he would drive the 100 miles up from Denver to where we lived in a cabin in Poudre Canyon. Riding shotgun was a half gallon of vodka and a case of beer (shout out to Joey L). Joey never spent the night, but we would drink, listen to the river, and just talk. It was fun. Then Joe would drive back to Denver, I guess?
Well then, Joey had a friend from New York who was opening up a dinner-theater in Glendale, and set us both up with jobs when the joint opened. It was a huge success at first. It was 1972 and that was where I was trained to tend bar (shout out to Larry D). It became habit after the show that we all (bartenders, waitresses, managers and even sometimes, the performers) would unwind with shots, beer, and cocaine. (Hey, it was the Seventies.) That habit continued even when I changed joints, states, and wives. Until 1987 when my third wife, and mother of my son (shout out to her), said she’d had enough. She told me to quit bartending and quit drinking or she was gone. I did, for nineteen years. (Which, during that period I wrote, and had published, the previous 1994 “Thinking of Drinking” piece.)
Drinking Writer Man
But all that changed around 2006, when I was back up in Poudre Canyon, way up the canyon, and chilling, having published my first novel. In it I told a story that wasn’t exactly true. And then, yes, I met another girl – who bought and read the novel and gave me the nickname Drinking Writer Man. Well, well, well. Now, I started to really drink, and smoke weed, and lose myself in my own mythology.
Long story short. This picture was taken during that time frame; and I didn’t reign in my consumption until years later, around 2011, when I decided to follow my own long ago advice and “think before you drink”. Which is what I do now.
I drink alone, at home, but with all the house lights turned down low (shout out to Joni Mitchell). I don’t drink much socially when out, one or two beers at most. I don’t trust myself. I don’t work or write when I drink (mostly), just relax and listen to music. I fully admit to using alcohol as an escape, to self-medicating. My latest work, Election 2016: The Great Divide, The Great Debate, makes reference to that fact several times.
Here is an excerpt that, sort of, explains why I drink:
… I think you’ll agree once I lay out what the Democrats’ economic strategy is. But before I begin, here’s a distinction between suppression and repression. Suppression is something done willfully, like speaking with political correctness. You suppress what it is you are really thinking and/or feeling so as to appear more agreeable, likeable, whatever—or, say, presidential. When the early motto in the Trump campaign was “Let Trump be Trump,” that was a way of saying let us not suppress Trump’s natural instincts. He’s been very successful being who he is, which is unsuppressed, uninhibited by convention or political correctness—in other words, unfiltered. Trump has a philosophy, and it works.
Repression, on the other hand, is unconscious suppression. It is inhibition of desire and/ or instinctual drive, usually with health-related consequences, sickness or disease, such as you really want to —— that girl but fear rejection, retaliation, revenge, some harm if you were to attempt to do
so. The desire is repressed. In place of that, you scratch your nose, adjust your clothes, look at the scenery, or pick flowers for your mother. You do anything other than to try and satisfy your actual desire. Then you come down with the flu or crash your car or flip some other dude off and get beat up.
Mr. Trump mostly satisfies his desires, which many people recoil from. It causes them to look at their own unmet desires. Another way to understand suppression and repression is to think of dancing.
Uninhibited dancing is repression exposed or sexual desire openly expressed in a socially acceptable context—dancing / ice dancing (think tango and Olympic pairs skating). Inhibited dancing is also repression exposed or the willful disengagement from the desire to express your sexual desire publicly. All can be unhealthy—repression, suppression and, unexpressed sexual desire.
That said, the foundation of the Democrats’ strategy’s is rooted in egotistic defense mechanisms or repression and suppression. Now you can argue, “So what? Everyone uses them.” And I’ll counter with it’s better for everyone to see the truth of things, reality, and look to solve real problems with that as a baseline rather than the fool’s fantasy. Build your house on rock, not sand, and so on. Now I’m not saying or comparing myself or Mr. Trump to Jesus, only that knowledge trumps fantasy and denial. Fantasy and denial are but two of a dozen (at least) ego defense mechanisms. Others are identification, projection, reaction formation, regression, rationalization, atonement, compensation, displacement, and sublimation. Yes, everyone uses them, sometimes, to some degree or another. As with most things, it’s a matter of degree and/or frequency and the subsequent consequences, both short and long term.
I am not immune, but I am aware of what it is I’m doing most of the time and accept the consequences. As does Mr. Trump. Me, when things get really bad—things being reality —when I’ve done all I can do, I’ll take a little vacation or escape. But again, I’m fully aware of what and why I’m doing it and know I’m dealing only with the symptoms, doing nothing to solve the long-term problems. My “vacation” involves drinking and sometimes smoking a little weed (painkillers). Now Trump, he does neither; he just works till he solves the problem. Sometimes, he walks away. I’m good at that too. But the Democrats and the media, they dwell in the land of ego defense mechanisms. That’s where they live, and they’ve built their houses on sand.
For instance, take the current election, voter turnout, voter ID, immigration and refugee crises, Planned Parenthood, minimum-wage jobs, education, and violence as just a few of the issues facing the country. They all weave together and combine to illuminate the Democrats’ strategy to win, as well as highlight the ego’s defense system.
Here’s the story: Under the guise of moral righteousness, social justice— whatever and however they frame it—what is really going on is a power play. The power motive is behind it. The Dems want to get themselves elected into a position of power for their own gratification/validation, both for economic and personal reasons, rooted in their childhoods, just like most everyone everywhere. It’s a human universal, the human condition. Childhood decides, or the child is father to the man. However you choose to say it, it’s true. The formative years determine what and who you become.
Democrats/Liberals/Progressives, more so than Republicans or Conservatives, seem to make use of the ego defense mechanisms, with the exception of identification and sublimation, which are used more by those on the Right, and then also rationalization and displacement, which both sides seem to often resort to. Back to the story. The Democrats’ strategy, which, of course, they’ll deny, is to eventually replace the established mainstream, middle-class, right-of-center majority of white voters with a coalition of previously marginalized (some would say victims or the oppressed) minorities of women/feminists, blacks/Africans, Hispanics/ Latins, immigrants/Asians, Muslims, and refugees, using the affiliation motive, which requires an enemy (Trump / the rich / the white man) and/ or hazard (global warming and patriarchy).
The Dems couch this in the language of the oppressed, giving voice to the ego defense mechanisms of displacement and rationalization (it’s not your fault), fantasy (you can be whatever it is you want to be, we are all equal), projection (Trump and his ilk are liars, thieves, bullies, frauds, etc.), reaction formation (hate that which you fear you need, i.e., a strong father / protector / tribe), regression (give out hugs, sweet talk, and other gifts of nurturance), atonement (right the wrongs of slavery and other previous failures of character and leadership), and compensation (the guarantee of the Declaration of Independence is that you are all equal). So the Dems want y’all to vote for them, of course, the purveyors of social justice and righters of wrongs, even if you’ve no right, under the law, to vote. They promise you welfare, a subsistent living anyway, and free education and health care, which is better than what you had before, be it in this country
or another. Refugees and immigrants are all welcome, and you can register to vote at Planned Parenthood (no voter ID required as we are all one), where you can get free health care. Where does the money come from? Why, from taxes on the wealthy, of course, born with a silver spoon in their mouth and an unearned seat at the table. They’ve never paid their fair share. And then also from the middle class, which has benefited from “white privilege.” So the story goes! They (white men) lie, steal, cheat, use, and abuse you. Who needs them?
When enough people gather into a community/territory, Walmart, Starbucks, McDonalds, and Home Depot will come in and provide jobs for some. The government will subsidize housing, education, health care, and other services too. Those that work
for the government will do all right, and those that provide the guidance and management of services will do even better. Some will get rich. Some of the immigrants, those motivated by high achievement, will try their hand at entrepreneurship and open a liquor store, a Laundromat, a convenience store, or a nail salon. Religion will find a way in, as will guns, drugs, and bars—the psychiatric tavern—therapy for the poor. Some will enlist in the military. There won’t be enough money in the community for lawyers or a sheriff’s department, so that will fall to the county and law and order to the old ways. There will be a struggle for power and control, for property, and for money and women. The stockholders of the big international companies will watch their portfolios rise and move farther and farther away—some to tropical islands, others behind walls and gates —and hire servants and armed guards. Even with the now-talked-about universal guaranteed income, this will be the case—a struggle for power, status, sex, and money.
And the media will give voice to the story and provide the platform to spread the “news.” They are part of the good coalition, the globalists, the good liberal elites (not the bad evil ones), those that are coming together to save the world to make it a world of peace, harmony, and tranquility, once they gain control from the bad coalition, the nationalists (Trump and his ilk and his followers), the white racists and bigots, the deplorables who “cling to their guns and religion.” And back we are to denial and fantasy and the thought leaders—the politicians, the lawyers, the university professors, and the media—of the peaceful revolution, always working hard for you, and also, by the way, getting rich in the process. And you fall for it? It is a good story.
In the meantime, Trump’s supporters, the voters who could ruin the Dems’ good coalition, the One World Order (see “The Conventions”), are cast as racists, bigots, and xenophobes told to join the party of joy, to “evolve,” or to go away and be content with their guns (for now) and religion and some government handouts (food stamps, Medicaid, and legal drugs). Never mind that the New One World Order / globalists, led by the elite thought leaders, destroyed their (the white working class’) pride—their own achievement, affiliation, and power motives. [fn 116] (By the way, the power motive is something that is shared by many people in many professions, foremost of which are business executive, teacher or professor, psychologist, politician, journalist, clergy, and international diplomat. You’ll note that these professions, the people who inhabit them, are some of Trump’s harshest critics, the ones now calling him crazy. There’s much going on here. For one is the ego defense mechanism of projection. For another, these are people whom he threatens—either in direct competition with or whose career and credibility his success puts in question. They must, must, take him down—not for your well-being, as they’d lead you to believe, but for their own status and achievement, [fn 117] for their own aggrandizement.)
116 Arlie Russell, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right (2016).
117 Johnmarshall Reeve, Understanding Motivation and Emotion (1992), 305. The characteristics of the power motive are a need to control and have impact and influence over others, “centered around a need for dominance, reputation, status, and position.” At least Trump is honest and forthright in who he is. Whereas these others, pffft, are phonies, posers. What Trump has done—has done all his life—is win, which means he beats his competitors and don’t think for a moment that they can stand losing. This is schadenfreude (see “The Case against Trump,” June 7, 2016). Trump beats them coming and going, and now he’s about to become the most powerful man in the world. This morning, August 12, 2016, I watched Morning Joe, which I’d said I wasn’t going to do anymore. But I can’t help it; it’s so delicious. Mika Brzezinski is close to a nervous breakdown. She’s powerless when it comes to who she is (as are most of us) and also has no clue as to that. Her ego defenses are always at a heightened alert. She’s a classic neurotic. She’s been on the verge of tears on many occasions, pleading with Donald, whom she considered a friend, to please, please be nice! “You don’t mean it!” she begs. She truly doesn’t get it, interpersonal communication and human relationships, the human condition or, for that matter, Donald Trump. She’s a highly sensitive soul, a victim of her childhood and genetic makeup, the formative years. She’s been a nervous wreck her whole life but has managed to parlay her father’s status, her beauty, and her determination into positions of power and status and influence, though being temperamentally unsuited for such. She recently divorced her husband of eighteen years, having fallen under the spell of her cohost Joe Scarborough’s charm and narcissism. Almost at the onset of their show, at the beginning of the 2008 presidential cycle, that was obvious. I wrote about it in an essay entitled “Obama Replaces Jesus Christ” in 2011, which nearly got me fired from my position as creative writing instructor at Front Range Community College. A middle-aged female student was so offended by my observations (true that they were) about Mika and Joe that she complained to the administration (also middle-aged females) about it. They were appalled, and I was instructed to clean up my “instruction,” not unlike what Mika and others implore of Mr. Trump. “Please, Donald, don’t, don’t tell the truth of things. We can’t handle the truth!”
The do-gooders, the thought leaders, the elites, the New One World Order, the globalists, took down whole communities and a way of life in the name of progress. They even had the audacity to call themselves Progressives. It’s all a ruse, just a way for one group to take power from another. It’s a power play, no more, no less. And one underclass will be replaced by another, a more obedient, subservient one—one who will appreciate what the government does for them, an underclass that is grateful. In addition to welfare, you’ll be told you can keep your culture and your language—all you need do is vote Democratic. It’s despicable. And it couldn’t be done without a complicit media and educational system, but why? That’s the question. Why did the media abandon its job as objective reporter? Why have they taken sides? Why has the education system joined in? The educational system has always been a system to serve the power establishment, not necessarily to tell the truth. And now, well, there’s a lot of money to be made at the top of the system, the higher educational system, and so they, too, can be bought. They are, after all, human.
And the media? It/they, too, has succumbed to the lure of riches and fame (that of the achievement and esteem motives), being human also. Trump calls them, the reporters, “scum,” the lowest of the low. I think he’s right because they were charged with keeping the system honest but now only pretend—they pose as unbiased truth tellers when they must know deep down they’re not. They compete with one another within and between their organizations for status, power, and money (and probably sex). They are no different and yet pretend to be. They are so dependent on
ratings because ratings determine how much they can charge advertisers (who also compete) for time. The higher ratings a network or newspaper or magazine or website or YouTube video or blog or even Facebook page gets (and that [ratings] is so easy to determine now because of likes and clicks and it’s all trackable and riggable—subject to bribery and falsification, by the way—it’s truly crazy-making), the more money the generator of the said “attention” can charge, which drives up the cost of the price of goods, not down. If a source of attention is popular, that popularity translates into income for the generator.
What drives eyes to a source is not the truth or quality of the product but that which is stimulating, either to the eyes, ears, or preconceived notions called confirmation bias by social scientists and psychologists. Conflict and outrage are stimulating too. If a source can create outrage or simply be outrageous by making outlandish statements, then the source becomes valuable not only to the parent company, his or her employer, but to themselves as well. Then, well, they can charge more for their services/personality, which also drives product prices up or the actual cost of living. And so the person, the source of the controversy, becomes extremely invested in being right, so as to get more people (consumers/ voters) watching. This then is also a facet of the achievement motivation— being right. It is part of the competition between people. But there is no objective measurement other than how many clicks and/or likes one generates. And so they, the media and the reporters, will lie, twist, distort whatever it is they are “selling,” because that’s what people do—sell themselves. Really. It is a competition to see who’s “right.”
Reality is no longer that which is true but that which you can get someone, or more someones, to believe is true. Everything is now up for a vote, and that which gets the most votes/likes/clicks becomes the best or the “right” thing—thing as in item or thing as in idea or belief. Everything has become subject to that old legal adage: It’s not about the evidence; it’s about the story—what you can get people to believe. It is reverse Darwinism— the survival of the worst, by means of deception, over the survival of the best. How you feel trumps what is real, and how you feel is influenced and impacted by what you believe (interpretation) no matter the evidence. Everybody is in competition with everyone else (globally), and yet everyone is “equal” and everything “matters.” The result being nothing and no one matters. Everything is subject to interpretation and is relative, and
so everyone ultimately collapses into nihilism and narcissism. [fn 118] Without contrast, there is no comparative value. All that matters, in the New One World Order, is what you are worth, which depends on polling (until the actual votes are counted or the numbers are in or the war is over). There is no scoreboard, as there is in sports. Nor are there rules or referees and instant replays. The used-to-be referees, the media, are now playing the game too. Everyone’s a player. The refs have taken the bribe. And so, too, they are despicable.
The internet and social media has contributed greatly to the competition and falseness, the pretension. Now everyone “knows” everything and can “see” everyone and everything. It’s in the palm of your hand. Everyone has a camera and a platform. Everyone’s a reporter, but everyone lies. Everyone is immersed within the egotistic
defense system of falsification, where perception is distorted and twisted to conform to one’s own imagination/ fantasy, not reality. There are very few realities left, other than bullets, bombs, natural disasters, sex, birth, and finally, death. Being born and dying, like motivation and emotion, have not and will not change.
Lying and deceit has become a way of life. Maybe it always was. But now bullets and bombs are far more common than they once were. But some things have not changed. Force still rules when push comes to shove, but the mechanisms, some of the tools of force, have changed. Now the weak can win with “votes.” It’s all just a massive global snafu. It’s depressing—reality. Which is it: life is suffering or life is a struggle? This is why the human animal developed the ego defense mechanisms in the first place— they’re coping mechanisms.
So what we have are the Democrats and the media taking lying and deception to a whole new level, enabled by new means of communication— the internet, the new weapon of war—against the Old World Order, the strong man, the truth teller, Trump. But in the end, maybe he’ll win that game too. I know you don’t believe me. I have no standing on any platform of value. I feel like a failure, unable to deceive myself (Why I drink).
118 See Ken Wilber, https://integrallife.com/trump-post-truth-world/.
If you’re intrigued? you can purchase the book here
as well as Attachment: A Novel of War and Peace which was published in 2006 and covers the 2004 Election, set mostly on the central Oregon coast.