Racism is America’s Greatest Weaknes

If The United States Of America were a nation of robust empathy and moral temerity then no amount of racist agitprop would have had any noticeable effect on our election.

Last week we learned that a company called Cambridge Analytica used some dubious methods to collect and sell data from Facebook for profit. Most of the reporting on this story has been about the unethical way in which this data was collected and exploited. But what troubles me more personally is what the data suggested. America’s failure to grapple with the legacy of race has metastasized into a terminal cancer that has the potential to kill us all. It was so easy to stir the seeds of racial resentment among not only the least educated whites but among large swaths across every single segmentation to the point where a plurality of white voters are ensnared in the delusion. And thus begat Trump.

If The United States Of America were a nation of robust empathy and moral temerity then no amount of racist agitprop would have had any noticeable effect on our election. However we are extremely weak in that area. America’s obsession with race is surpassed only with its need to appear to not be racist. Even as study after study after study empirically confirms what all people of color know in their hearts to be true: that American racism is a malevolent force making our nation weaker. You will read a lot in the press about “racial resentment” but let’s be clear here what they mean is out and out racism. And the levers of power and privilege are such that in this case the moral crime must be reported timidly as to not offend the perpetrators. Because they represent a sizable portion of the audience.

It’s incredible how racism works in our society. Racism isn’t just about attitudes and actions, it’s about language, it’s about power, and it’s about the lens through which interpret all of the above. The 2016 serves a serious case study in which all the ways racism has made our country vulnerable. All throughout the election you heard about the travails of the “white working class”. The media never interrogated our society to ask what the most important part of that phrase was. What is so remarkable about white people that they need their own special subset of the working class? Why would their interests be any different than that of the Latino working class or the African-American working class? The answer to those questions which the media never got around to asking are simple. The culture of whiteness has been shaped to view the economic upliftment of non white people as being at the expense of white people. The forces of tribalism, nationalism and racism have conspired to create a toxic, entitled, and embittered population. This is so clear that when turned into a statistical model Cambridge Analytica, Russia, and the Republican Party are able to deftly exploit it. They don’t need to know anything about Trump other than that his rise upsets Blacks and Latinos that’s not a bug, that’s a feature.

The same Republican Party that touted family values in the wake of Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct in the White House have largely acquiesced control of their party to a man who bragged about sexual assault and had multiple affairs throughout his 3 marriages. Racism is a cancer and Trump is a tumor. He has weakened our resolve. He has exploited the divides in our country and he is governing a nation for the 1 percent while exploiting the unique ignorance of his supporters.

If Americans stopped being racist we would be safer as a country. Sure both political parties might still be in the thrall of special interests and corporate lobbyists. But those lobbyist themselves would be demanding policies that actually helped us economically. A sensible immigration policy not based on xenophobia and fear mongering but on the net economic benefit of immigration would be a start. A school reform policy that saw black and brown and even poor white children as the raw material for a new tech based economy. (Teach these kids how to code) would be next. A new GI bill that served to rectify the inherent injustice of the WWII era where white veterans came home to create the middle class and while black veterans were deposited in slums and ghettos. Imagine a non racist America where these ideas were feasible based on face value alone.

Knowing that the resentment and hatred of minorities is a prevalent force in our politics is only half the battle. The other half is to find and support candidates who will openly acknowledge and address this. As such for me any candidate mentioning specifically the “white working class” will get an automatic side eye from me. There you again making exceptions and pleas for the hateful to drop their psychological bags and join the rest of us. I need a candidate to learn from the failures of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. You can’t work with people who hate you. You have to work around them. We must stand fast in what we believe in even as the opposition wavers.

In a way we are lucky it is Donald Trump and not someone with more class, dignity and sophistication. Someone with the charm of Ronald Reagan, the false piety of George W. Bush or the sheer sinister maneuverability of Richard Nixon might do more serious permanent damage to our world. No Trump is the accidental president. Someone who probably didn’t even want the office but most likely has been blackmailed by a foreign government into taking it. He’s a rich con artist, a vain fool, a sexual abuser and an unrepentant racist. And he’s sitting at the highest seat in the land. Every second he sits in that chair he exposes the lie that his supporters care about anything or anyone but themselves. I’ll sign off by repeating one of my everlasting truths: to the greedy, the ignorant and the hateful Trump is all of you.

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Book Of The Month: Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House

When 63 million people made the decision on November 8, 2016 to vote for Donald J. Trump to become the forty-fifth President Of The United States the rest of the country, indeed the rest of the world was understandably shaken. Whether you loved or hated Trump you could agree on one thing we would be getting something in The White House the likes of which we had never seen. Donald Trump is a man with no boundaries, no sense of decorum, no true ideology except a pathetic need for approval and a more transparent capitulation to white supremacy (I mean more transparent than a normal Republican which is already pretty translucent).

In “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House” journalist Michael Wolff takes advantage of the chaos of the amateurish and discordant Trump Administration to observe and confirm what many of us have suspected. The President and his minions are a house of fools and the entire world is much worse for their usurpation of actual power.

Among the characters profiled in this story you will find no heroes. If you were searching for a “protagonist” I guess you would have to go with Steve Bannon which is odd because he’s done so much to agitate and amplify the worst things about America. But rather Bannon than the feckless Jared Kushner, the ineffectual Reince Priebus, the sycophantic Kellyanne Conway or anyone who’s last name is Trump.

Wolff starts with The Trump Campaign in 2016 through to the ouster of Steve Bannon and weaves a narrative around much of what we already learned through leaks. Throughout the book based on whatever subject or character he is currently expounding on Wolff will sometimes flashback to earlier periods either from the campaign or earlier in Trump’s life. While those of us who have been political news junkies won’t find many new facts it is interesting to hear direct quotes from the principals involved in the story. One thing that is more clear I will say is that even most of the Trump Administration believes their was collusion with Russia and Trump’s family made it worse by obstructing justice and firing Comey.

What I find most disconcerting is the cynical opportunism of the “adults” in the room. The serious Republican operatives who at times are baffled by Trump’s ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence and who privately express concerns about his mental health. Most can’t quite decide if he’s crazy but a running theme throughout the book is that they all agree that he’s a fucking moron. And yet rather than spare us they all put party before country and are playing politics at a time when the geopolitical ramifications could be staggering.

The most troubling thing about Donald Trump himself is that his blatant expression of racial animus is basically his only truth. He hasn’t made a dogged effort to follow through on any of his other campaign promises and as Wolff pulls back the curtain you understand why. The only thing he craves is the accolades, the applause and the attention. Where he actually believes in anything it is the racist, anti-semitic, and sexist stew that has transfixed much of the consciousness of the Make America Great Again crowd.

Trump isn’t the most hardcore believer of course. That would be Steve Bannon. But at times Steve Bannon comes across as a pragmatic and flawed mastermind. You quickly find that only in a room full of mental midgets does he loom as an intellectual giant. This book is interested in telling a very particular story about the ins and outs and political machinations in the Trump Administration. What you will come to understand is that these people are as objectively terrible at being human as any villain in a comic book movie. As a matter of fact I sympathize with the motives of Loki more than any of the people presented in this book. These people are so uniquely despicable they don’t even like each other.

What is pertinent and what gives me most hope as a political partisan but most dread as a citizen of the United States is that by the end of this book (which concludes some time in the fall of 2017) the most competent, and effective political operators have essentially been neutralized in favor of Trump’s incompetent, and extremely corrupt family. While they may not have the same exact nationalist agenda as a true villain like Bannon they do intend to pilfer the Treasury and use their plunder to reward the Republican congress and their donors (many of whom won’t be re-elected as a result). What’s worrisome is that their inability to reign in the worst impulses of Donald Trump could find us on the brink of a nuclear crisis. As Donald Trump, a man who is easily wounded, grapples with the fact that one of the United States’ most bitter enemies doesn’t like him very much and isn’t afraid of him.

As much as the election of Donald Trump gave me existential dread about the United States I still believe there are people here worth saving. Are there enough good people here to stop Trump and his flunkies from destroying our country? That remains to be seen.  Maybe the “adults” in the room will invoke the 25th amendment and deal with the political fallout as opposed to you know… a nuclear one.

 

In Defense Of Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill is right but we live in America where the worst racial slur is “racist”. 

I realize that not everyone wants to blog or tweet. I realize that not everyone is articulate or social. I recognize that there are many people who simply want to go to work, pay their bills, and send their kids to college. They don’t understand the compulsion to share their innermost thoughts and opinions on these interwebs. Some people feel as though they have the privilege or as they would say the “right” to ignore politics. It doesn’t matter to them. They want to watch the game, drink a beer and..wait.. what’s this? Why isn’t that guy standing for the national anthem? That’s disrespectful to our military! That ungrateful ni- uh errr that spoiled anti-American athlete.

A lot of people don’t seem to connect their aversion to political engagement with the stance our black athletes are taking. By exercising the privilege to ignore the metastasizing racial divide in America you have ceded enough power to White Supremacy to allow black men to be summarily executed routinely by law enforcement with little to no repercussions. Your unstated détente with the “real racists” has allowed them to elect the most temperamentally unfit person on Planet Earth to the highest office in the land. To be fair I’m not calling you a racist. You are actually much worse than a racist. You are a person who hears a woman screaming outside your window and just assumes someone else will call the police. You are the person who sees a lost child in a public place and reasons with yourself that their parent is nearby. You are the person who thinks affirmative action probably isn’t necessary anymore because anyone can make it if they try hard enough I mean look at all the successful black people.  Not necessarily racist but a racial bystander someone who has resigned the fight because it’s not personal enough.  You are the type of person most likely to tell a commentator to stick to sports and you are the people that ESPN apologized to yesterday after Jemele Hill stated an essential fact about Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is in fact a white supremacist. He appeals pretty nakedly to white supremacist orthodoxy. He retweets white supremacist memes on Twitter. He popularized the White Supremacist birther theory that President Barack Obama was not born in America. He evoked talk of 2nd Amendment solutions last year in regards to the prospect of Hilary Clinton winning the election. He has made a crackdown on nonwhite immigration a pillar of his agenda. His presidency thus far has been unnaturally obsessed with erasing the accomplishments of the nation’s first black president. Talks of border walls and muslim bans are still the fundamental proposals on his agenda. And all this is before his weak response to the incident in Charlottesville, VA last month. Maybe America is afraid to reckon with the fact that Donald Trump is a white supremacist because it’s an indictment about what it means to be an American in 2017.

Yes White Supremacy is popular enough in the present day to win a major party nomination. Yes White Supremacy is popular enough to win a Presidential Election. Trump’s political appeal has always been rooted in white resentment. Sadly while this makes him a poor human being it makes him an excellent Republican. Deal with it America. Now you have these quislings calling for Jemele Hill to be fired from ESPN. If you are more offended by someone pointing out that the President is a White Supremacist than you are by the fact that the President is a White Supremacist than you are exactly the kind of mediocre senseless moron that’s destroying America with your passive “lets all just get along” rhetoric.

You so-called “moderates”, you people who want your public figures to sacrifice existential truth at the altar of politeness get to act fake outraged every time Trump says something impolitic but won’t concede to accurate descriptions of his behavior. You people are worse than offensive you are increasingly irrelevant. You can’t be neutral on a moving train. I’m not saying you all have to hold up banners and march in the streets for equality because if we’ve learned anything about your ilk it’s that you’ll never ever do anything to upset the status quo of America’s racial hierarchy. (Hell, most of you would proudly claim to not recognize race). But at the very least you have to have an accurate description of White Supremacy.

Donald Trump isn’t catering to White Supremacist as part of some shrewd political machination. He’s one of them and to state that fact should not be controversial. Jemele Hill by virtue of her honesty has transcended corporate sports media for the same reasons that Colin Kaepernick has transcended the NFL. For those on the right side of racial justice walking around the offices of ESPN must be akin to the astronauts walking around the original  Planet Of The Apes. For Kaepernick would signing with an NFL team even be a win? Would any one of consequence be willing to work on the hard problem of police brutality in the black community? Certainly not Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. And that’s what we’re dealing with in America a bunch of grown adults who have the same understanding of racism that third graders have. “Things were bad but then MLK came along and now black people can drink from the same water fountain, The End.”

What Jemele Hill does on her immensely popular twitter feed is to respond to trolls with the truth. There just so happens to be a huge overlap with the people trolling her and those that support Donald Trump and this in itself is not a coincidence. Is there any better starting point for trolling than White Supremacy? It pisses off all the right people. The whiny liberals that trolls hate. The minorities, the immigrants, the Muslims, the gays, the Jews. Trolling is the next best thing to violence. It’s a non-prosecutable hate crime and Trump himself has mastered it. Jemele tweets “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.” And that should be as non controversial as saying “Toyota Prius’s get excellent gas mileage”. But we live in America where the worst racial slur is “racist”.

What I find absurd beyond the point of irony is that White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders has called for Jemele Hill’s firing from ESPN. So we are holding ESPN anchors Twitter feeds to a higher standard than we hold the President of The United States? The reckless vitriol and untruths unleashed by Trump on a regular basis are just fine. He can call Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, he can threaten North Korea with Nuclear War, he can retweet an account called “White Genocide TM” with  an explicitly false racist meme. He can verbally insinuate that a Mexican-American judge is inherently biased against him. He can advise law enforcement to rough up suspects at the point of arrest. All of this speech is fine. But to call someone a racist is beyond the pale? I think if conservatives got any more hypocritical my head would explode.

Jemele Hill is right of course. Trump has had numerous occasions to just outright disavow white supremacy. Every single time he prevaricates, hesitates, obfuscates, and then if he manages to say anything mildly challenging to the forces of evil he bends over backward to undercut it and let the KKK and Nazis know that he stands with them. The sad truth is a lot of people stand with them. You might have passed one at Walmart. You might see one at a Red Sox game. They came out in droves to put their guy in the White House and he knows he owes his baseline 40 percent approval rating to them. He stands with them. He is them. Jeff Sessions is one of them. Stephen Miller is one of them. Sebastian Gorka is one of them. Steve Bannon is one of them. Michael Flynn is one of them. So let’s review for the slow kids : Trump is in fact a White Supremacist, and he has surrounded himself with White Supremacists. America is lousy with white supremacists it turns out. It’s never been easier to advocate hate in America. Let’s not start making it harder to state that essential fact.

Vote For Me

If America is primed for stupid decisions, I’d love to be their next mistake

We are still living in a world where Donald Trump is the President of the United States. That fact alone devalues the words President and United States. I struggle with the news cycle because with each new day it brings a fresh assault to the idea of basic human decency. If it’s not the clueless and vain way the white supremacist in chief responded to Hurricane Harvey it’s the way he sends his racist attack dog Jeff Sessions out to verbally assail immigrants while rescinding DACA. If you are searching for “good news” it would seem now that a few more persuadables have realized that the Republican Party is a cancer on our society and Trump is just the most malignant tumor.

I open with that to say that in this climate you would think a union of progressives and liberals would have found their core message in this environment. When it comes to presidential candidates it is a little early to actually be looking at any real politicians. There aren’t any that agree with me on every issue 100 percent of the time. So I decided to invent a candidate that does agree with me 100 percent of the time: Myself. I wouldn’t win but here it goes.

If I was a politician I probably wouldn’t do that well for several reasons. In an attempt to be pure I would unilaterally refuse any money from corporations, corporate lobbies, law firms, or any entity that has any stake in maintaining the current status quo of racial inequality in America. I would also vet any large donations from individuals within those types of organizations at a degree of scrutiny that is higher than that established by the IRS. I would do my best to recruit legal experts and scholars to poke holes in the Citizens United ruling and pursue overturning it with fury.

I would run on a platform of fixing our electoral system. First educating the public about the Electoral College, and gerrymandering and then explaining how both are systems designed to preserve white supremacy in the United States. I would demolish all “small government” conservatives by granting them their wish. If you are willing to publicly return all federal tax dollars and withdraw your reps and Senators from congress then you can shrink your state government to whatever size you want it.

I would be unelectable for even the local school board because I wouldn’t shy away from my atheism. At campaign rallies (which would admittedly be sparsely attended) I would speak freely. I would state unequivocally that black lives matter. I would trash charter schools for funneling valuable resources from public schools. I would tell the children of coal miners to dream bigger than their parents’ occupation because it won’t exist in 25 years. I would raise every teacher’s salary to be equivalent to the salary of their state’s Governor.

I would call Donald Trump a racist criminal and a vain coward. I would tell the Bernie Sanders and likeminded socialists to work with me to come up with an endorsable plan for free college and single payer health care (which I actually think are great ideas.)  I would pick a black running mate and not make a big deal out of it. (Two white people on a ticket are never forced to confront their racial homogeneity why should I and Vice President Killer Mike be any different).

When it comes to the tricky domain of international diplomacy I would reinforce the doctrine of mutually assured destruction that kept us all very afraid but free of nuclear war, while secretly pushing for nuclear disarmament behind closed doors without the pressure of an agitating media. I would decrease the U.S. presence in the Middle East while pursuing an energy policy that significantly decreases our reliance on fossil fuels in general and foreign oil in particular. I would only support military intervention in cases where United States or its NATO allies were attacked by an outside adversary.

I would pursue a tax policy that put money in the hands of the working poor. I would pursue an education policy that funneled the most vulnerable students into stable jobs instead of prison. Speaking of prison my criminal justice policy would no longer treat human beings as disposable. Funding for state and federal prisons would be tied to reduced recidivism meaning if you can’t train and/or educate the inmates for re-entry into society we’ll find a new warden.

Nonviolent drug offenses would no longer be criminal acts but instead require rehab and supportive counseling. Marijuana would be legalized and taxed. Grants would be given to districts with the most previous marijuana related arrests so that the communities most victimized by the war on drugs would benefit the most from this shift in priorities. A grace period for drug dealers over the age of 21 to become federally licensed marijuana dispensers would be given over a 4 year period. Anyone caught selling marijuana without a license would be subject to a fine and forfeit.

I would pursue an immigration policy based on the economic value that immigrants add to our society. With some taking the jobs nobody wants to do and others doing the jobs none of us are     qualified to do. There would be no Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals because I would create a system to properly vet and place undocumented Americans (yes I called them Americans) on a path towards full citizenship.

If by some miracle I actually managed to get elected, I would most likely find out that there are some things about governing the most powerful nation on Earth that I did not consider. Since I would not be able to rely on the advice of the current occupant of the White House I would definitely seek the consul of Barack Obama. Unlike Trump I would take his advice to heart and do my best to learn the job.

The main thing preventing this of course is my rejection of corporate money and the fact that I am neither famous, nor a billionaire, nor a politician. I’d most likely be a horrible President. I’m impolitic, antisocial, I can be rude. I curse an awful lot. I’m a terrible negotiator. I have absolutely no poker face. I have never stood for the National Anthem. I’m not sure what truths we hold to be self evident. I would have a Playstation and an Xbox on Air Force One. Yeah I would probably suck at the job.

But so far I’m the only candidate I can trust. I forget who it was that said “Be the change you want”. I trusted our political system to vet and spit out qualified candidates for the highest office in the land. Yet since I’ve been alive George W. Bush was elected twice and Donald Trump once. Clearly I can’t trust America to make smart decisions. So if America is primed for stupid decisions, I’d love to be their next mistake. As a matter of fact that would be my campaign slogan “Vote For Me, America’s Next Mistake”.

The White Supremacist-In-Chief

Trump looks at white supremacists and neo nazis and see in his own estimation “very fine people”

Author’s Note: I’m going to use the words race, racism, and racist a lot. If you are a Trump supporter and don’t like being called racist you can skip this post. I won’t hold it against you.

Hilary Clinton famously (or infamously depending on who you ask) referred to half of Trump supporters as “deplorables” in the midst of her campaign last summer. At the time this statement was seen as a major political gaffe and the two second clip taking her words out of their original context was ran in a loop even on the “liberal” cable news channels. What we’ve seen throughout Trump’s rise is America’s inability to honestly discuss race. This inability is America’s biggest weakness and Donald Trump’s exploitation of it is not surprising but it is infuriating. It remains true even in 2017 that worst thing you can call a black person is “nigger” and the worst thing you can call a white person is “racist”. Racist is the most ineffective word in the English language. More black people will proudly proclaim themselves “nigger” than white people will proudly wear the label “racist”. As a matter of fact if you point out some racist shit there’s a fair chance they’ll “I’m rubber you’re glue” you with the reply “No, You’re The Real Racist”.

It is in that climate where you can’t discuss race openly and honestly that a creature of Donald Trump’s flawed character can thrive politically. When he descended that elevator in 2015 and openly declared that Mexico was sending us rapists and murderers and that his solution was a border wall his message resonated with a certain kind of American. While pundits and media figures (being the spineless shills that they are) immediately bent over backwards to explain away the racism by claiming Trump’s base was economically destitute and he was speaking to their anxieties, those of us who live in reality weren’t fooled for a second. Openly racist rhetoric was refreshing to Trump’s base because they were sick of being whistled at, winked at, and nodded at. My very first encounter with a Trump supporter was a buttoned up middle aged, middle class white guy. Not an uneducated underprivileged financially destitute redneck from coal country like the media was portraying. But an IT guy whose salary was upwards of $90,000 annually. His reason for supporting Trump was: “He says What We Are All Thinking”. And thus he was revealed.

The basic problem of White Supremacy is that we only truly recognize the extreme explicit variety. We’ve tolerated milder forms of it from the very start of our nation. If you think about the way we teach American History and the foundation of our nation you have to have a laser focus on the fate of White Americans to have any happy endings. What’s the happy ending of the founder’s story for instance? The Constitution that formed our nation. The same constitution that failed to abolish slavery and declared those very same slaves three-fifths of a human being.

We must not allow the people writing this moment in history to brush over the fact that Donald Trump campaigned as a champion for white people and is governing as one. He has failed every leadership test he’s faced as the President of vast multi-cultural ethnically diverse nation. He governs only for his supporters. He thinks of them first and foremost. For evidence of this you need only parse the words coming out of his face. But if you were to take a look at his actions as President or President-Elect since last year you see a clear pattern. For his Senior White House Staff  chose Steve Bannon, the famous alt right puppet master, he chose Sebastian Gorka who’s ties with neo-nazis are well documented, he chose Stephen Miller who’s been openly racist since at least his college years (as recently uncovered footage supports) and most consequentially he chose for Attorney General Jeff Sessions the Alabama Senator who was so racist that none other than Coretta Scott King penned a letter opposing his bid for a Federal Judgeship in the 1980’s. If you are too racist in the 1980’s it stretches credulity to think you are fit for service in 2017.

An effort to disenfranchise minority voters, roll back Civil Rights protections in every single cabinet department, re-ignite the racist ineffective drug war (while simultaneously showing sympathy for victims of the opioid epidemic who are overwhelming and disproportionately white), a memo urging judges to apply the harshest sentences regardless of context, rescinding the effort to disassociate the federal government from the private prison industry, and forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for destroying Affirmative Action in college admissions are just some of the things that Donald Trump’s Administration has done that are right out of the White Supremacists’ wish list.

Trump’s comments last week in the wake of the Charlottesville controversy were not poorly chosen or accidental. Trump was speaking to his people. He looks at white supremacists and neo nazis and see in his own estimation “very fine people”. He looks at the murder of a protester out in defense of equality and sees “blame on both sides” even though only one side came to town bearing torches and an armed militia. Trump’s campaign was successful because he dispensed with the usual racial dog whistles and pulled out a bullhorn. Some argue that he’s not a reliable white supremacist and only speaks that way because he is a master of manipulation. But we’ve all seen Trump in action over these past 8 months and if one thing is clear of all the traits necessary to lead he is Master Of None. He is ruled by no one, he calculates nothing. He is merely amplifying the racism woven into the very fabric of our society. The average bigot has been suppressing his worst instincts for decades for them Trump is just saying what they’ve all been thinking.

 

 

Fire and Desire..for Nuclear War

For Trump Supporters Nuclear War is just one acceptable consequence for the advancement of White Supremacy.

I wanted to write about something other than politics this week. However we are at an urgent moment in history. We are witnessing the dissolution of norms that most of us had taken for granted until now. I’ll be honest as a student of history, a political junkie, and a human being the idea of nuclear war remained an abstraction for the majority of my life. From what I understood the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest we ever came (although some declassified documents suggest that’s not quite true) and it would take some extraordinary circumstances for us to ever come that close again.

Well, extraordinary circumstances thy name is Trump. We currently have an occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that doesn’t have the moral or intellectual capacity to lead. As much as I can I’ll drive home the point that when it comes to matters of mere policy Trump isn’t so much of an anomaly and is really just a Republican with no shame. But in so many ways Trump isn’t a Republican politician so much as he is a Republican voter who stumbled ass backwards into the most powerful office in the world. And if you know anything about the Republican base (older, whiter, angrier, less educated, richer and tons more racist than the average American) then every single thing Trump does makes absolutely perfect sense.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Like Howard The Duck trapped in a world we never made. Caught between a rogue nation with a hermit king who is unpredictable and inexperienced and a faction of white nationalists within our own borders who have the same exact resume, it’s hard not to feel helpless, frustrated, and angry. We have to put the pressure on our elected officials of course but in the meantime the best thing you can do is educate yourself about how this world works. We have to train the next generation of leaders. We have to emphasize how close to the brink we have come. We can’t let the next generation forget the way these 63 million Trump voters forgot about the Cuban missile crisis. We have to convince people that their Whiteness shouldn’t be the priority when they hit the voting booth because having a President who is an incompetent racist hurts everyone not just minorities. But having a President who is mentally unstable becomes a grave threat to the entire world.

The anger, fear and confusion are natural responses. I hate to betray my sardonic demeanor, I am a blogger after all. I have to retain this cool bemusement with even the most dangerous global developments. My purpose here isn’t to stoke, provoke or amplify your existing fear. I only intend to give you my point of view and let you know that you’re not the one who’s crazy. Unless you’re Donald Trump then yes you are the one that’s crazy.

Despite the fact that we live in an age of extreme political divisions there are some persuadable people out there. Persuadable people are people who are smart enough to not just be wrong by default but not quite smart enough to be right on their own. If you find yourself near a persuadable, please persuade them. Don’t let the evil side direct them towards the cliff. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade ignoring the persuadables and that’s the only responsibility I will take in this current mess. The problem is people are so dumb they don’t respond to debates they respond to marketing. I’ve been going around sharpening my rhetorical skills but I suck at marketing. The problem with debate is it requires a level of knowledge and sophistication from the judges and audience to declare a winner. Most people don’t have that level of knowledge and sophistication. But they can tell you Coke beats Pepsi because the commercials are better.

I don’t know how to save America from itself. Maybe Donald Trump has the answer. Maybe his reckless demeanor and total disregard for the gravity of his position as a global leader will scare enough persuadables to come over to the side of the righteous. Maybe we are just experiencing growing pains, taking two or three or eight steps back so we can take a huge leap forward. I’m not so sure. Besides the fact that Donald Trump is President we see so many other signs that our country is under siege from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Trump and his cadre of neo-Nazis could really care less about America. Well not the real America. The America they fight for doesn’t exist anymore. Their America is an America with whites only water fountains. Their America is an America where black people don’t go to college. Their America is an America where fighting drug epidemics equals locking up black people. There America is an America where foreign powers are so terrified of our military might that they move about meekly hoping not to incur our wrath. Again this is a fictional America. This is an America that exists only in the myths white people construct to justify the decades of racism, misogyny, and homophobia inflicted domestically and the violence exported globally.

I’ve previously written about the faux redemption of John McCain and the urgent need for Non-Voters to join the rest of us in these upcoming elections. This week my message isn’t quite so clear. I feel a deep ambivalence about the state of our nation. On one hand I feel like Trump is the lesson we needed on how the southern strategy and the embrace of the racism that secretly powered the conservative movement for the past 50 years is ultimately a corrosive that will eat our nation from within. On the other hand I feel like the people who most need to learn this probably won’t reckon. For anyone still happy with Donald Trump I guess Nuclear War is just an acceptable consequence for the advancement of White Supremacy.

Weekly Recommendation –

Anyway I’m going to end most of my blogs from now on with a recommedation of some sort. This week it’s a video game that brings friends together only to tear them apart. I’m of course referring to Tekken 7.

Get it now from Amazon:

John McCain Is Just A Republican

Cruel. Irresponsible. Reckless. Selfish. Evil. These are just some of the words I’ve used to describe the Republicans and their agenda since 2009. Mitch McConnell, now the Senate Majority Leader, declared that his only agenda was to make sure Obama didn’t get re-elected. Let’s be clear, the opposition to Barack Obama’s presidency went beyond politics. America is hooked on two drugs Racism and Denial. I continue to believe that these two things are crippling our political system and it is threatening to collapse under the weight. Barack Obama by becoming President of the United States challenged the unstated belief that this is first and foremost a white Christian country and they just tolerate the rest of us.

I get through that preamble to say this: John McCain is just a Republican. When McCain returned to the Senate yesterday to vote yes on a motion to proceed on a horrendous piece of legislation whose main purpose is to take healthcare away from millions of Americans he was just doing what Republicans tend to do in this modern era. They may pretend to be individuals but they are a borg like collective who toe the party line, grit their teeth and pray that the American people are sufficiently fractured so that the masochistic poor whites and greedy rich ones can make it to the polls next November to keep them in office. The sad part about this whole experience is that isn’t really a risky bet.

John McCain has been trading on this “maverick” image for decades. I became aware of him in the Republican primaries during the 2000 election cycle. He seemed like a credible threat to the ascendancy of George W. Bush. However it was not to be and he remained that cantankerous Senator from Arizona. The one who occasionally said something bad about George W. Bush but voted in lock step with his agenda 90 percent of the time. Today he is that same person. He talks a good game to be sure. He all but lets us know how he feels about Donald Trump. But Trump’s agenda is the Republican Party’s agenda. And right now their primary goal is to destroy Obamacare. We can get into the reasons why but that’s a whole different subject.

American media has this way of covering politics the same way they do sports and entertainment. They want clear simple narratives. They want good guys and bad guys. They would like to be consistent in their treatment of a subject for the most part whether it’s fair or not. (see Clinton, Hilary). John McCain’s reputation as a war hero and now as a cancer survivor has pretty much guaranteed he will not face true scrutiny from the most prolific voices in mass media. In America our idea of honoring someone or something is to pretend their flaws don’t exist (see all the cop loving jingoists who believe the police can do no wrong).  The elevator pitch for John McCain was war hero. From there it became Maverick. Now it will be cancer survivor.

The ironic thing about this is that John McCain cancer survivor is the one who just yesterday showed up fresh from removal of a tumor to vote to take healthcare away from Americans. He got a standing ovation from the entire Senate just by being present. There was no context for why he was there. There was no reflection on what his vote would mean. He gave a little lip service to the idea of the Senate serving as a check on the unbridled power of the presidency, then proceeded to vote lock and step with Trump’s agenda. As he has done over 90 percent of the time since Trump took office. Let’s not be surprised by this. This is what Republicans do. They conform. They’re conformists. Ask Reince Priebus. Ask Rand Paul. Ask Paul Ryan. There are no heroes among them.

John McCain is just a Republican. I say that again. It sounds dismissive and condescending. And it’s meant to. I no longer want to pretend like I only have political differences with Republicans. I have philosophical differences with Republicans. Like Mitch McConnell’s response to Obama this is about more than politics. This is about a worldview that is irreconcilable with mine. I look at people and value them more than property. I think healthcare should be a right in what (for now) is the richest country in the world. It’s already immoral and unethical for medical bills to bankrupt you. It should be illegal as well. John McCain might believe this too. But we’ll never know because he’s a Republican. So far now as a loyal Republican his goal is to help his party destroy anything that Barack Obama touched. Trump’s agenda like Mitch McConnell’s before him is not about political differences. This is about undoing everything the Black President did. Because in their minds a black man should never have had the audacity to sit in the Oval Office.

If the concern was really about healthcare the Republicans would have drafted a bill that improves health outcomes and/or lowers costs. None of their proposed bills accomplishes either of those goals. There are actual deficiencies in the Affordable Care Act to be sure. But that’s to be expected. The bill itself is largely a compromise with Republicans and an exercise in responsible governing back when that was a thing. Contained in the word compromise is the word “promise”. And the Republicans have broken theirs time and time again. Now they have seized control of all three branches of government and given a blank check to the most reckless man in the history of the office.

So you’ll forgive me if I fail to see this as politics as usual. We are way beyond that and we have been since Donald Trump stepped up to the podium at Quicken Loans Arena last summer and laid out his apocalyptic worldview and a stadium full of zombies applauded. Donald Trump and his coalition of fanatics, bigots, and Russian moles have declared war on our way of life. If you are waiting for John McCain to save you, you’ll likely remain a prisoner of this war.

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