Why you have to pay attention

We’re up against something serious. I’m working on something to move the conversation beyond mere fear of a movement that tramples on our kids’ futures (climate ignorance, deficit spending in a time of economic tranquility, dissolution of global ties that have sustained Western civilization since WWII) and sends us careening into a postmodern morass in which truth doesn’t exist.

But I also have to post everything here, and I’m optimistic that it’ll make people think. I’m not the only one. I have a college friend who refuses to give up, and she specializes in discussing — not really arguing — important topics with people who refuse to deal with the underlying facts. I’ve also listened to the popular episodes on the great Philosophize This! podcast on the topic “How to Win An Argument.”

I’ve learned to accept that, in the words of the old warden in Cool Hand Luke, there are some people you can’t reach. You can’t argue with fervent believers and convert them in short order. They have to come to question the movement, whether it’s Scientology or Fox, on their own terms and their own time.

I have two reasonable goals:

  1. To humanize “liberals” so that these people will at least govern with basic kindness and decency as long as they’re in power. (A lot of them actually already have better relationships with “progressives,” the new wave going left of “liberal” on the conventional spectrum, than they do with “liberals.” All the more reason the labels are ridiculous.) That’s another post, though perhaps this page will help people understand why “liberals” are spending so much money on therapy today. (Hint: It’s not because they’re snowflakes.)
  2. To get everyone else to vote.

It’s especially important for Millennials, who’ll be on this planet longer than those of us pushing 50 and have not traditionally turned up at the polls — though maybe that’s changing.

And I want to get across a point here: Good people are terrified. You may have your stereotypes of know-it-all Northeast/California/urban people, and some of them are true. But their motives are good. They’re often voting against their own self-interest.

Look, I’m a white cis hetero male with a lot of stock holdings. The GOP makes me rich. I don’t f—ing care. They make me rich while allowing massive inequities that leave a lot of unfortunate people trapped in poverty. (Yes, so do many Democrats, which is why the “progressive” wing is speaking up so loudly — again, sometimes with ridiculous impracticalities like dissing Obama, of all people, but with the best of intents.) They rack up massive deficits and climate destruction that will cost our kids money and health. They spread hatred toward “others” — other races, people in academia and the media — who are completely undeserving of such hate.

I’m not going to my grave knowing that I made money off the misery of others. Neither should you.

I use Diigo to keep up what you could basically call a catalog of infamy. Those links are automatically fed to this page. Here are the most recent links, categorized:

(Note: Some of these links aren’t directly related to Trump and the GOP. I may tag something “hatred,” for example, no matter who’s stirring up that hatred.)

IMPEACHMENT

Democrats aren’t just going wild. And you may notice that Republicans are attacking the process rather than mounting a defense. The facts clearly show Trump withheld aid to Ukraine for personal gain. Retroactively changing the story to make it about a far-fetched election-interference story won’t change the facts.

If you think impeachment wasn’t warranted, ask yourself these questions:

  • If you think he had a legitimate policy reason to withhold the aid, may we ask why he hasn’t done it with nations that have documented human rights and corruption issues? Saudi Arabia springs to mind.
  • Why is the GOP fighting back so hard on the process and not the facts?
  • Related: Why is the GOP fighting to keep so many people, especially John Bolton, from testifying?
  • Why is this supposed interest in forcing Ukraine to fight corruption so heavily focused on the Bidens? (Also note the Feb. 11, 2016 entry here if you’re buying into the notion that Joe Biden was trying to keep Ukraine investigators from doing their jobs. Also note Burisma was indeed investigated.)
  • Was it coincidence that the Ukraine aid was finally released right after the House started investigating?
  • Why are we seeing so many talking points that have been easily refuted?

If anything, the Democrats are being cautious. They could’ve thrown the sink and the Mueller Report at the White House. (See next section.)

CORRUPTION

First of all, the Mueller Report most definitely did not exonerate Trump.

the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction. The Special Counsel states that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

And Mueller’s investigation has sent many Trump associates to prison. It also netted a considerable amount of money for the government.

Meanwhile, Trump may still face legal issues with the Southern District of New York, he has been forced to settle and admit fault in misusing money designated for charity (late 2019), and he paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit over “Trump University.”

HATRED

Now we’re getting to the harm beyond mere courtroom stuff (which, as the Kurds innocent people in Ukraine will tell you, is bad enough) …

This is a historical trend, and as someone who grew up in Georgia, it pains me to say it. Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” simply paved the way for all this, and he won over voters who maintained loyalty to the old Democratic machine based on corruption rooted in Reconstruction opposition to Lincoln’s Republicans. By the mid-90s, those voters and politicians decided they could finally move to the GOP.

Today, Trump has normalized racism. He mocked a disabled reporter, part of an anti-media crusade that goes beyond “liberal media” gripes to condoning (maybe even praising) a lawmaker’s assault of a reporter.

DICTATOR-ISH BEHAVIOR

It’s no longer about convincing people to join the GOP. It’s about bullying everyone else.

THE COMPLIANT GOP

The Republican Party, which once resisted Trump, also has abandoned the 55-65 percent of American people who don’t support Trump or his antics (barring some massive propaganda boost like a war). It’s all about that “base” … and gerrymandering designed to give it majorities in legislative bodies without winning a majority of votes. And voter suppression. Anything to cement their power, particularly in the courts, before the Millennials and Generation Z sweep them out.

BULLSHIT, GASLIGHTING, PROPAGANDA, ETC. 

Sure, a lot of politicians lie or at least spin. Trump takes it to new levels. He says things like “my inauguration was the biggest thing ever” because he knows his base doesn’t care that he’s lying. We’re talking more than 15,000 false or misleading claims. You can argue some of them. The totality is staggering.

I have a separate page on bullshit. It’s not all Trump. But most of it is.

IMMIGRATION

Trump’s cruelty extends to the issues. His take on immigration doesn’t hold water. It’s not meant to. It’s just rooted in the belief that “others” don’t deserve the basic dignities that we white people do.

GUNS

A strong majority of Americans recognize that this issue needs attention.

HEALTH CARE

The GOP is going against Americans’ wishes on this one, too.

CLIMATE CHANGE

When a TV show books “each side” of this issue, it should be “hey, we can still adapt, even if it’ll cost our kids a lot of money” to “we’re doomed.”

I have a separate page of links here.

THE ECONOMY

In the short term, Trump has managed to carry over the momentum built during the Obama years. (The stock market and the economy as a whole have grown more slowly under Trump than under his predecessors.) In the long term, he’s leaving massive deficits and jobs that won’t last as coal fades out and manufacturing gets more automated. He’s also hurting a lot of Americans with tariffs that take away their overseas markets and send prices upwards.

Presidents sometimes get too much credit or blame for the economy in general. It wasn’t Bush’s fault that the economy crashed after 9/11. It was Bush’s fault that the economy crashed again under his watch — and the GOP learned nothing from that.

Trump, like many authoritarians before him, has specialized in grandiose promises and Potemkin villages. (Appropriate for a guy with close ties to Russia.) He’ll offer the rabble a little token — hey, we saved your factory (for now). He’ll bamboozle workers and farmers into thinking he’s on their side. He’s not. Not in the long run.

OTHER ISSUES

Foreign policy: Trump sees “deals” as “winner take all.” It’s never a win-win. Other world leaders are not amused. (Well, maybe they are.)

And don’t forget what Trump did to our allies, the Kurds.

Mock religion: This is not someone who follows the example of Jesus. The evangelicals who follow him will leave Christianity in a far worse place. They’re accelerating the Millennials’ departure from any church.

Debt: Remember when the Republicans cared about this? Notice that the annual deficit was lower under Obama after the stimulus.

Veterans and the military: He’s no friend of either. This Facebook page wraps it up nicely.

Basic competence: Yikes.

SUMMARY 

We’re being governed by someone who should be in jail with his colleagues. He’s stirring up violent hatred that goes well with his abject cruelty. He’s buying off rich people with tax cuts that add to the deficit, and he’s buying off poorer people with smoke and mirrors. He has made a country that has always been a beacon of democracy a place where a minority of people with no sense of empathy and honesty rule the roost.

He’s doing absolutely nothing to make the world a better place in the future. Quite the opposite. His legacy will be inaction on climate change, massive debt, environmental devastation, ruined relationships with our overseas allies, and worst of all, a complete disrespect for the truth — or for other people.

And while you, like me, may not be directly harmed, millions of other people are.

So you know what you need to do.

Register.

Vote.

Consider donating or working for a campaign.

And get others to do the same.