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The American elections and the carminative power of democracy

On Thursday I picked up our mail as usual. In our little town the mail is delivered to stacks of mailboxes instead of to the houses. The stack in which we have our mailbox is across from a house that is not exactly the most affluent but has a very large “Trump 2020” sign pasted on the garage door. The homeowners’ association does not allow signs that big on the property, so our neighbors feel smug and smart for having circumvented the restrictions by pasting the sign on the garage door.

The Texas town where we previously lived is trying to reinvigorate its downtown area. Some houses are not only old, but also sport varying stages of decay, most have Trump signs somewhere on their windows or on the property. The most decrepit has the most signs in an inadvertent nod to statistics and perfect correlation… almost in an ironic opposition of the administration’s war on science.

My point is not that the derelict and indigent among us are Trump supporters, but that those with uncertain hygiene, and with a poor sense of style tend to be.

We read in the news this morning that Biden has won the elections.

We have had our mood suspended for six days now. The tension and expectation stemming from the elections kept us on our toes, nail-biting our way through a whole week of uncertainty and near grief. This time far more mail ballots were sent in than ever before which meant that counting them became a days-long, protracted process. The results became clear only late Friday.

Unlike in 2016, we exchanged few messages with our friends commenting on the elections, we obsessed over the news with a superstitious fervor. No words of optimism crossed our lips, only whispers of hope. I suspended my jaded view of American politics and now feel that all that superstitious attitude paid off, that the irresponsible god that slipped Trump his victory four years ago, was also tired of the orange tinted antics.

Biden won, common sense is back from too long a sabbatical.

I’ve always had the odd penchant to look for and nurse obscure and unusual words. I did it in my native Portuguese and I then in English. This is akin to going to one’s grandmother’s house and exploring the nooks and crannies of the house, or the cavernous bedroom closets for small treasures from another area. In my search I came across the word carminative. If you look it up in the dictionary you will find something like:


a drug causing expulsion of gas from the stomach or bowel.


expelling gas from the body; relieving flatulence.

It now feels like the country has gone through a carminative process to expel a noxiously gaseous form of fascism.

In another tone, I listened to Biden’s speeches these past few days, and his words are the carminative that we needed to expel Trump’s flatulence.

I wanted to find some redeeming quality in Trump, to take him seriously in at least one issue — he was after all our president for four years – and then I wanted to reprove him on some big issue or on some capital sin, but he is too petty and idiotic and I found it just too difficult to respect a man that picks his ill-fitting suits from the Macys’ clearance rack, and cannot tie a necktie properly. Nearly seventy-five million Americans agree with me.

Adelino de Almeida
Novembro, 2020

Fotos de Minnie Freudenthal e Manuel Rosário

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After decades of living in the superficial sameness of suburban Dallas, we decided to move to a small town in the San Juan Mountains. As we contemplated retirement, we recognized that we were tired of the relentless summer heat, of the featureless landscape, the perennial newness of the buildings and

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Nasceu e cresceu em Lisboa, doutorou-se em Engenharia de Estruturas na University of Colorado at Boulder, e depois de décadas de uma carreira peripatética em consultoria de gestão, tenta agora reinventar-se como escritor e tem para publicação a sua primeira novela, The Sublime Eucharist of Alfred Packer.


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