Monday, May 28, 2018
Last evening I bumped into YouTube videos on The War in Vietnam. This was apropos for engaging in Memorial Day sentiments.
I was hooked into that war. I was the levy clerk at an Army post and it was my responsibility to send enlisted men over to Vietnam among other places.
Towards the end of my one year, eight months and twenty-two days of drafted service, in addition, I started to process officers.
That war means more than just words on a page. As I have only shared that side with only a few select people, one of whom is my psychiatrist, I will not be exploring that minefield here.
As I stated, I watched several excellent videos on the war and posted them on Facebook. I do not know if anyone watched them, I didn’t get any feedback but that is not important.
What was important was that I sent out memorable moments that were excellent examples of what our focus has been on Memorial Days.
The next morning I had a rude awakening.
BAM! I barely got my eyes open and focused when I read Trump’s sick excuse for a tribute to men and women who have given their lives so he can twist and turn the Constitution to line his pockets.
Later in the day as my bride and I were unpacking items we were moving into our new home, a two-bedroom apartment, I took a break and opened this article.
This article expresses my concerns to the nth degree. I had to share it with most of my family and fired off the article to two brothers who will jump on me for my sentiments.
Very seldom do I hear blowback for any of the articles on posts to Facebook.
My position is that if someone is carping about Trump I will unfriend him because I don’t have time to waste on arguments that will not shed a ray of light into that person’s brain.
I will get back to the core of the article but there are at least two avenues to follow that will shed light on this analysis.
The Trump Effect
The first is an article by Noah Berlastky ” The Trump Effect: New Study connects White American Intolerance and Support for Authoritarianism”. This article is available on NBC “Think” at nbc.com dated May 27, 2018.
“The research suggests that when intolerant white people fear democracy may benefit marginalized people they abandon their commitment to democracy.”
Until now their response has been unfathomable. The more Trump abuses immigrants the his “base’ love him.
“Intolerant White People”. What a great label! I have been trying and failing to find a label that fits.
So as Hilary exclaimed “Deplorables” I now call the “Intolerants“.
A Light Shines
Part of the reason Trump can get away with what he does is that his base is pleased.
All he has to do is stage a campaign rally (which is illegal), holler about immigrants (racism is illegal), point to suspected ‘spies’ on his campaign trail (illegal? -slandering another agency of government).
” The GOP has dug itself into such a hole on this that the most practical effort to stave off these impending losses is to disenfranchise the votes of the same ethnic/racial outgroups against whom the GOP messaging has been stoking animosity.”
What does this mean?
Republicans know they are at risk in the 2018 Mid-term elections.
How do they handle that? They set up voter suppression for people that they know will vote against them.
If they can’t vote, they can’t vote against them.
This cuts out Blacks, Native Americans, and a lot of other minorities.
What we know is that in 2006 John Dean (Mr. Dean of Watergate infamy) wrote a book “Conservatives without a Conscience”.
A quick read of the book’s highlights:
“Studies reveal that authoritarians are frequently enemies of freedom, anti-democratic, anti-equality, highly prejudiced, mean-spirited, power hungry, Machiavellian, and amoral. They are also “conservatives without a conscience”.
Another telling excerpt: they “define themselves by what they oppose, which is anything and everything they perceive to be liberal. This can be Democrats or anyone they disagree with.”
So, those of us that are of a liberal or progressive ilk that cannot understand how Trumpsters can turn a blind eye and ear to everything we see as wrong.
What’s wrong with Trump?
We now know how to reach the “Intolerants“.
This important study confirms what we’ve known (see ‘Conservatives Without a Conscience, 2006).
It is past time to recognize it is not Trump’s “nationalism” that threatens our well being, it is his “authoritarianism“, with his fear-filled followers.
“Liberalism, Conservatism and the Intellectuals” a lecture by Paul Starr February 8th, 1995 at New York University Institute for the Humanities, in a lecture on “Intellectuals and Public Life”.
Mr. Starr enlightens his audience with tales of the Liberal Intellectual past and Conservative Intellectuals present. If you check the date it is 1995.
I thought I had found my answer when these “Intolerants” had taken shape around 2006 of John Dean’s book.
Now here I find the underlying currents of social conservatism and conservative (the new not the historical conservative thought) thought was well developed by 1995.
I have been scratching my head for the last two years wondering how in the world I had missed the signs of the deep unrest presented by Trumpsters.
The history and ideals I grew up with are now dead. Maybe not dead yet, but on life support.
I have often asked myself, this person and I grew up together and went to the same schools how did he end up taking a left turn that is so different?
Well, now it seems both of us were just listening to different drumbeats that were pounding through this country.
A deeper look into John Dean’s book on page 43 discussed the work of Stanley Milgram.
Through Mr. Milgram’s observations and tests, he asserts that the ‘work that ordinary people, doing their jobs, without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terribly destructive process. It is very difficult for a remarkable number of people, to disobey authority figures, but quite easy for them to set aside their conscience.” (underlining is mine)
Still, deeper in the book, Mr. Dean takes up the study of “The Authoritarian Personality“. Some people may be “proud to be individualists but live in constant fear of not being like others”. They are jealous of other’s independence because “they themselves are inclined to submit blindly to power and authority.”
A fascinating tidbit “Authoritarianism is consistently associated with right-wing but not left-wing ideology”.
We have taken a turn around the country looking at modern conservatism and social conservatism (read alt-right religion).
We have undertaken to understand how two people who grew up in the same town, with the same teachers could now have two so opposing views.
One clinging to what may be a dying ideal – liberalism, and the other the rising tide of authoritarianism taking control of our country.
Just to reinforce the absolute scariness of what I have been reading I am going to quote from the Abstract of Study by Steven V. Miller and Nicholas T. Davis “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy” date May 31, 2018.
“Social Intolerance embodies an unwillingness to associate or fraternize with individuals whose cultural, racial, or religious ideas or ways differ from one’s own group.”
Using World Values Surveys from 1995 to 2011, we find intolerance toward cultural, ethnic, or racial ‘others’ reduces the value that white Americans assign to democracy.
This means that white Americans, the “Intolerants” are willing to devalue the separation of powers and to support Authoritarian Rule.
What is authoritarianism?
Google defines it as “the enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom. A lack of concern for the wishes and opinions of others.”
Do you find this as scary as I do?
I, along with the press and most people that stand against Trump denigrate his supporters as the 33 million or 30% of the electorate that is his base.
How naive I have been.
We are not faced with a political division we know and understand.
I now believe we are faced with a very real menace to democracy in America.
Wikipedia expands on ‘authoritarianism’ is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms, individual freedoms are subordinate to the state and there is no Constitutional Accountability under an authoritarian regime.” (highlighting is mine)
Just today there was an article about the Government Accounting Office not receiving information from the White House.
What does this mean?
The White House is telling us they don’t have to follow the rules.
Hasn’t this been Trump’s modus operandi?
He doesn’t play by the cultural norms that earlier presidents have followed.
He plays by his own rules.
The so-called Republican party lets him.
Because they are not the Republican Party any longer.
Today John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, slammed the Republican Party “There is no Republican Party. There’s a Trump Party. The Republican Party is kind of taking a nap somewhere”.
There is no Republican Party.
There is a Trump Party. It is an Authoritarian Party.
This is an animal that the press isn’t talking about.
This is an animal the Democrats aren’t talking about.
So if no one is addressing the real problems how is it going to get fixed?
In an article today in Vox by Matthew Yglesias, the headline reads “The raging of controversy over whether to call Trump’s lies “lies” explained”.
Mr. Yglesias turned my head a few times. I guess I didn’t understand where he was going with his examples and explanations.
He identified where first Trump used lying to gain power in his first book “Art of the Deal”. He admitted to routinely lying about important matters in a sworn deposition.
He continues to disregard the truth and no one calls him on it. Mr. Yglesias also states “in addition to being a liar, Trump is unusually ill-informed about public policy.”
He says “that even the New York Times euphemistically referred to “unconfirmed accusations” rather than say baseless conspiracy theories.”
Mr. Yglesisas shares glaring examples of Trumps lies but he ends his piece “Nobody can stop him from acting this way if he wants to, but we need not act naive about it. When a hardcore serial liar says something new, treat his claim with the extreme skepticism it deserves.”
We know Trump is a liar.
We know that the Republican or what was the Republican Party doesn’t hold to their constitutional duty to make sure that the rule of law is followed.
We know that the Trump Party is moving away from democratic principles toward an authoritarian government.
What else do we know?
We know that Trump is Evil.
I started this post relating that I had read an article “This administration isn’t Simply “Corrupt” – by Any Definition it’s Evil. OpEdNews 5/31/2018
I will return to that for a few minutes before concluding this post.
Trump’s policy of snatching children from the arms of parents as they cross the border is EVIL.
Trump’s policy of not supporting American Citizens in Puerto Rico has become publicized.
Over 4,500 people have died because his idea of helping them was to throw paper towels at them. 4,500 people sacrificed so this liar that is claiming to be president can ignore them. EVIL.
Trump’s policy of undermining the Freedom of the Press by throwing bombs at them is a flagrant abuse of the Constitution regarding the Fourth Estate. This is EVIL.
Trump’s policy of undermining the FBI, the Justice Department, even the Attorney General of the United States is a flagrant abuse of the Constitutions. It is EVIL.
The author of record for the article “This Administration Isn’t Simply Corrupt- it is Evil” originally appeared in the Daily Kos and it is attributed to Dartagnan (Comte D’artagnan was Captain of the Musketeers of the Guard to King Louis XIV).
That author makes the point that “the distinguishing feature of evil is that it causes unnecessary, arbitrary harm to others.”
He continues “The Holocaust is trotted out when people need to grasp the conveying extent of evil. The Holocaust is the most vivid and well-known manifestation of evil in the past hundred years, the only time frame of reference for everyone alive in the world.”
I was concerned well before the campaign was underway. In May 2015 I blogged against the fascism I saw Trump cavorting in public.
After researching for this post I learned about how the Republican Party started way back in 1995 to eschew democratic ideals and lay the groundwork for the government we see today.
That John Dean wrote a book in 2006 “Conservatives Without a Conscience” and the Democrats didn’t line up to rail against the real and growing threat of Authoritarianism is inexcusable.
But the real question is: How do we recover?
Even if the Democrats succeed in overturning the Republican Congress how does that change the landscape?
Thanks for stopping by.