Monday, November 28, 2016

Trump is Trump, But Who Are We?


Nearly three weeks in and Donald Trump is still the president-elect. Never mind how we feel; it's how he feels that counts. Just ask him. He has remained the man he always was, and why not? Good God, the man loves who he is!  His adoration for himself is dazzling. The scope of his self-love is breathtaking. In his eyes he is a commanding figure, a smooth operator, just what the world has been waiting for--a man with a colossal brain, a dick to die for, and no double chin AT ALL!

But about the rest of us: For at least the next four years, if all goes as awry as we fear it will, Donald Trump and his partners in crime will be free to make foolish and dangerous decisions affecting every single one of us.  In order to stop them, or even to slow them down, we have to figure out who we are.  We're not the same people we were before all this.  We've been rocked to our core. 

Are we bitter?  Damn right.  Are we weak?  Weakened, maybe. Are we strong? As strong as we were a few weeks ago, when we thought our strength, our mission, our remarkably good sense, would put an end to this Trump guy and all he stands for.

We were wrong. It hurts. It's awful. But we're at a place now where we can't afford to make foolish mistakes. We're divided. We've splintered into factions.  We're still muttering over how this happened and who was to blame, and we're inclined to blame each other.  We're going to have to get over that.

Still, there is no question the Democrats made some terrible blunders.  We're still hashing out what all they were, but the biggest blunder was in not addressing the real, everyday needs of the lower and middle classes.  The very people who were waiting for signs that help is on the way. It was easy to go after Trump. Every day brought something new and even more outrageous. But the needs of the people took a back seat to every shocking disclosure, until every speech, every TV ad, began to sound the same. Trump is bad. He's soooo bad. Let us count the ways. . .

It's done now, and we can either go on blaming or we can recognize that the presidency of Donald J. Trump will be anything but normal. He is and always will be a spiteful, foul-mouthed, reckless egotist--a verifiable loose cannon--only now he'll have the backing of an equally reckless GOP leadership and the aid of a cadre of dangerous characters with shady pasts and presents.

Instead of advancing our causes, we'll be fighting to keep them from disappearing entirely.  We know going in it won't be a fair fight, so the first thing we need to do is to abandon all wishful thinking. It's exactly what it appears to be.

Donald Trump will never anything but an embarrassing, privileged low-life who will spend the next four years disrespecting the office of the president and irritating the hell out of us in the process.

He'll be up at all hours tweeting silly, snotty stuff in order to draw a snarl or a laugh.  He'll be the first president in history to be accused of blatant overuse of exclamation points.

 And that's just be in his off-hours.  God knows what he'll do when he gets down to business.

So the second thing we need to do is to shake hands and make a pact:  As crazy as it's going to get, we have to be the sane ones. We're the good guys.  No matter how hard they work to beat us down, we're the good guys. And, even knowing the honor the presidency should bring, Trump will always be Trump.

As Charles Blow wrote in his column gone viral, "No, Trump, We Can't Get Along":
You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.

I am not easily duped by dopes.

I have not only an ethical and professional duty to call out how obscene your very existence is at the top of American government; I have a moral obligation to do so.
I, too, see it as my duty. And then there's that moral obligation.  I'm ready.  We're ready. 

All together now.

(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Crooks and Liars)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

America, What Have You Done?


Last night, against all odds, against everything that's holy, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.  A vile, cruel man who flaunts his fame and fortune, who exacts revenge in the form of name-calling and slander, a man who has a history of lying, cheating, and ruthlessly attempting to destroy anyone who goes against him, will be, as of January 20, 2017, the most powerful man in the world.

He beat out Hillary Clinton, a woman who carries her own baggage--none of it nearly as heavy or as dirty as Trump's--yet who is inordinately qualified to be president, a woman who couldn't match him in bombast and showmanship but rose above him in matters of the heart, of commitment, and of intellect. 

It wasn't a glass ceiling that was shattered last night, it was our country.  The Republicans--those very same menaces who, through their obstruction and disdain for anyone other than the rich and powerful, caused most of the economic problems plaguing the voters--still came out smelling like roses. They won over the Democrats and held their majority in Congress. Those voters who felt so threatened by the government of their choosing have now willingly bought into an outrageously ludicrous line of demagogic fear-mongering and turned to someone outside of politics for solace and succor. Or revenge.

The postmortems will be coming fast and furious in the days ahead, but the die is cast, our bed is made, our new president is a nasty narcissistic loose cannon who will be in a position to fill his cabinet with his equally slimy agenda-driven cronies, to fill the Supreme Court with Scalia clones, to shut down needed social services, to rape our public lands, to deny climate change, to end the Affordable Care Act, to send packing anyone whose skin color, religion, or ethnic background, doesn't match his idea of a pure America.

He has threatened to send his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to jail.  He has threatened to take away the freedom of the press. He has threatened to "bomb the shit" out of Isis. He has aligned himself with the ugliest elements in our society, including the gun toting militias, the KKK, the NRA, and the religious right.

Vladimir Putin has already sent his congratulations.

And I'm stunned, angry, depressed, mortified, and embarrassed for my country.  I didn't create Trump, I didn't promote him, I didn't vote for him, but I'll have to live with what comes next and so will everyone I hold dear.  Some of them voted for this man, along with the millions of others who saw this inconceivable win as payback of some sort, a punch in the gut to wake us the hell up.

I'll leave it to them to figure out how they'll live in the America they've now created.  And I won't feel an ounce of pity for them when all of their wishes don't come true.

(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Crooks & Liars)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hillary, You Need To Stop Attacking Trump

Dear Hillary,

In only a few days we'll finally know which of our nation's two candidates has won the presidency.  No secret that I'm rooting for you, and that I have no earthly use for Donald Trump, but I'm begging you to stop talking about him. Right now.

We know what he is. We know how you feel about him. He's vile, he's an opportunist, he's so far from being a logical choice for a viable candidate we can't stop thinking, you and I and everyone in our camp, about how impossible, how improbable his rise to being this close to the presidency really is. We're shocked.  Okay, we're shocked.  But there it is, and the next million words about it and a million words after that won't change a thing.

Stop obsessing over him.  Forget about him altogether. You need to spend the rest of  your valuable time convincing voters you feel their pain and, what's more, you've got pretty good ideas about how to heal.

Hillary at Dartmouth - Dartmouth News

We want to know exactly what you plan to do about trade, joblessness, poverty, health care, education, infrastructure, the military, the environment and everything else that impacts our daily lives. We need to feel comfortable with handing you the keys to the highest office in the land, and it's obvious a whole lot of us are not there yet. 

We are a country so afraid, so on edge, so wary of our future, we've allowed a hate-filled, utterly ill-equipped demagogue to take over and build a ridiculously flawed case for his leadership.  The crowds his hateful taunting has been drawing for many long months should have sent shock-waves all over every single campaign throughout the land, both Democrat and Republican. He's pushing buttons you all can't seem to dismantle and it's working for him.

I don't mean to pile on you. Lord knows you get that enough of that, but if you want to get those young people, those undecideds to vote for you, you'll have to give them reason to believe in you.  Right now, less than a week before the election, they still don't. They're beginning to think your repetitive attacks on Trump are a way of sidestepping the real issues. That can't be good.

Do I need to bring up Bernie Sanders?  Do I need to remind you that he built a huge following by addressing real-world issues wholly abandoned by the Republicans and seemingly abandoned by our party, the Democrats? While I've always been your loyal supporter, I can't help but love Bernie's message.  Who wouldn't? It was, in a nutshell, "I care more about the have-nots than about the haves."  The undecideds need to believe that's your message, too. Bernie is now working to get you elected, but you'll remember that he was able to climb half way up the mountain by making his followers believe you weren't with them. It's your job to make them believe otherwise.

Let's remember, too, that Donald Trump rose to astonishing prominence by demagoguing his followers into believing he was the only one who could ease them out of their misery--an existence forced on them by a corrupt, uncaring government of, by, and for the establishment.  (Not unlike Bernie's populist message, it should be noted.)

So let's pretend Donald Trump is out of the picture.  Let's pretend your opponent is someone who knows something about politics  He or she is a Republican, a member of the same party that set out to ruin Barack Obama's--and the nation's--chances at any kind of social or economic success, simply because they couldn't stand the thought of watching our first black president get credit for a win.  These are the people working to take us down, and they'll go on working at it until we pull the rug out from under them.

Your-opponent-who-is-not-Trump understands government and policy as well as you do, and can go head-to-head over what our future will look like under either regime. They know a little something about demagoguing themselves. You need to get your game on.  You need to push the Democratic platform, which, as you know, is stronger on equity, equality and opportunity for all.  You need to ask favors of every blue collar leader you know and get them to push our agenda--the one where we win and the other side loses and the country is the better for it.  You need to energize our young voters by giving them a reason to dream.

We are a country of hard workers.  We need good paying jobs, we need good benefits, we need good retirement packages.  We need good, low-cost health care, we need education packages that build learning and literacy. We need to get back to building a solid middle class. We need more of what we used to have.

We can only get those things if you and the Dems win. If you want those things, too, then tell us.  For God's sake, tell us!  The script is there; we've written it before.  Now go out there and deliver it.  You only have a few more days.  You're wasting your time on Trump.  Leave him in the gutter. The country and its citizens are far more important.
_______________________

(Cross-posted at Dagblog and Crooks & Liars)