|"Checkerboard and Playing Cards," by Juan Gris (Metropolitan Museum of Art)|
Remember the presidential election?
Of course you do.
Might take a moment, with all the craaaaaazy bullshit that has happened since. Hard to think this is still the United States of America.
But it is.
Anyway, think back to the end of the campaign, oh, 18 months ago.
A lot of people thought Donald Trump would lose.
Including Donald Trump.
And what did Donald Trump do when he thought he would lose? What did he say?
He claimed the system biased against him.
"Election is being rigged by the media," he tweeted, "in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!"
He said that over and over and over and over.
Until some people believed him.
The election was a fraud until he won it, barely. Then it was great.
It's happening again.
This time the FBI and the Justice Department are in league against him. He's striking out at them because he feels he's going to lose.
Almost as if he knows he's guilty.
And Republicans, to their undying shame, generally support him.
Even though a lot of them must think he's guilty too.
For one simple fact:
He is guilty.
I certainly think so. He acts like someone who's guilty.
If he succeeds in selling this latest spin, and the investigations are scuttled, then suddenly the FBI and the Justice Department will be fine again.
He's like a toddler flipping a game board over when the game goes against him.
An embarrassing quality in a child. Disturbing in an adult. Unacceptable in a president, even a president as spurious as this one.
Though a lot of folks seem eager to accept it.
It's so obvious, it hardly needs to be pointed out. To half the country. To the other half, or 40 percent, or whatever, you could write it on a 2x4 and hit them between the eyes with it and they still wouldn't get it.
That is, to me, the most disturbing part of the whole Trump phenomenon.
Not that the man's a fraud. He is. Big time. And a liar. Continually.
But that he is a not-very-good fraud. And a shabby, flimsy, obvious liar.
Yet people fall for it.
Not so much fall. But dive for it. They lunge to believe Trump. And having believed, they stick with it. Through everything.
I'll never understand why.
Democracy's Achilles's heel has been exposed and it turns out it's our electoral system. What will save the nation from this pathetic mishap is our practice of holding presidential elections every four years. Regardless of what Trump thinks, he's not our reigning monarch.ReplyDelete
Neil is spot-on about the lying. If Trump was an accomplished liar, we wouldn't know that he's lying. Wouldn't you think that when a man does something every day, he'd eventually learn to do it right?
One might say he's an accomplished liar because with practice it seems to come second nature to him. As the well known author "anonymous" completed a thought begun by Sir Walter Scott:Delete
"Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.
But when we've practiced quite a while
How vastly we improve our style."
Actually his lying is pathological, but you're right; the enormity of his lying is quite an accomplishment.Delete
Why? One word: Racism.ReplyDelete
That's it. That is the be-all and end-all of Trump's political existence. He appeals to people's prejudices and resentments about all these dark-skinned hordes who are allowed to exist and live their lives and speak in proximity to white people.
As it happens, racism is the be-all and end-all of the Republican Party too. It's the only reason any Republican gets elected to any office above dogcatcher. They put out a net to catch all the bigots who were pissed off by the Civil Rights Acts, and boy did they ever catch them.
That's why any speculation about how Trump might be alienated from "the Republican establishment" is laughable. The two are brothers, joined at the hip, wedded by racism. It's a marriage that will last forever and ever, amen, until decent people decide to stop it.
Darned if I can figure it out. Perhaps they know deep down somewhere in their souls that Trump is a fraud, but they've invested so much into him, believing him and his phony promises, that they can't bear the thought they've been wrong. Or they're just too ashamed and embarrassed to admit it. Or maybe it's a sickness, a mental condition akin to being brainwashed. Especially when it starts spreading, infecting friends and family who feel empowered by each other.ReplyDelete
That, or it's the orange hair.
To add that he's an empty suit would just be piling on. When all the bad his administration has perpetrated sets in, even the kochs of the world won't be able to bail us out - not that they'll care, they're getting what they paid for. He was an unconventional candidate, and the Clinton campaign chose to run a traditional campaign. So much for the concept of the smartest people in the room. GFoxReplyDelete
The traitors are getting what they want with the resignations of too may people on all kinds of oversight committees resigning. This is frightening.ReplyDelete
Sandy and Bitter Scribe both hit key points. But the biggest point is fear. Yes, a lot of the fear is based in racism. Yes, a lot of the fear is having to admit they were wrong after investing so much in him.ReplyDelete
But ultimately, they have seen Trump as the last bulwark, the last line of defense between them and a world which they can't comprehend and which scares them. They fear if Trump goes down, all the powers of this new world will swamp them and leave them adrift and subject to persecution and deprivation.
Of course this is silly. Trump is not that bulwark. The GOP is. Neil, you have pointed out before that Trump is a symptom of a disease, not the disease itself. Trump is the culmination of over 40 years of GOP policy. What these people don't realize or are afraid to admit is that they are supporting a party that has created the very conditions they are afraid of.
I have a theory. For the first million or so years of our species existence, our sense of self, the narrative we develop over our life span than defines us, was a creation of actual human experiences and interaction. We were what we had experienced. Tribal humans needed collaboration and empathy to survive and thus collaboration and empathy were an essential part of how we defined ourselves. Recent research shows a majority of most human's daily experiences are virtual in nature. Virtual experiences like tv, radio, online activities, social media, are experiences as content - someone else created the experience of you for you. Someone else who often has an agenda. Fox News, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Trump, and all the rest of the right wing content creators have created a new human, humans whose sense of self is defined by a daily barrage of virtual experience, a daily barrage than nurtures the worst aspects of humanity.ReplyDelete
Gingrich, Murdoch, Limbaugh. The creators of personal narratives that are poisonous and just happen to favor billionaires. A billionaire running as a populist should be dangerous only in the sense that people might laugh themselves to death. Instead, people whose sense of self is defined by manipulative fiends lap it up.
Still, I don't think even Murdoch imagined someone as demented as Trump taking the tiller of State.
I like your theory, Dennis. People are struggling with reality because they've lost the ability to perceive reality. When do we ever take the time for rational discussion with our fellow human beings? Do we gather with our families for dinner every night? Who pinned the "do not resuscitate" sign on the art of conversation?Delete
I think its not just the racism and xenophobia that unites trump supporters. its not just the fear of and animosity towards people with dark skin and foreigners . its a backlash against the progressive movement that seeks to include people of color , LGBTQ, Muslims, etc that have united both poor uneducated whites , evangelicals and wealthy college graduates behind the president and his policies. its a much larger group in total than we realize. much like before the election when polling organizations and news outlets including the NYT failed to see trumps victory on the horizon, we are in danger of further republican gains in the mid terms and just don't see it coming. target your contributions to Dems in districts that might flip. travel outside your cozy bastions of liberal thought to do grass roots work to get out the vote. do not be complacent and don't confuse renouncement with action!ReplyDelete
I'm in total agreement. I just have to believe that real truth will win the day. This is not who MOST of us are or hope to be. What caught me off guard is just how many people are & have beenReplyDelete
so willing to lie & be lied to.
He's their messiah. They can't let him go and they refuse to consider he's a fraud, because his message is oh-so right.ReplyDelete
Trumpe’s lies and megalomania are expressions of the bigotry and fear mentioned above. I have educated family members who buy into this craziness and it is utterly impossible to talk with them. They launch into attacks on the Clintons and believe Obama gave huge resources to foreign countries and ungrateful, lazy Americans of color, not to mention the “illegal aliens” who vote for Democrats because we invite them in to tilt elections and stealAmerican jobs. They KNOW these things and cling to their Bibles, guns and alternative facts. What will save us in the long run are the Millenials. They are empathic, objective and sure as hell aren’t billionaires or dupes. Excellent comments today re an excellent column. Thanks to Neil and all of you.ReplyDelete
I don't want to be cynical, Noel, but an awful lot of the marchers in Charlottesville looked to be millennials. On the other hand, those I actually know in person are a great bunch, so let's hope their attitudes and actions prevail.Delete
I think this interview with Greg Palast and David Cay Johnston is very good. Skip the first 15 minutes. It is kind of long but worth watching. https://www.facebook.com/GregPalastInvestigates/videos/10156047695992128/ReplyDelete
..."flipping the game board over when the game goes against him..." brought back memories of endless games of RISK ("The World Conquest Game") in my teens. When the game settled into an hours-long war of attrition between alliances of two or more players, inevitably someone would tire of rolling the dice ("You lose two...we each lose one" ad nauseum) and the world war would end "on account of worldwide earthquake."ReplyDelete
My biggest concern is that of Agent Orange having the launch codes, and possessing the power to not only end the game, but all the other games, and all life, on the planet. The Cuban Missile Crisis took place around the time I was rolling dem bones.
I deal with today's fear in much the same way I dealt with the Cold War as a youngster, and the fear of The Big One when I lived in California: Maybe it'll happen while I'm asleep, and I'll never know what hit me.
Trump gives people hope. It may be a false hope but to them that's better than none at all.ReplyDelete
"May be." An odd moment for you to start being giddily generous, David.Delete