In the past, presidents have had staffs, media consultants, and press secretaries who were protective of their president’s image. They tried to highlight his successes and downplay his errors, as any good political team will do. Today’s president has a propaganda factory going—denying truths, if not reality itself—attacking journalism to blunt journalists’ accusations—and, worse of all to my mind, being just plain rude.
Never before in presidential politics has the concept of lèse-majesté been so entirely rejected. And the putrid smarm that oozes from them when they are caught in a situation where civility is mandatory (such as an Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawn) defies our containment of reverse peristalsis.
We think Trump is at his worst when he’s insulting ethnicities, religions, or women, or when he’s defrauding job-seekers, voters, or small businesses, or when he’s leering at his own daughter, discussing casual sexual-assault, or peeking into dressing rooms—but I say No.
I say Trump is at his most blatantly sociopathic when he plasters that grin on his face and goes into his ‘kindly uncle’ act. He almost looks like a loving parent embracing Ivanka—until his creepy little fingers start to automatically wander. He can’t shake hands with a man without going into spasms of paranoid egotism. And he has a terrible time trying to act nice to others while still focusing entirely on himself—you can see the struggle on his face. He knows he should be sincere towards others, but worries it might distract him from his obsessive self-regard—or, worse, it might show weakness.
Trump tries to drag us backwards, towards tribal-chieftain paradigms, long after the world has learned that enlightened inclusion (and some thoughtful socialism amongst the capitalism) produces the most civilized, secure, and economically-stable society. The strong, the wealthy, the sexist—bullies of every type—react against this, seeing their usual muscles being cut by the forces of reason and civility.
The wealthy like to promote conflict. ‘Surface’ crises help keep people from facing the more ‘infrastructural’ aspects of our way of life—chaos helps maintain the status quo by keeping people too busy bickering to look at the bigger picture. I see Trump in this context, not as a mastermind, but as a gift to the wealthy’s agenda—a hugely popular sociopath that has all of us up in arms, ignoring the sweep of the last five decades—and giving zero thought to the onrushing wave of the next five.
Trump tells his crowds, “I do what I want.” Then he turns to the serious people and tells them, “I didn’t know anything—I didn’t know I was breaking the law.” Trump tells his crowds, “It will be easy to fix.” Then he turns to the serious people and tells them, “I didn’t know it was so complicated.” Trump behaves in a way that even a six-year-old couldn’t get away with—and all his base, who wish they could behave like six-year-olds, in one way or another—they cheer with rage. And that’s a very 1930s-Germany kind of sound.
Then, of course, there’s the lying. A grown-up knows when he or she has been caught in a lie, and has the maturity to face up to being found out—a child will continue to insist on the falsehood, as if insisting on it will make it so. In times past, we would have described the Trump administration as childish. But those people act as if lying is a new fashion they’ve trend-set—and the media, for some ungodly reason, has gone along with this to the point where a lot of viewers wonder what’s happened to reality.
And so we all are on the edge of panic—because the world is on the cusp of titanic changes—and America, leader of the Free World, is currently being administered by naughty, irresponsible children.
We had a lot of good stuff before the world became industrialized, polluted, and overpopulated. But we had to give that good stuff up in the name of progress. There’s a lot of good stuff in idealistic youth, fresh from school. But we have to teach them to be cynical, distrusting, and acquisitive before we consider them grown men and women fit for the business world.
For humanity, something isn’t really useful until it’s been broken in—our sweetest gift is a handful of flowers, cut down in their prime, with only days to droop before they are thrown away. Not that I disapprove of flower bouquets—but they are, objectively, murdered plants—and that’s the way people like them.
I’ve always been fascinated by the muddy mess of the old Main Streets. See, before paved roads, every street in town became a muddy, impassable obstruction. Back in those days, there was never a big patch of mud, unless people were there. What strikes me about this is that even before exhaust pipes, factory chimneys, diesel engines, or chemical plants that dumped toxic waste in the rivers—even before all that, people were messing up every place they gathered in groups larger than a tribe.
Which is why the muddy obstacles were found in settlements’ and boom-towns’ streets—and not in the Native American villages. Even the slightest deviation from the hunter-gatherer tribal traditions (like a higher population density) would have changed things—and whether change is good or bad, I tend to admire the fact that there was a terrible balance in their lifestyle.
Think of it—coast-to-coast, groups of people living solely off the land—in comparatively miniscule numbers, sure, but with zero infrastructure that wasn’t already being supplied by Mother Nature. And before their feistier, paler brethren came sailing up, they hadn’t even needed to spend a dime on national defense.
I’m telling you, Europeans didn’t so much discover the New World as find the corner of the world that they hadn’t already ruined, deforested, overhunted, or incubated plagues in—and then proceeded to ruin that New Corner as fast as they could (experience tells, right?) And their specialty—weapons and war—made it easy to wipe out any previous residents, wherever they went.
Ironically, the reason the New World was so full of un-ruined goodness was because Native Americans kept it that way—and the Europeans judged them too inferior to hold claim on their land (or their lives), partly because they weren’t sophisticated enough to have ruined it all, already, themselves. That’s what you call a ‘bitter irony’.
Thus I always feel that when we discuss people, humanity, whatever—that we have to talk about two kinds of people—the kind of people we were evolved to be, by nature, and the kinds of people we learn to become, as part of civilization. These two very different aspects of humanity are nevertheless melded into each personality.
Virtually no one is so civilized that they don’t breathe air—nor so natural as to never use money. Some of us dream of going forward—colonizing the solar system, where there is no air. Some of us dream of going backward—to a naturalism so idyllic that money becomes obsolete. Trekkies dream of both—but there are very optimistic types, don’t you think? Still—beats pessimism.
Shocker: Hannity Comes Out – ‘I Was Born A Woman!’ (2017Jun24)
These assholes shit all over Liberty, Equality, Justice, and the Constitution until sensible people are ready to tear their heads off—and now, the latest—they bitch about how vituperative the Left has become—like some bitchy big sister who gives mom her innocent face and says, “What? I didn’t do anything!” after pinching her little sibling hard enough to draw blood.
I’m sorry, Righty-tighties, but there’s one thing you can’t change. You can try to pretend that religious freedom is the same as freedom of religion. You can try to pretend that ‘playing the race card’ is just as perfidious as slavery or Jim Crow. You can try to pretend that a handful of coal-mining jobs (now that machines do all the work) are more important than Education or Health Care. You can try to pretend that ‘supporting the police’ means ignoring their too-frequent gun murders of non-white people.
But you can’t change time. We were there first—and we meant it. Our issues are not ginned-up hypocritical responses to real protest—they were, and still are, the real protest—and you can tell that by the chronology. The Civil Rights movement, the Migrant Farmers struggle and women’s suffrage were around for most of our history, struggling to bring this nation into the light of reason. The bullshit about ‘reverse-racism’, ‘build a wall’, and ‘family values’ came later—reactionary bullshit propagated by cowardly white men who saw their shadowy cover shrinking in the light of day.
And what do they do about iPhone videos of police committing murder, or cutting-room-floor salvage of a TV show in which our President discusses the finer points of grabbing women by the pussy? Easy, they start a whole new TV channel that specializes in bullshit—that dares to say that all the other TV channels are lying to the American people. You’d think nobody would fall for such blatant crap-artistry—yet it is the most popular news show on cable. Lots of people are happier with bullshit than they are with the cold truth.
And it makes Hannity wealthy enough to afford that sex-change operation now.
The Republicans never wanted those tens of millions of citizens to have health coverage—that would mean “socialized medicine” (that dreaded scourge that keeps the entirety of the-rest-of-the-developed-world healthy). Besides, worried the GOP, how will insurers and pharmacists maximize their profit-potential with the government looking over their shoulders?
And so the Republicans fought tooth-and-nail to prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act—they called it a ‘death panel’, they scare-mongered until scare-mongering became the habit of theirs it is, today. The Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act. Tens of millions of citizens have health coverage today because of it.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would threaten the lives of tens of millions of citizens. Repairing the Affordable Care Act would be the obvious choice for any sensible person.
But if voters had any sense, these charlatans wouldn’t be elected into the offices they hold. How they can shamelessly wave their billionaires’ tax-cut in our faces like they’re “doing good” is beyond me—is there no limit to their dis-ingenuousness?
A child could see through their blatant posturing—just as a child could see through Trump’s blatant posturing, when he started tweeting about “tapes” of his convos with Comey. These dopey clowns that run our country would be met with gales of laughter, if not for the horror they practice upon the youngest and weakest among us—I think I understand Stephen King’s “It” a lot better now.
I have found myself frustrated enough—after the racist backlash that marred Obama’s two terms, and the madness that gave his haters’ champion an electoral win—after seeing hypocrisy make Congress even more useless and toxic than it traditionally is expected to be—after seeing that diseased knot of disinformation, FoxNews, become a popular channel—I’ve felt myself enraged. I’ve felt the fury at seeing American ideals be dismissed as ‘political correctness’. I’ve seen red while hearing crazy old white men make political footballs out of science, education, and women’s health.
I thank my lucky stars that my mental health (while far from perfect) doesn’t let me slide into Hate, to get lost enough in Hate to start stalking the streets with a rifle in my hands. The misbehavior of the Trumps, McConnells, Ryans, Sessionses, Kushners, Mannaforts, Spicers and Huckabee-Sanderses does, however, create Outrage—second cousin to Hate.
Alongside this confusion between decent outrage and indecent hate, we also have the confusion of whether our politics is suffering from extreme partisanship—or if it is actually a struggle of good vs. evil. It would be foolish to ascribe nothing but good intentions to the Democrats—they are politicians, after all—but if the Republicans have become a force for pure evil, then those who resist them, Democrat or otherwise, are, by default, on the side of the angels.
When a party becomes as morally bankrupt as the Republicans have, and then characterize the outrage engendered in the rest of us as ‘partisanship’, they muddy the water—as with most of their sophomoric debate-team syllogisms. The great experiment of America has always thought of itself as a long-term project—a matter of centuries. But today’s Republicans are not American in that sense—they are a bunch of traitors looking to cash in, short term, and get out of the game before the indictments come down—that’s political success for today’s Republican.
So while I sympathize with the people who were attacked on the ballfield yesterday—and, while I support those who call for non-partisan cooperation—I think the GOP should look at this lone gunmen as a kind of canary in a coal mine.
If their grubby-fingered mauling of the Constitution, and of social justice in general, continues to grow—if their sense of privilege and entitlement continues to blind them to their responsibilities to their constituents—they could conceivably transform that sociopathic would-be killer into a martyr. Not that he deserves it—his mental illness is to be pitied, as is his death.
Likewise, our attention-starved media lends a patina of legitimacy and respectability to unconscionable dunces like Trump, McConnell, Ryan, and Sessions—who threaten our very way of life as Americans—when, in fact, we should simply pity them for their mental illness—and the shamelessness of an industry that uses them for click-bait just as thoughtlessly as they use yesterday’s violence in Virginia
We have lost the thread of our government lately. The most recent outrage—the Attorney General sits before a Senate intelligence committee, refuses to answer reasonable questions, and refuses to offer a specific legal reason for refusing to answer—and the Senators don’t threaten him with contempt charges. Some seem to think that America has obsessed over ‘rights’ long enough—and it’s time to start focusing on privileges.
When Cracker Sessions is forced, further along, to respond, “I am not stonewalling”; he is actually saying, “I’m stonewalling, alright—and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Think about it—the only reason anyone would feel called upon to say, “I am not stonewalling” is if it had been preceded by a lot of unanswered questions and a Senator accusing him of stonewalling. To my mind, a mere verbal contradiction of such an accusation is the height of hubris and privilege.
And there was no sign that Sessions was loath to talk—we rarely see such huge swaths of time filled with mealy-mouthed vagaries that reach only one point—they prevent the demanding Senator from asking another question, and eat up that Senator’s time. This is an effective stonewalling technique—if one overlooks the stark contrast between Sessions’ oral pussy-footing and Comey’s forthright willingness to share any pertinent answers he could.
Sessions also added to the flurries of ‘blessings’ and ‘God’s will’s the GOP enjoys throwing around, lately—and it makes sense: God helps those who help themselves—and, boy, do the Republicans like to help themselves. Plus, the ignorant can only command respect when they point to a higher power to explain their incompetence. Those foolish Democrats too often try to make their points with mere reason—don’t they know we live in a post-fact society?
While Democrats suffer from a lack of leadership, the Republicans suffer from a surfeit of mislead-ership. I grant the pragmatic nature of their approach—it is far easier to mislead public opinion that it ever was to form a more perfect union. Idealists make the mistake of trying to tell people what’s good for them—which makes idealists like nagging doctors—and just as popular. Salesmen have a much easier job—they just have to convince us to sign the lease (or vote for a candidate) and let next sales-year take care of itself.
All good things must come to an end—and all bad things, too (GOP, take note). Good people are too busy to cause trouble—that’s why evil goes un-swatted awhile—good people are not going to stress about the small stuff. Evil un-swatted, however, tends to grow and grow. Evil even starts to think it’s acceptable—and is surprised when good people get fed up with the mounting evil.
Outrage is a powerful force—enable it at your peril. A passing faux pas is no great worry—but a looming conspiracy of evil can only spur people to respond. Think Boston Tea Party. Think Watergate. Unbridled abuse of power contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction. Cheaters never prosper.
During the Depression, it became obvious that business owners were a threat to the equality of the workers—but with the Red Scare, we managed to deny that—and denying that business owners are a threat is a founding pillar of the Republican platform to this day. When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a new awareness came to the public—an awareness that what we do, and the waste we produce doing it, and the poisons we use doing it—has an effect on the places where we live.
Even as we busied ourselves, learning to throw our trash into receptacles (instead of on the ground)—chemical and petroleum companies began to push back on the idea of ecology—denying that our use of natural resources could have any ill-effect on the Earth—or that resources would ever run out. And climate-change-denial is still a part of the Republican platform, as well.
It was different in the past, when big money and big business had an understanding ear in the GOP—now, it seems more as if the fat cats outright own the GOP—lock, stock, and ethics. The masses of people who overlooked the favoritism of the entitled for the promise of conservative, unchanging security—they have become dupes of those who would make great change—and most of it retrogression or partisanship. And now they have a crazy man in charge—it may take time, but they will come to see him as a dangerous man.
So many of our political footballs carry within them some sort of denial on at least one side of the argument—right-to-lifers deny that legal abortion is better than illegal abortion—climate-change-deniers ignore the preponderance of both scientific authority and evidence—marijuana-haters deny the probability that pot has many medicinal uses—gun-nuts deny that the ubiquity of guns has any connection to our sky-high murder rate—it goes on and on.
And these people have their arguments, their points-of-view—but seem, in the end, to simply deny something which they are uncomfortable accepting as part of their reality. I can sympathize—but I still think they’re wasting their own—and everyone else’s—time.
“Shooting children as they try to run to safety with their families — there are no words of condemnation strong enough for such despicable acts,” – Zeid bin Ra’ad Al Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights – from yesterday’s statement.
The above statement expresses a frequent reaction to modern life—an inability to find words suitable for the unprecedentedly uncivilized nature of certain current events. And this reaction is, more often than not, a response to the utter shamelessness of a bad actor, or actors—the disintegration of scruple among the wealthy and powerful.
The Manchester attack—at a concert known to attract little girls into tight crowds—is only one of the many terrorist ploys that beggar the belief of decent-hearted people. The animalism of war, exemplified by my opening quote, shows us war is capable, in spite of its ancient lore as a hellish experience, to become even more bestial with every passing day.
Both terrorism and war represent, at root, a failure of leadership (or a hijacking of leadership for self-indulgence). Thus, failure of leadership is a dangerous thing.
And even though America is not yet a hotbed of terrorism or war, we would be foolish to wait for such conditions before we concern ourselves with the poor quality of American leadership. The bald-faced hypocrisy and mendacity of our elected government officials, in an era when good leadership could catapult a nation to undreamed-of heights, is frustrating to the point of madness.
The stagnation of business, corruption of investment houses, the aging of infrastructure, the failure to climb aboard the express train into the future, the failure to recognize that helping the needy helps ourselves—all these things go by the boards while our media and our politicians put on a friggin tap-dance show. I’m mad as hell, and I’m…—well, you know the rest—and, if not, go watch “Network”.
So, that’s where I start from—furious that all the potential that civilization has at its disposal is virtually ignored, while we use tunnel-vision focus to get the whole nation obsessed with an issue being misrepresented on both sides. Or maybe two or three issues—to be fair, we don’t always talk about birth control or climate change.
Sometimes we all obsess over the biggest waste of national attention we’ve ever had—our president—the liar, the letch, the con-man—but our president, nevertheless. No word out of his mouth has ever educated or enlightened a single soul—never lifted a spirit or inspired a young mind—what a POS president. His greatest accomplishment, to date, is to make the Bushes seem a lot more respectable than I would have believed, if you’d asked me two years ago. I still resent Bush Jr.’s disastrous incompetence—what a mess he made—but it seems moot now, with a new Armageddon in the offing—and a far more clownish excuse for a president in office.
So, as I said—I start at furious—and then fate put Prez Puzzy-Grabba on top of the already insurmountable crowd of problems—but where do you go from furious? We’ve all run out of superlatives. What we need is a good reality competition on TV—something that airs a November marathon, to keep the Trump supporters home on election days.
The fact that Trump is a liar is something witnessed by every observer of the 2016 campaign—and ‘liar’ was far from the worst trait he exhibited, though it still should be concerning that he is a liar. The only thing new about today was that a man of stature and probity said so in a public (and televised) hearing. We all saw or heard the three (count’em) reasons Trump and his staff gave for the firing of Comey. Comey wasn’t so much testifying Trump was a liar as pointing out something we all could clearly see long before this day’s hearing.
Then there’s the Republican response—while the Senators themselves acted with restraint and seriousness, the commenters and apologists for the right were digging deep for pertinent pushback—and there were slim pickings dug up. Poking at Comey’s motives; darkly hinting that his leaking of his own memos was a questionable act, at best; suggesting that Comey should have responded instantly to a fresh and complex issue between spoonfuls at a White House dinner—all of these things will be repeated ad nauseum, and much more, to be sure.
But none of it obscures the blatant unprofessionalism of the president’s behavior—so sloppy that Paul Ryan sought to excuse his misbehavior as ignorance borne of inexperience (to which some wit replied: ‘you don’t put a toddler in the cockpit of a 747’). Whatever may be thought up by pundits in later days—in that hearing there wasn’t a single senator, Democrat or Republican, who questioned the honesty of James Comey’s testimony. Legal eagles can tussle over the technicalities of what it all means, in court—but nobody’s saying the described encounters didn’t happen, as described—except maybe the Donald’s lawyer.
The media have put our society into a glass jar—and forgotten to poke any holes in the lid. Why would a News-channel talk about one thing all day—and still claim to be News? Newspaper editors go crazy, trying to decide which of the thousands of significant News stories they can fit into each issue—while CNN and the rest confine themselves to one subject—and then struggle to find something new to say about that one subject, for weeks on end—until the next ‘top priority’ subject wanders in.
Denzel Washington recently quoted Mark Twain’s quip to the effect that one can ignore the News and be uninformed, or follow the News and be misinformed. But, Twain lived in a world of Newspapers—nowadays, we can remain uninformed—even with a cable-News channel blaring into the room all day.
Printed News cannot show the same sentence over and over—it cannot type two peoples’ essays, one on top of another, so that we can’t read either one’s words—Newspapers don’t distribute re-runs of previous days’ papers. But, when the medium is a noisy light-show, as with TV and video, content becomes optional—this hypnotically vacuous disgrace is open to them. Yet they’ll still swear that it is Journalism.
Plainly, TV News could supply far more information—if information delivery were truly its goal—by airing the prompter. Just turn that camera around and let us read it for ourselves, why don’t you? But then, it’s not really Journalism—no, no—this is Infotainment. Big business—why is it so easy to make money by degrading people?
It’s all about terminology—any old thing can claim to be ‘News’, but ‘Journalism’ is a different animal—a more rigorous bar to be met. We have many TV News shows—even News channels—but we don’t have much TV Journalism. The attention-based economy has stomped its footprint into our lives. While this predator ranges the landscape, we’ll have to look to books and newspapers for our hard facts—any info from media more ephemeral is tainted—ensnared by the commodification of sensational attention-getting—and thus suspect.
And most of all we must look to ourselves—the easiest thing we could possibly have an impact on—our own thoughts and feelings, how we live, how we treat others—one could conceivably spend an entire day ‘making the world a better place’ simply by being a better person—and it’s so convenient. I mean—you’re right there, already.
To avoid unnecessary conflicts without letting fear be the guide—to stand tall without the need to coerce others—these are the real problems of life. The rest is just details. If I mean well but do nothing, I am failing to interact with reality—but, if I do something, it’s hard to be sure it’s the right thing to do.
I have to search my heart carefully—ask myself what my true motivations are—whether I act out of righteousness—or just some tempting ego-trip that looks good. Then there’s the thinking through of an action, beforehand—will it get the results I seek, or simply show me off as a crusader? And will there be further consequences, beyond my immediate acts, that would ultimately worsen whatever situation I’m trying to help?
The bottom line usually is this—I can’t be of use to other people if I’m not with other people—if I don’t get involved in my community personally, I can’t really know what their problems are. So, I usually confine myself to not doing anything to cause trouble for others—living as a shut-in makes it hard for me to help others—but it’s still very easy for me to make other people miserable, if I’m not careful. Still, I miss being of use—the challenge and complexity of being a good person amid the hustle and bustle—those were the days. Not that I was very good at it—but I love a challenge.
Motivation means everything to me—when I catch myself doing something for unacknowledged motives, it really embarrasses me. I don’t like the image of other people seeing me argue for something and seeing what I’m really trying to say, and that I don’t even know it.
Motivation is, to me, like Body Language—in the way that Body Language can say much more than the words someone says—and can say it without that person’s awareness—motivation is the personality behind someone’s actions.
When I look at the talking heads of the News—or the politicians the News is about—I take note of what they say and what they do and how they vote—but I also keep an eye out for where they’re headed with the sum of their activity—I ask myself, where are they going with this?
I get dismayed by the number of public figures whose motivations are impervious to reason—people for whom facts can get in the way. I simply don’t understand it—if my stance on an issue runs counter to the facts, I cede the point—life’s too short to get mad because things aren’t the way I wish they were. Better to move forward towards something that promises a better future—and leaving reason out of that is madness (well, by definition, too, yeah).
We get a lot of debate about ‘alternative facts’ lately—people argue over what’s true or false, partly or *wholly, proven or merely alleged—and paste labels onto facts which they dislike, as if to cast them out. We all know that such a situation could only arise if one party were working very hard to obscure the plain truth—although, by now, we are dangerously close to it being all parties that are jumping on the bandwagon, when it comes to ‘fact-curation’.
I’m tempted to point the finger at the party with the ties to Russia—but I’ll let you puzzle that bit out for yourselves. Maybe it was incautious to so completely empower a man who’d made a career out of pushing the ethical envelope—that’s not very presidential. He’s so good at surprising us, keeping us off-balance—it makes some people nervous—even panicky. But not Congress—nerves of steel, those folks.
* (I spelt this ‘wholely’—but Word corrected me to ‘wholly’—I googled it—the first is English spelling, the second is American. Guess I read too many Brit authors.)
This whole political snafu is about respect. Our president is supposed to champion our country—and for most people, that means championing what America stands for. It was perfect, in its way—because a lot of bullshit gets sold under the rubric of ‘American Values’—bullshit just as coldblooded a scam as Trump’s administration.
Pompous peacocks have gotten a lot of mileage out of ever-so-solemn reference to our founding principles—and while I disagree with Trump that political correctness is clogging the works—it’s not nearly as bad as the political bullshitting—I agree with the premise: We need to get our government back. So while the country’s middle became unhappy with the neglect and corruption, they sought a champion that would shovel the bullshit out of Washington and get the pipes working again. Unfortunately, all they got was a new layer of fresher manure.
Individuality and new perspectives have always had value—but they are not absolute goods, just an ingredient in a healthy whole. For the individualists and free-thinkers that support Trump, he represents someone who will bypass all the red tape and get stuff done. They applaud when he upsets the bureaucratic apple-carts and garners gasps from the liberal media at all the false gods he throws to the ground. They love the Tweets signaling them late at night that, behind that sober guy at the desk, there’s a fool with no concept of probity—just like themselves.
But in giving respect, finally, to these overlooked groups of people—people who say they want less government—when what they need is good government—Trump has, through ignorance or otherwise, signaled disrespect for things that made our government better. It is no better to blame American values for being in the mouths of corrupt politicians than to blame Islam for being in the mouths of mindless animals.
When Americans support Freedom of Religion, we do not support religious freedom—we do not support religion at all—not in our government. And we do this for the very good reason that people have different religions. Our government has consciously, purposely kept its distance from religion since the Pilgrims settled—they came from Europe—where people killed each other over religion for centuries—and they had no intention of just bringing in the old problems.
There is an unhealthy Fundamentalist Christian group in this country that promotes the ignorance to misunderstand this important principle—and tries to twist it into an excuse for their overweening influence on legislation. These people are dangerous extremists—using our legal system to subvert our way of life—and they can pray ‘til doomsday and it won’t make them any righter. These are some of the people who are finally getting the respect they pine for, from Trump.
Money influences (or simply bypasses) government in much more direct ways than lobbying—often the only way to stop corrupting influences is to arrest the people who break the rules—very rich, very connected people. That can only happen in a country where the law cannot be bought, not in broad daylight.
Many people work for rich people who use their wealth to influence their employees, enlisting them in getting around regulations put in place to protect those employees—and whistleblowers, especially undocumented ones, are a rare breed that usually gets crushed, no matter how the big picture works out. Business owners like it that way—and they don’t like inspectors—and they are finally getting respect from a guy who does business the same way, Trump.
Rich people have a sad habit of starting to look down on others—as if their money put them in a higher level. Money madness—poor people know who they are—they don’t look to possessions to define themselves. I’m not saying we should hunt down all the rich folks, or anything, I’m just saying it doesn’t hurt to put them in their place sometimes. But they too see a kindred spirit in Trump.
I think it’s the American Dream idea—lots of people dream of making it big, having it all, and giving back. Some people leave off the last part, making their American Dream into a lonely, rapacious video game, where you never win enough money and possessions. America used to whine less about helping others—we were eager to do what we could to lift up the less fortunate, to let them and their children have a shot at living a nice life. Now all we do is bitch about our taxes being used for ‘no-accounts’—like, who died and made you the fucking king of the hill?
Let some of those rich bastards fall on hard times—suddenly, they’re filled with wisdom—from living on the street, from feeling like they need help and it’s not there. Like you couldn’t empathize with this back when you could have done something to help? You had to have your face rubbed in it? Eau de humanite.
Anyway—getting off topic there. So: respect. Middle America wanted it—and they got it. They did not get better government (my money is on worse, much worse) but they did get respect, for now, and they’ll keep supporting him until something changes their minds. What that is I couldn’t say. A lot of them will be dead by the time their kids and grandkids have to deal with the damage from the Trump presidency—so I guess they did the right thing, as they saw it.
But I can’t help pointing out that Coolidge tried to create the League of Nations after the first World War—and failed. Truman tried to create a United Nations after the second World War—and when that failed to fully form, NATO was created to act as a bulwark against any future rogue alliances bent on war.
If you will consider their times, you can see that they not only wanted peace—they were sick of the horror of war. Millions of corpses littered the world’s largest land mass—twice—and sensible people felt that war had no profit for anyone—and led to much death and destruction—no brain-teaser there. But we have had half-a-century to develop amnesia, or extreme myopia, call it whatever you like—and we don’t have the least idea of the suffering that a third global conflict would visit upon us.
And that specter demands some respect, too.
The Russians aided the Trump campaign—and characterizing that as an ‘excuse for losing’ misses the point. Being infiltrated by Russians is a bad thing—and the worst thing about it would be not to recognize that the Russians have fed you lies. The next worst thing would be the reasons why we were so easily played—how could this work on us?
The bad guys have found a way to weaponize Free Speech—and that makes it important for all of us to become smart-asses—people who look things up and study original sources and work on checking the math. We need to become too smart to fall for their bullshit—and it starts with recognizing that it happened.
Public education was one of America’s great advantages against the rest of the world—and we have fallen behind, forgetting the tremendous value of educated, highly skilled, even innovative young people. And we are blind to the great expense of being negligent of citizens in need, especially the young. A productive citizen is an asset—a neglected citizen becomes a liability. It’s simple logic—there’s no bleeding heart here—it just makes sense to do the right thing. Anyone who says different has a touch of the sociopath.
So, Trump has taught us a valuable lesson—the road paved with bullshit leads to madness. We can no longer rely solely on the United States to function automatically—we have to build new voting blocs of people who want to do the right thing, who feel better with a real leader at the head of our state, and will not condemn their own children in their eagerness to deprive the children of strangers. Which is harder, getting the voters or finding the candidates amongst honest Americans? It’s an impossibly huge job—but that’s what happens when you put democracy on two-party cruise-control for a full century.
Or we could just wave Democracy bye-bye, as the fat cats work their mindfuck magic on the unsuspecting pod-people, and we all just watch TV.