Donald Trump’s increasingly grotesque behavior is not just the defining aspect of his presidential campaign, it’s an ongoing test of character for the elected Republicans who have endorsed him.
THE ART OF THE FEAR
There should be little doubt by now that the concerted efforts by right-wing media and politicians they bed down with have been instrumental in concocting a host of ever-more terrifying scenarios about where this nation is heading. Hell apparently awaits us all if we don’t restore the cultural and political landscape to the days of Ozzie and Harriet America—the era before gay people were invented, where not a single person had ever come to this country from another land, and with an older white guy running The Show.
If one is to believe Trump’s fear-mongering nonsense, the apocalypse is about 10 minutes away, and will be horrible in ways supporters cannot even imagine if Hillary Clinton is loosed into the political marketplace. It’s so embarrassingly, over-the-top outrageous you have to wonder how Trump and his spokespeople avoid bursting into laughter in mid-sentence at their realization that far too many supporters are buying his I’m-winging-it juvenile BS without so much as a micro-second’s worth of contemplation. Are there any lines which cannot be crossed?
To bracket out the racism, bigotry, and hateful behavior at Donald Trump’s rallies also requires a high amount of willful denial regarding the type of poison he represents in the American body politic.
Writing last week, [The New York Times’ Charles] Blow laid down the gauntlet and made the following plain spoken observation about the role of racism in Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party at large:
‘In their minds, whether explicitly or implicitly, America is white, Christian, straight and male-dominated. If you support Trump, you are on some level supporting his bigotry and racism. You don’t get to have a puppy and not pick up the poop.
And acceptance of racism is an act of racism. You are convicted by your complicity.’
Supporting Trump is indefensible and it makes you as much of a pariah as he is.
BACKWARDS WE GO
Pushing the envelope has long been a hallmark of our successes. But the direction has always been upward and forward. Trump’s displays of ever-increasing vulgarity and ignorance aren’t envelope-pushing; they are degrading and destructive. Do we really want to end up where he’s planning to take us?
If so, we’re going to need a new definition of “American exceptionalism.”
The longer we pursue hostile and misleading strategies, and the more disinclined conservative voters continue to be about broadening their understanding of issues and/or consideration of both tactics employed and their consequences, the more polarized we will become. There are no happy endings to that state of affairs.
With the Internet as its promulgating agency, and social media exploiting the vulnerabilities, ignorance has become pandemic. Perhaps this is a logical evolutionary progression, but at no time in history has the public become so susceptible to the spread of willful ignorance, intentionally deceitful lies, and blatant stupidity…
Unexpectedly, it appears, the tsunami-like exponential explosion of information has devolved into the Age of Ignorance….
While observable ubiquitously, nowhere is this intellectual dilemma of the Age of Ignorance more perilous than in the current American political cycle. Rather than thoughtful discussions of issues, blows and counterpunching have devolved into a battlefield of tweets.
Contemplating the reasons why select officials or media personalities are misleading and/or inciting fear and anxiety might lead to some startling changes in how we conduct our politics—and whose voices gain prominence as a result. When we’ve failed to understand and appreciate the motivations, or base our efforts on everything and anything but the facts and realities, what results should we expect? Tactics designed to deceive are not impact-free. As is true in most cases where those in power are entirely unwilling to let go of what they’ve gained at others’ expense, that is not much of a concern—at least for them.
Relying on their trusted spokespeople keeps voters oblivious to too many other factors which ought to at least be considered before making critical decisions. Avoiding the dissonance caused by dismantling one’s cherished beliefs, and/or severing connections to like-minded others is understandable, if fraught with great risk—not that that gets much air time. Time-saving has its benefits … but when electing the President of the United States, not so much. There are important choices being made. And not.
Reflexively-inclined toward heightened anxieties about current events over which they feel powerless means too many will respond in ways which should surprise no one: they seek out authority figures who seem to not only understand the fears, but offer just the right tone and assessments about how to fix things, even if—as is usually the case—actual and realistic proposals aren’t offered.
So just how do the terrifying scenarios Trump routinely conjures up actually get dealt with when there aren’t actually any plans or proposals? [His “great brain” and so many “great” ideas and “the best” plans don’t count….]
~ My Photo: Sunrise at Long Beach, MA © 07.25.11
Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas, Envisioning Better Tomorrows
Be the change you want in the world – Gandhi
The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because
of those who look at it without doing anything – Albert Einstein
~ ~ ~
As I state in the “About Me” section, I’m driven by an intense commitment to learn why those on the conservative side of the fence view so many matters of great importance to us all so differently than do those of us on the progressive side. Those contrasting behaviors, beliefs, and ideologies are contributing factors to the very problems we’re trying to solve—the ones we must solve if our own ambitions and our hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world we leave to our children are to be well-served.
If we don’t recognize and accept that bitter partisanship is not always the wisest or most beneficial strategy, the goal of a better future will forever be as far away tomorrow as it is today.
The late Senator Paul Wellstone’s observation continues to hold far more truth and power than we give it credit:
We all do better when we all do better
Why make setting up inevitable and enduring conflict the primary objective of policy and planning?