Tuesday, October 01, 2019

America's Widening Divide

America’s divisions are deepening. Evidence is everywhere with the primary divide epitomized by the continuing effort to impeach Donald Trump, hatred of whom is palpable. That division existed long before Trump, but he has come to symbolize it since his election in 2016. Opponents see him as a rich white guy and that’s enough to hate him because their world view is that no one becomes a billionaire without robbing the poor and middle classes.
Joe Hill
Hatred of the rich has been a central leftist dynamic since at least the early 20th century when IWW (International Workers of the World) activist Joe Hill inserted his song: The Preacher and the Slave, whose refrain is: “Pie in the sky when you die” into its Little Red Songbook.
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky; 
Work and pray, live on hay
You’ll get pie in the sky when you die (that’s a lie).

Hill’s song is a sardonic view of Christians who believe in an afterlife and reflecting the Marxist vision that: “Religion… is the opium of the people” which purports that Christian teaching of earthly suffering leading to eternal happiness is a tranquilizer. The left believes a perfect society is achievable here on earth and Christianity impedes progress toward it. The US Constitution was created to limit government and preserve individual liberty and it, too, inhibits the leftist goal of utopian socialism by restricting the growth of government necessary to implement it. Folk singer Joan Baez sang “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night” at Woodstock.

That Trump is supported by the religious right and other conservatives in spite of his narcissistic tweets, his extensive history with marriages, groping women, dalliance with hookers, previous pro-abortion views, petty lying, and verbal abuse toward political rivals bewilders and enrages those on the left who want him gone. Opponents have tried to oust him with Russian collusion allegations, claims of illegal emoluments, calling him racist, obstruction of justice allegations, constructing a 25th Amendment contention of insanity, allegations that he violated campaign finance laws — have all failed. Three years of overwhelmingly negative mainstream media coverage about all that and more have neither put Trump on the defensive nor dented his support.

Though opinion polls show all the top 2020 Democrat candidates beating him, Trump’s opponents fear he’ll win anyway. Democrats controlling the US House of Representatives have suspended all other business in their effort to construct a case for impeachment. They think he’ll get credit for any positive legislation coming across his desk so they’re not passing anything. Socialist Bernie Sanders has long raged about “millionaires and billionaires,” and now so does current Democrat frontrunner Elizabeth Warren. Both have proposed wealth taxes that would confiscate 2% or more of their wealth annually and give it to the poor and middle classes in the form of Medicare for all.

Nearly all Democrat candidates call for a huge expansion of government to “prevent climate change” or the world as we know it will be gone in ten years. They would spend trillions in “reparations” for black slavery and purported genocide of Indians. How that would be done or how it would be financed is unclear. They’re all behind the House impeachment efforts — this time over a phone call to Ukraine purportedly asking a foreign government for assistance against a political rival.

Meanwhile, Trump supporters, while recognizing his narcissism, his marriages, his groping of women, his dalliances with hookers, his previous pro-abortion positions, his petty lies, and his verbal abuse toward political rivals, still defend him. Why? Because they fear an unimpeded expansion of government with its excessive regulation, its choking of economic growth, its infringement on personal liberties, imposing progressive notions of “non-binary” sexuality, and public financing of abortion. They fear leftist control of the federal judiciary, creeping globalism, open borders, socialism, and threats to national sovereignty — all of which they see Trump fighting against.

Trump’s supporters see mainstream media as in league with the Democrat Party and Never-Trump Republicans. They don’t trust the media and are not persuaded by them. When Trump calls the media “the enemy of the people,” they cheer. They know Trump’s opponents consider them unenlightened at best and “irredeemable”; “deplorable”; “xenophobic”; “homophobic”; and “Islamophobic” at worst. They believe Obama Administration officials spied on Trump’s campaign and his transition. They’re convinced that an anti-Trump “deep state” within the federal government continues to sabotage his presidency.

James Hodgkinson before firing on congressional Republicans
Both sides worry about violence. Trump opponents suggest a recent mass shooting in Texas was inspired by Trump rhetoric, as well as demonstrations and a death in Charlottesville last year. Trump supporters point to beatings of conservatives by ANTIFA thugs and a Bernie Sanders supporter opening fire on congressional Republicans. Both sides fear civil strife will escalate after the 2020 elections no matter which side wins. Individual families avoid political discussion fearing it gets so heated that it damages interpersonal relationships.


Nick Peace said...

"Opponents see him as a rich white guy and that’s enough to hate him because their world view is that no one becomes a billionaire without robbing the poor and middle classes."

Tom, if that's why you think the Left hates Trump, you misunderstand current politics. May I suggest it has far more to do with a) Trump stoking racial divisions from the day he launched his campaign; b) his personality and style i.e. his bullying, tweeting, lying and exaggerating and c) the appearance of lack of competence. On top of all that you can throw in the media-stoked belief in Russian collusion. (I don't even hate the guy. I had hopes he might shake things up in a positive way, especially regarding US foreign policy.)

Might I also suggest that the Right doesn't "own" Christianity. There are flavors of Christianity. It is mainly the Fundamentalists that vote Republican. Plenty of more liberal Christians vote Democratic. These different strands of Christianity have different perceptions of God, the Fundamentalists believing in a paternal God offering conditional love for following his rules, Liberal Christians believing in a more maternal god offering unconditional love for simply being. These underlying conceptions then inform attitudes towards individual vs. societal responsibility, tolerance for inequality, and ideas about the role of government.

Nick Peace said...

But agree completely that these are incredibly polarized times. Also agree that the mainstream media has had it out for Trump and has done everything it can to thwart him.

Brian said...

Anybody worried about the divisiveness in our country should be appalled at how incredibly divisive Trump has been – telling US born citizens to “Go back” to their countries, attacking the FBI and the NFL, demonizing Muslims and any media members that don’t spin things the way he would like, falsely implying in a tweet that African-Americans kill more members of any race than any other group, throwing out insults at anybody he is upset with, etc, etc.

In trying to explain our countries divisiveness Tom starts by claiming that the left hates billionaires. An ignorant claim. The left hates Soros? Bloomberg? Gates? You see, it is the actions of certain people that is hated, not just that they have money.

Tom then admits to Trump being a narcissist, a cheat, a sexual offender, a flip-flopper, a liar, and a bully, yet seems to expect positive coverage of such a cretin. Is it a biased media that is to blame for all the negative press on Antonio Brown? Should Nixon have whined about negative press? I think that the press reporting 9% of his actions in a favorable light is very generous.

Tom says: “the US House of Representatives have suspended all other business in their effort to construct a case for impeachment.” As is often the case with Tom, I’m not sure if he is ignorant or lying. All business has not been suspended.

Tom says: “Nearly all Democrat candidates call for a huge expansion of government to “prevent climate change” Really? Limiting emissions would somehow cause a huge expansion?
And “They would spend trillions in “reparations” for black slavery and purported genocide of Indians.” Who exactly talked about spending “trillions”?

And “purported” genocide of Indians?!!!? Are you for real? Do you also talk about the “purported” holocaust? You are a sick man. Maybe it doesn’t count because they were “just Indians”, kind of like “just ducks”?

And religious hypocrites support Trump “Because they fear an unimpeded expansion of government with its excessive regulation” ? Here is what “The Hill” has to say about Trump on government size:

“Why has Trump ended up being a big government president in his first year in office? I suspect it is for two reasons. The first is that dismantling government programs is harder than creating them. The second is that Trump cares more about expanding the police powers of the government than he does about reducing the overall role of government.
Libertarians were among the most reluctant Republican supporters of Trump’s campaign. The expansion of government as a police state and the failure of it to downsize elsewhere is proving them prophetic.”

As for those horrid regulations…you are against limits being set on pollution being spewed out that destroys our environment, makes our water undrinkable, makes us unhealthy, and threatens animals? Oh yeah, they’re “just animals”.

Socialism? God forbid another program is enacted like Social Security, Medicare, etc…..or socialist money going to public libraries, roads,etc…..yikes! I can see why people hate the idea.

I think the thing that the left is most bewildered about is how Republicans have become so far removed from a time when character mattered. Our grandparents could never imagine a day in which somebody with such openly poor character could be elected, and be the representative of our country to the world. So strange, and so sad that Trump supporters and Christians could totally disregard a person’s moral character.

Steve said...

“Opponents see him as a rich white guy and that’s enough to hate him…” When you make such absurdly general and coffee-saucer shallow comments, it makes you look unserious, like you’re writing satire, and I doubt that’s what you’re going for here. Being rich and white is not why I don’t like Trump, but this passage from your blog “…his narcissistic tweets, his extensive history with marriages, groping women, dalliance with hookers, petty lying and verbal abuse…” does begin to scratch the surface. Here is an incomplete list of the reasons why I don’t like him.
* He’s a pathological liar. * Using a sharpie to create that ridiculous looking herniated hurricane path to include Alabama illustrates what a dim-witted, adolescent buffoon he is. And the idea that he was going to get away with it is alarming and hilarious at the same time. When I was 12, my friend Tim confidently used a pen to change a D on his report card to a B. Even though his mother got him to confess, he was sure he was going to get away with it because he was 12 and not very bright, and here we have the President of the US doing the exact same thing. *his relentless, juvenile insults: rat, snitch, scumbag, dumb as a rock, total loser, lowlife, and the list goes on and on. * he bragged about committing felony sexual assault. * he’s been unfaithful to every wife he’s ever had. * During one of the Republican debates, he reassured voters that the smallish size of his hands did not reflect the size of his dong. * His tariffs are anti free trade – a pillar of conservatism – and it’s hurting farmers, among other sectors and demographics. Now China is getting their wheat from Ukraine and their soybeans from Brazil. That market may not return to the States, especially if China can buy those commodities at a cheaper cost. Trump is bailing out those farmers. Is he bailing out everyone hurt by his tariffs or just those most likely to reelect him? *He stood shoulder to shoulder, on stage in a joint press conference with Putin, and proudly declared he believed Putin over the whole of the US intelligent apparatus. * He obstructed the investigation into an event – his campaign’s conspiracy with Russia – he claimed never occurred. * He said he didn’t know if the Clintons – who attended his wedding – played a role in Epstein’s death, which implies his death was a murder and not a suicide. * He claimed he had a team of researchers in Hawaii investigating Obama’s birth certificate and “…they couldn’t believe what they were finding,” only for Obama to release his birth certificate days later.

Steve said...

(continued from previous post)
* He continues to attack the deceased John McCain even though Trump is half the man and public servant McCain was. * He ridiculed Muslim parents of a US soldier who died in combat. * His presidency is in chaos. * He bullies and threatens companies that move jobs overseas, yet his clothing line is manufactured in China. * He refers to himself in the third person, which is just bizarre, but it’s overlooked because it gets lost in the morass of weirdness that is this man’s hallmark. * His absolute inability to accept fault or blame for anything. * His relentless self-aggrandizement. * His 5 military deferrals for bone spurs were probably the result of his father intervening on his behalf to avoid the Vietnam draft. * For someone who wins at everything all the time, he relentlessly plays the victim, which is never a good look for anyone especially the President. * He hides on a code-word protected server designed for only the most classified information of national security, call transcripts that document his abuse of power and self-preservation as his priority. * He said he was going to place all of the Trump Org into a blind trust, which he did, and then appointed his sons to run it. I believe this arrangement is allowing him to use the office of the Presidency to enrich himself. * Coincidentally, days before the 2018 mid-term election, he announced a 10% tax cut on the middle class and a pay raise for military personnel because they hadn’t gotten a raise in almost a decade, which was a lie. He never spoke of either initiative again. * He governs by impulse. * He calls only the media critical of him the enemy of the people. * In 2013, Trump had Cohen find a straw bidder to bid on a portrait of himself at a society auction in the Hamptons with the understanding his portrait had to receive the highest bid on all art auctioned that day. At $60,000, that was accomplished. Trump then reimbursed the phony bidder with money from his foundation. On 7/16/2013, Trump tweeted “Just found out that at a charity auction of celebrity portraits in E Hampton, my portrait by artist William Quigley topped the list at $60K.” According to Cohen’s sworn testimony, Trump kept the portrait.

There are two anecdotes involving Michael Cohen that are important. When Michael Cohen produced incriminating phone call recordings and copies of checks used to pay off porn stars, Trump angrily said why would anyone do that? Why would a lawyer accumulate that kind of stuff. The answer is simple: the kind of lawyer who understands the person he’s working for and knows he’s going to need an insurance policy at some point, and sure enough…
The second anecdote was during Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, he said I did for ten years what you are doing now. The more people that protect and “follow Mr. Trump as I did, blindly are going to suffer the same consequences that I’m suffering.”

I think our President is a man who simply does not know how to live an ethical life. I think he is incapable of seeing beyond the immediacy of his own wants and needs.

TAD said...

This from the Conservative publication "The Federalist"

My, how far we’ve come. Now it seems many conservatives are dismissing the requirement that their candidates give even lip service to traditional morality, and defending doing so on the basis that such quaint ideas as virtue don’t matter when the country is falling apart.
Erick Erickson is right that Republicans who support Trump owe Bill Clinton an apology. Talk about hypocrisy. The cognitive dissonance is deafening, and the irony tragic.

This Is a Result of Tolerance Run Amok

How can we teach our children to live an upright life without judging behavior? We can’t. But the logical conclusion of a wholesale rejection of the application of judgment is that we can no longer call any behavior wrong. That is, of course, the point to which postmodern “reality is subjective” thinking has brought us. It just used to be the case that conservatives didn’t embrace it.

We Need to Uphold Standards Even When We Fail Them

Trump is a mirror of this country’s soul, and as such, he gives us permission to remain in the muck rather than aspiring to something better. No, no one is perfect. But a great country needs great men and women who, even as they fail, as we all fail, understand the importance of virtue and the need to hold it up as an objective worth reaching for. When we give up on the ideal and on the desire for leaders who embrace the ideal, we sell our national soul.

This is why I reject the argument that character no longer matters in our leaders, and cannot rationalize or justify to my children a vote for a man like Trump. Someone who has repeatedly shown himself to be sociopathic in his capacity for self-justification, who seems to have no apparent sense of shame, is not someone with whom I am comfortable entrusting the moral steering of a nation. He may very well be given the wheel, but he won’t get it with my help.


TAD said...

And this, from "Christianity Today" explaining how people like Tom and evangelicals that support Trump have sold their sold and had their character "trumped":

Character matters for elected officials. At least that's what Evangelicals used to think.

Five years ago, white Evangelical Protestants were the most heavily Republican voting bloc in the country, and also the group most concerned about the private morality of public officials.

But Donald Trump has changed all that. Today, white evangelical Protestants are the least moralistic cohort of voters. —the people of God, who are called to hold to the highest standard of morals and ethics, now rank as the highest group percentage-wise of those who say that these things don’t necessarily matter. This is a problem of huge proportions.
That’s the definition of selling out.

Proverbs 28:6 tells us, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” Romans 12:2 urges us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

You can vote for Trump and not sell your soul. However, when your view changes based on wanting something to be one way or another (or one person to win or not), that's the definition of selling your soul. A dictionary definition states it like this: “to do or be willing to do anything, no matter how wrong it is, in order to achieve one's objective.”


Ironically (but importantly), this is not about Donald Trump’s character or transgressions—now or prior—but about the character and transgressions of Evangelicals who change their views to suit the moment.

Whoever you decide to vote for in this election, be sure you have made the decision with a heart set towards pleasing God, not man. And if you find that you have overlooked or dismissed many of the morals and values that you have held dear in the past, then it just may be that your character has been Trumped.


Reality Check said...

People hate Trump because he is rich? How naive. Nate White, an articulate and witty writer, does a great job of articulating the real reasons:

“A few reasons spring to mind.
Trump lacks certain qualities....
For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace-plus, while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever.
I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing, for to lack humour is almost inhuman.
But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.
Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers.
And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.
There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface.
Trump is neither plucky nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that.
He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.
And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things: a bully.
That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a sniveling sidekick instead.
He breaks all the rules of basic decency - He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.
So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress.
* You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.
After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum.
God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid.
He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart.
In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.
And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfulls of hair and scream in anguish:
‘My God… what… have… I… created?

CaptDMO said...

Once upon a time, six blind men came upon an elephant...(India, traditional)
David Mamet. who everybody should listen to because he's famous for writing something proclaimed Award Winning...by someone, and that who I was instructed that I should admire, ...or something...once wrote a book AFTER he chose the red pill of later in life, and became woke. "The Secret Knowledge"

Once upon a time, there was a shepard's son, so bored with his responsibilities he decided to make up a story about a wolf, and yell it in a crowded theater, ....or something like that. Apparently, there were consequences to THAT literal interpretation of freedom of speech.

Once upon a time teachers in a one room "special" school house instructed children
in the previously privileged arts of readin' , writin', and 'rithmatic. SOME kids, and their parents, felt they didn't need all that "gazintas" stuff, and they were RIGHT! 2+2=4, 2X2=4, same thing, end of story. Now get back to hauling water!

Too bad they could never read the story of The Boy That Cried Wolf to THEIR kids, and teach them how much less free wool and mutton they could expect as a result.
Too bad that the kids who CAN learn HOW to think will never hear the story of the clever "Little Black Sambo", or the cautionary "The Sorcerer's Apprentice".

I wonder how many books and news print articles, dedicated to assorted interpretations of economics,political "science", and diet/nutrition, have been "published"?

I wonder what the absolute stranger who exchanged "magic beans" with Jack, actually did with the cow?
Who was able to redeem gold eggs for net "happily ever after" (after taxes) in THAT neighborhood?
I wonder how Jack did the math?

CaptWTF said...

Once upon a time 3 blind mice ran...(England,traditional)
Mr. Rogers. who everybody should listen to because he is one heck of a nice guy..

Once upon a time there was a king with no clothes....and no morals and no brains and no dignity...apparently there are no consequences to THAT

Once upon a time teachers could teach facts and science without these "inconvenient truths" being disputed by corporate propaganda protecting their profits.

Once upon a time there was a duck. You know how that went.

I wonder what happened to the far right's morals?

Brian said...

OK, so this I had to double check to see if was a parody of Trump (it sounds exactly like something Alec Baldwin would say as Trump), but the big orange buffoon actually tweeted:

"I, in my great and unmatched wisdom....."

Just when you think he can't make himself into a bigger joke!!!!!

Our country is being led by a demented old clown!!

Brian said...

Remember the good old days when hypocritical republicans used to get their undies in a bunch because Obama was "conceited"!

And complained about his golf.....
And complained about growing the deficit....

etc etc etc etc