Monday, January 23, 2017

The Chasm Widens

Bridge to Portland from South Portland

Not many people in the Portland, Maine area see the world as I do. It’s been five years since my wife and I bought a second home across the bridge in South Portland and I’ve kept a low profile. I do meet, however, with a group of writers every couple of months who know I’m a conservative columnist out in the hinterland. At last Wednesday’s gathering, everyone expressed dismay at the upcoming Trump inauguration and after listening for a while, I told them I voted for him. Instantly, the new person in the group who was sitting right next to me, said: “You’re an a**hole!” Everyone tightened up as I turned to look at my accuser, but no response was necessary. It was clear who the a**hole was.
Portland Marchers with signs
Congress Street, the main thoroughfare in Portland, was blocked off Saturday when my wife and I were trying to get to the YMCA where our nine-year-old grandson, Alex, was competing in a swim meet. The local Women’s March was breaking up and as I searched side streets for a way through, women and girls were carrying their signs back to their cars. The Portland Press Herald said ten thousand turned out. That’s a lot for Maine, but I was in the heart of America’s northeast bastion of progressivism where Trump is the devil incarnate. Hardly any of the 30 million women who voted for Trump live in the Portland area.
2016 electoral map by county

America is indeed divided. Mainstream media are in a frenzy about it, but our country has been divided for a long time. Barack Obama lamented it in his first big speech to the Democrat national convention back in 2004: “There's not a liberal America and a conservative America; there's the United States of America… no black America and white America… The pundits… like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats.” He said it again in 2008, and again in 2012, promising to heal the divides, but did he?
2008 electoral map by county

There was indeed a red America and blue America and the divide was getting wider. Many voted for him hoping he would transcend it, but it the divide had become a chasm by the time he left the White House last Friday. Rasmussen reported last summer that: “60% Say Race Relations Have Gotten Worse Since Obama’s Election.”
The right wasn’t thrilled when Obama, then the most liberal member of the US Senate, was inaugurated in 2009 but pretty much accepted it. After trillion-dollar deficits, ramming through Obamacare, a disastrous foreign policy, an anemic economy, lies about Benghazi, the Tea Party rose up, then was blocked by Obama’s IRS.
Mainstream media praised Obama throughout but rural Americans elected a Republican House and Senate to block his policies. Republican congressional leaders sat on their hands and watched instead. Rural Americans did a slow burn when Obama condescending called them “Bitter clingers” and Hillary Clinton called them a “Basket of Deplorables.”
By 2016, they were looking for someone who would go to Washington and really shake up the elites in both parties. They were ready for a bona fide butt-kicker when Donald Trump showed up. That he’d been married three times and talked about grabbing women didn’t faze them. When mainstream media attacked him and he gave it right back, they loved it. Maine’s rural Second Congressional District where I live went for Trump in 2016 while the coastal First District went overwhelmingly for Clinton. The divide in all of America between the coastal elites and the rural heartland is stark and we can expect it to get broader and deeper for the foreseeable future.
Maine's congressional districts

In last week’s column, I tried to poke fun at the “Pussyhat” preparations and the LGBTQIA+ meme of the Women’s March, but there’s little sense of humor among progressives. Their cause is sacred to them, a kind of surrogate religion. To laugh at them is heresy. Fifty of the organizations sponsoring the march nationwide are funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros and “Reproductive Rights,” a euphemism for abortion, was the strongest single theme. Pro-life women were banned.
Nearly all marchers vilified Donald Trump directly or indirectly as someone who objectifies and mistreats women. It’s interesting to note that there were no marches against President Clinton after he was formally charged with sexual harassment and paid $800,000 to his accuser, but Clinton was pro-abortion. That absolved him from the wrath of feminists no matter what he did to women.
Last week I was reminded again that progressives believe in tolerance, even of people like me who don’t agree with them, as long as we don’t speak up about it.


Unknown said...

We live now, in the days of unimaginable hypocrisy and blatant willful ignorance. It's only perpetuated by the media. And once something gets said on social media, it becomes fact, whether there is truth to it or not.

*If anyone had dared threaten obamas White House the way madonna did,they'd still be in jail.*

If a group of people have a legitimate issue with the government, conduct themselves in a decent lawful manner, I have no problem with protesting. It's how things get accomplished. I don't have to agree with any of your points to support your right to protest. I signed an oath years ago to defend that and many other rights. As far as I know there is no term limit on that oath.

Please, go out and protest, make your voice be heard. It's your right as an American, some may even call it your duty. But have a point, be unified, organized. Treat yourself with dignity and respect and others will have no choice but to follow suit. But carrying on, in with a mob mentality, nobody is going to listen to you short term, long term you're ensuring a second term for Mr. Trump.

But the minute you cross the line, make threats, destroy public/private property, impede traffic or otherwise disrupt society, you're committing a criminal act and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

markus said...

Those who marched in the Women's March in DC and cities around the country including Portland are Leftists. See the list of partners here:

The chasm will widen and why should anyone expect conservatives to acquiesce to the demands of these Marxist revolutionaries? I've had it with them and don't care what the Left thinks. If they believe they can intimidate us, they're very much mistaken.

Brian said...

Voting for an a**hole does not necessarily make you an a**hole. Is there anyone who will argue that saying

“I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it, I did try and fuck her. She was married. I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. I’ve gotta use some tic tacs, just in case I start kissing her, and when you’re a star they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” makes you an a**hole?

Or that mocking a handicapped person makes one an a**hole? So that is what Trump is. But those that voted for him are only an a**hole if they are ok with his a**hole actions.

It was very heartening to see this a**hole enter office with pathetically low approval ratings, and puny crowds that were dwarfed by Obama's crowds (who left office with very high approval ratings) and also dwarfed by the women's march. I know that these facts are tearing Trump's fragile, bloated ego apart, which is why he is making up "alternative facts".

What an absolute clownish joke of a "man". I use that term loosely for this petulant man-child.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there were many people who overlooked Trump's asshole behavior because they believed that he was the best option for our country despite this. I'm fine with that. So no, you are not an asshole just because you voted for him. But anybody who doesn't think that Trump is an asshole is certainly an asshole themselves.

Mr Ed said...

Brian or should a call you Brain.

The idea that Obama was the smartest man in the room can only be proven by his actions and lies. The lies are too numerous to total.

But let's mention the facts, he bombed and destabilized Libya and Syria and other northern Africa nations including Yemen which in league with The Sauds, an oppressive regime, that W held hands with and Obama bowed to, is destroying their nation to the south.

An asshole? there is no greater asshole than those that believed Obama's lies and were completely quiet about those lies for 8 years.

Those that did and I suspect you did insured the election of that asshole trump with the preconceived idea that what America needed wasd the first women president and who did they choose but the old Psychopath Hillary Clinton. The one and the same "we cam we saw he died" and look what resulted from the Bush/Clinton wars, refugees and Jihadists pouring into Europe< apparently u can get across the Mediterranean on a blow up toy with the right wind.

Yes why didn't we vote for that great secretary of state and choose a white asshole?

Brian said...

Ed, I never said anything but Obama and his brains, so what's up with that attack? And even IF Obama had has many lies as Trump, so what? Aren't you concerned about the lies being told to our faces right now? Like "I'll release my taxes after the 'audit'" Bald faced (orange hued) lies. Like petty, juvenile, "My crowd is bigger than your crowd" lies.

Anyway, I have spoken out against what I thought to be obama atrocities, with his drone use and weak stance on some issues I find to be important. But all in all, compared to most anybody else capable of doing his job, he kicked ass. That's just my opinion, relax. Like I have to deal with Trump, you have to deal with the great legacy Obama will have in history. And I certainly was not for Hillary, I am a Bernie kinda guy. So go ahead and call me Brain, or whatever gives you chuckles, but let's deal with reality...

Mr Ed said...

well you were a Bernie guy but voted for Hillary any way, and now the best you can come up with on Monday is he won't release his tax returns and the crowds were smaller than what?

More BS from the DNC and anyone but a complete socialist like Bernie. The great legacy that Obama has in history, what would that be requiring Americans to buy health insurance from private companies, now that is something you would expect from the GOP.

He didn't bomb as many people as McCain would have done, well you got me there, yes McCain would have certainly bombed more people than Obomba, but you all stayed completely quiet while Obamba did, didn't you.

I little early to talk about tax returns and crowd sizes but you put those in the same lies as killing thousands, and destabilizing the middle east as well as Europe. Yeah that is quite the Legacy.

Brian said...

Oh, was that you looking over my shoulder in the voting booth?

And I'm not trying to come with any "best" anything, just stating my opinion that our current President, on the merits of "I'll grab your pussy because I'm rich and famous" and mocking the handicapped, is an asshole.

My point on his taxes is his lack of transparency, and his lies ("I WILL release them"). I thought these were traits people disliked in Obama. The idea that this silver spooned, pampered little brat, surrounded by his billionaire elitists, has managed to trick people into thinking that he is concerned with their well being is mind-blowing. Proves what desperate people are willing to buy.

If you manage to make any coherent and thoughtful statements, I would be glad to keep chattin' with you, but this seems unlikely, so cheers

Anonymous said...

Trump channels Batman's super villain Bane in his dismally awkward speech

You couldn't make this stuff up!

Anonymous said...

Trump channeling cartoon villains and K. Conway channeling Orwell's "1984" with her "alternative facts". Weird times.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the chasm certainly has widened with Trump. Funny that being divisive is something that right wingers used against Obama, and now we are seeing it to the nth degree in Trump.

Trump before he even entered office has run the most divisive campaign in history, has pitted one group of Americans against the other in his quest to be President and he will never have respect, never have unity and never have peace and will govern one of the most fractured nations because he could only conquer by dividing Americans and …they were just foolish enough to fall for it.

Anonymous said...

Mainstream media = fact-based journalism

Brian said...

But some people much prefer "alternative facts" - what's wrong with that? That way you can say ANYTHING and have it be true in your alternative reality!

Think that millions voted illegally with no evidence whatsoever? Hey, it's an "alternative fact"! Does your massive ego call for much larger crowds? Make up any number you want - "alternative fact" fun! Did millions of Muslims dance in the streets of NY after 9/11? Sure, it is an "alternative fact". Do you want to deny the fact that you mocked a disabled man? Easy, just ignore the video proof and create a new "alternative fact".

Fun and easy - no proof, evidence, facts or reality needed. You're going to put Hillary behind bars? She's already there in "alternative fact" land! The actual fact that more Mexicans are leaving the country than "pouring" into it illegally is an inconvenient truth? Ah, that's what "alternative facts" are for.

As Kimmel asked, I wonder if Conway was "alternative sober" when she said this?

I knew these years would be funny, but not this gut-wrenchingingly hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Fact: Mexico President cancels meeting with Trump

Alternative fact: Meeting was "mutually" cancelled.

Anonymous said...

The Christian website “Sojourners” recently posted a column about Trump and alternative facts, which said, in summary:

“Since becoming president, Trump — both directly and through his top aides — has made a number of demonstrably false statements. Rather than backing away from these statements when confronted with the truth, he and his team have doubled and tripled down on claims that defy reason, logic, evidence, and just common sense.

Trump’s own narcissistic personality makes him incapable of acknowledging his own unpopularity. More deeply, these lies and Trump’s determination to stick to them show that he is obsessed with the image of his own legitimacy as president.

Trump knows that a certain percentage of Americans, many of his loyal followers, will believe anything he says and will dismiss those, especially in “the media” who dispute Trump’s claims.

If you are successful in delegitimizing fact checkers and truth-tellers, pretty soon nobody knows what the truth is — and the strongest and most powerful voices, especially the one controlling the highest bully pulpit, get to define the truth as they see it.
This assault on truth should concern us spiritually as Christians. As Michael Gerson noted this week, conservative Christians in particular are in grave spiritual danger during this presidency.

The disregard for what is true, and the cynical spreading of blatant falsehoods, presents great spiritual dangers, and not just political ones, to those who might acquiesce to or embrace these tactics. Christians are called many times in the Scriptures to be truth-tellers and to reject falsehoods, from scriptural commandments against bearing false witness to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4

Full story:

Anonymous said...

23 seconds that reveal so much

Brian said...

If Trumps goal with his dopey ban was to protect Americans, why the hell didn't he include immigrants from countries like Saudi Arabia, (remember 9/11?) the United Arab Emirates or Egypt. These three countries have accounted for 18 of the 19 terrorists who perpetrated the Sept. 11 attack on American soil (an attack which was directed by another Saudi, Osama Bin Laden, with the assistance of an Egyptian, Ayman al-Zawahri).

OH! These countries are all wealthy countries in which Trump has business relations! That is MUCH more important to him, obviously, than protecting us citizens. First things first for Trump - protecting his own ASSets. Those other poor countries are just the victims of Trump's throwing meat to his ignorant supporters.

No way this creep makes it 4 years without quitting or getting impeached.

Brian said...

I have to give credit where credit is due...props to Trump for leaving in place a 2014 Obama administration order that created new workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

In a statement issued in response to growing questions about whether Mr. Trump would reverse the Obama order, the White House said the president was proud to embrace gay rights.

Anonymous said...

You would think that that Tea Partiers would be enraged with what is going on. Consider Trump’s new infrastructure plan. It’s a trillion dollar government stimulus program. Conservative writer Jonathan Tobin rightly compared it to Obama’s stimulus package, only bigger and, presumably, more socialist. In an appearance on the Fox Business Network, Trump claimed that Hillary Clinton’s $275 billion dollar infrastructure plan was only “a fraction” of what’s needed. Of course, he’s been short on specifics, and to the extent that he’s explained his proposal, it makes no sense. The point, though, is that none of that matters. You won’t hear Trump voters complain about it and you won’t hear his Republican apologists calling him a liberal statist. Once again: ideology has been reduced a prop.

If Tea Party conservatives (most of whom support Trump) gave a damn about spending, they’d denounce this “big government” monstrosity. But their fealty to Trump is untouched by policy. If Obama were to propose anything like this, cries of tyranny would echo at Trump rallies. With Trump, however, it’s a non-issue.

Trump’s ideological heresy goes beyond spending. Recall his open hostility to free trade, a sacrosanct principle among conservatives. If Trump wasn’t riding this wave of racial resentment, I suspect we’d hear a lot more about his protectionism. But the base hardly noticed it. They don’t care about free trade any more than they do limited government, which is to say they don’t care about conservatism. Trump may be ideologically incoherent, but he’s signaled that he’s with his supporters on the cardinal issue – racial identity. Everything else is noise.

This is why he is banging his immigrant drum. SAD!

Tom McLaughlin said...

I do not support infrastructure spending either. Not the business of government.