Black and white photo of young Frank Sinatra at the mic

What would a Frank Sinatra White House look like?

You do know a vote for The Orange Lord is a vote for old-school values, right? When men ran in packs and she-rats pretended to run for their lives, especially when those male rats carried names like Sammy, Dino, Peter and Frankie Baby.

Because if Donald Trump isn't a one-man rat-pack, I don't know who is.

Let us ponder this phenomenon, one that is fast disappearing from our culture as the buffalo were in the late 1870s on the American Great Plains.

Buffalo. Rats. White men. See where I'm going with this? I don't. I'm flying blind. But I'm feeling it. And that instinct got me from the Mediterranean French coast to its north, Verdun, in a day on a motorcycle without the use of a map and I don't speak French, except you know, when I'm loving. But I know when I'm on to something, dear reader. So, onward, monks.

The American male as we know him is a living thing of the past, put out to pasture by, oh, a lack of a fence on our southern border? Nah. More like every movement needs its villain. Thus it was decreed: thanks for setting up this good thang but you're politically expendable. Sorr-ee!

Well, apparently the worst do rise to the top in certain societal fungal cultures, and thus we are looking at what seems to be a nuke-proof cockroach immune to virtually any rat poison known to, uh, man. Is it any coincidence his style and substance bears more than passing semblance to the Man, the Myth, the Legend--The Voice himself, Frances Albert Sinatra, the greatest vocalist in American history?

About the only thing I did productive this past summer was read a few pages every day of Sinatra:The Life by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. And you know, I think it's about time I made my main point. Let me tie in Buddhism, Frank, Mr. Orange, George S. Patton, my father and the human condition.


Yin yang, baby, we've all got two sides, right? Well, the Sinatra biography ring-a-dinged that bell but good this summer for me. You want the good or the bad side first?

He was an absolute artist. From the beginning. He literally would not sing a song til he believed what the song was saying. Thus it seemed every woman in every room saw him, from his late teens onward, thought he was singing specifically to her. Throughout the book the reaction was the same, even to his stardust musty final days. His command of himself was second to none--as an artist of a fantastic singer.

As a human being, another story. Dean Martin loved him as an entertainer and thought he was the best. Same with Sammy Davis, Jr. But time after time, the book states a sad, ugly truth: Frank could be the most personally vicious unhinged man, who attacked friends in his presence or not, that they ever saw--and not always drunk while doing so. The tales of his dark side are terrible. As for women, he was an absolute abusive pig. Sure, when he loved 'em he could be his best. But Juliet Prowse, who said yes to his fifth proposal, soon had to leave him entirely. He was a monster of possessiveness. Frankly, there were times I couldn't read more than the few pages a day. And don't think it was some bullshit tell-all with no sources. The bibliography and interviews cited in the back of the book are gigantic.

And there is Patton--an uncouth loudmouth egomaniac. And my old man--which I'll leave at that. And Agent Orange running for president who may or may not someday have us wake up to seeing the White House emblazoned with 12-foot-high gold neon lights spelling out the five letters of his last name.

But each has his good side. Yang to the Yin. Frank fought racism as hard as any white man since John Brown. Without him Sammy wouldn't've had a career. Billy Epstein either. Duke Ellington said of his anti-racism efforts in the 1940s: "He's a primo non-conformist. I don't know of anyone else who would have done anything to jeopardize his position so soon after reaching a peak of success, but Francis Sinatra decided to do what is usually considered dangerous and damaging to a budding career. He's an individualist. Nobody tells him what to do or say." Sinatra frequently made public statements regarding equality of the races. And he put his money where his mouth was.

Politically correct he wasn't. Sammy Davis Jr. jokes included pokes like calling him 'Smokey The Bear' and 'jungle bunny' and 'a carbon copy of me' when Davis did his spot-on imitation of Sinatra. But he also guided Davis' career very early on, as well as always demanding Davis be allowed to stay in the same segregated hotel as Frank. "No Sammy, no me," was his ultimatum to any management disallowing blacks--and there were many. Billy Eckstine was the first black performer to headline Vegas thanks to when Frank needed a temp to fill in. When management refused, Sinatra told 'em otherwise. Sinatra won. Eleanor Roosevelt loved him for it.

As for the mafia, Frank was loyal. At various times during his up-and-down career Italian-American mobsters kept Sinatra and his family eating, hiring him when nobody else would. Thus he'd perform whenever they needed him. Unsavory, yes. But then what the hell is Hillary Clinton but not our country's potential First Female Don? There is something distinctly real world about dealing with the devil you know in shades of gray, not black and white.

Why I bring up Patton is that he is in need of a little remedial redemption. A couple of progressives have brought him up as an example of a “bad man.” Well, running his mouth and professed love of war was enough back then, too, for a lot of people to pigeonhole him as unsavory also. But judge a general by his victories and body counts: he won using the advantage of mobile warfare to outflank and surround the Germans, saving tens of thousands of soldiers lives while proving instrumental in bringing the war to a speedier end. How do you successfully criticize a man like that?

My own father, who liked no race on the face of the planet and never hesitated to say so, didn't put aside his trash talk when hiring for the company, which he did by the hundreds if not thousands of people. He hired the first black woman and the first Asian man seen in the management of the steel company he worked for. And he hired them for the best reason possible: their merit. Like Ted Nugent, he thought the green of American money was the best color ever invented. He simply never saw it any other way when it came to business.

Sinatra: the greatest American vocalist of the twentieth century. George Patton, one of the greatest American generals in American history. My namesake who brought home the bacon while busting color and race barriers (which he never bothered mentioning until I got a summer job and found out on my own). Why are people like this? Because we are complex and often not rational. Trump sent his own plane to pick up 200 marines stranded after Desert Storm. In 1980 he hired the first woman to oversee a major skyscraper construction. He rescued the NYC ice rink construction and completed it in time for Christmas season. His 9/11 good deeds were prodigious.

But of course he is part Caligula--can Melania keep the Berlusconi in him from turning the White House ithyphallic? I admit, like Sinatra, with this guy you feel like you get All or Nothing At All. And I swear I wouldn't even be thinking of voting for him if Clinton wasn't so fantastically corrupt and deeply opposed to our constitutionality (cue in Witchcraft here).

No, I will not say the Rich Little Casanova is on the same level of achievable greatness as Sinatra, Patton or even my dad. But I do know people can do great things and still be unmercifully flawed yet worthy of our love.

Maybe even Hillary...who might be singing My Way at her inauguration.



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