MY TAKE: THE DEPLORABLES NEED TO BE CRUSHED. IT’S THE ONLY WAY THEY WILL UNDERSTAND WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO BE AN AMERICAN.
IF NOT THIS YEAR THEN THERE WON’T BE ANOTHER CHANCE UNTIL 2022. Or 2024.
Probably the biggest favor Donald Trump has done for America is to expose the right wing crazies (aka the “alt.right”) who many Americans, I suspect, didn’t really know existed. Except, perhaps, for the milder P.C. versions one sees on Fox News. But those of us who have dipped into the cesspool of Rush, and Alex and the even more despicable Storm Front and the Nationalist Socialist (Nazi) Movement and all the other right wing hate groups, we were very much aware of their existence years ago, long before the election of Barak Obama. But it was his election in 2008 that caused an explosion not only of the numbers of such groups but in the vigorously ramped up level of hate and vitriol. (To say nothing of gun and ammo sales.) And if you are a regular reader here, you will have seen my posts of doing battle to the "online death" with the crazies.
What’s new, of course, is that with the campaign of Donald Trump, who traffics in the very same conspiracy theories that right wing hate groups traffic in, all of America is now aware that such groups exist. So far, it would seem that most Americans aren’t all that happy to have these groups elevated to “normal” in our political discussion. But in the end, I think it’s a good thing. People need to know what goes on beneath the surface of public discourse and how such chatter corrodes America. That Donald Trump is dragging out the “rigged election” meme, is not at all surprising if you are knowledgeable about how the alt.right thinks. By their reasoning, when their candidates lose elections, it is not because people don’t like what they're saying, their policies, or their proposals or because these candidates are just nuts, but because elections are rigged. This, in alt.right world, is the one and only reason why their guy loses. It’s why the Trumpettes cheer so loudly when Trump complains that the election is rigged because if he loses this is what they already believe anyway.
Trump’s campaign themes – Democrats have corrupted America, elections are rigged, elites rule everything, Obama is weak, 9-11 was an inside job, climate change is a hoax, Muslims were dancing in the streets after 9-11, the lunar landing was a hoax, etc. etc. are ripped directly from this right wing, alt.right world of “alternate” realities. In fact, if you had been listening to Rush Limbaugh five years ago as I was, you would have heard him spout these very same themes even back then. This is what is so frightening and dangerous about Trump: the legitimizing of formerly underground, largely ignored, thoroughly debunked and now and then exposed as the vilest of propaganda is now normal. No question that his championing of right wing themes resonates with his base. They firmly believe that the media is biased, that elections are rigged and that they are the ones who have been ignored and discriminated against, not those lazy, violent, murderous Blacks or those drug addled, Spanish speaking, brown skinned Latinos. And it’s not as if they are making this up or that they “think” that this is their realty. No. They firmly and honestly believe in their hearts and minds that THEY are the victims.
I just saw on CNN a couple waiting in line for a Trump rally in Nevada insisting to a reporter – loudly and vociferously – that Obama campaigning for Clinton is unprecedented in American history. Even when the reporter pointed out to them that Ronald Reagan campaigned for George H.W. Bush they simply shouted “No! No! No!” They are absolutely convinced that no other sitting President in American history has ever campaigned for a Presidential candidate. The media, as we all know – and this couple certainly believes – is in the tank for Clinton. And this – this total rejection of facts – is why there is no hope for any coming together, any bridging of “cultural” gaps, any listening to one a another calmly, discussing issues rationally, respecting others’ views when we are dealing with folks like the couple who insisted that Obama campaigning for a candidate was simply some underhanded, evil and unprecedented attempt to rig the election for Clinton. You could show them video clips of Washington or Madison or Johnson out on the campaign trail and they would tell you that they are fake. (And, in the case of Washington and Madison, they would be right! But you get what I mean!) This kind of dead end "discussion" has happened to me countless times. The "Deplorables" seem to lack the capacity for rational, fact-based discussion. Or if they do – which is even more frightening – they are just consciously lying. Under these circumstances, where "everybody knows it" is the closing argument (just like Trump), it's not possible to discuss, much less resolve, anything.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton, probably more than any other politician today, understands this all too well even though “Coming Together” is a major theme of her campaign. She’s not stupid. But she won’t go there - call out the crazies - because, after all, she declared back in 1994 that there was a vast right wing conspiracy out to get her and Bill. And even though the actors may have changed, there is still a very powerful right wing consortium still slimeing her, still spreading false “facts” about her, still attempting to relentlessly smear her. For Clinton to raise this issue would be falling into the hands of the right wing, alt.right world who would then proclaim that she was paranoid, delusional and just plain crazy - and therefore, unfit to be President - despite all evidence to the contrary.
So this is exactly why I say that these folks have to be crushed. They will go to their graves believing that Obama was not born in the U.S. and, therefore, an illegitimate President no matter how many times this has been proven false. (The corrupt, liberal, biased media, don’t you know.) Now, I have no illusions about whether crushing them will change their minds. It won’t. But at least it may relegate them and their fetid conspirators where they belong – and where they used to be - hidden from public view, rotting around in an underworld of vitriolic hate, relegated to carry on their discussions in that limited circle of fellow travelers and comrades in arms where Hitler-style propaganda and invective rule.
It’s not that these folks have all by themselves come to this end. No. Not by a long shot. They've had plenty of help. All of this rabid, militant conservatism began in earnest with Ronald Reagan. And, to be clear, I don’t think that he, himself, was a rabid conservative although he was plenty conservative. But his Administration was chock full of the neo-liberal (whatever the hell that means) economists and policy makers who pushed the newly emergent Unfettered Free Market policies of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, replacing the more liberal economics of John Kenneth Galbraith and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Culturally too, Reagan and his minions ushered in the Culture Wars, the bashing of liberals and liberal ideology, union demonization, the Quick Fix solutions (cutting taxes creates jobs, the government is the problem, three strikes and you’re out, tough love parenting) and a whole host of conservative religeo-cultural themes that were a direct departure and challenge to the Summer of Love and all the liberalism of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Reagan Administration was a direct and conscious affront to the “hippies” and “love children” that dominated those times.
But back to reality in 2016. That we have a candidate for the Presidency who has normalized conspiracy theories, normalized lies and non-factual themes and memes, who has normalized all the right wing hate beliefs and slime tactics and normalized the right wing theme that elections are rigged and Democrats are just vile and evil (listen to Rush Limbaugh any day if you think I’m exaggerating) is something that ought to give profound pause to all Americans. This is unprecedented. We have not, in the past, had a candidate for President who seems to have no moral core, no ethical operational framework, who embraces authoritarianism, who has no idea what the Constitution actually says or means, who mocks handicapped folks, who mocks foreigners, who mocks women, who mocks minorities, who mocks democracy, who mocks America’s most cherished ideals and as a bonus, who suggests that his supporters might want to assassinate his rival. Really? I mean this shit is just crazy. But take heed folks. This is precisely the kind of hateful yet protected “speech” that I’ve been hearing and seeing for years – about five or six now – on right wing venues including Rush Limbaugh’s daily radio program. You should tune in. You will be surprised, shocked, and depressed. It’s not a pleasant experience but this is the reality that Donald Trump has legitimized.
My 2022 note at the top of this piece? If Trump and the alt.right folks are not crushed this year, given the number of Republican led states who have gerrymandered Congressional districts all over the country since 2010 to ensure a perpetual Republican House of Representatives (See “REDMAP”), then it will not be until after the next Census in 2020 that any chance of rectifying this situation becomes available. Any change also depends on switching Red States to Blue – a dubious proposition at best - and who and how the ten year redistricting effort is managed by the states.
And why does any of this really matter? What is its importance? For me, I live in the nations’ capital and under a Trump Presidency we would be flooded with Trumpettes, but I can assure you nothing’s going to change for me personally or for my city. Washington D.C. is one of the most liberal regions in the country – statistically and culturally - and there’s no way that an influx of rabid conservatives is going to change the character of the city I love. (Well, absent armed revolution, I suppose.) Don’t forget this is also the temporary home to the Freedom Caucus, that Republican hate group that works in the U.S. Capitol building on Capital Hill just four blocks from my house. We are inundated with folks from one part of the country or another following every election and we basically ignore them and get on with our lives and go on pretty much as it has always been. Just getting more and more liberal as time goes by, I guess.
But I have a good friend that I’ve known since childhood (we were neighbors and both of us were Peace Corps volunteers in the 1970’s) who has related to me that she has lost several friends due to her liberal views. Her views were of no particular import prior to the Trump campaign but apparently her negative views (and Facebook posts) about Trump were simply too much for her more conservative friends to tolerate. They ended their relationships with her. Same story with my cousin in Florida. He too has a much broader range of friends based on political affiliation and views than I do. (Frankly I don’t have any friends who are supporting Donald Trump and I don’t know anyone here in D.C. who is.) But he too has told me that he’s lost several former friends over the whole Trump issue.
This, in microcosm represents how and why the campaign of Donald Trump is so corrosive to America. Those of us who hold political views to the left of Hitler and in typical liberal fashion (tolerance, empathy, understanding) accepted the idea that even though a friend or two might hold political views that we found just a tad strident or slightly whacked, were more than willing to accept that, yes, we do have differences when it comes to politics. After all, people are different - aren’t they? - and they have the perfect right to hold views that differ from ours. At least under Constitutional law. But friendships, real friendships, are based on much more than politics. In fact, politics are way down on my list of what I look for in friends.
But it seems that the Trump folks, and certainly by implication the alt.right, Rush Limbaugh’s of the world, do not reciprocate this tolerance and acceptance of differences among people. If you are not with them, you are rendered non-human, relegated to the nether world. Sounds a lot like George Bush – “if you aren’t with us you are against us” - but he was talking about nations and terrorists after 4,000 people had been slaughtered on 9-11, not about supporting a political candidate. This ideological rigidity is characteristic of Trump supporters and the right wing and it isn’t just about politics. It’s about everything. This intolerance, bigotry, hatred, anger and animosity towards everything and every one “not like us” has been growing for decades aided and abetted by the right wing media who loudly championed their causes while the left wing media (there isn’t any, for real, but for the sake of argument……..) didn’t feel it necessary to fight back against the growing tide of corrosive, right wing conservatism that vitiates the very ideals that define us as caring, democratic Americans. It’s this fundamental concept of the revolutionary American experiment that the alt.right folks simply “don’t get.” And they never will. For the Trumpettes, it is "last gasp" (or "grasp") time, and Donald Trump is their last hope for victory.
I know “crushing the Deplorables” sounds deplorable and highly illiberal, but I hope I’ve made my case for why I think there is simply no other alternative. I’m sorry if you don’t agree but this is my take.
PS: Other news. If you’re interested there is someone who tracks Trump’s misstatements and lies on a daily basis. He’s a Canadian, now working in Washington, so the Deplorables don’t have to pay any attention to him whatsoever, but you and I know that Canadians are genetically programmed to tell the truth at all times and in all situations. Okay. All right, there was that wazoo Mayor of Toronto but I’m talking about your run of the mill, ordinary Canadian not the foreign clone of Donald Trump. Besides there has to be an exception that proves the rule, right?
Be Consciously Kind To Someone Today.