Trump is a Dufous

101st_Airborne_at_Little_Rock_Central_HighDonald Trump is the distillation of 225+ years of conservative angst and spite into one very large and charismatic but immensely egotistical, willfully uninformed and, ideologically malleable man who could be the next President of the United States. He represents a worldview that surfaces in society at certain critical periods in history to argue against progress, to suggest closing borders and castigating anyone who is an “other”, as the cause of all modern cultural failures and their own imagined tribulations. He represents an impulse to separate and segregate, to favor homogeneity over diversity, to prefer sharply defined social classes and eliteness over equality and fairness. He represents an America that has never been and will certainly never be. Examples of extreme conservatism rearing it ugly head abound throughout our annals of endeavors.
The very founding of our country saw arguments for and against federalism, states’ rights, citizens’ rights and the role of government in everyday life. If conservative thought had come out on the winning side of those arguments, our great country of today would be a loosely organized, suspicious group of disparate states or smaller countries that were constantly at war with each other. The Civil War, that great source of Southern pride for being losers, itself was only able to suppress the conservative impulse for less than 20 years, until Northern willful ignorance allowed a defining win to evaporate under the onslaught of Jim Crow, racial animus and white privilege. BTW, the Gilded Age? Remember that from high school? Gilded means covered in gold, so to apply that to an era in history must mean it was a good time, right? Sure it was, if you were white, rich and/or relatively rural in your home local. Especially rich, because with the wealth came access to the political arena. And once they were in, no one was pushing them out. And with that access, they were able to secure their future by writing the rules, which they did. Point of order: not all rich people were or are conservative in the cultural sense we understand today, but a great many still supported policies that protected their way of life. Those rules they wrote made many rich people even richer, and maybe some poorer folk got better too, but mostly the rich got richer.
Those rules they wrote also reinforced the unwritten code of the South as it pertained to white supremacy and institutional subjugation of black Americans. Think poll taxes, literacy tests, voter ID….in other words, voter suppression targeted at minority groups. Any of this sounding familiar? Oh yea…those rules? Those rules caused the Great Depression and the direct and indirect deaths of millions of Americans. I don’t think that’s hyperbole, I think that’s arguable.
So finally, another generation of Americans saw the folly and failed policies of a conservative upsurge and they responded by electing FDR 4 times in a row and would have elected him for a 5th if they had been allowed to and if he had remained alive that long. But he didn’t. And society started to rebel against this rigid enforcement of those rules that were clearly causing harm and injury to many innocent Americans of all colors and creeds. The man who did become President next then did something so out of the mainstream,so bold and courageous that should be heralded as one of the most effective presidential act of the 20th Century, but is largely presented as a footnote to his more dubious distinction of dropping the A-bomb on Japan. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 that effectively desegregated the United States Armed Forces. Imagine President Obama trying that in today’s political environment.
Anyway, with the conservative movement now dead, we can move on to better thi……..what? It’s not dead? Yea right! No, not dead by a longshot. So the famous liberal Dwight D. Eisenhower is now President and the U.S. is arguably at its pinnacle in terms of military superiority and influence throughout the world. You didn’t know Ike was a leftie? Sure he was….he supported unions. He protected minimum wages and taxed businesses at crazy high rates, like 75% and up sometimes. He once said that any political party that advocated abolishing Social Security was “stupid”. But a cultural giant, Ike was not. Because he refused to act, public school desegregation ended up being forcibly enforced by the Supreme Court in 1954 and resulted in the unlikely scenario of that same government using force to ensure justice in Little Rock, AK just 3 years later. This was also the much needed impetus for the ensuing struggle to spread equality and justice to all citizens of our country known as the Civil Rights Movement. Still though, conservatism is not happy at all with the way things turned out. It seems like the one consistent aspect of conservatism is that it always fails to attain its goals and then tries to blame the rest of society for it. And if today’s conservatism were like that of Ike’s 1950’s, maybe we wouldn’t be such a starkly divided country. He was the first to warn of the dangers of a military-industrial complex run amok. Maybe by now we would have a government that is responsive to the people instead of beholden to a small, elite group of shadowy CEO’s, billionaires whose only influence is money.
Full disclosure: by demeaning and discrediting conservative idealism, I am not proposing that having all progressive policies in a pure form would be preferable. I think both are necessary to a functional democracy and that both have some redeeming qualities. Conservatism is though, a worldview that emphasizes the individual and worships tradition and self-reliance. In my opinion, while positive individually, these principles are incompatible with the spirit of the Constitution, which tried to balance liberty and equality into a working model for good governance by ensuring equality as the means and celebrating liberty as the end. Both are possible and complementary to each other and in practice, they succeeded so well that we should soon see this current manifestation of our societal id fade away again. Yes, I’m still talking about Donald Trump…..haven’t you been listening? By ridding ourselves of extreme politics, removing money from the electoral process completely and having reasonable and honorable Supreme Court justices, we can see some positive change. Not the hopey kind, but real change that happens when racists and bigots are once again scorned and humiliated instead of being lauded and feted, when veils and burqas are as acceptable as bikinis, when my right to buy a product or service is not infringed on by your blatant discrimination, which is not only NOT a right, but obviously illegal.
Mr Trump and I have many things in common. We are both white, Americans, fathers, husbands, humans….and I thinks that’s about it. And I don’t know about the size of his “hands”, but I do know he’s got bigger balls than me. Because with such an overwhelming lack of knowledge about how the world works and an utter unwillingness to learn more about it I would be absolutely mortified that my ignorance would be laid bare for all to see. And yet, his ignorance matches that of many people in our country, especially the less educated, easier manipulated masses of disenfranchised white people who are watching their futures morph before their eyes. They are witnessing, often unwillingly, our culture and country mature into a multicultural, empathetic society that welcomes the diversity and dynamism of new citizens and ensures that equality remains a guiding principle in the development of 21st century America. And they don’t like it. No sir, not one little bit.

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