Gary Horton: Black Friday, black box


America awaits this Inauguration Friday, Black Friday, with equal parts anticipation, dread, fear and hope – depending on your point of reference and general awareness about all the unprecedented goings-on around us for the past months.

Black Friday: That shopping day after Thanksgiving when retailers kick off the holiday shopping season offering untold goodies and ridiculous deals to thronging shoppers.

Black Friday is a free-for-all of hopes and expectations and shopping mayhem as America goes berserk, running wild and grabbling and buying and sometimes actually looting – for the stuff of their dreams.

Inauguration Friday. A black box. An unknown phenomenon into which voters have shoved sufficient ballots to buy the box, yet no one knows what the output of the box will be. An enigma. Trump is one great big giant question mark of outcomes.

Inauguration Friday. A black box. Black Friday. This inauguration is a mash-up of all three.

Those on the right see their ultimate fantasy shopping spree of tearing any Obama legacy to threads.

Once Trump’s hand lifts from that Bible he quotes so well, between trashing the Affordable Care Act and immediately kicking out 3 million Mexicans, there’s the promise of “incredible health care for all” and “wonderful, fantastic tax reform” and “millions of new jobs” and “beautiful infrastructure” and, mysteriously, a reset with Russia no one on the right is really talking much about and no one understands.

Those on the left fear this Black Friday as the season opening for unbridled looting of our national store. The wrecking of health care with no viable replacement.

The raiding of our tax code for even greater loot to the richest among us. Abuse between state and Trump Organization interests.

The cozying with a dictator, the trashing of European relations, and the sacrifice of Balkan States.

I don’t know which outcome we face, and neither do you. America really spun that roulette wheel this time.

There’s bits and hints both ways. A good chance there’s real evidence of made-for-movies Russian blackmail of kinky sex acts in a Moscow hotel as Trump continuously attacks his own intelligence community that provided the reports.

This is remarkable – a U.S. president publically taking the word of a feared dictator over that of multiple U.S. intelligence agencies. Where can all this lead?

Last time around we were promised hope and change. We were told we weren’t a red America and a blue America, but united as one America. Well, in the end we got some change.

It turns out that it takes two or more to tango if you’re trying to unite disparate groups. It turns out folks have to want it.

This time around we’re promised to Make America Great Again. We still don’t know just when that “Again” alludes to, so that’s black box stuff in there, too. Before Civil Rights? After? Before WWII? Before the Great Depression? What, Plymouth Rock?

Approval ratings are about the worst in history before the hand hits the Bible. Controversy and conflicts of interest are throttling the news.

A Ouija board might be the best indicator of which way this wind will blow – but who knows?

Our Black Box Friday is 48 hours away. We’re either going to get the bargains and trinkets we hope for or experience the dreaded looting of our nation’s riches so many fear. This Black Box is likely digital, not analog.

This much I do know: Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. King was assassinated while giving a speech from the balcony of his hotel room on April 4, 1968. After years of harassment, beatings and humiliations, he’d emerged as the foremost leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

About the same time in 1968 Donald Trump was graduating from the esteemed Wharton School of Business. He’d already begun buying properties with loans from his dad.

After years of high living he’d be sued by the Justice Department for the racial discrimination King fought so hard to stop.

I know Martin Luther King Jr. knew and understood and represented the people he marched with. I’m not so sure a gilded-spoon billionaire who’s appointed essentially all billionaires to his Cabinet is as much in touch with the “regular guys” he whipped up in his rallies. Early indications don’t look promising.

King achieved his standing dying for his principles. Trump achieves his standing living unprincipled. Despite his wealth, Trump is no King. There’s not much “character” in Trump’s character. This makes the Black Box scarier.

This Black Friday we don’t know what pops out of the Black Box. Usually the works of a man reflect his inner values. Oddly, this time we hope that adage doesn’t hold true.

America voted and we must hope for the best. May Trump indeed surprise us all; may he seize the truly unique opportunity he has, in fact, created, and may he represent the interests of greater America.

But boy, as of this Wednesday, Black Box Friday looks like mayhem in the stores.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

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