Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Damage Is Done


My latest newspaper column:
Win or lose, Donald Trump has done incalculable damage to America. It can’t be overstated. A disordered egomaniac who can’t abide not being adored by others as much as he adores himself, he’s doing everything he can to delegitimize the core of our democracy. Free and fair elections. Unencumbered press. And, above all else, trust in the process. This is worse than his career of cheating and lying, even worse than his sexual predation. It fits the definition of sedition. It’s unspeakably dangerous. He doesn’t care. 
Trump won’t commit to accepting election results, telling people to vote, then to go to “certain places” to be on the watch for unspecified dastardly voting activity. He believes (or, at least, wants you to believe) his losing could only occur if the election is “rigged,” which happens to be impossible. His latest lie: the US is letting undocumented immigrants “pour into the country” to vote. This is deliberate incitement. If our democracy isn’t about respecting the outcome of elections, it’s about nothing. He doesn’t care. 
To avoid personal embarrassment, he stokes anger and resentment. Physical attacks on reporters, death threats to them and their kids are signs of what’s to come. The latest foreshadowing: standing threateningly, locked and loaded, outside Democratic offices. Post-election plans for attacks are being uncovered. This imperils us far more than ISIS. He doesn’t care. 
It’s entirely attributable to his words. For Trump, it’s about rationalizing failure, but his supporters accept his ravings as truth. As with his birther lie, systemic harm is of no concern, only aggrandizement and revenge. Especially revenge: his career is rife with acts of it. Handing pitchforks to an angry mob, he’s tearing the country asunder. He doesn’t care. 
Expecting a fawning press and lying with impunity, as it had been in his “business” career, Trump now bans and blames news organizations that uncover his lies. Enabled by supporters taught to pre-reject facts based on source not content, and to mock expertise, he claims media bias. But our democracy depends on a free and skeptical press and a well-informed electorate, both of which he scorns, because they’re constitutionally intended to protect our country from the unbridled power that he seeks. He doesn’t care. 
As he strikes out (in both senses), his rallies become more frightening. Having swallowed the paranoid Trumpic rantings, ignorant of the reasons for the First Amendment, his minions are convinced media are the enemy. To explain away revelations of his vulgarity and unethical business practices, Donald Trump pretends he’s the victim. And his supporters scream at the bulwark of democracy. He doesn’t care. 
For a narcissistic and pathological liar, this has been perfectly predictable. Facing the inevitable, he’s become a cornered rabid dog. In full conspiracy mode, speaking recently in Florida, resorting to a time-honored anti-Semitic trope, he imagined a planet-wide conspiracy against him, run by “international bankers.” Making ever-wilder claims, likening his suffering to Jesus, he fed fuel to the fires festering within his furious fans, who stand ready to burn it all down. (I’m glad Democrats raised money to rebuild that firebombed Republican office.) You’d avoid a guy ranting like this on a street corner. That this one is the Republican nominee for President of the United States embarrasses us all. He doesn’t care. 
The description may not fit all of his enthusiasts, but if Trump wins, the most democracy-rejecting, misinformed haters of nonwhite and non-Christian Americans will find themselves welcomed into the mainstream. If he’s defeated, there’s no doubt they’ll buy his claim of rigging and respond accordingly. They already have. What then? Two sides, separated by a deliberately constructed wall of hate for the winner, the losers readying, literally, to shed blood. A country in flames? He doesn’t care. 
Donald Trump says “America,” but it’s only himself he’s ever wanted to make great, because, I think, somewhere inside he knows he’s not. As losing looms, he’s lashing out even more at the essential qualities of America, willing to take it down with him. It’s past time for true conservatives and their “leaders” to admit the damage he’s doing and call it out. It’s getting worse by the day. Win or lose, that is his legacy. Donald J. Trump doesn’t care.
[Image source]

15 comments:

Smoothtooperate said...

We are witnessing the death of a party. Donny T. is simply the messenger.

They've been eating their young for a decade.

America is a liberal country. That's just where we are at now in history and where we will stay. "Conservatism" is dead. The party left the voters. The voters didn't leave the party.

Ed said...

Fact-Checking Hillary Clinton's Presidential Debate Lies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnG6Sz_B4ds

Sidney Schwab said...

Wow. That was about as big a load of bullshit I've ever seen packaged that tightly. Shows you how we Americans tend to fall for British-oid accents. A couple of times it almost sounded logical. I could spend a couple of pages on the idiocy, however, starting with his "directions to a restaurant" analogy. Jeeesus!

Here, with reality-based criticism, is another link:

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/video-the-final-debate-2/

Sidney Schwab said...

Another: http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/10/23/trumps-tv-ad-was-fact-checked-by-politifact-results-are-beyond-disturbing-details/

Tell me when to stop.

Sidney Schwab said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/27/opinion/campaign-stops/the-lies-trump-told.html

Sidney Schwab said...

https://youtu.be/rX9YWSetUkQ

Somebody stop me.

Professor Chaos said...

yes, but Hillary has e-mails! Both sides!

Smoothtooperate said...

That guy really really really loves himself.

When you see a real fact check Google, it looks like this...Nice, tidy, professional. That's the way real fact check sites are like.

http://www.factcheck.org/

This is what garbage looks like...Notice the nasty graphics and language. It looks amateurish and hateful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnG6Sz_B4ds



Anonymous said...

Sid, the show isn't over. The damage is just beginning. Call this the story of how the Chinese became the dominant power without firing a shot.

McCain already let it slip the Republicans are planning on preventing Hillary from putting anyone on the Supreme Court. They can do this even if the Democrats win the Senate because apparently without 60 votes a nomination can be blocked, and the Dems aren't going to win 60 seats. Lest you think this was just ramblings of a senile old man, Ted Cruz just echoed it today.

So lets suppose they do this, along with everything else they can to prevent Hillary from actually governing. And my bet is they do; the more hard-right a district or state is, the safer the Republican office holder. Only the zealots will be left.

Do you think the Dems sit by and say "well, guess you got us there?" No. Angry voters will embrace those Dems that promise to use whatever rules they can to prevent the Republicans from freezing Congress. So the Dems will shift to zealots too.
Tit for tat, right? Except the Republicans won't stand still and we can expect to see a downward spiral. Actual default on our debt after a gov't shutdown is in our future, its just a matter of when. And some hard-right politicians have already welcomed this in the past.

So once we default expect to see cuts in US power and presence. Bases in Europe and Asia? We'll close them, without funding to keep paying the troops. The US as the world reserve currency? Not so much faith in it after a default. Congress will be so dysfunctional in a few years that we'll think of the time with Obama as a golden age.

Enter the Chinese, patiently waiting for their day in the sun. The Philippines were just ahead of the curve. Japan, Korea, etc. will cut the best deal they can with the new power. Europe is imploding in slow motion with Brexit as the start, and there's going to be no Marshall Plan this time around once the Tea Party types are holding Congress hostage.

So is Trump to blame? Partly, sure. But he just fanned the flames of a fire that Fox News and the right wing have spent years kindling.

Sidney Schwab said...

Hard to disagree with any of that, depressing tho it might be.

Smoothtooperate said...

I am burdened with glorious purpose!

Glad tidings I bring!


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appointment_and_confirmation_to_the_Supreme_Court_of_the_United_States#Confirmation

Smoothtooperate said...

Forgot to add...In that article I just posted it says "50%" for a SCOTUS seat. Which is what I thought it was. But then, who even knows what the rules are anymore?

Sidney Schwab said...

Right. 50% to approve, once you get past the 60 vote filibuster, which is no longer really a filibuster.

Anonymous said...

"The damage is just beginning." Agree, and the Democrats and their cadre of "Superdelegates" can blame themselves for their non-Democratic way of selecting a candidate (yes, Bernie Sanders without the baggage of simply having the last name of Nafta/Clinton would had a better chance of winning against populist Trump).

But there is some hope in the idea that the dignity and decorum of the White House will have a positive influence on Trump. If you believe that environment can be an influencing factor whatsoever - and if you don't, spending a few weeks/days/or even just a few hours/minutes in an environment vastly different from the one you are living in (say, a maximum security lockup?) and you could change your mind - you might also agree that the campaign trail is not exactly a dignified environment, and might not bring out the best in anyone (save for a few people, like our current President).

Sidney Schwab said...

Well, I hope you're right, anonymous person. I doubt it. I think Trump wants to BE president, but not DO president. He's already suggested he'll be spending lots of time in his cocoons in NYC and FLA; and, evidently, that he wants to keep holding rallies where he can bask in the roars of adulation that were the reason he campaigned in the first place.

As to the dignity and decorum of the White House, I think the looks on his face when he was there with Obama said it all: he realizes that the job requires not just dignity but knowing stuff; which means learning, something he's made clear he has neither the interest nor capacity for.

So while he's out holding rallies and basking, he'll have turned over the work of governing and decision-making to the cabinet of deplorables he's already in the process of assembling. And once he's had a press conference or two, where people ask tough questions and demand answers, he'll stop doing it. I hope I'm wrong about it all. Based on observation for the last couple of years, I don't believe I am.

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