Monday, June 12, 2023

Democrats need to wake up

Dryer lint Donald Trump, center, at 2016 Republican National Convention. 

     This Friday, June 16, marks many things. It’s Bloomsday, the day in 1904 when the entirety of James Joyce’s great novel, “Ulysses” takes place. It’s also my parents’ anniversary — 67 years and still going strong. (Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!) And my younger son’s birthday.
     It’s also the date in 2015 when Donald John Trump descended that escalator in the vomit-colored lobby of Trump Tower in New York City, declared himself a candidate for president and promised to save this country from the twin perils of Mexican immigrants and Muslims.
     Eight years. Three thousand days, most of which saw Donald Trump twirling like a demented ballerina in drippy orange makeup in the spotlight of American life. From that introductory moment — the first words out of his mouth a lie, natch, inflating the few dozen people present into “thousands” — to last week, when he was indicted by federal authorities on 37 counts related to seven charges under the Espionage Act.
     What a strange, terrible time in American history. Sometimes I consider it punishment for, having missed the tumult of the 1960s, wishing I could have lived in a momentous era of American history when great issues were being resolved. I take it back.
     No time for regret now. Not with Trump followers urging violence at the prospect of his being prosecuted for his crimes. Not when they question the value of law enforcement before they’ll ever question their Chosen One.
     Trump certainly will never pause from lying. Why would he? The lies work. The federal case, outlining his betrayal of national interest and endangering our security by exposing America’s military secrets to her enemies, was instantly shrugged off. Republicans have honed a variety of survival skills — perpetual imaginary victimhood, look-a-squirrel whataboutism, but-the-trains-run-on-time tunnel vision — allowing them to instantly ignore anything Trump does, did, or ever could do.
     If Republicans are in a trance, so are Democrats. Because we keep waiting for Republicans to wise up.

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20 comments:

  1. Republicans know exactly what they're doing. Democrats have to stop playing nice and slam every lie, every threat, and call out Jordan, Graham, and the entire crew of traitorous scum. This ain't bean bag.

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  2. Ever since Reagan beat us, the leaders of my Democratic Party, which was also my father's Democratic Party, have turned into the most wretched, cowardly, useless wimps that exist! I just don't get it. What is wrong with them, they seem to be terrified of breaking a few eggs. They need to attack & attack & attack the rotten to the core Re Thug Licon Party! Even the ex-Republicans of the Lincoln Project have more guts than 99.9% of the leading Dems!

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  3. Some people are better off, Silvio Berlusconi has passed away. I wish we could be so lucky.

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  4. Absolutely correct. The waiting for rational, logical, thoughtful behavior from those who have repeatedly shown their complete contempt for those ideals should have been over long ago. It's heartbreaking to give up on those expectations, but give up and face reality we must.

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  5. A writer whose name I can't remember bemoaned the fact that her newborn daughter would one day have to learn about this guy in school. Depending on what state she lives in, that might be the only history she'll learn.

    I paint with a broad brush here, but--as Neil noted--our MSM also shares plenty of blame. Their "both sides," "whatabout" and horse-race analogies are greasing the skids for these fascists.

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  6. Why the Sabbath Gasbags (Calvin Trillin's apt name for the Sunday morning news pundits) still book GOP politicians defies belief. The Gasbags, of their own free will, are gladly interviewing fascists who want to make our country an autocratic white-nationalist theocacy. And they believe they're doing so in the interests of fair play and "telling both sides of the story." Had TV existed during World War II as it exists today, that would have been like a reporter saying, "And now we turn to Herr Hitler to get his side of the Holocaust." At the very least, before starting an interview with a Republican politician, the pundits should say, "To put the following into perspective, I'd like to remind the audience that Sen. Graham is a member of the political party that tried to overthrow our democratic republic on Jan. 6, 2021." I read somewhere that a local TV station, perhaps in the Midwest, had begun doing that or something similar, but an aging memory fails to recall the details. (Memory fails on numerous things; in the morning before going out to buy the paper, I always look at my legs to make sure I'm wearing trousers.) Anyway, one of you might remember which station it is.

    An aside: TV interviewers don't know how to ask questions. Everyone is a soft lob. Reporters, including print, have to ask questions the way a detective questions a subject if they want to get at the truth. If they don't, all they're doing is giving the politician free time to make a campaign speech.

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    1. You know my line about TV: "Criticizing TV is like critiquing the wallpaper in a brothel. Any point you may have is mooted by the fact that you shouldn't be there in the first place."

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  7. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California needs to read this. He’s the guest tonight on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show, apparently with the mildest of condemnations for the T-Man. We’re waiting to see what he says about Fox’s $787 million defamation settlement. Clearly, the guv is prepping to challenge Uncle Joe with sn appeal to the Trumpites.

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  8. I think Democrats recognize the problem, but have no idea how to address it. I've tried to sustain conversations with MAGA folk, and it's impossible. I think it would be good to talk to Republican moderates and Independents in order to find out what we all should be doing to make sure June 16th isn't a day that lives in infamy. (Neil, your son isn't the only person with a birthday on that date.)

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  9. I think this is complicated. I think Trump gives his base some kind of "Hope", like religion. So when he gets arrested they view it as a crucifixion of their leader. Like he's getting picked on. The Great Witchhunt. Some Republicans I think view him as the party cancer for sure, but they tread carefully because there are too many votes to lose....... Love the wallpaper comment, plenty of opportunities to use that one.

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  10. As a newly-minted 63-year-old, Mr. S, you were under ten in the 60s. At about-to-turn 76, I was not. What will we call this terrible period, decades from now? Ireland had "The Troubles." That's not enough. Too genteel. If we're lucky, it won't be called Civil War II or Version 2.0. Just as WWII was a continuation of WWI, so may the next cataclysm be a rematch of Version 1.0. But it won't be a war between states. It'll be more like Spain was...anywhere and everywhere. And it will probably be our undoing.

    Hey, we’ve had a good run, as empires go. 250 years...not bad at all. You say the 1960s resolved great and historical issues? Perhaps some of them. But certainly not all of them. Many of the domestic conflicts that brought about Version 1.0 in the 1860s were never really resolved. Vietnam was the candle in the fireworks factory. In too many ways, we have never really put those years to rest. Political wars, cultural wars…much of our current mess began when Vietnam began.In some ways, it has never ended.

    The day Trump announced his candidacy may be even more of a Day of Infamy than Dec. 7 or Sept. 11. America was attacked by foreign enemies on those days. In 2015, we began, like a snake swallowing its own tail, to attack and devour ourselves. Untied Snakes, indeed.Eight years, and counting, and who knows how many more?

    It is not the beginning of the end, as Churchill said. Not even the end of the beginning . We can’t even begin to look back on this seemingly endless national nightmare. It’s like one of those old Warner Bros. movies, where a man is caught in the headlights of a locomotive and throws up his arms and screams horribly. The train is speeding toward us, and we seem helpless to get out of the way. You know what I think is coming, Mr. S...my question to you is…what do YOU think is coming?

    The trouble with Democrats is they think the whole thing has rules, like a playground game, and that they have to play fair and play nicely. Time to stop playing by the rules of the ring. This is an alley fight, where dirty tricks decide who is left standing. Joe keeps invoking decency, when he needs to take the gloves off and throw dirt in the other guy’s face and kick him where it hurts.

    The Trump menace is what it is: the gravest threat our nation has faced. Bigger than a Civil War or two World Wars or a Depression or a 9/11. As Royko said after MLK bought it in '68, it’s our own gun, our own head, and our own finger on the trigger.

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    1. I'm 3 years behind you Grizz, but coming from the same place. Our world was a scary place, nukes, nam, rednecks etc. We made progress in Human Rights, environmental issues and ended a war. Then our fellow Boomers discovered money, listened to Reagan,Powell and Friedman leading to the Me Generation and a new mantra, Greed IS Good. Raging at entitlements while ignoring the elevated positions they started from, it's not surprising they eat up the slop being fed to them by The Cowardly Liar. Though I have a sneaking suspicion that few actually listen to his drivel, otherwise my intelligent friends wouldn't so enthralled. Our generation has failed, we got off to a good start, learned from the Union and Civil Rights organizers of our parents generation, but we got sidetracked. It is up to younger people to pick up the torch and I think there is hope for them. But I remember helicopter shots of Miami voters in 2000, still waiting to vote long after the polls closed, and now we see pictures of people standing in Atlantic waters flooding Miami streets due to climate change, and I wonder which plague will undo us. What I do know is we cannot rely on Republicans to solve the slide towards authoritarianism or global warming.

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  11. Hillary Clinton and the Obamas, and Trump himself, told the country who he was in 2016. Joe Biden has been telling us since Charlottesville. Democrats impeached Trump twice, and even Manchin and Sinema voted to convict and remove. The horses have been led to the water over and over again. Democrats can't make them drink.
    Thirteen Senators who voted to acquit Trump were re-elected, including the unloved and often comical Ron Johnson.
    Trump increased his vote share, in no small part because of Covid-skepticism, weeks after he almost died from the disease himself, weeks after he and Chris Christie (I think that's where CC got the Covid that damn near killed him) and the entire Congressional GOP joined hands to dance on Ruth Bader Ginsberg's, and Roe's, grave.
    The problem isn't Democrats, it's the infinite wisdom of "independent" American voters, who get a vote, vote for what they want, and deserve to get it, good and hard.

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  12. It's weaponization, all right, but on the Republican side. As I've commented in the past, they have found a way to use stupid people to their advantage. These are people with voting capability but no rational, critical thinking skills, a very large population that until recent years had gone largely unnoticed and unexploited.

    These people will believe anything they are told by anyone who pays attention to them, put into simple and antagonistic language that they can understand, even when the claim itself is preposterous and anyone with the slightest curiosity and investigative skill can easily disprove it.

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  13. So we liberals aren't attacking Trump hard enough? Chris Licht at CNN just lost his job for, among other things, soft pedaling Trump. Trump just lost a defamation case, the Justice Department is prosecuting him under the ESPIONAGE Act, he is indicted in New York for fraud, and at least one other state attorney general is considering election interference charges. What do you suggest we do, throw tomatoes at him when he speaks at rallies? Egg Mar a Lago? The situation is unprecedented. I would guess there is going to be some muddling through on this ramshackle bus while we continue to try and do the right thing by our republic. Something the big R Republicans have forgotten how to do.

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  14. The problem is the enemy and as Kelly wrote in Pogo, "the enemy is us."
    The answer is staring us right in the face. Where do you think all the money goes that is raised for campaign contributions? Advertising.
    Why advertising? Because that is where most of America gets their information regarding candidates. Of course social media does what it does as well.
    This is what our country is.

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    1. I agree Les , still enough of us went to the polls to keep him from getting reelected. this is the key to 2024. Dems should vote in the republican primaries and keep him from even getting the nomination. Then reelect Joe

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    2. Franco is correct about going to the polls. However not enough people vote in te mid terms or local elections I might be wrong but most of our federal politicans start out in local and state elections. Voters need to go out and vote in every election including school boards. We are seeing in red states how that is working out. Two other problems in gerrymandeing and too many candiates running unopposed. I assume those seats are so safe that there are no challengers. I follow David Pepper. A good follow. His main point is that every office shoud be contested even if there are losses.

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  15. I mentioned David Pepper. This from his Substack. He has been promoting his new book Saving Democracy. It is a sequal to his book Labratories of Audacity So many now see that the front line of the battle for democracy is everywhere, including where you/they are. And nobody in ANY state (swing state or not) should be forced to live in a state that lacks the basics of a functioning and healthy democracy. Which means we must fight for that goal in every state. (And we now realize that when we don't, we are providing the oxygen that fuels extremism). https://davidpepper.substack.com/p/hope-notes-from-the-road?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

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