BY VERN TURNER
In light of recent events that include the presumptive coronation of Donald J. Trump as the new leader of the Republican Party’s assault on dignity, grace, intelligence, compassion and rational thought, here is a summation of what it looks like on the reality side of Alice’s looking glass:
The first part is about the hate. Trump/GOP followers hate Obama, gay people, black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want personal and professional freedom, and most of all they hate anything that sounds like it actually benefits the working people and the poor.
They hate being called bigots when they do everything to display their bigotry. They hate being called racists when they do everything but swallow their dog whistles. They hate that the poor get “free stuff” while failing to understand that we all pay for it. They hate socialism without having a clue as to what it is, how it works or why so many countries practicing democratic socialism are doing much better than we are in taking care of their people’s health and education. They hate taxes, but complain mightily about why the roads aren’t fixed, why our children are going to crumbling school buildings and crumbling curriculum. They hate regulations, but can’t understand what happened to their jobs, their pensions or their homes when they went bankrupt for their medical emergency.
The Trump/GOP “likes” is a much shorter list. They like war, torture, Jesus and country, little of which they understand or appreciate the history of. They love the founding fathers and the Constitution, but misquote, parse and misinterpret all of them. They especially think that this is a Christian country and deny the rights of those who are the “other” in every way, especially Jesus’ favored people, the poor.
The questions surrounding Trump himself are enough to gag anything breathing. Yes, most people understand the phenomenon of Trump as the authoritarian figure they have always needed to look up to. The German people of the early 20th Century thought that way about Adolf Hitler, too. The point is that authoritarian behavior and its appreciation are emotion-based mindsets, not rational ones.
Trump’s total lack of grace and his bigoted buffoonery feed the maw of ignorance in the most ignorant among us. He is a plague on their minds, those minds that have been at the bottom of the self-esteem barrel for most of their lives and lack the drive, ambition and skills to change their lot.
Trump’s message is so loud, so in-your-face, that his new following has put down their Bud Lights and TV remotes long enough to yell at their perceived demons because Donald Trump showed them that it was OK. In his outrageously brash way, Trump said it was good to voice your rage even if you didn’t understand where it came from or why it was there in the first place.
The sense of dignity has been replaced by Trump with an attitude of crassness and swagger that leads nowhere, and a peculiar, no-truth braggadocio that illuminates an utter lack of his own self-worth.
Yet, this creature from the depths of wealth wants to lead the strongest economy, strongest military and one of the weakest educational systems in the world. Why would he want to do that?
Well, looking at Trump’s record of bankruptcies, divorces and fraudulent schemes, one can see that the huckster that keeps losing must constantly strive for the big payday. He is compelled to trump [sorry] his own failures with something he perceives as something that cannot fail no matter what he does.
But this piece isn’t about shrinking Donald. As Hillary Clinton just said, “I’ll leave that to the psychiatrists.” This piece is about us and how we perceive dignity, poise and grace as the face of our country that we display to the world and those who fought for our freedoms.
We are supposed to be modern organisms, yet we allow ourselves to wallow in the most debasing of behaviors when it comes to politics these days. Perhaps politics kicks the lid off of our real psyche and shows us all how primitive we still are, at least emotionally, and especially when we try to consider who our leaders shall be.
After all our wars, all our civic upheavals, our clashes with integrating the melting pot that has made us great, shouldn’t we be building our favorability ratings for posterity instead of defacing them with backward-thinking, rabble-rousing fools who rub our noses in their perceived wealth while mocking the poor and less fortunate?
How do so many people jump on this garbage wagon of stupidity, lies, false fronts and disgusting verbiage when we should be leading the world in positive outcomes for our people instead of ridiculing them as “losers?”
Well, all the media are falling all over themselves trying to define the Trump phenomenon and fearing that he could actually become president. I fear that, too.
Even Republican senators visiting South Korea are telling the government there that Trump is only kidding. Really? Paul Ryan’s recent supplication to the Trump candidacy shows how shallow and clueless the speaker of the House really is. Oh, and he’s second in line for the presidency, Wisconsin voters.
Our choices for president may not be ideal on either side, but the one, single thought that keeps me awake at night is: Who do we want picking Supreme Court Justices for the next four years? The second question nagging me is: Can we finally get a Congress that is willing to govern to replace this one that has spent the last seven years doing unspeakable things to one another’s boots?
This coming election is about more than just who will be our next president, but also about who will at least try to reinvigorate our dignity, our poise, our grace and our collective intelligence so that our citizens and the citizens of the world understand that we haven’t lost our minds. Still, probably over 30 million people will vote for Donald Trump because he makes their inner workings ache with the relief of long-suppressed angst, and for no other reason.
The pity is, that the snake oil salesman is selling our country to the lowest bidder in the process.
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.