Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Let the Games Begin

In a recent New York Times article, actual Trump supporters, women in this case, were quoted as stating the following. I have combined into one segment the several views of the women interviewed:

“I voted for Trump because I wanted change. I feel like our economy has totally tanked. People do not have disposable income. I feel the last eight years have been a joke. Obama was out for himself. I don’t think he really respected the office. I think it was more about him being a celebrity than a president”.  -- Obama was out for himself . . . it was more about him being a celebrity than a president? And you weren’t speaking of the definitive celebrity, Donald Trump, but of President Obama???

Trump’s a successful businessman, and I feel like that’s what America needs to bring our economy back. I don’t think Donald Trump is really Republican, to be quite honest with you. He’s not in a box. One of the most attractive things to me is he can’t be boxed. He wants to bring America back to what it was before. I don’t think it’s taking us back to women have no rights or slavery days. – Trump is almost the definitive unsuccessful businessman. He has had, I believe six bankruptcies. He does not pay the people, both staff and contractors, who work for him. Many/most of the things that bear his name are not produced by him. He engages in fraud, such as Trump University.  And he consistently indicates that he does not care about anyone but himself.

When Trump became my only choice, I felt he was the lesser of two evils. I had major issues with Hillary as far as ethics was concerned. It seems she feels that she is above the law and nothing ever seems to stick. I didn’t particularly like everything he was saying as far as building a wall, and doing this to immigrants. I looked at that more as bravado, his audience needed that to get the applause. – It is interesting to note how the Republican Party, Trump especially, laid on an image of Hillary that was almost wholly false.  People had issues with Hillary regarding her ethics?  And this Trump supporter had no trouble with Trump’s ethics? Really?

But there are allegations about killing people who get in her way — Vince Foster, people like that. Someone who has a big bravado is not as concerning to me as someone who might kill people who get in her way. – Another entirely fabricated event—the killing of Vince Foster, attributed incorrectly to Hillary so as to paint her as beyond all bounds of decency.  Foster committed suicide, and many subsequent investigations reached the same conclusion. Yet, the folks who hate Hillary (and Bill) continued to assign her at least partial blame, with absolutely no evidence. But when did Hillary-haters need facts to back up their cause?

I felt he had what it would take to get the country back on track. Being P.C. was going to kill the country. He speaks his mind and because of that, he’s not going to lie to you. I don’t want immigrants, accepting them without doing the background checks. I don’t want to live in a country where we have to worry about going to the movie theater or the mall. Let’s be on the offensive, versus the defensive.” – Really, Trump won’t lie to you? How do you know Trump is lying? Well, whenever he opens his mouth and words come tumbling out, he is lying.  Trump is afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as well as a Sociopathic Personality Disorder. Folks like him lie all the time. And he has been lying to us throughout his campaign, and he will continue to lie throughout his administration, until he gets impeached.  But that assertion has been well documented throughout the campaign, so it is not exactly a hidden story about the man.  So, to reject Hillary and accept Trump on the basis of which one lies is so absurd that it beggars belief.

So, really . . . actual sentient humans said those things?  

The last 8 years has been a joke?

Trump is the “lesser of two evils”?

This leads me to consider whether we are dealing with some form of cognitive dissonance.

Cognitive Dissonance -- In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time; performs an action that is contradictory to their beliefs, ideas, or values; or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas or values.                                        

Dissonance is felt when people are confronted with information that is inconsistent with their beliefs. If the dissonance is not reduced by changing one's belief, the dissonance can result in restoring consonance through misperception, rejection or refutation of the information, seeking support from others who share the beliefs, and attempting to persuade others.

This describes almost perfectly what we can observe with Trump and his supporters throughout the campaign and subsequent to his victory via the Electoral College. All contrary views, regardless of their source, are rejected, and bubbles are formed around the supporters so they will receive nothing but supportive views about Trump.  And it is what Trump thrives on as a way of coping with his environment.

But why would folks follow down that path?

Because they’re racist or misogynist? Well, doubtless, some of his supporters deserve those labels, but perhaps not all.  That he still retains about 37% support suggests that something else is afoot within our population.

I think that we have a sizable population that has, a) been ignored for decades now, and b) finally heard someone call out to them in their perceived hour of need. The population believes itself to have been abandoned by our political system, while simultaneously being screwed out of life by people in power—mainly industrialists, bankers, and even, the government.  But note, please, that many people confuse the government with the industrialists when assigning blame for their personal plight.

And what is that plight you might ask? Well, their economic outlook is in the toilet, and many cannot make ends meet.  Coal miners would be a prime example. Mines are closing and have closed, and, often, coal miners have no alternatives. They are undereducated, having learned their trade on the job. Miners are similar to the mill workers of old, who complete a modest level of education, then go immediately into their trade. In olden times, the companies actually built homes, schools, and stores, so the workers were almost literally surrounded by the company for their entire lives, and then their kids would take their places.  You can find many similar examples throughout US industries, including the automobile industry. One can imagine that, even high tech would give rise to similar situations. The key is that the workers, however skilled they become at their chosen trade, acquire no flexibility when presented with an end to their particular jobs, as companies close, or shift their production to regions with lower wage levels.

And why do companies shift production to other lower wage regions? Well, they have to compete with other countries with lower levels of income. The companies must either become more productive, through such approaches as automation, or more simply by moving their means of production to low wage regions.  Note, even if the companies adopt more productive means of production, e.g., automation, the workers will still lose their jobs.

A solution to such problems might be to re-educate the workers in some other field wherein they might become more employable.  When the old Cannon/Pillowtex mills closed in Kannapolis, NC, for example, workers were offered a chance to obtain education/training in another field.  The problem with that solution is that many workers are middle aged and have no interest/capacity to undergo such training to retrofit their lives to the new environment.

So, we are left with an increasing population of workers who are unemployed and often unemployable.  Those workers will become bitter over time and look to officialdom for rescue.  When no rescue is forthcoming, they will become desperately unhappy and will continue to look for someone to blame.

As unions shrink in size and importance, union jobs also shrink in size and importance. The formerly union workers will continue to look for solutions from “officialdom”. Finding none, they will also be separated from the economy and will be angry.

Now, these folks will provide a ready audience for any political demagogue—see Donald Trump.

But we have in America an even larger audience for such demagogues. For example, almost immediately after Barack Obama was elected, the “Tea Party” was formed with support from people such as the Koch Brothers.  It now seems clear that the Tea Party really is the KKK wing of the Republican Party. So, we have a core of folks who might fit the racist label.

We also seem to have a large group who really, really dislike Hillary. Some women, for example, never forgave Hillary for staying with Bill after he rather publically managed to obtain a blowjob in the oval office, while eating a pizza and talking on the phone.  So, Hillary is forever a lost cause to that group. And they, apparently do not care what Trump does and says he does. And they also do not care that Trump has been married three times.

So, when you add up the pile of disaffected voters, they apparently give you that 37% who continue to support him, despite his deplorable record and behavior.  Now, whether that group will desert him as he continues to lie to them and fails to deliver on his promises is a question that is open at the moment. But, having committed themselves to this weird course, I would predict that they will allow him to lie in his defense, and to lay the blame for his failures at other doorsteps.

So, let the games begin. And may the worst of outcomes be avoided, although, at this stage, I cannot see how that might happen.
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