Tuesday, November 17, 2020

American Beliefs at War


A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.                                                                             Robert Heinlein                                                                        writer, aeronautical engineer  

    The norm shattering of the last four years, as much of an assault on American values as it has been, is coming now to its dark maturity. 

    Beginning with his inauguration he worked to divide America. Now Donald Trump prepares to take America to war.

    The examination ahead will be frank, and difficult to abide so before we begin with a few scenes from a recent walk on the shore. May they be pleasing and soothe our troubled hearts.

History is the only register of crimes and misfortunes.                                             Voltaire

    Trump's behavior since being rejected by a record number of Americans has been to sabotage the nation. People were shocked to learn he explored options for a war against Iraq after replacing top military command officials.

    He continues to violate the Presidential Records Act by destroying files and papers. Some staff have surreptitiously tried to tape and stash documents.

    His delay in transition will only worsen the pandemic he ignored and lied about. It puts our national security on uneven ground.

    Trying to leverage his bent for an authoritarian control of the government he's signaled his supporters to refuse to accept the legitimacy of the new government. His supporters march and violence follows. It is the type of thing we see in some nations and we have seen it in history. 

    The "Brown Shirts" and the Storm Division paramilitary supporters of populist demagogue and madman Adolf Hitler began with demonstrations and street fights in 1924. 

     They were "militias," supporters of a movement leader who demanded loyalty. The appeal was based on grievances, anger  and division.
    Fix in your mind how Trump took over the Republican party by bullying and grievance. Adolph Hitler went from outsider and built a non conventional base of the disaffected. His Nazi movement, a fringe element, gained enough power in the Conservative coalition,  that it could not rule without him. That was in 1932. By 1933 Hitler was elected Chancellor and he dismissed the Parliment.

        The Nazi Party established control of the courts and controlled the judges. Those who spoke against him were run through a mock judicial process. The free press was attacked, opposition groups were run over by Nazi paramilitary. The Dachau concentration camp was built in 1933, others followed and we know the history. The regime lied, repeatedly. 

    The Nazis were specialists at propaganda and image with the intent of brainwashing. They didn't need a Fox News they had Joesph Goebbels a government minister of propaganda.

     Most Fox News viewers fail to know its founder was also a propagandist. Roger Ailes was Richard Nixon's television producer and advisor. Later he worked for Ronald Reagan, to help with spin and party line. He advised the Bush campaigns. 

    Most news organizations evolved from a role of public service. Fox News began with a mission to spin, and to tilt right. That is to be a propaganda mill.

    A document found in the Richard Nixon library outlines the first draft of Fox News. Ailes authored "A Plan for Putting the GOP on Television." The idea was to put party doctrine over fair and balanced reporting over what Ailes said was the "bias" of journalism. Years later it was a cruel irony then,  when Ailes launched the conservative to right wing news network using "fair and balanced" as their moniker. I suspect his karma is still in deficit. 

    Ailes and Trump were a match. Ailes like Trump was thrice married and like Trump a sexual predator. In fact allegations of sexual harrassment by 23 women forced his resignation in disgrace. But he created a monster in America, a "news by flavor" outlet that in truth functions as a mouth piece, a propagandist for right wing Republican politics. But no more. Most traditional conservatives and Republicans have left the party to fight back with their own words and pictures. Fox News helped to kill the Republican party, helping turn it into a Trumpist party.

    Trump, an egoist, learned early he could use TV by breaking norms. People who have studied him, see similarities in his speaking manner to another "right wing crack pot."

    Trump often strikes poses similar to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. 

    Mussolini was also a narcissist. The pouting face, jutting jaw
   crossed arms and fist making hand gestures are frequent 

     Trump moves. History is always revealing.

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
Mark Twain

    The scene above, of a Nazi rally should be particularly chilling, especially to those who say it can't happen here.
    That image is Madison Square Garden, 1939.

     "Americanism" and America First were catch phrases of a far right wing to conservative sentiment.

    20 Thousand Americans filled the Garden that night to celebrate George Washington's birthday.

    At the next "Stop the Steal" or "Four More Years" rally, as people clearly ignore the facts, certified even by Trump apointees in government, you may feel a quick retraction of time.
    Street violence is a tool. Another attack on our belief in our system.
      History may indeed repeat, if we are ignorant of it. Ignorance is a fuel for populists. Ignorance is rampant in America now.
       Trump's refusal to cooperate with a transition is a belligerent personal act of narcissistic defiance, but it is also dangerous and undermining.
    He has been a divider for four years. He has worked since 2016 to erode the credibility of our electoral process and our American traditions and norms, which have been a standard for the world, a beacon of democracy. 
    It appears he plans to stay vocal. That serves him personally as he can continue to fund raise. It serves him to have a pulpit from which to spew, to prance and dance and bathe in the adoration of the ignorant. But it also divides this nation. It drives hatred into the heart of the body politic. It is a cancer to the sinews and muscle of the Republic that has held, except for the civil war. And there again the eyes of history are on us.
And so are other eyes.

    Generations of our children and grand children deserve better than what they see in us now. A democratic republic is hard work. But for most of two and half centuries we have observed norms, traditions, respected honesty, searched for fact and truth. Donald Trump does none of that and each day  he remains the toxic being he is, he moves us closer to the battle lines, in our own nation, and unless he is checked, perhaps in some war making effort abroad. 
    We've had our fill of mistaken foreign wars. We've survived a a civil war. Donald Trump is a fuse.
    There is no longer any decent explanation for supporting him, as a citizen or as a member of the Senate. He lost, fair and square. His law suites are without a cause. There is another reason he deserves no support, he is evil.
    Authoritarianism is growing. Trumpism is likely to survive, for a while at least. Fighting that is in our interest, but it will be a detailed process and it involves fellow citizens, abused humans. We'll look at that fight in future posts. 
    The past should be remembered, and the future should be honored. 

    Stay safe. Stay well. Be vigilant.

    See you down the trail.


  1. I wish,Tom,I could see a viable future for the US. I can't. We are a nation, divided by choice, and with no collective wish to come back together, if we ever were actually were. I think we need to be looking seriously, if there is a possible way, to separate. We have two countries at present. Some would say more, but that's totally unworkable, only slightly less then just splitting into two. The people on the east side of most western states hate with a passion the people on the west side. The people on the west side haven't a clue about the eastern perspective, nor do they care to, any more then the eastern do the west. Let's find a way to have a divorce sans 'Kramer vs Karamer'.

  2. Unlike them, this isn't conspiracy theory. He absolutely is capable of it and you can "see it in their eyes" regarding some of the people that surround him.
    Hopefully, there is a private conversation going on that has discussed the possibility of forcefully removing him from office if it comes to that.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's already come to that.