The more I read about Donald Trump and his band of merry idiots, the more I can’t keep quiet. It’s not generally advisable that a blogger take sides and speak ill of a whole philosophy or persuasion; it’s bad for business! But seriously, I can’t pull punches. I believe, like so many people with character, wisdom, and experience, that the GOP has run amok and is ruining our reputation, nation, and planet. I will add my voice to the chorus of individuals who call on the good people of the country to stand and be counted. We do not know for sure that we have time on our side, and we may not get a “do-over”.
"A person of good will seeks to relate to others with sympathy that finds its expression in care. Because openness contributes to the effective operation of care, the person of good will should adopt a manner of candor and genuineness." "Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp." "Patriotism isn't about making everyone stand and salute the flag. Patriotism is about making this a country where everyone wants to." entirely–
When a demagogue takes power and attempts to do things like quell dissent, prevent investigation of potential wrongdoing, silence the media, impugn the very character of his critics, and appoint bad actors to positions of power, the people in that country come to a crossroads.
The citizens of America must look to its values, and stellar examples of leadership, goodness, and wisdom to know how to proceed. Courage to stand and be counted comes from unity, wisdom, and necessity.
What else besides Orwellian demagoguery (and not that far from a strategy used by Hitler) can you call THIS call to end the “witch hunt” against him? The man is absolutely unprecedented in his unscrupulousness, showmanship, and narcissim. I believe he literally only sees us and this country as his stage.
“There are times when we are called to duty;
Necessity dictates revolutionary action.
The time comes when we must stand and be counted;
Proactivity arises from the place of reaction.”
My wife nailed it: “This is how it starts. Look at any nation in history that turned authoritarian. First immigrants are to blame, then I’m going to take care of you, they are your problem. USA first, no one cares about any non-Americans. No unity, us us, me me, what I want, when I want it. We need to start printing out copies of the Allegory of the Cave and distributing it to the masses in a 3rd grade language style.”
It certainly reminds me of the oft’-cited poem by Martin Niemoller:
“In Germany, the Nazis first came for Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, there was no one left to speak for me.”
Trump uttered the other day in a 10,000-person, campaign-style, “keep the base excited” rally: “This may be — in fact it probably is — the greatest movement in the history of America; to keep it going we need to elect more Republicans.”
I think it’s fair to ask, What has the Republican Party and Donald Trump done that is truly on behalf of the middle class. Not himself, not the rich, not the cultural conservatives (e.g., abortion rights deniers)??
My father said, “There are times to sit, or stand and be counted,”
When good people die, just laws are forsaken, banned books smolder
There comes a time when our steed must be armored and mounted;
The balance of good and evil rests on our collective shoulders.
You not in it alone. Politics and information do matter. The ACLU, Common Cause, Common Dreams, BillMoyers.com, Bernie Sanders, DemocracyNow!, Thom Hartmann, and The Young Turks, are here to help. I promise to keep bringing wisdom and moral values to the fore!
“Give to us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
When a strongman-type president – ignorant, narcissistic, bumbling, Orwellian, and uncouth – takes power by dubious means (the Russian interference, conspiracy, and the utter destruction of norms of public behavior, we really have to choose between staying silent and speaking up. Yes, even if he rouses the crowd to hate you and has you forcibly removed (source).
How much more bombastic, foolish, and arrogant can one man get? His “tweets” are non-stop manic bullshit, and millions and millions follow him and eat it up. It’s apalling, and we must stand and be counted. The fear-mongers and professional liars on the right won’t like it, but what will they accept besides total capitulation?
- “I’m intelligent. Some people would say I’m very, very, very intelligent.”
- “People love me. And you know what? I’ve been very successful. Everybody loves me.“
- “Being nice to Rocket Man hasn’t worked in 25 years, why would it work now? Clinton failed, Bush failed, and Obama failed. I won’t fail.”
Madeline Albright asks, Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?
Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.
I believe, though I am not sure, that I’m not advocating partisanship; that would be more relevant in the battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton/Debbie Wassarman Schulz for the soul of the liberals in this country (in 2016). To be pro-Bernie or pro-Hillary is a partisan thing. You want the person you support to win; they are essentially your leader, and you their team-member. Not particularly praise-worthy, but it is what it is.
Now, you have a lunatic who is hell-bent on wrecking this country because he is more of a showman, a grifter, a sociopath than anything.
Below is how The Week (the editors) and Sheri Berman from The Guardian perceive some of these issues, and urge the Left to unite instead of divide. I say kudos to that!
“In the Trump era, ‘identity politics benefits the Right more than it does the Left,’ said Sheri Berman. The Left assumes that people who support President Trump are motivated by simple racism, but the cultural and status fears and resentments he taps into are complex.
Social scientists who’ve studied the Trump phenomenon say his stress on ‘growing immigration, the power of minorities, and the rise of China’ trigers a ‘defensive reaction’ among Americans who feel the power and status of their own group has been waning. In everyday life, these people may not espouse racist beliefs or treat non-white people badly. But telling them over and over again that they are under threat and are being pushed around by other groups makes them anxious and angry. As one psychologist put it, ‘It’s as if some people have a button on their foreheads,’ and when the button is pushed they feel a need to defend their group.
So when Democrats insist that Trump supporters are racists who will be left behind in a multicultural U.S., that only makes Trump loyalists – and right-leaning independents – want to defend him even more. To defuse Trumpism, Democrats need ‘to help citizens see what unites them instead of focusing on their differences.”
Trump voters have five key characteristics, according to Bobby Azarian. I can’t say I disagree.
Put this all together:
- Trump is questionably a legitimate president. He certainly didn’t get the majority of votes and he was helped by Russian intelligence interference
- He is a demagogue and meets many of the criteria for narcissism and fascism
- He divides, manipulates, lies, cheats, and runs many tried-and-true divisive tactics (e.g., Obama was born in Kenya and isn’t American)
- The GOP won’t stand up to him, really. Mostly the leaders want power and a low-tax state
- His followers have a real gripe; their I.Q. is probably about average; they’re not idiots.
- The media and social media and bad actors like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News foment this tumult and chaos and disinformation
- Economic insecurity underlies much of the dissention and partisanship. The wealthy/powerful are pitting one middle/lower-class group against another. Tribalism and biases run deep in human beings, and power-mongers know this.
- We are in an Orwellian pickle that is amplified by Twitter, 24-hour news, and the wealthy/powerful who benefit
- Trump did touch on some of the aspects of America that are problematic; even a broken clock is right twice a day. There is too much money in politics, political correctness is a thing, China is ascending, and labor/manufacturing is under great pressure. This is how a demagogue does it.
- We need to speak to the values and issues that those lost sheep on the right have: fairness, economic prosperity, reasonable taxes, and white fright.
- Civil liberties protection, “get out the vote,” stopping voter disenfranchisement, the Russia investigation, and old-fashioned peace, love, and understanding are the keys.
We’ve gotten through a lot of scary shit in this country’s short and tumultuous past; we brought much of it on ourselves by following leaders who possess gravitas, charisma, and money instead of wisdom and character. It requries us to be engated, be strong, be united, be gentle, and to stand and be counted.
It’s not white vs. blacks, poor vs. middle class, liberals vs. conservatives, intelligent vs. dumb, this tribe vs. that tribe. It’s about unifying as Americans under more responsible leaders who can help bring about America’s shrinking potential before we are too far behind to ever catch back up.
Stand and be counted.
Nowadays, whenever I pause long enough to step back and think about our frenetic, postmodern, quasi-apocalyptic, multitasking, dual-income, picking-up, dropping-off, stopping-by, hyphenated, bifurcated, emotionally hectic, intellectually overwhelming, economically challenging, and spiritually benumbed lives, I’m always left with a simple question: “Is there a place, a real place, for wisdom in our world?” ~ Stephen S. Hall