You’ve been a blessing to this country.
Sounds crazy. The idea that the apricot hell-beast (not my words, unfortunately — ones I found in a comments section) has done anything other than divide and shame us, sounds preposterous, right? With his remarks on women and minorities, his eagerness to incite violence; his very presence.
Hell, I almost don’t have to hear the words: just watching that little mouth work like a hula hoop is enough to send me to Ireland.
There is little doubt in the minds of most relatively level-headed people, at least at this point, following his latest round of comments and the women coming forth to document even more of his foulness — that this man is not only unfit for the presidency but should instead be thrown in jail on multiple counts.
He is a national disgrace, an embarrassment, the final spasms before rigor mortis sets in of a GOP so extreme it has to trot out a circus freak to liven up the party (literally).
But underneath it all, what Trump has done for the country is to bring into such clear relief the most deplorable sides of the collective personality – the very id of the nation – that it becomes difficult not to run from it and stake a claim on the opposite side – in much the same way one is inclined to do upon hearing an audacious generalization, the knee-jerk reaction being radically generalized in the other extreme.
Immediately and instinctively, a clear line in the sand is drawn.
In a sense, Trump has made it so obvious who we are not that we are able to clarify who we are.
We are not a country that tosses immigrants out like garbage.
We are not a country where a person running for office can objectify women (and worse) and get away with it.
We are not a country that allows for the casual tossing out of comments by a (so-called) political figure that incite violence and play to the baser parts of our collective personality.
Or are we?
There are plenty of Trump supporters, including women who seem less appalled by Trump’s comments than they are that Hillary allegedly lied in emails.To them I can’t speak, but I do hear over and over again how people are losing friends over this election and to that I say: good riddance.
If this election unearths the racist bigot in your friends, then maybe you weren’t as discerning about the people in your orbit as you should have been.
We bemoan the gentleman’s politics of a bygone era, but isn’t that like mourning the loss of mandatory girdles in the workplace?
The gloves have long come off in politics; they did before Trump took the stump; politics is more personal than ever.
It’s black men getting gunned down because — among other things — we have a highly militarized police force using weapons meant for combat.
It’s a dwindling middle class.
Politics is the oil and gas industry raping our land, our lives and our future.
You lost your friend because he’s come out as a Trump supporter? He was never really your friend to begin with.
Can’t be around your mother because she’s a fan? Then don’t. By Thanksgiving the election will be over anyway.
But if you’re going to cut friends or family loose, be accountable in your own right. Before the next Trump starts practicing his (or her) hate-speech – and trust me: the next Trump is being born as we speak and will come in a much prettier package – we need to fully understand one basic fact: WE created Trump.
We created him because we listened and watched and analyzed the ranting and the posturing of a sociopath.
Know how to deal with a sociopath? Ignore him (or her). Like a flame whose hue Trump shares, the more oxygen you give it, the more it spreads. We have let him spread. Our media has, by giving him non-stop air time and as goes the media, so go we.
We watched him.
We watch Maddow and O’Donnell analyze.
We clicked links on our computer’s homepage that screamed at us that Trump had more of a lead than we thought he did. We talked about him with our friends and our Uber drivers.
We allowed him to go from being a fringe element to becoming a contender for the nation’s highest office and we did it because we gawked and ranted and simply paid too much damned attention.
Because Trump is a national distraction.
Our ranting at his hideousness and the fact that we are actually surprised by it and by him has a numbing effect on our psyches.
He is one too many Hostess cupcakes and reality television and Xanax.
Our mocking of him and his bizarro brood (and I’m not just referring to those whose blood he shares) makes us feel superior – smarter, more enlightened – and so we continue to gawk and laugh and be appalled that we live in the same country as they do.
Trump has succeeded in taking us away from the real issues and into a high-pitched scream fest worthy of the Real Housewives of New Jersey that makes us think we are engaging in political discourse when we are not. At all.
Beyond sexism and racism and immigration and even ISIS lies a more potent and insidious threat to our well-being — hell, our very existence: corporations are slowly and systematically taking away any semblance we average Americans have of a decent, livable lifestyle.
Want the gentleman’s politics of the Fifties?
Then let us not forget what the president of that time warned us about:
Eisenhower predicted rightly about the Military Industrial Complex — that succubus feeding on the country; but it’s not just the military. It’s oil and gas. Media. Pharmaceuticals. Agriculture. Food.
With the Bayer-Monsanto and AT&T- Time Warner mergers (and more on deck as of this writing), we are seeing the combining of two sets of corporate sasquatches into two uber-powerful and all-encompassing behemoths.
These industries, among others, are so hell-bent on bottom lines and pleasing shareholders and influencing policy they are controlling us. And they will continue to do so if we keep taking our eyes off the ball.
Should I talk about the environment?
How 2016 is on pace to be the warmest year ever without one mention of climate change in the presidential (I write with air quotes) debates?
How the oil and gas companies are doing everything in their power to see the land is raped and the water warmed and the sky polluted and the rivers and oceans full of toxic waste, which is an inevitable result of the pipelines they want to build and the offshore drilling they will continue (and expand) if unchecked?
How, just within the past few weeks a documentary filmmaker and a world-famous actress protested (and filmed) a peaceful demonstration over the tar sands pipeline going through an ancient Sioux burial site, and were arrested.
That’s right — the oil and gas companies have that much power they can pretty much ignore the First Amendment and, via local law enforcement, throw people in jail who are simply documenting events.
Heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the “free trade” agreement that, if it goes through, will expand corporate powers to toxify the environment even more extensively?
That, if it gets passed, will see even more jobs shipped overseas and threats to internet freedom and a general shift in the world as we know it in everything from the further expansion of corporate control, to fewer environmental regulations, to the rolling back of Wall Street reforms and that, as of now, is waiting for congressional approval?
There’s more I could say on these subjects – much, much more.
What we are seeing is the dark side of capitalism, the fact that, checked or unchecked, capitalism as America knows it, will always exploit, be it people, animals, and/or the environment.
There is a better way, and we need to spend our energy focusing on electing officials who break from the traditional mold and speak to the need for government to go back to addressing the concerns of the people.
And let’s not forget this: a Trump supporter is just a Bernie Sanders supporter who watches Fox News as opposed to getting emails from Daily Kos and who buys into the notion that groups of people – as opposed to the system itself – are responsible for their deep sense of powerlessness.
We mock their lack of education and we fear their hate; but they are us, products of the same sense of disenfranchisement and disconnection from a government whose loyalties lie with the corporate entities lining their pockets as opposed to the people they pledged to serve.
Will we achieve consensus? Probably not, so let’s move on and focus on the other reasonably level-headed folks who don’t think building a wall around the country is the best use of our resources, those of who know deep down that the problem with the country isn’t Mexicans or ISIS.
Because the truth is, the problem with the country isn’t even Trump.
The problem is that at some point a bunch of activist judges decided to give corporations the same rights and consideration as human beings and between that and the way campaigns are financed, we are living in a country where our very humanity is being threatened in favor of bottom lines and constant, unending corporate growth, and where we are being diverted and numbed from this issue by those very entities that pretty much own every inch of this great land and who conquered it the most insidious of ways– through a slow process of division, diversion and distraction.
Let’s use the insanity this man has stirred up to galvanize us so we can fight the real threat, and let’s do what we should have done from the get-go: ignore the crazy person in the room because without an audience he will go away. He has to.
What else to do? Get out there. Protests do work (just ask the Europeans) and yet we of the Internet age have lost touch with the effectiveness of boots on the ground.
Sign petitions and give money to elected officials who have clean voting records when it comes to listening to the needs of The People.
Hell, run for office.
Some of the most effective politicians did not grow up in the party system (Al Franken comes to mind). I liken politics to having kids: sometimes the people most suited for the job are the most resistant to it.
Oh, and let’s vote. For Hillary.