Friday, June 29, 2018

Truly, It's Now Or Never. Vote!

My next newspaper column:
Seen on T-shirts at Trump’s “Tell Me How Great I Am” rallies: “Rope. Journalist. Tree. Some assembly required.” Good one, huh? 
Revealing everything about the authoritarian mastery of Trump over gratefully-manipulated Trumpists, it announces the danger to democracy they – Trump and his enraptured cult -- represent. The only thing it doesn’t tell us is whether cultists don’t see it, or whether they do and like it that way. Our founders foresaw the dark possibilities and tried, unsuccessfully since 2016, to protect against them. 
From Trump’s own words we understand the cynicism of his attacks on journalists: it’s to destroy their credibility as they illuminate his lies and disregard for the institutions of democracy. Such is the nature of his followers that he can brag about it and still succeed in the grift.  It’s a safe bet the people who wear or like those shirts, lavishing love on Trump and hate on everyone else, outraged that Sarah H.S. was asked to leave a restaurant, were delighted by refusals to serve gays, and by that guy who wouldn’t serve Joe Biden. 
The people condemning shouters at Trump’s hate-mongers in restaurants, lamenting the loss of “civility” in our politics, elected a man who insulted opponents in his own party, along with their wives and parents; who called for his audience to “beat the crap” out of protesters at campaign events, promising to pay their legal fees; who lies that liberals want open borders and love criminal gangs; who refers to the FBI as “scum.” Civility, indeed.  
It’s hard to decide, though, about those recent incidents: people on the right denouncing them are the personification of hypocrisy, of course, but it’s doubtful the harassers will accomplish anything positive. Mainly, though, and leaving aside the question of going as low as they do, by now it’s clear there’s nothing – literally nothing – that will cause Trump’s enablers to reflect on how his actions endanger the country they claim to love. Which, by now, we know they most certainly don’t: not most of its citizens, not its founding principles, not its immigrant origins. To wear those shirts is to announce ignorant rejection of our Constitution, commitment to not learning anything new, and to not thinking beyond one’s carefully-taught prejudices. 
That’s the point, and it’s also lessons learned from years of blogging and being a columnar opinionator: those who still support Donald Trump are unreachable. Time spent explaining his daily effluent of lies, his unsustainable budget priorities, the impacts of his science-denial, his egotistical tariffs (Harley!), his disregard for the environment, how he got played by Kim (still building nuke facilities, Putin’s next), is time wasted. It will be excused, ignored, denied; rejected as liberal “hatred,” communism, or fake news. They’ll resent comparisons of their “president” to despots who gained power by attacking the press and lying repetitively, or of themselves to those who seiged them their heils. 
Nor will they be swayed by true conservatives like George Will calling for voting today’s Republicans out of office or Jennifer Rubin decrying their dishonest, corrupt leader. (Note to a recent letter-writer: I’ve always distinguished between Trumpists and true conservatives. The latter deserve respect. “Conservative Trumpist” is oxymoronic.)  
Even if it’s morally acceptable, shouting down Ms. Nielsen or Mr. Miller, refusing to serve professional liar Sarah or pose with deceitful Paul is poor time management. Every minute spent that way, every dollar for causes not aimed at getting out the vote or fighting red-state voter suppression or supporting candidates committed to protecting democracy and its institutions, is squandered. There’ll never be an awakening among Congressional Republicans, and the right-wing ideologues Trump has appointed to courts are bent on preventing equality among minority voters, favoring corporations over employees, and preserving the selling of politicians to the highest bidder. 
The only remaining solution to cynical gerrymandering, promoting lies, suppressing votes, destructive budgets, denying civil rights, demonizing immigrants, is to flood the gates with new voters and ones formerly too lazy, offended, or delusional to have voted last time around. People with the most to lose, should Trumpism persist. Which includes non-wealthy Trumpists.  
And now, as if completing a circle, we learn of the murder of journalists in Baltimore, two days after right-wing hero Milos Yiannopoulos called for just that. After months of Trump calling them enemies of America. 
Sean Hannity, Trump’s nighttime whisperer, blamed Maxine Waters.
[Image source]

1 comment:

  1. Yup. I'll vote, as I always do. But I'm less than enthusiastic about it. The gerrymandering, voter suppression, the electoral college, citizens united, the Koch brothers, the NRA (and Russian money), all don't make me feel good about it. Top that off with a dose of congressional complacency that has done nothing to protect our electoral system from outside attacks makes me very skeptical as to if our vote really does matter. I think it's all a dog and pony show. I'm disgusted with it all. I believe George Carlin's immortal words, that "our country has been bought and paid for decades ago." I'm certain my sediments are exactly what Putin and Trump would hope for, what they've striven for this last few years.

    I'm a youngster at 60, and believe I've ridden the shirttails of what the Great Generation did for this country. However, I don't have hope for my daughters generation to have such luck. I'm barely a boomer and believe we've squandered and forgotten the sacrifice of our fathers. We've trashed the world, left a garbage dump for our kids, lost sight of the responsibility of our freedoms. I think tRump epitomizes my sentiments.

    Our democracy has been an experiment from the beginning, our founding fathers, those who penned and signed the constitution knew this to be the case. History tells us that no society or culture lasts forever. Ours is a fading star among them all.

    Having said and spewed my garbage, I do know what has the potential for real and positive change- it's feet in the street. Just in my lifetime I can vouch for the Vietnam war protests, and the civil rights protests. It wasn't voting that brought about the change, it was feet in the street. I've put my feet where my mouth is (often foot in mouth) by attending the Women's March, and the March for our lives. I can't march today, but I'll be at the next. Sure, I'll vote, but it's feet in the street that will effect the change we need.

    Apathy, complacency, and indifference have ruled the last forty years, right up to today.

    So I will always ask everyone who complains of our current constitutional dilemma - where are your feet?


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