The other day, we saw a little clip from Kid Rock, who seems to want to enter the Halls of Congress, or, who knows, maybe even the Presidency? And it struck me hard. How much we have belittled the Presidency, and, even more, all of our senators and Congresspeople. It would seem with the last series of encounters, that we have eliminated all standards for the various positions to “represent” the people of America. Now, quite literally, anyone over the age of 35 and born in the US of A can be President. No other qualifications exist.
In the olden days, we used to want folks to possess at least a modest intellect, be honest to a degree that would not embarrass us all, have some acquaintance with the arena of public policy, and at least pretend to care about the American people. No obvious traitors; no flat-out crooks; people possessing the ability to string together sentences that would not embarrass a fourth grader, and a personality that would not embarrass us in front of the world.
Gone, all gone.
Now, it is tempting to blame Donald Trump for the changes, the degradation that has occurred. But, realistically, we the people are to blame. We not only elected people such as Donald Trump, we continue to applaud his inane statements and Tweets. He Tweets apparently because he cannot write, or perhaps even speak in complete sentences. I am continually drawn back to my early question, how did someone of his limited abilities to read and write ever complete high school, not to mention college?
But, we have also now simply lowered the bar of acceptable behavior. Whenever he does something, or says something stupid or outrageous, we nod and say, “oh well that’s just Trump being Trump. He tells it like it is.” And then his spokespeople stand up in front of us and say, well no he didn’t say that, he said this, and then they invent a fictional account of what we all heard him say. And then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell sigh and say, “well yeah, that wasn’t cool, but it was just Trump being Trump.” See, they accept his behavior, thereby encouraging the rest of the cretins in Congress, or in the Evangelical forces who seem to love him, or in the various pubs around the country where his supporters fist-pump for his latest idiocy, to decry the rest of us. We the people are now the enemy. Now doesn’t that all seem a bit too familiar? It is in fact from the playbook of autocrats everywhere, from Hitler in 1930 to the current crop of Putin, Duterte et al.
And increasingly, I am seeing no obvious way out of our current “problem” (a “problem” implies some solution downstream, whereas I am not sure any longer that we have one). The GOP is in total disarray, to the point that I now characterize them as the Castrati Republic, a group whose members are all male and all castrated. That group is headed by the senior castrati in our land, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Clearly, they gave up their balls long ago and now no longer even pretend.
So, where is our Lone Ranger? Well, Hillary is out there ensuring that no Lone Ranger will be along any time soon. It was fairly clear that the Democratic Party is beyond total disarray. Yes, the party has some intelligent folks, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie, Joe Biden, Kirsten Gillibrand, but Hillary has been very busy sucking the oxygen out of the rooms they inhabit. Her book and her tour are all about informing the American people that there is no sign of intelligent life in the Party. She was it and now she is gone, off to that netherworld of money. I want to shout at her, No Hillary, Bernie didn’t lose that election. You did. Almost anyone in the country could have defeated Donald Trump, but you failed at that simple task. Stop blaming Bernie. Kindly move to Iceland, or the Antarctic and stop appearing in public.
But again, it probably isn’t Hillary either. It’s us. How 35-40% of the people in America could support the clown tells us everything we needed to know about America. America is, I guess, now over, and it is someone else’s turn to lead the “free World”. Who that might be is open at the moment, since Britain seems busy with dismantling its connections to the world, and France and Germany also seem a bit preoccupied. Maybe our good friend Justin Trudeau could assume the mantle. He’s young, smart, even attractive. No one seems to hate him, and that is a very large step up that ladder.
I assume that America will continue on its current downward slope into second or perhaps even third world status. We are dumbing down the population as we speak, with Madame Devos leading the pack to ignorance with her private school approach that we already know doesn’t work. But, like her boss, she doesn’t seem to know anything either.
It is not clear to me that what we are witnessing has much of a world history. Countries have failed in the past, fascist Germany, Japan, and Italy come to mind, but they did not simply decay from within. They set about to conquer the world and they failed. After their thwarted attempts, they returned to their business as usual (with our help of course). Italy seems periodically to flirt with degradation, but theirs seems more of a political degradation. Their social and economic systems go up and down of course, like everyone else’s but they don’t seem inclined to pursue a course in stupid.
Some countries seem stuck on stupid, but I continue to believe that our current course is unprecedented. From near masters of our universe, to an embarrassment to the rest of the planet. I continue to hope that someone much smarter than me has some solution.
What is it we need to reverse course? Well, after our near-death experience in 1929 and the 1930s, we emerged only after a rational political personage assumed the reins, after a disastrous course being followed by a republican who did not believe in government intervention. He believed in bank bailouts, but not people bailouts. Then FDR appeared on stage and decided to spend public money on recreating the American economic landscape. He spent money, folks became employed and then those same folks started buying things, thereby kickstarting the economy again. Turns out it isn’t bankers who put an economy into fast forward. It’s ordinary people. Who knew? Well, not bankers as it turns out. But FDR and some of his Democratic party bosses also knew.
Then of course, Hitler & Co. decided they wanted to own the world, so they began invading everybody. Finally, FDR got his act together and decided this unitary America thing wasn’t such a hot idea, so he threw in his lot with the World and began assembling a fighting force that could help to counter the fascists everywhere. Turns out creating a war machine to counter nasties also helps to kick an economy into high gear. America began to climb back from its bank-induced near bankruptcy to its position as a leader in the free world.
So, we won the war, well that war, and then we got back to peace time living (well, ignoring those peace-keeping thingies in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, et al).
But we failed to learn the lessons from that 1930s to 1950s period. That it takes an educated middle class to maintain a class economy. That the very rich don’t really care about maintaining a whole economy, or even a whole country. They just want to get richer and to keep all their money. And, largely, all the rest of the country folks can suck lemons.
With Donald Trump, we have come full circle, right back to 1929, well maybe 1928.
So, we need someone thoughtful to guide us out of the dark, dark wilderness in which we find ourselves. We can’t just get rid of Donald Trump, because he isn’t the whole problem. He is the perfect essence of what we have become, but he is a mere reflection in the mirror. Look behind us folks. It’s us, and we need to seek out and then elect people who can actually think.
So, we have said it before, but let’s say it again. We all need to register to vote, and then we need to vote—every time there is an election, not just once in a while. We need to elect decent, thinking people in City Councils, in State legislatures, and certainly in the Halls of Congress. And yes, we need to vote for a President. And if you’re not thrilled with the two choices facing you, pick one of the two anyway. Don’t vote for “none of the above”. Vote for one of the candidates you think might be better than the other one. Donald Trump was fatally flawed. His entire life experience has been a disaster. He has really never succeeded at anything. Plus he lies all the time, even about stupid stuff, so nobody can trust him with anything. But we knew all that, didn’t we? So, don’t go down that path again. Remember, Jesus Christ isn’t running. He never runs. Just go with the better of the two candidates. Don’t vote for the asshole just to register your protest. You’re simply screwing yourself.