The Republican Party has finally jumped the shark.
It has gone too far.
I have said that I would vote Republican if the party gave me a reason to do so.
Can’t see it.
We are told now by the party establishment and by the remaining contenders, besides Donald Trump, that Donald Trump is not fit to be president.
Okay. I thought that all along.
But now his main rivals, at the same time they are saying he is not fit to be president are pledging to support his candidacy should he receive the nomination.
Sorry, that is a contradiction in starkest terms.
It seems the Republican Party has created a monster and that monster is attacking the party itself instead of Democrats.
You see, long ago Richard Nixon had to figure out how to get enough votes to defeat the more numerous Democrats. So he came up with the so-called “Southern strategy”, disgruntled Southern white bigots who did not like civil rights advances for black people. But bigotry is not confined to the South. It exists everywhere.
Republicans have been tapping into bigotry all these years since the days of Nixon (ironically, Nixon himself was not a bigot).
And it does go beyond your normal run-of-the-mill bigotry too, I think.
There is white angst. I am white. And we are being outnumbered by people of different hues and social customs.
And there was the sexual revolution of the 60s, the pill that freed women (to some extent), and the idea that sometimes when your country goes to war it is not necessarily right. And we don’t have to sacrifice ourselves every time industrialists want us to.
But all that confuses some people, and they just want to go back to the day when it was America love it or leave it, and if you wave the flag it has to be right.
And besides all of that, in this fast-moving modern world, with technology seemingly out of control, people are confused and things are too complicated and there are so many contenders for finite resources and money and things are so mixed up, we just need some strong person to take care of things — enter “The Donald”.
It seems that this man has caused people who have apparently been asleep all this time to wake up and take action. Many may have never exercised their right to vote. But they are ready to vote for Trump, and nothing he says or does, no flip-flops on issues from day-to-day can change their minds.
Maybe allowing everyone to vote no matter how stupid or irresponsible he or she might be was not such a good idea after all.
Trump says anything and everything and much of it x-rated. And then he takes it all back and says he was just kidding or has changed his mind.
To me, Trump is as evil as Adolf Hitler. And remember, Hitler was originally elected. Then he dissolved the German legislature and declared himself all-powerful.
A portion of our own population today seems ready to declare Trump Der Führer.
I have no idea why Trump has taken to insulting Mexican people (except to garner votes of bigots), claiming that people of that nationality are rapists and criminals of all manners pouring over the border. For one thing, there are bad actors among all groups of society but you don’t brand a whole nationality over the actions of some. Secondly, most articles I read say that more Mexicans are going back over the border to Mexico due to current economic conditions. Also he has called for banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. I had thought he just meant give them extra scrutiny (a limited ban), what with Islamic terrorism. That would make sense, but he seems perfectly willing to let the idea of a strict ban on a religion be accepted, maybe to appeal to fundamentalist Christian bigots.
And now there is the rumor floated by Ted Cruz that all of Trump’s talk of building his famous wall at the Mexican border is just something to appeal to the anti-Mexican crowd, that he supposedly admitted to some New York Times people that he was just appealing to the ignorant.
It all seems absurd to me.
Well that is my updated lead to a post I did not get around to publishing until now (too busy working at my real job).
The rest follows:
I’m not sure history repeats itself exactly but there seem to be some eerie similarities about the rise of authoritarianism in Europe in the first half of the 20th Century and our current political climate in the U..S.
Weak leadership, economic turmoil, a struggle between the far left and far right in politics, a fear or resentment of those of another race (or races). I think that somewhat fits the Weimar Republic of Germany in the early part 20th Century. That led to the rise of authoritarianism, to Hitler in Germany and to Mussolini in Italy.
(And in a different situation, Japan, bereft of resources and colonies, wanted a place in the sun and took the authoritarian, militarist path too, but I leave it out of my comparison.)
And this is what has led to Donald Trump in the United States in the early part of the 21st Century — 2016.
The result of authoritarianism was catastrophic. People were enslaved, tortured, and murdered and the whole world was engulfed in war.
I know nearly nothing of Benito Mussolini, except in photos he looks goofy (and scary) but I have read a lot about Hitler and there are countless documentaries on him.
Hitler was a mad man with little formal schooling but he had a gift of oratory and some kind of mystic charisma that worked its evil on and stirred the passions of German people who were suffering from the loss of World War I and the reparations demanded by the Western powers.
And some in the wealthy upper class who may not have cared for Hitler, felt obligated to support him if for no other reason than to protect themselves from hungry and angry mobs.
Hitler mixed the mechanics of capitalism and some weird notions or forms of socialism to appeal to the lower working classes and the industrialists at the same time. Even though the communists were his arch enemies, he used socialism in the name of his own political party (communism is of course a form of socialism).
Trump is educated, supposedly anyway, but he engages in street bullying techniques, sometimes even siccing his security people on protestors at rallies, something reminiscent of Hitler’s Brown Shirt goons. Trump, although educated I guess, definitely seems to be anti-intellectual. And he has built a kind of cult following in the modern world of entertainment that sometimes masquerades as reality, as in “reality” TV. He was also associated with that phony thing called pro-wrestling, figures.
The poorest of the poor in the United States have it far better than the huddled masses in Europe of the early 20th Century, and although the middle class is suffering (whoever the middle class is), some of the suffering is because people are so spoiled these days.
But there is big social change what with people discriminated against in the past due to color or nationality now having laws and public policy protecting them. And the color and nationality mix of the U.S. is changing due to immigration, legal and illegal.
And then there is the one percent. They get richer no matter what. It seems the laws work to protect them for the most part. Our economic system seems to benefit the one percent at the expense of all the rest.
And to my way of thinking, there is just plain ignorance among our population — and that is among people at all levels (maybe not as much at the higher levels).
It seems that basic civics is either not presented at our schools or is ignored by the students.
I realize that when I graduated from eighth grade in 1963 and from high school in 1967 a lot of kids were bored by it all, civics that is. But it was presented, and people grow up. For some, things begin to make sense and people take their place as responsible members of society. At least one would hope so. But maybe not enough do.
One problem today is that a vast proportion of our society has no roots. We have always been a mobile nation, especially with the westward movement of the pioneers across the continent.
But in my lifetime it seems we have become a different kind of mobile. So many people, at almost all levels of society, except perhaps the one percent, have no roots, they move so much. And even the suburban dwellers tend to have no real connection with the communities in which they live. They don’t even know anything about their local government, but of course get unhappy if the services are not up to par. And they most likely have never heard of their state representative or local congressman (and of course this does not apply to everyone).
And then something I know for sure: the break up of the family unit. When I was in maybe about sixth grade a little girl was crying in the lunch room. She was unhappy and ashamed. Her parents were getting a divorce.
And then when my two daughters went through school they were oddballs of sorts. They had both their parents at home.
I think that the mobility, the no roots, and the break up of the family, and add to that the turmoil in the job market, technology that is doing away with so many jobs, and rampant drug use that is ruining so many lives, is making us a dysfunctional society. All of this begs for someone to come along and magically makes things better, put things in order.
Enter the authoritarian who is going to make things great again — no specifics — just trust him.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the fear. The fear of outsiders or minorities taking your job. And the very real threat of terrorism.
But this man will take care of all of that.
And as I write this, the man himself, Donald Trump, is making a speech in which he notes some things that are indeed true. I mean I hate it when Trump uses foul language or makes rude comments or makes racists attacks on people, or insults women, but when he talks about American jobs leaving the country, sometimes just over the border to Mexico — A Carrier Air Conditioner plant moving out , along with so many others, my ears pick up.
I could never, ever, vote for or in any way support the racist, crude, bigoted, and world-ignorant Trump, but at least he does bring something up that is a major problem.
I mean in the world of the one percent, who cares where the jobs are? the money still comes in to them. And the establishment politicians do their bidding for the most part because they have accepted the bribes (campaign contributions and various perks).
Right now the establishment of our political system is dealing with Trump, on the Republican Party side, who is not really ideologically aligned in any fashion although currently he masquerades as a conservative, and Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, running for the Democratic Party nomination.
While Sanders’ competition has moved Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party front-runner, farther to the left, she, Mrs. Establishment all the way, seems to almost have a lock on the nomination.
But Trump is confounding the establishment and seems to be running away with the nomination — at this point at least.
It seems that a public who feels downtrodden, frustrated, and perhaps a little scared, is going for a man who comes across as authoritarian and intolerant.
I actually have to believe that most of the establishment politicians believe that they are humble public servants doing their best for the people (okay, maybe I laid that on a little too thick), but somewhere they forgot to appeal to the real people, not just the one percent. Maybe those real people don’t usually make much noise, and maybe they are a little apathetic about their civic duty to pay attention to current events, but they also are busy working trying to make a living or to find a job.
I for one hope the establishment can get its act together, but it is getting late.
Authoritarian societies, whether from the right or left side of the political ideological spectrum, are not fun places to live in.
Sanders does not come across as authoritarian. He identifies with European socialism, something probably not well understood here in the U.S.
And one pundit who does not want to see Trump win the presidency did at least acknowledge that Trump does appear to offer somewhat of a hybrid between right and left in politics (or seems to with his vague proposals).
I think a hybrid is what we may need, but not Trump.
And one more thing. As much as Trump bothers me, even more so does Ted Cruz. There is something devious about is smile. It’s creepy.