Monthly Archives: August 2018
Traitor in the White House?
A photo that seems to me to sum up Helsinki.
Putin looking like the cat who swallowed the canary with Trump who looks like the kid who just got chewed out in the principal’s office, busily searching his brain for excuses to tell his parents about his bad behavior.
Good grief, America! What have we done to ourselves, our USA? There is no doubt we have let ourselves be taken in by a con man who has no interest at heart but his own, who has been so twisted by reliance on the fringes of right-wing conspiratorial political thought that he could think of selling us out to our firmest of enemies. I suppose that he does not recognize the possibility that his behavior could have that result, but what, exactly, is he thinking?
I wrote that just after the disaster in Helsinki. My gut reaction to Trump now seems to have roots I have known about for a long time, but haven’t researched in any organized way. Today I came across an article in the Smithsonian by Sasha Isenberg that reminded me of the long history of the fundamentalist right in the USA with all the conspiracy theories and religious zealotry. It reminds me that Trump is not an aberration, but a continuation of line of political-religious fever that’s been part of this country practically since the beginning.
Trump’s rallies have a lot in common with the descriptions of camp meetings in Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis.
One small detail from Isenberg’s article gives food for reflection. Hargis and Walker did their tour in 1963.
Walker arrived back in Dallas on April 8 to a
home filled with drifts of fan mail and financial contributions. Two
nights later he was sitting at a desk in his study, working on his
income-tax return, when a bullet shattered his window and lodged in a
wall just behind him, spraying metal shards into his arm. He grabbed his
gun and went outside to look for the shooter, but found no one.
… It would take months for Walker to learn the identity of his would-be assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald.
Irony of ironies.
Go read Main Street and Elmer Gantry and find what we now call Trumpism buried in our roots.
I am trying hard to figure this out: why Trump has so many believers. 90% of Republicans!?
Another factor that seems to be driving
up support is a sense that no one is acknowledging Mr. Trump’s
successes, which they see as manifold, historic and irrefutable.
see,” said John Westling, 70, of Princeton, Minn., reciting a list of
the president’s accomplishments that he said no one in the media wants
to talk about. “Economy booming, check. Unemployment down, check. Border
security being addressed, check. Possible end to the Korean War that
started when I was 3 years old, 68 years ago, check.”
Economy booming? At least the stock market has been until he toughened his trade wars. Unemployment is down, but wasn’t it going down already under Obama? Border security being addressed. Really? Locking up toddlers? Internment camps for their parents? End to Korean War? Where’s the signed document that says that? The lies and bullying insults? Wishful thinking that all that fake glam is real? What do they really think about the undermining of the rule law?
I have to admit that I was offended when MSNBC made fun of Trump winning the return of soldiers lost in Korea. Maybe their parents are no longer living, but they would still (and did) have other relatives who are and who were grateful Sometimes the talking heads go too far. Melania’s jacket. So what!
Last night I watched the movie “All the President’s Men”. In its way it was exciting and a bit scary wrapped in what was at the time the fear of spies and spooks both foreign and domestic. It does a fine job of showing the viewer the kind of hard work that goes into the best of our American journalism and deserves all the praise and awards it got.
I missed something when the film came to an end. I missed what I had always thought of (having lived through it) as the real drama of the Nixon downfall, and that was the hearings by the Congressional Committee where the various members of Nixon’s administration had to anwer the questions of the members of Congress. While the stories of the Woodward and Bernstein are the key ingredient that brought on the hearings, the fact that members of Congress stood up for our country’s democratic principles against their gross distortion by a man obsessed with punishing his “enemies” by any means whatever is the truly heroic feat we should look back on.
It is worth the time in the era of Trump to look back on what was said and done in the Watergate Hearings during the spring and summer of 1973 as a useful insight into what we should think about in the era of Trump. Video of the hearings can be found here. Take a look.