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Fri Dec 30, 2016, 01:23 PM

Trump Card [View all]

“Sure there are dishonest men in local government. But there are dishonest men in national politics, too.”
-- Richard M. Nixon



I was talking with a friend this week about Trump’s upcoming presidency. She is a registered voter, though not affiliated with either the republican or Democratic Party. Still, she had assumed that there was zero chance that Trump could possibly win the 2016 election.

She was convinced that the public would overwhelmingly appreciate that Hillary Clinton would be a better president than Trump. I pointed out that Trump sets the bar so low that even Richard Nixon would be a far superior choice. How then, she asked, was Trump able to win the election -- despite the popular vote -- and what might we expect from his presidency?

First, as outrageous as it was, Trump’s campaign was far from original. In fact, too much attention was paid to his often purposeful bullshit. More should have been focused on why he was performing that way. Many of us are old enough to remember how Ronald Reagan was packaged -- based upon using his previous television image to distract from his true nature -- and recognized that Trump was running the modern equivalent, exploiting the internet. This included the intentional appeal to the “alt-right,” a collection of sub-groups that generally are not considered “likely voters.” Thus, the unanticipated wins in several key states.

The campaign also copied the “law and order” message that Nixon ran on. Like Tricky Dick, he excuses his own behaviors -- both of their campaigns were “influenced” by other nations, among other things -- by combining denials with a “that’s how it’s done” approach. President Nixon sought an advantage by promoting the idea that he was unstable and angry when it came to international issues; Trump has not waited to be sworn in to engage in similar behaviors.

President Nixon sought an advantage over the Soviet Union, by playing a China card. Trump is seeking to gain advantages over China, by cozying up to Russia’s leader. There are, of course, many significant differences. The world is a very different place today. Also, Nixon was actually well informed on global relationships, and had decades of experience in this arena. Thus, he was viewed as capable, though unstable, while Trump is viewed as not capable and unstable.

In domestic terms, Nixon represented “phase one” of the republican party’s attempts to dismantle FDR and LBJ’s social programs. Reagan, of course, was “phase two.” George W. Bush and Dick Cheney instituted the foundation for a high-tech feudalism. Already, in my region, funding for non-profit agencies is evaporating, in anticipation of Trump.

Since winning the election, Trump has displayed little if any loyalty to his campaign promises. The selections for his administration indicate that they will pursue an aggressive, reckless foreign policy, and an anti-environment form of social Darwinism domestically. Bad as these are, what is definitely worse is that Trump is largely being allowed to dictate what field the contest will be played upon.

It’s not limited to the power of the office of the president, although as we have seen in recent times that while there are limits to what “good” a president can do, the ability to do “bad” is limitless. Nor is it because 90+ percent of elected representatives in DC are puppets of the 1% and multi-national corporations. Or that the media is a pathetic excuse for the free press defined by Amendment 1.

The biggest stumbling blocks that threaten to prevent effective resistance to the Trump administration is found within the grass roots. The first is the belief that some “leader” is going to save us. If only Adlai Stevenson would expose Trump. Maybe the Beatles will reunite. Or a flaming apple pie will appear from the heavens. Where is Gandhi when we need him?

The harsh, cold truth is that it is up to us. You, me, and everyone else that did not vote for Trump. That’s the starting point. And it brings us to that second stumbling block, which by no coincidence is also found firmly planted between people’s ears -- the foolish, self-indulgent divisions that fester when some insist that they will refuse to work with those who have different opinions, or hold different values. One example should do (although the same concept can be applied to many others): the silly, irrational stance that “Bernie Sanders is not a democrat.” As if the reality of the 2016 Democrat Party primary can be ignored, and that very ignorance will result in a stronger party.

Factionalism, self-righteousness, and aggressive ignorance create the arena in which Donald Trump “wins.” He depends upon people like you and I to react mindlessly; instead, we must respond intelligently. That does not mean that we have to think alike, or hold identical values. Far from it. Instead, it requires that we put forth our best efforts -- and that isn’t limited to posting on the internet -- with full confidence that the movement will bring forth its own leadership.

Peace,
H2O Man

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