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andym's Journal
andym's Journal
January 19, 2021

Sociologist embedded in Stop the Steal rallies insights into Trumpers

An Asian woman sociology graduate student at Princeton embedded herself at Trump "Stop the Steal" rallies in Florida to learn more about what their beliefs were. Her conclusions are that the they all are united by distrust in the mainstream media, after that their motivations diverge, although love of Trump (strong leader) and believing him to be a truth-teller are other beliefs held by the protesters. Resentment of black people was mentioned by one participant and resentment of students having their loans forgiven was mentioned by another. A visceral hatred of "socialism" was mentioned by several. Belonging to a "group" who shared their beliefs was a source of pride and unifying force among them. This is a very interesting article that may one day be followed up by a book.

"I Embedded With Trump-Supporting ‘Stop The Steal’ Protesters. Here’s What I Learned."
Megan Kang
Huffington Post
"But each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, this intersection transforms into a political battleground. Since July, a group of Republicans have gathered there with signs supporting Donald Trump, flags, music, and attire. The demonstrators are met with honking, waving, swearing, flicking off, fist pumping, and occasionally, they get into shouting matches with the drivers passing by. Months after the presidential election resulted in a victory for Joe Biden in November 2020, this group of demonstrators continues to show up every Saturday in support of Trump and his claims that the election was stolen from him.

Their efforts are a part of a larger social movement known as “Stop the Steal,” which swept the country in the final months of 2020. It became one of the fastest growing groups on Facebook in early November, amassing 320,000 users in its first 22 hours before Facebook shut it down for trying to incite violence. Despite this, the slogan caught on like wildfire as testimonials alleging voter fraud made their way across social media and onto right-wing sites. The message was fueled by President Trump himself, who claimed the election was stolen on Twitter and official White House platforms. As of early December, one poll found that three out of four registered Republicans said they did not trust the 2020 election outcomes. By that time, “Stop the Steal” demonstrations were taking place on the steps of state capitols, outside of elected officials’ homes, and on local street intersections. On Jan. 6, 2021, the day Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes, “Stop the Steal” followers and other Trump supporters staged an armed insurrection at the country’s Capitol. As a result of the attack, five people died and many more were injured. Footage of rioters destroying parts of the building, sitting inside the Senate chambers, and defacing legislators’ offices offered a shocking display of how far the movement had come.

In effort to try to understand those who are sympathetic to Trump’s efforts to undo the election results, I decided to join them. As a sociology graduate student, my lessons in ethnography have taught me to unravel problems by standing in or near other people’s shoes in the hope of explaining something seemingly inexplicable. Unlike those who study people’s beliefs or behaviors without this context, ethnographers try to capture people within their natural setting by participating in their lives. This is how I found myself spending my last four Saturday mornings at this intersection alongside these protesters. I wanted to get as close as I could to observe and learn how these individuals view themselves and the world they were fighting for, as well as uncover more about their beliefs and motivations.
In addition to the misinformation they believed and their allegiance to Trump that brought them together, the camaraderie and pride they shared also kept these individuals coming back to the intersection each week. “Trump supporters know how to have a good time!” Madeline told me. “Once we had five ladies in wheelchairs here. We were all having so much fun.” Each time a car honked in support of the protesters, everyone raised their flags a bit higher, smiles appeared, and a feeling of unity swept over the group. Even I found myself returning smiles to those who honked and waved at me and I felt the elation that my compatriots felt beside me. It was contagious.... "
More at the link above.

January 10, 2021

Trashing political norms ended the Roman Republic: Trump's unrepudiated insurrection leads US astray

I've updated this post.
Today's impeachment vote (Feb 13) is another nail in the coffin of the American republic.
American Senators even 40 years ago would have voted to convict Trump, just as they forced Nixon from office.
The bloated self-interest of the GOP, their tolerance for lies, and love of authority will be the downfall of our republic.

The Trump-catalyzed insurrection cannot be allowed to stand unpunished, but it has. His minions were just following his incitement. Yet the Senate acquitted him.

Below is documentation of a historical example of what happens to a republic when the violation of political (democratic) norms becomes acceptable:

Trump may be our destructive catalyst, as he disregards our political norms-- from impeding the transition to the winning President-elect's government to even more serious lies about election fraud and then finally encouraging an insurrection against Congress that turned violent. He has already damaged our Republic with his lies and divisory actions and it looks like there's more to come, especially if he and his enablers go unpunished as he now has.

How Rome Destroyed Its Own Republic:
Augustus told Romans he was the only one who could save Rome. And they believed him.

"imagine a world in which political norms have broken down. Senators use bad faith arguments to block the government from getting anything done. An autocrat rigs elections and gives himself complete control over the government. Even stranger, many voters subscribe to the autocrat’s personality cult and agree that he should have absolute control.

Welcome to Rome in the first century B.C.E. The republic that had existed for over 400 years had finally hit a crisis it couldn’t overcome. Rome itself wouldn’t fall, but during this period it lost its republic forever."

Also take a look at this article:
Lessons in the Decline of Democracy From the Ruined Roman Republic

'The U.S. Constitution owes a huge debt to ancient Rome. The Founding Fathers were well-versed in Greek and Roman History. Leaders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison read the historian Polybius, who laid out one of the clearest descriptions of the Roman Republic’s constitution, where representatives of various factions and social classes checked the power of the elites and the power of the mob. It’s not surprising that in the United States’ nascent years, comparisons to ancient Rome were common. And to this day, Rome, whose 482-year-long Republic, bookended by several hundred years of monarchy and 1,500 years of imperial rule, is still the longest the world has seen.

Aspects of our modern politics reminded University of California San Diego historian Edward Watts of the last century of the Roman Republic, roughly 130 B.C. to 27 B.C. That’s why he took a fresh look at the period in his new book Mortal Republic: How Rome Fell Into Tyranny. Watts chronicles the ways the republic, with a population once devoted to national service and personal honor, was torn to shreds by growing wealth inequality, partisan gridlock, political violence and pandering politicians, and argues that the people of Rome chose to let their democracy die by not protecting their political institutions, eventually turning to the perceived stability of an emperor instead of facing the continued violence of an unstable and degraded republic. Political messaging during the 2018 midterm elections hinged on many of these exact topics."
We have a choice, try to restore norms against the prevailing trend of unenlightened selfishness and self-interest from Trump-supporting Republicans and their fellow travelers or face fascism in America.

January 6, 2021

Trump needed an excuse for martial law

And his supporters are giving him one. Imagine that.

January 1, 2021

What to expect: Trump will soon be calling himself the "Real President" from the sidelines

After the majority of GOP House Reps support Trump in his quixotic bid to steal the election, with the outcome that Trump loses again, what will Trump do?

I think he will call himself the "real President Trump" from the sidelines and order his GOP minions not to cooperate with President Biden. He will be the GOP's Simple Simon, calling the shots. Most of the cowards in the GOP will follow his every whim. He will then run for his "third term" in 2024-- too bad for the GOP hopefuls like Senator Hawley. Expect lots of rallies from the "real Airforce One"-- a replica that will have to be created by his rich billionaire friends.

I wonder if he will go as far as to have the real State of the Union Address etc. ? Probably.

Why? His huge ego demands that he be the "leader" and that means he will never, ever admit he lost.

The consequences? Expect MANY filibusters in the Senate, if Democrats manage to seize control. If the GOP retains control, then almost no votes will be held and there will be few compromises to be had. Mitch will see to this no matter what Trump does, but Trump will make things worse.

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