Basket of Responsibles

“Bushel picking basket from the book: Vegetable Gardening by Ralph L. Watts, 1919

It’s only Oct. 1, and my prescription for Damnitol is nearly out. I may not have any more refills authorized. Dr. O’Connell probably thinks I’m popping them like peppermints.

Maybe I am.

This week, though, I’ve figured out a drug-free solution, maybe even drub free: Form a club: the Basket of Responsibles.

This is a third American basket. The first this election season is the “basket of deplorables,” coined by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. The second is HRC’s “Other Basket.” Many people in the GOP “Other Basket” would be proud to be with the Responsibles.

First we have to define my basket a little. It’s tough, because I’m not gray enough to proclaim “being responsible” as groovy. (And groovy was nearly before my time.) It sounds old and goody-goody. The alternative to responsible in the second decade of the 21st century, however, is reprehensible, daresay deplorable.


  • Believe in representative democracy based on an amendable constitution
  • Support of this American republic and its Constitution
  • Believe that government is necessary — to run tax-funded services, efficiently and fine-tunable
  • Support of the U.S. form of central and state governments
  • Believe in discourse and compromise within and among the executive, legislative and judicial branches
  • Support that about what individuals and political parties often disagree is a matter of degree, especially in the last 90 years: which services and how far they reach
  • Willing to do my part
  • Doing my part

Some context. Here is the key part of the transcript of HRC’s Sept. 8, 2016, “LGBT for Hillary” fundraising gala.

We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?

The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And, unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.

But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change.

It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

HRC set out to antagonize a segment of voters. I hoped it’d read nice but it’s just as tough as the dramatic voice that we all heard. Then HRC could’ve chosen any of a dozen-dozen women with whom to tease Donald Trump at the first debate who would have above-average saintly qualities. Who knows what she’ll pull out of the hat next: a bunny wabbit or a rhino. On Wednesday, Nov. 9, we’ll know if they were tactical errors or brilliant, winning risks.

Damnitol! Where is my bottle of Damnitol!

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