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Eat Goat

Is America cursed?


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When I used to get the daily paper delivered to my home, the first thing I'd do was check on how my favorite baseball teams had done the night prior. First, to the American League East to determine if the New York Yankees had won their game, then to the National League Central to learn how badly the Chicago Cubs lost theirs. For most of my life, our Earth spun without chaos as the Yankees mostly won and the Cubs mostly lost.

In the past decade, though, the Cubs started winning. As happy as I was for them and as a former Chicago resident living within walking distance of Wrigley Field, I sensed something was amiss. It was a good thing that the famous Sam Sianis curse had finally lifted and the Cubs eventually became World Champions, wasn't it? Uh, maybe not. For the unwashed, Sianis was a Chicago tavern operator who loved the Cubs. His joint on lower Michigan Avenue, the Billy Goat Tavern, was near both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times offices, thus notorious for housing all sorts of newspaper and political characters. Sam owned a goat named Murphy.

On game four of the 1945 World Series, he took Murphy to the ballpark to watch his beloved Cubs and you know what? Fans near to him complained and Sam and Murphy were asked to leave. Furious, Sam (perhaps armed with a Greek evil eye) laid a curse on the team. The Cubs lost the World Series. That wasn't the end of it. They'd keep on losing for 71 years. Meanwhile, Sianis gained fame when his tavern became the inspiration for the famous Greek Diner sketch on Saturday Night Live.

All was well in the world until 2016. That fall, the Cubs overcame a 3-1 defeat against the Cleveland Indians and rallied to a World Series victory. The baseball world went nuts. Who couldn't cheer for the lovable Chicago Cubs? Well, not counting the residents of those great apartments on Waveland Avenue that now have their view of Wrigley blocked by giant electronic billboards ... progress, bah! The final game was played on Nov. 2, 2016, and the curse was finally lifted.

But, wait. Just one week later, another dark horse won. Donald Trump, born just one year after Sianis delivered his curse, overcame 70 years of his own failures and was pronounced the winner of the 2016 presidential election. Despite a life defined by strings of bankruptcies, five draft-dodging military deferments, three marriages, a sexual bimbo-rama crossing multiple continents, no hair to speak of, a vocabulary purchased at a low grade private school, ego-validating hobnobs with C-grade personalities, dependency on Russian banks for funding, surrounding himself with a moat of ambitious legal and financial morons, and so on, Trump defeated the only person on the planet who could lose to him, Hillary Clinton.

America has us Cubs fans to blame or thank for President Trump. He should be thankful to the Windy City—had the Cubs lost any of those three final games, he could not have become president. That's how curses and karma work. But, ever ungrateful, Trump dumps on Chicago every chance he gets. That's not a reflection of Trump being unaware of karmic curses—he is, and we know that because even he is acutely aware that if he had no money, he'd have no friends. Rather, it's a reflection of his full disdain for all things Barack Obama. Big O is a Chicago guy. The city is collateral damage as a result. So is the rest of the world.

Trump has a very simple game plan. Undo everything Obama. It's like the man saw only one movie in his life (and misunderstood, that, too). In the 1932 Marx Brothers flick Horse Feathers, Groucho Marx reflects his own presidential philosophy in the song, "I'm Against It." The second verse goes, "Your proposition may be good, but let's have one thing understood: Whatever it is, I'm against it. And even when you've changed it or condensed it, I'm against it." That, right there, is the Trump Doctrine. That's how future historians will define this era of American life.

At a time America desperately needs a Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt or Reagan, we instead get an Adams—as in Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the president of Huxley University (played in the movie by Marx). Wagstaff also hired complete idiots to do his bidding. He's Trump with a funny bone, ever distracting attention, always covering his mistakes with one even greater, ever fudging the truth. One might say that Trump stole the Wagstaff playbook if not for that sniggling fact that Groucho was a clever wordsmith and Chico and Harpo were harmlessly funny. As near as can be determined, Trump has never uttered a clever phrase nor laughed out loud in his entire life. Sad.

He's a liar and the press lets him lie. When he's not lying he's winging it. His own staff has no idea what he'll do or say next. Yet, he has plenty of support. There's no point in regarding them as hicks, dummies, fascists or racists. Not spoken, but Hillary had plenty of stereotypes in her own camp. We've come to express our political support the same way we support the Yankees or Utes—by hating the Red Sox or Cougars. We root for our team and despise the other guys. When the Cubbie curse lifted, the Trump curse arose. There is but one solution: Tonight, I'm going to barbecue a goat. You're welcome.

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