Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stonekettle Station

Stonekettle Station is a blog after my own heart. Well, I don't know what the blogger, Jim Wright, thinks about most things, since I just discovered it. (Thanks, Kate!) But I certainly agree with his most recent posts.

For example, let me point out a few excerpts from his most recent post about Donald Trump. (It's a long post - Wright is even more long-winded than I am - and definitely worth a full read. But there were certain parts that reminded me of... well, me.)
Conservatives, and many liberals too, have been conditioned by three generations of fear-mongering. It’s always something. Always something to be afraid of. Commies and Rooskies, Red Chinamen and Black Panthers, Ebola, the brown horde south of the border, gangs and gays and atheism, with terrorists around every corner. It’s always something with these people. Seventy-five years ago, in America’s darkest hour, a withered crippled man in a wheelchair told Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself, and Americans hitched up their pants and squared their shoulders and faced their fears. But today? Today the politicians tell the people to be afraid. Nowadays we have entire media networks dedicated to inventing things to fear, from Truthers to Pizzagate. Americans as a people are addicted to being afraid, as a nation we embrace fear, we wallow in it, but conservatives? Conservatives own the market. Hell, they even fear their God. Fear is the very cornerstone of their religion, fear of a crazy genocidal unpredictable deity who just might wipe out the entire nation because he’s mad about the idea of gay people or socialism.

Republicans have been leveraging that fear to get elected for decades, they’re coming for your guns, they coming for your religion, they’re coming for your daughters, they’re coming for your jobs, they’re coming for your way of life. Be afraid! Be afraid!

Trump was just better at tapping into that fear than anybody else.

That sounds like me, doesn't it? Well, better written, of course. But it's exactly what I would say. It's exactly what I do say.

Many Republican leaders opposed Trump because they thought he was too blatant with the bigotry and fear-mongering. But Trump has apparently shown that you can't be too blatant about appealing to the fears the GOP has been pushing for decades.

Franklin D. Roosevelt could stand up (figuratively) and call on Americans to resist fear. It was Hitler who pushed fear and bigotry and hatred, not the American president. What has happened to us?
[Donald Trump] promised to round up and deport violent gang members and dangerous criminals and rapists. Because who isn’t afraid of that, right?

I don’t think any of us, conservative or liberal, would have a problem with rounding up criminals, but ICE isn’t raiding East LA or the South Side of Chicago and clearing the streets of gangbangers. We not bussing truck loads of Sinaloa Cartel and Mexican Mafia to the border, are we?

Instead Trump is making America safe by deporting people with brain tumors, day laborers, and arresting housewives as they pick their kids up from school. ...

As if you want to actually live in a country that would let a person die of a brain tumor over politics, as if we are really – really – going to use the (alleged) money saved by letting this women die to save an actual American child. Because we’re not going to do that either. We used to be the place that happily took in these people. We were famous for it. It says so right on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty.

The hell kind of a country, the hell kind of people, arrests a woman dying of a brain tumor and throws her in jail for deportation?

We’re not rounding up criminals, we’re deporting children and sick people who never wanted anything but a better life.

But they're scary brown people, right? They're Mexicans! They're undocumented immigrants. They're automatically scary to white bigots.

Last night, in his speech to Congress, Donald Trump announced a new government office to report and highlight crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, as if crimes committed by native-born Americans were somehow less evil and their victims less important.

Imagine if he had announced an office to report and highlight crimes committed by Jews. What would you have thought of that? Jews do commit crimes, sometimes. Shouldn't we be concerned about that? Shouldn't the victims of their crimes be recognized?

Obviously (I hope it's obvious), there's a problem with that. That's the kind of thing the Nazis would have done, to push fear of Jews. That's the kind of thing Trump's many neo-Nazi supporters would probably like to see even now. But can you imagine the uproar if he'd done that?

Donald Trump is establishing this office not to help the victims of crimes, but to push fear of undocumented immigrants and for his own political benefit. He doesn't give a crap about the victims of crimes, or he wouldn't make such a big deal about this particular category of criminal - especially since undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit such crimes than anyone else.

Go ahead, create a federal office for reporting and highlighting crimes committed by Jews. Let's see how that works, shall we? If this isn't about bigotry and fear-mongering, let's see what people would think then.
This is what you get when you elect a leader out of fear.

This is what you get when you cater to the basest elements of society.

This is what you get when you hire an amateur to run the most complex country in history.

This is what you get when liberals and progressives and rational conservatives don’t show up. ...

Trump should be constrained by Congress.

But he’s not.


Because liberals didn’t show up in 2010 or 2014. That’s why.

Because conservatives keep electing their representatives out of fear.

Because we keep catering to the lowest common denominator.

The Electoral College determines the president, but it’s the popular vote that determines your Senators and Representatives. And in the elections where the popular vote actually matters, well, liberals didn’t show up.

And so we have a House led by a Tea Party hack and a Senate run by a self-serving power-mad ideologue who’d rather burn the country to the ground out of pure spite than compromise with anybody. Our representatives, the congressmen who are supposed to be our voice, they don’t show up for town hall meetings because they don’t want to hear what we have to say, because they’re actually afraid of us, because they don’t even have the guts to face the kind of crowd any women has to push through just to get a goddamned pap smear from Planned Parenthood.

And it’s that way because liberals didn’t show up when the popular vote actually mattered.

Conservatives, they always show up. Always.

They’re afraid not to.

But here’s the real problem, liberals don’t show up at the state level.

I've been saying this for awhile now, haven't I? Maybe not as well, but I've been saying it. 90 million people didn't even bother to vote in November. Donald Trump is their fault, and the fault of every single American who was eligible to vote, but didn't actually vote for Hillary Clinton.

But Trump by himself couldn't do much of anything. We wouldn't be so worried if he didn't have a Congress firmly in Republican hands. And that's the fault of every person who didn't vote (or didn't vote Democratic) in November and in 2014 and 2010, too (since Senate terms are eight years long).

If you didn't vote, this is your fault. And every Republican Senator elected in November will remain in office for the next eight years, so this won't be quick to fix even if every non-voter suddenly pulled his head out of his ass (which I'm not expecting).
Liberals are going to lose … well, everything. All the gains of the last eight years.

And they haven’t got anybody to blame but themselves.

Right now, liberals, progressive, democrats, and the more rational centrist conservatives are all fighting among themselves.

They’ve had since November to get over their defeat and get organized and get a plan on the table and get to work. Time’s a wasting, folks. But liberals haven’t done any better at getting organized than Donald Trump has at organizing his administration.

Two days ago, the DNC elected itself a new Chairman, and predictably liberals fell to fighting amongst themselves. They’re all bitching and moaning and rehashing the election, slinging blame and arguing over candidates that are long lost and who will never be president.

And they’ll still be fighting when Trump wins his second term unless they pull their heads out of their asses right now.

Gee, he even uses my phrasing, doesn't he?

But this is no laughing matter. Wright goes on to say that we have to "compromise with fear." I'm not sure I agree with that, but we are going to have to compromise. Democracies are all about compromise.

The whole point of government by the majority (the majority who show up) is that not everyone gets his own way. We're social animals. We live with other people. In order to live in peace with other people, we have to accept that not everyone is going to agree with us.

And in order to accomplish anything at all, you can't demand to get your own way. You have to work with people who agree with you on many things, even if they don't agree with you about everything. And you have to understand that progress is slow and halting and difficult,... but also quite possible, if we can just stop fighting among ourselves over how quickly we get there!

Because, if we keep fighting among ourselves, we'll never see any progress at all. Indeed, as we're already seeing, we're going to be going backwards.

And again, we have to show up!
All politics are local.

Liberals, progressives, democrats, are going to have to show up. At town halls. At community meetings. At local elections. At school boards. Everywhere in that sea of red, and they are gong to have to address those fears.

Stonekettle Station is an excellent blog. Check it out.


Anonymous said...

You're welcome. Thought you would like it. Hey, you write as well, just without the 4 letter words (mostly).


Anonymous said...

P.S. I loved the "A Secular State of the Union Address".


Bill Garthright said...

"just without the 4 letter words (mostly)"

Heh, heh. Not so much anymore, Kate. That's how I was raised, yes. And I still speak that way. But language changes, and I've definitely been influenced by younger people online.

And I don't consider that to be a bad thing (though maybe not a good thing, either).

PS. I'm glad you liked "A Secular State of the Union Address." Me, too. Seth Andrews is a smart guy.