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Drain the Swamp?

Well, maybe The Donald is on the look-out for alligators and other crocodillians, but he seems to have missed a few reptilian threats. Help me with this, will you? Nominating one of the DeVos clan, archetypal anti-public-school champions, to be Education Secretary is a part of a swamp-clearing effort? Apparently one man’s swamp is another’s backyard water-feature. Or to switch homey metaphors, how could a fox more plainly be assigned to the hen house? And then there is Jefferson [Davis, Confederate States President] Beauregard [Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard, Confederate General] Sessions as Attorney General. The “N-word” is a part of that man’s everyday vocabulary; he doesn’t bother confining it to the locker room. Of all the slithering varmints, I’d prefer to keep that kind of venomous creature out of my water-feature and swamp.

So, help me understand this! As one of the majority of voters who thought Hillary, though not the very, very best choice, was one hell of a lot better than The Donald, yes, as one of the defeated … how am I being encouraged to give this man, our President-elect some space? His choices, so far, seem to have much, much less to do with better wages and a better life for a forgotten and neglected middle-America and much,much more to do with forwarding an alt-right, racist, anti-democratic (note small ‘d’) agenda.

Calvin Trillin seems to have struck the proverbial nail correctly again:

The résumé shows Muslim-hating? Good.
Misogyny? That wins some points for men.
And bashing immigrants is quite a plus.
The model here is Jean-Marie Le Pen.  (The Nation, Nov. 17, 2016, ‘Applying for a White House Job’)

OMG, where is Rod Serling when we need him? Who would have thought that The Donald, when he said that he would serve ‘all of us,’ as our President, was really thinking of a recipe book?!

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We’ve Danced This Dance Before?

Don’t worry, ‘we have danced this dance before,’ contends Zachary Karabel, writer for the Washington Post in an article that drew my attention in the Sunday, November 20, 2016 Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch. Karabel denigrates the liberal hue and cry that this election portends the ‘end of our republic.’ (The Columbus Dispatch, Section H, Sunday, November 20, 2016)

He reminds us that the same liberal wail was heard following the elections of Nixon and Reagan. “And yet here we are, decades later, still enamored with the republic they were sure was doomed.” “If the past is at all prologue, we will find that the sum of all our fears amounts to far less than many of us now believe.”

Yes, we are still a republic after Nixon and Reagan. After Nixon, we are a republic profoundly changed by the ‘Southern Strategy’ of the Richard Nixon-Kevin Phillips campaign that reinforced the political South in its indelible racially biased stain. Apparently the normalization of racism is OK? I do not find such racism a norm by which I want my republic measured.

Yes, we are still a republic following Ronald Reagan’s role, playing a statesman and leader of the Free World. It was not however, an Oscar-worthy performance, and it left our republic a lesser institution. Are we a stronger republic for Reagan, as President-elect, actively undermining the foreign policy of his predecessor? Are we a better republic for Reagan’s having cooperated/approved supplying arms to Contras in the Nicaraguan war? Well, that is the normalization of our republic left in Reagan’s wake.

The Reagan Legacy is a republic with a norm that applauds/approves the invasion and destruction of a country and culture based upon lies and fabrications regarding weapons of mass destruction. That is not the normal that assures me that I have less to fear from a diminished republic.

Karabe says that Trump has ‘tapped into a dark anger to an exceptional degree,’ but doubts this will lead down the “ugly road’ of earlier times and other countries. As an assurance that such is a mere possibility but not a probability, Karabe ends on the cheery note that ‘we have danced this dance before.”

A danse macabre  is hardly a reassuring image. It is a rite to drive home our fragile mortality, as individuals and republics.

 

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Whence Bends the Arc of Justice

Populism is a political construct in which it is asserted that ordinary people, regular people, have the right to order and control their own lives. Such an idea is not a bad one, with a provision or two, i.e., that regular people are committed to the common good and that this commitment is expressed by a homogeneous populace.

Ours is not such a populace. We are an amalgam of nativist, racist, self-interested, uneducated, educated, non-nativist, non-racist, other-regarding cultures, enclaves and geopolitical groupings. There is no such thing as American exceptionalism. We are like every other human population, a motley collection of diverse morals, abilities and interests struggling for 240 years to become a nation the ideal of which always looms beyond our reach. We do, from time to time, make progress in moving closer to that ideal but we also easily achieve a retrograde motion. That such inching backward is possible is now the threshold on which we stand.

The campaign rhetoric of our president-elect gave permission to nativist, racist and sexist elements among us regular people to voice fear, anger and bias and in doing so revealed the ugly truth about us that we’d prefer lay hidden. When we awakened Wednesday, November 9th, the only thing that had changed was that we could no longer deny America’s embarrassing identity. But no one familiar with Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” should have been all that surprised or shocked. Ours has always been an uphill effort to find the moral high ground. The arc bends toward justice only when we pull the bow in that direction. To suppose otherwise is magical thinking.

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Trumpism

One of the really good bloggers, Toritto, has once again put it all in perspective. Read this and, by all means, play the ‘Horst Wessel Song’ at its conclusion, reading the English translation. If you do not see Trump-in-song, you simply cannot listen or read!

On May 14th last I put up a post which I entitled “The Authoritarian Personality.” In it I explored possible reasons why some voters consistently cast their ballots against their own se…

Source: Trumpism

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Gale Force Winds Forecast

‘Tricky Dick’ Nixon often gets credit for the Republican ‘Southern Strategy.’ His strategist, Kevin Phillips, gave clearest public voice to the strategy but trying to turn the conservative Southern Democrats to the Party of Lincoln had been going on , at least, since 1948. The Civil Rights Movement ignited southern animosity and those embers were fanned aflame with the Civil Right Act of 1964 and the Voting Right Act of 1965. President Johnson knew that the South had been lost with his signing the latter. In 1964 Goldwater took the deep South, then in 1968 Nixon and his advisors knew that those two Acts of Congress would drive more whites their way. The Confederate States of America had captured Lincoln’s Party just a bit more than a century following the Emancipation Proclamation.

At least since the Nixon campaign, the Republican Party has learned to tune-up the racial dog-whistles that have been readily heard by ears that resonate to bigotry. That now a candidate, Donald Trump, takes days and repeated confrontation from journalists before he repudiates the Klu Klux Klan should surprise no one.

And there is US Senator and Majority Leader McConnell in jowly-jawed protest insisting that support of the KKK has no place in the Republican Party. It is decades too late to attempt to change the face and stature of the Party, Mitch. The Hebrew Prophet, Hosea, warned a very long time ago: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” Hosea 8:7

Neither should it surprise the pundits and newscasters that Trump cleans the table. Had they been talking to my neighbors, out here in the Colonial Frontier, this land of out-of-workers, bill-capped-farmers-dependent-upon-Federal-largess-but-hating-welfarequeens and the armed-fearful-camo-clad with their Mossy-Oak values, way out here west of Philadelphia, they would have known that The Donald is their man.

Our Nation has survived severe storms in the past and we can again; let us hope.

 

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The Lust for Power

Fellow blogger ‘Toritto’ is an insightful and excellent writer. Take a look here at what he’s saying about The Donald. Could not say it better than he does!

Well folks, Donald Trump rolls on toward obtaining the nomination of the party of Lincoln while his two main rivals Cruz and Rubio continue to split the Trump opposition between them. Now I conside…

Source: The Lust for Power

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Several Days Late and Dollars Short

Today I received an email from ‘Faithful America’ lamenting the fact that Ted Cruz has claimed that Christians gave him the victory in Iowa. ‘Michael,’ of Faithful America, begs me to ‘chip in’ some small contribution to reclaim the faith for the real followers of Jesus.

Did it ever occur to ‘Michael’ that ‘Faithful America’ is very much several days late and several dollars short? The South and ‘Bible Belt Christianity’ was lost to ‘Faithful America’ in the late 19th Century. I’d say it was about the time of the election of an Ohioan, James Garfield, to the Presidency. Only States above the Mason-Dixon line elected him. The South was left to the Jim Crow suppression, humiliation and subjugation of the newly freed slaves. With Nixon’s southern strategy, the Republican Party became equal to and coincident with the Jim Crow South, thus finally, in the 20th Century, abandoning the proud heritage of the Party of Lincoln.

My own denomination, Methodists, split over the issue of slavery in 1844 (a bishop was a slaveholder!), into the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church South. The reunion of that denomination did not happen until 1939 when the two ‘Methodist’ (Wesley turned over several time in his grave) denominations formed ‘The Methodist Church.’ That glorious reunion was accomplished by the apartheid separation of ALL black congregations into a ‘separate but equal’ ‘jurisdiction.’ This moral blasphemy was not amended until 1964 when the ‘Central Jurisdiction’ (the apartheid jurisdiction) was eliminated (on paper).

The fault, dear ‘Michael’ (the name identified as representing Faithful America) lies not in our stars but in ourselves (to coin a phrase). It is the fault solely of Christianity at-large. Christianity at-large has abandoned the poor, the LBGT among us, Blacks, Latinos and the working class in favor of helping the Christian Institution survive. Too bad, but too late with any appeal to save the Church. The Church is gone. Good riddance!

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A Serving of Humble Pie

Every once in a while, I hear or read something that makes me pause and realize I’m not as damned smart as I think I am.

If Wikipedia is correct that that idiomatic phrase comes from the medieval usage of ‘umble pie,’ a dish of offals suitable only for the lower classes, I’m even more deserving of a large serving.

This has to do with my disdainful regard for those who flock to Trump rallies. Instead of taking seriously the reasons for so many feeling that The Donald is ‘one of  us,’ I’ve lumped the whole crowd into a category I can easily dismiss. They are all Duck-Dynasty Bubbas, the unwashed, possum-eatin’, gun-crazies. OK, evidently Senator Cruz is of the same opinion, since he’s been seen, shot-gun raised in a duck blind, dressed in his camo outfit.

I was somewhat jarred out of my liberal dismissal of those idiots when I read this

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2016/01/donald-trump-and-politics-of-resentment.html

It is not that I hadn’t supposed that there is some raging undercurrent to which political demagoguery appeals, rather, in my retired, comfortable, almost-affluence, I’ve failed to see the plight of those so enraged. There are tens of thousands of working-class people in our towns and cities who would be thrilled to have a job that paid a steady income equivalent to my modest pension and Social Security check.

Yes, they wear Mossy Oak vests and caps instead of Dockers and Ralph Lauren, but they are nonetheless worthy of regard and respect. They may shop at Wal*Mart and ALDI but that does not make them some kind of Neanderthal subspecies, not fully homo sapiens. They may simply want their families to enjoy the comforts you and I take for granted.

We may well have come to a tipping point. When the molten cauldron of their resentment and rage erupts into a revolution, we may wish we had not been so dismissive of their culture and their plight.

If ALDI has humble pie in the frozen food section, I’ll get one on my next shopping trip.

 

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Sure Fire Way to Stop Boko Haram from Kidnapping Girls

I suggest that State Legislatures petition the US Department of State to insist that African countries immediately enforce modest dress codes in villages so that Boko Haram stops kidnapping the temptresses they find there. After all, common sense demands that temptations be removed so that decent men trying to follow their religious codes can be protected from more than they can handle

Although I find it most difficult to believe, it has been suggested by the Missouri Legislature that a way to keep their fellows from being distracted and thus prevent the possibility of sexual harassment is to require the young female interns to dress more modestly. Don’t believe me, check this out >> http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/18/1413186/-Missouri-senators-resign-after-scandals-Republicans-propose-fix-modest-dress-code-for-interns

No, I really do not find this difficult to believe, when I pause merely the time it took me to ‘type’ that paragraph above. It does not surprise me at all that two legislators of the Family Values, Christian persuasion would want to blame the victims for their having had to resign for sexual harassment.  After all, Eve did start it all with that apple and the chorus line of temptresses have paraded in front of us righteous, respectable types ever since, as we do our very best to keep from reaching out to grope or even assault them publicly. I mean, damn those fig leaves, girls, dress modestly, lest we find it nearly impossible, with all our faith in Jesus notwithstanding to the contrary, to act with decorum and civil decency and to keep our erections from interfering with our future elections, to say nothing about focusing on our legislation instead of your legs.

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I Can See and Read Better

Yesterday my ophthamologist removed my right eye cataracts and WOW, did my vision improve! Nothing short of amazing! I remember when, years ago, I visited the hospital room of a person who had had this procedure and I had to tip-toe into the room and be careful not to touch the bed as the recovering patient lay there with his head sand-bagged against movement. Not now, I was on the gurney for the operation by 7:15 am and home for breakfast. My wife did drive to the surgery center but by today’s post-op visit with the doctor, I could read lines on the chart that did not even show up before and I can safely operate a motor vehicle. Oh, the progress of medical science!

But my recovered eyesight is nothing compared to the politicos with the capacity to know what is in a document even before they have read it. Yes, on both sides of the aisle: Republicans just know that the deal with Iran is an unmitigated disaster while Democrats are as certain that the deal is the most significant foreign policy initiative since the Louisiana Purchase. And both sides know this without having read the agreement!

Is it too much to ask that some very small measure of rationality be introduced here? Congress has a couple of months to examine the agreement and make decisions. Such deliberations seem the least effort necessary unless the best interests of the US and World are to be decided on the basis of Party Political Prejudice. I’ll listen to whomever wants to present cogent arguments regarding specific and general provisions of the agreement but I have no time for legislators for whom only Kryptonite threaten their superhuman powers of insight.

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