001 – Madness … and Opportunity

In My Humble Opinion … (April 2017)

Welcome, and thank you for taking a look at my new blog.  In what I hope will be this regular “editorial” section, I will attempt to address selected issues which are of interest to me, and which I might hope will generate comments and some back and forth among my readers.  That said, in this first effort, let me address what is undoubtedly the elephant in the room (pun intended).

I am no fan of our current President.  That is putting it as mildly and as inoffensively as I am able to put into words.  For those who know me, the fact that I am not a fan of his should come as no surprise whatsoever.  However, with you now knowing this, it may be somewhat easier to see where my opinions are influenced by that bias.

In the following rather lengthy editorial, I first enumerate reasons why I believe otherwise reasonable people may have voted for Trump.  I then identify why I believe that he was able to fool so many people.  Finally, I identify potential silver linings which I see in this otherwise chaotic situation.  I hope that you are able to spend a bit of time reading through this editorial.  I certainly understand that not everyone will agree with me.  However, whether you agree or not, I welcome your opinion and encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on  LEAVE A COMMENT  at the beginning of this post.

So why did people actually vote for Trump?

I do understand some of the early supporters of Trump – at least those who truly would not just blindly support him even if he proverbially shot someone in the middle of a Manhattan street.

  • Some were honestly hoping that he was the true maverick who would shake things up in DC and not just be another of the distrusted establishment hacks on either side of the political spectrum.
  • Some just could not stand Hillary Clinton and frankly would have voted for Satan himself (or herself to be more politically correct in the extreme). Many did not vote at all for that same reason.
  • Some were so disgusted by eight years of the Obama Presidency that Abraham Lincoln would not have been able to win even if he had run as a Democrat (and even if he had just survived an assassination attempt!).
  • Some believed everything Trump said when he was in front of his adoring rallies, even while simultaneously failing to notice that he often said things that were exactly the opposite when speaking to other groups.
    • That sort of thing has now come to roost as he totally reverses himself day after day, on issue after issue that he spoke about while on the campaign trail.
  • Some just were so disgusted with Obamacare that the Republicans had demonized over and over again ever since it became law, that one issue alone was enough to drive their vote.
    • By the way, for those of you who may have voted for Trump, just how is that whole “repeal and replace” thing going for you?
  • Some were (and still are) more ideologically aligned with the social positions of the Republican party and therefore could never think of voting with people who are generally for …
    • The right to affordable healthcare
    • The right to receive an affordable education
    • The right to choose your mate
    • The right to have a safe way to terminate a pregnancy in certain circumstances
    • The obligation to pass sensible gun control legislation
    • The right to treat law enforcement and to be treated by law enforcement, equally regardless of the color of your skin
    • The right to be paid equally based upon your ability to perform a job, and not based upon your sex or nationality.
    • Those are just a few, but I think you get my drift.
  • Some were so afraid to lose the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that has existed since Reagan (over 30 years), that they were not only willing to vote for Trump but they were willing to ignore Mitch McConnell’s blatantly partisan efforts to prevent President Obama from his Constitutional right to appoint a successor to Judge Scalia. McConnell would not even allow it to come to a vote because he didn’t trust at least some of his fellow Republican Senators not to support Merrick Garland and, thereby, the Constitution.
    • Lost in all of the “Harry Reid did it first” rhetoric is the fact that Mitch McConnell alone prevented Merrick Garland from having the chance to be confirmed by the Senate. McConnell made the decision for every other Republican Senator and for every other Republican voter in this country.  I would have thought that should have pissed off at least a few more people than it did – especially a few of the so-called strict Constitutionalists.
    • If McConnell was so sure he was right, he should have at least trusted his fellow Senators to back him up by simply not voting to confirm Garland.
  • Some believed that once he became President, Trump would surround himself with people who would be unlike the entrenched DC crowd (right, left and in-between) who are so widely distrusted. After all, he was independently wealthy, correct, and therefore could not be swayed by the money that has been fueling the distrust that most Americans have with our politicians.  Yeah, right … or should I instead just say nyet.
    • Only those core group of supporters (the “go ahead, shoot someone in the street” crowd), could ignore, justify or be the least bit proud of the parade of ridiculously wealthy, Wall street connected (can you say Goldman Sachs), humongous donors, anti-government very specifically for the agencies to which they have been appointed to lead, group whom he has appointed to the cabinet and to be his advisors.
      • If you voted for Trump, do the names Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, Jeff Sessions, Mike Flynn, Wilbur Ross, Sean Spicer and (drum roll) Steve Bannon, now just make your chest absolutely swell with pride?
    • That does not even address those who have suspected ties to Russia, to Putin, to the oligarchs and to those who tried to subvert our electoral process.
    • It also does not address how a former (current) racist, editor of a white-supremist news outlet is (or at least still  is as of this writing) one of his closest advisors.
    • It also does not address how someone who appears to actually now be his closest advisor, and who has been given a totally ludicrous list of national and international responsibilities, happens to be his 36 year old son-in-law whose only qualifications seem to be that he inherited his place in his family’s real estate empire when his father was sent to prison (and, of course, that he married Ivanka).
  • Some believed that Trump truly was the hero for the common man, and for the people who considered themselves the forgotten, “true” Americans.
    • The ability of Donald Trump, no less, to be able to convince the predominently white middle class of that total BS is one of the things that mystifies me so completely.
  • Some believed that it would be great to have a totally unpredictable loose cannon in the White House who would shake things up and make our adversaries think twice before messing with the U.S.
    • Well, be careful what you wish for.

I could probably go on (even more than I have already), but if Trump really was the Populist maverick he said that he was, I could understand how many people would have put their fears aside and would have voted for him out of an “aw, what the hell have we got to lose” attitude.

The problem is that the signs were clearly there even before the election that he was not anything like what he claimed to be.  He wasn’t even a competent huckster.  Any huckster worth his salt would not have done and said the things that Trump constantly said and did because they would have known damn well that people would have seen right through them.  But Trump just kept on, and hammered on his red meat issues (the Wall, “lock her up”, “drain the swamp”, Obama is the worst President in history (or should I say the worst black President)) because Trump quickly understood, to his damning credit, that he could say and do absolutely anything and it would not affect his standing with his core supporters.

  • When Trump, early on in the Republican primaries, said that he did not respect John McCain because he preferred people who did not get captured, and that didn’t sink his candidacy right then and there, well “Katy bar the door”. That just opened the floodgates.  Between that and the “I wouldn’t lose any votes if I shot someone in the street” comment, he had to know that the Republican nomination was his and that he could then take his chances in the general election … with a little help from his friends.
  • If he lost, as he must have assumed he would near the end, he was clearly positioning himself to blame the corrupt media and the corrupt electoral process.
  • But surprise.  He won.  Now what the hell should he do?  (The echoes of the final line of Robert Redford’s 1972 movie “The Candidate” are not lost on this writer.)

So here we are, roughly 100 days into the new administration.

The only way Trump has recently found to get some positive press is to drop a few bombs here and there (and I’m not referring to Twitter bombs).  Even if, or especially if, you voted for Trump, doesn’t that make you just the least bit wary of his decision making motives going forward?

  • “Hmmm, should I just bomb or nuke that SOB (fill in the blank because there are lots of SOB’s to choose from) because it is truly in the best interests of the United States and yes, also of the entire world, or maybe, just maybe, should I do it because people really seem to treat me better when I pull a trigger – any trigger?”

I was like many others when the reality of the election hit, in that I was incredibly distraught, not just because of the idiocy of the decision, but because of fear for the future of our nation.  However …  I just retired.  I’m straight.  I’m male.  I’m white.  I’m a native born U.S. citizen.  So I don’t have a lot of irons in the fire when it comes to potential threats from most policies and decisions that will come down in the next four years.  Still, I was just as thoroughly distraught as I imagine a significant portion of our country’s electorate was after November 7th.

Here are some possible silver linings to our current situation.

But if we can survive (unfortunately a big “if”), I am finally able to see more than just a bit of a silver lining in all of this madness.

  • There is at least a chance now that the Affordable Care Act can finally be taken seriously and that bipartisan action can be taken to build on its positives and try to fix the negatives. After years of total obstructionism by Republicans, and a pledge to do nothing to improve the law, but simply to obliterate it, there appears to be enough internal disagreement within the Republican party that repeal is no longer a realistic option (or any longer an effective slogan) and that improving the existing system is the only manageable way to go.
    • Of course, they may still try to torpedo the law by withholding crucial funding but I have to believe that Republicans will eventually see that even that route is not in their best, self-interests.
  • We don’t have to put up with Hillary dealing with another totally obstructionist Congress and therefore in many ways just treading water as we had to do through much of the Obama Presidency.
    • Do you really think that a Republican controlled Senate would have even let Hillary appoint Scalia’s successor at all?
  • Okay, I’ll say it. We don’t have to put up with Bill running around as the First Gentleman and all of the related mischief that might well have caused.  (But it might have been kinda fun at times.)
  • The penultimate glass ceiling still exists.  If Hillary had won, there might be less motivation for more women to run for any public office, much less the highest public office, or for men and women to consider voting for that woman, whomever she might be.
  • We don’t have to put up with four years of Trump bitching and moaning from the sidelines about how he was robbed and how crooked Hillary stole the election, and we perhaps might have had to revisit our current circumstances in another four years.
  • Hopefully, the Democratic party has learned a few hard lessons, not the least of which is that the party machine has no business playing king (or queen) maker.
  • We may actually see some sort of turn-around in the makeup of the Congress, particularly in 2020 when the district reapportionment around the country comes up for a vote. Republican gerrymandering in 2010 in large part got us to the position that we are in today.
    • Which is not at all to say that I believe that the Democrats are blameless in our current circumstances and would not have, given the opportunity, done many of the same things that the Republicans did themselves to assure their re-electability.
    • But given what has taken place, with all of the 60%, 70% and sometimes even greater re-election margins of Republican Congressmen and women, one hopes that given the opportunity, Democratic Congresses around the nation can restore some rationality to apportionment, without just going overboard in the reverse given the lessons we hopefully should have learned over the past seven years.
  • Future Presidents will very likely not even think twice about failing to release their income tax history.
  • We might not have become aware of the significant and successful efforts made by the Russians to influence our elections.
  • We might have continued to believe in the myth that all our ills would be corrected if only a non-politician were in charge.  Unfortunately, the worst possible non-politician was elected to try and put that myth to the test.

So perhaps all is not lost.  But then again, we’ll just have to wait for the next news cycle, or just simply wait and see what new craziness tomorrow will bring.

…………….

Silver linings or not, this man is unfit to hold the office of President.

As a post script, I have just laid out why I believe no matter how crazy the situation is right now, I believe that there are some potential silver linings to this situation.

That said, it is my fundamental belief, unfortunately based upon pieces of evidence after evidence, that Trump is uniquely, and completely, unfit to be President.  Of all the things he has done or has failed to do, Trump’s continuing support for the total nutcase, and the host of the website Infowars – Alex Jones – is proof enough on its own merit.  In case you are not familiar with Jones, among the many other totally ridiculous, bogus conspiracy theories he has espoused are that Sept 11th was an inside job perpetrated by the US government, and that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax .  According to Jones, those 20 dead children were really actors and that hoax was also perpetrated by the U.S. government in order to drum up support for gun control.  That is NOT fake news.  The jerk really believes that … or at least as an entertainer, he would have  his audience believe that he does.  Trump has appeared on Infowars  and has even told Alex Jones that he hopes to make him proud as President.  Just recently Trump was asked once again by the town council of Newtown MA, to completely disavow Jones, but he has once again refused to do so.

In my opinion, Trump was an embarrassment and a disgrace as a candidate, is now a continuing embarrassment and a disgrace as a President, and is also an embarrassment and a disgrace simply as a human being.  It gives me no pleasure at all to believe that, much less to write it, about the President of the United States.

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6 thoughts on “001 – Madness … and Opportunity”

  1. Roger, I appreciate and agree with your thoughtful essay – make that essays, with your final entry. Mitch McConnell is the most despicable person in the country, with Paul Ryan a close second. There have been 2 reports that last May, Donald Trump (I refer to him as the Gropenfuhrer) met with Russians at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington and pledged, if elected, to remove the Russian sanctions in return for a .05% interest in the Russian oil company Rosneft. The FBI is investigating, but will have to have bullet-proof evidence, since they will be taking down a president.

    Not sure if you have followed the Alex Jones divorce story. His defense, in trying to obtain custody of his children, is that he plays a “character” on Infowars – that is not who he really is.

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    1. I have only received two comments about that editorial – one from you and one from an artist friend here in Albuquerque. Both of you are like minded with me … so you read the whole thing. I have not received any “likes” on it yet, and no other comments. Oh well. The process of writing it was good for me. I remember having such feelings of frustration and depression the day after the election. It was good to try and think about the potential positives that could possibly be taken from this otherwise decidedly terrible situation. I had only a general idea of what I would write when I began that editorial. It definitely evolved as I sat down to write it.

      Jones is such a total ass. I have been loosely following the divorce proceedings. Stephen Colbert was playing a character on the “Colbert Report”. Everyone knew he was playing a character – very tongue in cheek. That is the huge difference between Colbert and clowns like Jones, Limbaugh and Mark Levin. At least Jones tries to say that he is just playing a character – the others would never even admit it, if in fact they are. But Jones is just doing it as a defense in his custody battle. Even if they are playing characters, their audience has no clue – and they have no intention of telling their audience that they are. Trump certainly did not show his appreciation for Jones because he appreciated how well he played his character. He agreed with what the “character” was saying. For anyone else, that would be frightening. For Trump, it is just par for Mar-A-Lago.

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  2. Thanks Roger for sharing your thoughts, though I am unsure anyone who does not agree with you will make it to the end and comment! Or maybe they will just comment on the first few paragraphs. It doesn’t seem to me that civil discourse is a part of our culture.

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    1. Thanks for commenting on my blog posts. I’m glad that you think the Breakfast Oven Eggs will work for your church as well. I have always loved that recipe. I often make it when we have friends stay overnight. It makes a great breakfast that you can make the day before and then just easily heat up in the morning.

      Regarding the editorial, I have only received two comments about it – one from you and one from my cousin out in California. Both of you are like minded with me … so you read the whole thing. I have not received any “likes” on it yet, and no other comments. Oh well. The process of writing it was good for me. I remember having such feelings of frustration and depression the day after the election. It was good to try and think about the potential positives that could possibly be taken from this otherwise decidedly terrible situation. I had only a general idea of what I would write when I began that editorial. It definitely evolved as I sat down to write it.

      By the way, I’m very impressed that you saw my inclusion of the Lawrence Welk Show. I hid that little addition in that long list of my favorite TV shows. I was wondering if anyone would catch it because you pretty much have to read the whole list to see it. Congrats.

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      1. The most important thing for me, besides trying to clarify exactly what I think, is to continue to work for change in any way that I am able, by writing letters, by signing petitions, by donating money to folks who are in the trenches, by talking with folks who don’t necessarily agree with me, but with whom I have a strong enough relationship to gently suggest other ways of thinking about things. But most importantly, never to write folks off, because I believe we all come to issues with multiple prejudices.

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      2. Heather:
        I actually wrote a new editorial last night about the Comey firing. However, for some reason, the notification that went out to my Followers was for the original editorial – Madness & Opportunity. If you haven’t done so already, please check that out. I also just made three new posts related to our trip to Greece and the Greek Islands back in 2009.

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