Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Getting Trumped

Like so many, I’ve been sucked into the political black Trump hole. Watching Donald J. Trump trump the Republican JV team is like watching Nik Wallenda walk a wire between skyscrapers on a windy day. You never know what will happen next and it could be wild. I’ve been sucked into the endless Internet stories on Trump. It is entertaining and ultimately it is scary.

Frankly, I understand some of the Donald Trump appeal.

photo by Lydia Stern
photo by Lydia Stern

He casts a light on what’s sadly become a broken political system. I relate to that. There is the “he’s not a bought politician” factor in what has turned into the land of bought politicians. Everyone seems to feel representatives in Washington will vote not for what is best for you but for what is best for the people and corporations that donate campaign money. Corporations love money and politicians love having a seat in “power.” Bernie Sanders seems to have tapped into some of that frustration as well.

The general acknowledgment is that the American political system is rigged. That feeling is manifested when safeguards like the Glass-Steagall Act—which would separate bank functions and protect the money of the little people (us) over the top one per-centers—are repealed. It is manifested when the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t have to have one of the biggest purchasers of its drugs (the U.S. government through Medicare) negotiate prices to save us all money. It is evident when Republicans try to cling to power by placating their base and will not consider anything President Obama proposes, no matter how good. It is manifested when lifetime public servant Hillary Clinton is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few speeches to Goldman Sachs executives. It is manifested when big political names like Dick Armey, Tom Daschle, Tom Foley, and Trent Lott stop running for office but stay in the bubble as extremely well-paid lobbyists courting that representative you sent to Washington who sees his or her future through Lott and Armey. Don’t even go into the Democratic Party’s use of so-called “superdelegates” to rig the primary election system for their chosen candidate.

Then there is the fear factor. America is changing—socially, racially, and economically. Trump is an authoritarian and many people flock to that. He blusters that he will halt those changes. Jobs will come back to middle-class Americans. Foreigners like Muslims won’t be allowed in to “our” country. Mexicans will be kept behind a wall. He’ll round up illegals and kick the political establishment out of D.C. He will torture those accused of being Islamists and their children because ISIS is worse than anything we would do. He will start trade wars with places like China that are “beating” us and expand libel laws to stifle free speech so people can’t insult him.

Trump is the strict father with simple rules. That is appealing to many—especially I think, people who fear change. They want their daddy.

Then there is the speaking truth to power factor. He goes to the Republican debate and says the last Republican administration started an unnecessary war in Iraq and should shoulder some blame for 9-11. Even I liked hearing that truth. He says the country needs to spend money on improving its infrastructure, which has been left in the dust by most Asian countries. Unlike the JV candidates, he rightly says Planned Parenthood provides valuable services to women and is more than an abortion clinic. Now, Trump also says so much on so many sides of so many issues that there is bound to be something just about everyone hears that they like.

Of all the things associated with Trump, the most disturbing to me have been the crowds at his rallies spewing brown shirt anger at people not like them. Donald thinks it is okay to “rough up” those who might disagree with his stands and make fun of physically challenged reporters like a lame middle schooler. That encourages others of the same maturity level to do the same. Watching white adult males harass and bully a black teenage girl is troubling; seeing “security” slamming a photographer to the ground for going outside the press corral is upsetting; hearing that blacks and Hispanics are removed from some rallies is not right. It is that aspect of Trump and his supporters that strikes me as the most ominous and un-American of the ugliness that is emerging in this political season.

When the Fox News debate moderators asked the remaining candidates last week if they would support Trump after pounding him and calling him “dangerous,” a “con man” and all sorts of other scary characterizations, they all said “Yes.” That made it clear that Rubio, Cruz and Kasich are indeed JV politicians rigged by the system with absolutely no courage, character or apparently love for the country over blind allegiance for the “party.” To pledge support for a man they consider unsafe because he put an (R) behind his name (is that another con job?) is absurd and unworthy of respect. It puts an exclamation point on what Trump and Sanders are saying: the system is rigged and it is very, very broken.

A small-town newspaper carries little influence in a national race and I should probably stick to opining on local issues. But I’ve fallen down the black Trump hole and this deal could ultimately impact all our individual lives, even in this remote mountain town.

I don’t want to live under a president who encourages this country to torture more people that might be radical Islamists. I don’t want to live under a president who goes after free speech by expanding ways to sue people who criticize him. I don’t want my kids to live under a president who wants to ban an entire religious group from America instead of finding better ways to vet those trying to come into the country. I don’t want to live under a president who disparages groups different from me with innuendo and racism. I don’t want to live under a president who has no set policy and seems to have the temperament that he just might get so pissed at a Kim Jong-un (they sort of look alike, by the way) that he presses the button just to teach the punk loser a lesson.

Yeah, it is entertaining in some respects but it could get extremely dangerous for the country—and that matters even in this small community.

—Mark Reaman

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