Our Nation Hangs in the Balance

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

Nine months ago, it was virtually impossible to imagine Donald Trump as the apparent nominee of any political party in the United States, let alone that of a major one. Yet here we are. And although I understand the seething sentiments behind his rise, I am still incredulous that his “shtick” has actually worked.

I recently had a conversation with my Dad about whom he was going to vote for in the primary. When he told me Trump, it took me back a little, but then I delved a little deeper. My Dad was a Green Beret and still lives, eats, and breathes his military service. When I asked him what he thought about Trump saying he would “force the U.S. military to commit war crimes”, he responded with “oh he’s just spouting off.”

This statement made me realize that there really is no making sense of those who vote for Trump. They like how he speaks his mind, but then when he goes overboard, they chalk it up to Trump being Trump (boys will be boys.) They like his toughness, so much so that those who have been abused at campaign rallies actually draw the ire of Trump supporters. They eat up the nonsense he spouts off because they want to believe America can return to a “simpler” timed.At 84 years of age, my Dad has a solidly middle-class quality of life that is much better than he could have envisioned as a young man. Despite that, I suspect he longs for the “good old days” portrayed in Leave it to Beaver and the Andy Griffith show. Yes, life was simpler then and the American Dream was very much alive (at least for some people.) The truth is though, no matter who gets elected President, America will never be going back to those days. Our country is less homogenous and more complex than ever and that trend will only continue.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning, the director, Rob Reiner, said of Trump: “The words that have been flung out from his mouth are insane. If he was not a celebrity, if Donald Trump was not a celebrity, the words that come out of his mouth, you’d see a guy in a park, a lunatic in a park on a soapbox, and you’d walk right by him. But the fact that he is a celebrity, all of a sudden, we’re all interested.” (I actually think it also has to do with him being very wealthy.)

Then, when one of the show’s regulars, Willie Geist, basically asked how Reiner explains all the millions and millions of people who like what they hear from Trump and are voting for him? Reiner said “Well, there are a lot of people who are racist.”

Much has been made of the shocked reaction of the hosts and regulars to Reiner’s comment because after all, any reasonable person could easily conclude not only are some of Trump’s supporters racist, but that he himself is both a racist and a mysogynist. Trump is the one who said:

He also by the way, was the only presidential candidate endorsed by David Duke of the KKK.

The real shocker is that any thinking person would be remotely surprised that Trump is referred to as a racist, and I applaud Rob Reiner for saying what others haven’t. Reiner should “know one if he sees one” after all, he played Archie Bunker’s “Meathead” son-in-law on “All in the Family” for seven years. Come to think of it, Archie Bunker’s world is probably a place many of Trump’s supporters would like to revisit. Communities were less diverse, women didn’t work outside the home and deferred to their husbands, and political correctness wasn’t even a term yet.

The really depressing thing for me about the Trump candidacy is not the candidate himself; he’s just one delusional narcissist. What most has me down about the Trump phenomena is how many people have bought into his bullshit hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that all Trump supporters are bad people. Many of them are probably just people who have been dealt some hard knocks in life and are tired of things not getting better. It is scary though that even if Trump loses, his supporters will still be around and they’ll likely be even more angry and vocal. This will pose a problem for the next president to deal with. We certainly don’t need a country more polarized than it is now.

In the final analysis though, those who truly believe Trump is the answer are probably on the fringe. Most of us know that no president has the power to fix all that ails us and ultimately we need a steady hand at the helm. Who shows up to vote though, will determine what the future holds. It brings to mind the Thomas Jefferson quote “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

I’m advocating that for the November elections, you commit to voting and that you get one new voter to the polls. I’m calling it #YouPlusOne. The future of our nation likely hangs in the balance.

11 responses to “Our Nation Hangs in the Balance

  1. Margaret Houlehan

    Well, my word! Thucky is posting under his REAL name!

  2. John Huppenthal

    Beautiful piece of writing but still incomplete. Trump supporters aren’t racists they are just people who have been denied a significant piece of the American dream and people whose values have been thrown in the garbage can.

    You can sum it all up in “Its about the economy stupid.” If you have economic theories that impoverish the nation, those who are the victims of those policies will get angrier and angrier and they will resent immigrants who they falsely perceive (on average) as competing with them for the limited number of jobs being created. This resentment isn’t racism, it is the self interest of protecting your family.

    However, Trump is much more likely to make things worse than to make things better. He only has one idea he really believes in, protecting his rich business friends from foreign competition by starting a trade war. He will shed all of his other stuff as quickly as yesterday’s eaten food.

    Economist Ellen McGrattan, 3rd ranked economist in the federal reserve system when she worked at the Minneapolis fed, has done a beautiful job detailing how the Smoot Hawley tariff and the trade war it spawned triggered the Great Depression right down to the hour by hour action on it reporting out of Senate Committee. The rational expectations of the stock market perfectly anticipated the Great Depression on Black Tuesday 1929. Can you imagine the stock market not hitting 18,000 again until the year 2041?

    Our police and teachers pensions are based on an assumption of a Dow Jones of 123,000 in 2041. Yes, 123 thousand, no typo – 8% growth rate.

    When you think of Trump, think of Mussolini who also drew such large crowds. Mussolini ended strung up on meat hooks by those same acolytes. I think there might be meat hooks in Trumps future.

    Trump has also debased concerns about Islamic terrorism by not giving them any intellectual depth. Muhammad and his teachings are religious leadership unlike any other we are familiar – Jesus Christ, Buddha, The Gurus of the Sikhs, the goals of human life for the Hindus, and the non-violence of Jainism.

    Consider the precepts of Buddhist ethics: 1.To refrain from taking life (non-violence towards sentient life forms),
    2.To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft);
    3.To refrain from sensual (including sexual) misconduct;
    4.To refrain from lying (speaking truth always);

    These are common elements of the religions with which we are familiar and they are reflected in the lives and teachings of the religious leaders who spawned and strengthened these religions. When we encounter patterns throughout our life, we assume these patterns apply to the next situation, our brains being the pattern recognition devices that they are. But,

    Now let’s take a look at Islam and its leader:

    When some of his camels were stolen, Mohammed gouged out the eyes of the thieves, cut off their hands and left them in the desert to die of dehydration, one of the most horrible deaths imaginable. Not exactly turning the other cheek.
    (Source: The Generalship of Mohammed, a detailed scholarly work).

    After one conquest, he took one of his wives, a 12 year old girl and held court while his soldiers beheaded 1200 helpless captives. He had a similar philosophy towards rape, institutionalizing it towards conquered populations.

    He also institutionalized and canonized deceit as a method for taking down more powerful cultures. Whereas all our religions idolize truth and life, Islam idolizes deception and death.

    Every time any Islamic leader speaks on the news or in any other venue, you have to immediately put on a filter and ask “is this a strategic deceit?” There can never be the assumption of truth, a version of the truth or even a partial truth accorded.

    ISIL, ISIS, DASH aren’t extremists, they are directly carrying out the literal word of God.

    Taken out of context, all of this is abhorrent. However, in the context of the times, 600 AD it was pretty normal. Caesar had the hands of 2000 captives cut off and we celebrate him in innumerable ways and seldom, if ever, condemn him for behavior considered abhorrent by today’s standards.
    However, only Mohammed had this behavior converted into a religion through the three texts of Islam. Religions evolve very little if at all. The Hadiths, Koran and Sunnah have been frozen since about 900 AD. The Koran and Hadiths fed back into Islamic culture in a completely different way than Christianity fed back into European culture.

    Saint Thomas Aquinas acted to unify Christianity with Platonism. As a result, we get up every morning and say “this is the law, but is it good?” This Platonic culture has been under attack for the last 2000 years and we are now seeing the result. All of our major law schools are now positivists. We are now supposed to get up in the morning and say, this is the law, I must obey. Witness the detractors to climate change and how they are treated. We now have a legal case.

    Muslims get up every morning and say “this is the law, I must obey.” As a result, Islamic culture froze in time. Islam is a positivist culture. You can see the result. Islamic civilization is backwards in every way. The average gdp per capita of Islamic countries is a fraction of Christian countries.

    In order to join the Union, the Mormon faith had to renounce plural marriages.

    When the priest scandal was uncovered in Boston, we didn’t excuse it. S trict controls and adherence to acceptable norms were demanded of the Catholic church.

    Thirty percent of all Muslims (Gallup) support violent jihad. Is this acceptable? That 825,000 Muslims in the United States intend to carry out the religious instructions of Mohammed and put the sword to us?

    Democrats and liberals not only accept this but, in order to gain the power and votes that come from Islamic immigrants, have done everything in their power to accelerate the immigration of Muslims and not only cover up these very legitimate issues but to create cultural rules that even to discuss them is prohibited and offensive.

    However, if you are gay, if you are a woman who likes to express herself and enjoys her freedom, if you are different in any way, you ought to do some study on these issues. Sharia Law is headed your way and it aint pretty.

    Trump doesn’t care about these issues. He is not even slightly aware of them. He has no intention of addressing them. He is simply saying what his pollster told him to say, taking a position that conservatives are very concerned about.

  3. captain*arizona

    hopefully f.b.i. primary will remove hillary and we can vote for bernie. not biden or kerry they both voted for iraq war otherwise its jill stein for me. we bernie supporters have no problem voting for a woman.

  4. Jim Hannan

    I finally figured out who Trumpkids remind me of. There is a somewhat obscure band called Insane Clown Posse, two guys from Detroit, horrible, misogynistic songs and concerts.
    The followers of the band are called Juggalos. They show up at concerts en masse, faces painted. The band plays in Tucson once a year, at the Rialto. I once saw them coming in, and I also saw the Trumpalos coming to the Tucson Convention Center a couple of months ago. Very similar dynamic.
    I realized that for some Juggalos, this was kind of the highlight of their life. I think Trump speaks to that same yearning.

    • HA! Love the comparison Jim! Obviously though, we’ve all got to be careful about continuing to underestimate the threat of Trump and his followers. I really like Bernie and his message, but voted for Hillary because I don’t believe there has been a candidate in recent times more qualified for the office of the Presidency. Let’s just hope she can pull it off.

  5. for more then 9 months I have been telling elitists of both partys don’t under estimate donald trump because he is a symbol and vessel for white frustrationon free trade and we will have to overwhelm his populist supporters with minority voters. not my vote bernie or green party. the republican elitists were to busy crawling on their hands and knees to free trade donor class. democrat elitist were to busy crying about dark money to notice no amour of money could stop trump.

    • You were obviously on the right track Capt A. I just finished reading “The Political Brain” by Drew Westin and he backs up your comments. Let’s hope rational thought wins in the end!

  6. JR Buckley

    Do any of Trump’s (or Bernie’s – full disclosure: I voted for him in the primary) supporters really think there’s going to be this YUGE! revolutionary change in DC if their preferred candidate wins the White House? Who do they think is going to be sitting in Congress?! Do they really think that the Tea Party’s ‘Freedom Caucus’ in the House, who ran Boehner out of town and are threatening to do the same to Paul Ryan, are going to be any more compliant or willing to compromise with Trump or Sanders or Hillary in office than they’ve been since they got into office in 2010? [That last question was rhetorical – you can’t negotiate with people who think they’re doing “God’s Work,” y’know?!]

    Like I’ve already said, I voted for Bernie on March 22nd – and that was my “MESSAGE VOTE” to the D-Party. I also sent Bernie $15. Though I never really thought he’d be able to get the nomination, but he has done a pretty good job of dragging Center-Right-Hillary to the Left. We’ll have to see how well it really worked, but I’m willing to take my chances with her.

    What I’m increasingly worried about isn’t otherwise rational people voting for Trump. It’s Bernie’s supporters that are already saying that their going to either: 1) not vote at all, 2) vote Bernie as a write-in, or 3) vote Trump to send a message. Don’t they realize that options #1 & #2 will have the exact same result as #3?

    When, as a member of the LGBT community, I try to explain what a Republican picking potentially FOUR Supreme Court nominees would I do to my family, they launch into a rant about me just being a single-issue voter (“Thanks for condensing my entire life down to a single issue….”).

    #YouPlusOne and #VoteByMail

    • Hi JR, thanks for reading and for commenting. Let me say first of all that you and I share more in common than concern that Trump might be elected President (especially of Bernie supporters don’t support Hillary.) And yes, the potential for Trump to appoint multiple Supreme Court nominees should scare the shit out of all of us, no matter who you love. Bernie and Hillary share many common beliefs, the most important of which is that ANY of the Democratics candidates in this year’s contest is preferrable to ANY of the Republican ones.

  7. American Vendetta

    My father is a boomer and was a hippie in his youth. He has always been pretty moderate and more liberal socially. Yet he is a Trump supporter. I was floored when he told me this. It is interesting to learn why people like himself support Trump this cycle. Much of my father’s support stems from his frustration (and maybe racism) towards the illegal immigration problem. My father is by no means racist, but he has a genuine dislike those comming across the southern border illegally. There is also a detest for Hilary. I believe many like him do not like the idea of another “family” controling the White House. They see the same old currupt complex.

    Another friend of mine who is quite moderate supports Trump too. His take is based again on the feeling that the middle class is getting screwed. He sees Washington as a place of corruption that only serves the elite on the backs of the poor and middle class. This friend also believes that Trump will make America more competative as a producer.

    The commonality with both my father and my friend is that neither are right wing or liberal. Both detest the Tea Party. However, they see the gridlock, corruption, and politics of the past decade as not working for them. I believe that Trumps support stems from both an Anti Washington establishment vote and a Protest vote that basically states “nobody is good”. It will be interesting to see how the elections go. My hope is as we progress, most protesting votes will see what Trump is and common sense will reign at the polls.