The Renaissance came after the Dark Ages because people had started to engage in critical thinking and using something that became known as the scientific method. The natural result was to grow away from the teachings of The Church at that time, because the results science was getting threatened the validity of the Church itself, the authenticity of its edicts, and its iron grip on power.
Now the United States has a leader who is in a position of power he neither earned, nor deserves. And like the church, he is so frightened of being wrong and losing power that he is willing to put countless lives at risk just in order to appear as if he isn’t wrong.
And so, here we are centuries later slowly sinking back into the same dark abyss of magical thinking, selfish prayer and quack ‘cure-all’ medicines. We are again leaving behind rational observation and thought as we bound head first into cults of personality and brand identity, as if they offer something more substantive than a street gang mentality and some Second Amendment bumper stickers.
Yesterday, Donald Trump showed the world just how focused he is on corruption. And never before have a U.S. president’s actions been so illustrative.
We might have doubted how focused on corruption he was when he sent his neighborhood buddy and newly anointed personal lawyer and fixer, Rudy Ghouliani to Ukraine to uncover the deeply hidden evidence of corruption that only someone like Rudy could identify. But, despite our doubt and his having one of the best intelligence organizations in the world at his fingertips, Trump intuitively knew that only Rudy could produce this kind of evidence he needed.
However, yesterday when Donald Trump decided to pardon Rob Blagojevich, Bernie Kerik, and Michael Milken, he was showing the world just how devoted he was to corruption. Trump was resigned to the fact that, despite the deep lessons that he and Susan Collins knew that he had learned during his impeachment, it was necessary for him to forge on and continue to work on corruption in ways that only he alone could.
Don’t for a minute believe that this is somehow a real world equivalent of the mass breakout of Death Eaters from Azkaban. This is a carefully orchestrated summoning of individuals with unique talents, who are now indebted to Donald Trump, and who will help him get done what he needs getting done.
Don’t be fooled by this flurry of seemingly crazy and unrelated pardons, it is by no means a smokescreen for the upcoming pardons for Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. It’s just a happy coincidence in Trump’s personal crusade with corruption. Nor is this some sort of public celebration of his exoneration by Mitch McConnell’s Senate. And it most definitely isn’t a giant middle finger to the millions of Americans who have always been able to trust that in America no one is above the law.
Why do I feel like Mitch McConnell is the kind of guy who has been harboring a deep, poisonous resentment ever since the third grade when he ended up being the only boy in the town’s history who didn’t get invited to the Sadie Hawkins dance.
One day years from now as he lay dying, he‘ll probably even get to have his own little villainous Rosebud moment as he drifts off…
I have been thinking this over for a while, and like many others, I have arrived at the belief that we need to prepare for what will undoubtedly be the most dangerous election season in American history. And we should also be prepared for the fact that whether or not Trump loses the 2020 election or he terms out four years later, I see no evidence that Donald Trump would ever relinquish any sort of power. Certainly not willingly, and certainly not without a fight.
What makes me think this? First off, there’s already no reason to believe he will act like everyone is hoping he will act if he loses the election. When has he ever acted like other presidents would when the stakes were high? Why should we expect him to start doing so now that the stakes are at their highest?
There are so many things that have already surfaced in the news about Trump that if a any normal citizen had done them, they’d have been prosecuted without question. We also know that it’s quite possible there are sealed indictments out there waiting for him right now. And we also know that he knows that too!
So with that as my framework, I simply considered everything I know about Donald Trump’s behavior in situations where there is some societal norm expected of him but his ego’s been bruised. I thought about how his machine functions when they need a patsy to discredit an unfavorable event for Trump. I then added 2 + 2 and asked myself, “Do I think Donald Trump would ever do anything at all where he would put himself in legal peril, of any sort?”
That was all it took for me. Seriously, give this a try.
And I want you to remember that his supporters have already created an environment where he is essentially exempt from any accountability while he remains the president. We also know that he will disavow even his oldest friend, and without hesitation scapegoat a hero in front of the world. Top that all off with the fact that he is not only being allowed to violate societal norms with regularity, but his supporters are encouraging it more and more with each previous breach.
I think we are in for an incredibly dirty, and extremely dangerous election season at the very least. Because I know there is nothing that Donald Trump wouldn’t be willing to try in order to escape responsibility for any action he takes, all while defending his rights to have acted as he did.
There is nothing he has ever said or done that would indicate he is capable of willingly walking away from power. And always remember how willing his supporters are to hurt others with impunity.
Too many people believe this is still about just an election.
This headline is probably single-handedly sending a few people off the deep end. Why? Because, just like in 2016 Bernie is getting the popular vote, but not the delegates. And of course, in this case the DNC is far more willing to agree with the Electoral College.
Over the course of the weekend I had a few friends text me about their concerns for Bernie as the New Hampshire Primary approaches. Most of them, lamented in one form or another, “Why are the Democrats being so mean to Bernie?”
My answer was always the same: They’re not. They’re doing what every organization does. Protecting their own. Unfortunately, in this case, just like in 2016, they may be cutting off their nose despite their face.
Look, in the end the DNC is a just another business with a brand that they feel is threatened. In the end, political parties care about their own survival first. It’s how they make their money, and support their own candidates up and down the ticket. And since political parties are mostly about portraying a collection of common values to voters, whenever someone from the outside threatens to up-end those values, they get defensive. The Democratic Party is a business with a brand, and it’s one that Bernie doesn’t adhere to. However, his values closely aligned with democratic voters that he is able to run as a party reformer, promising a level of change that still scares the shit out of the party.
I’m not sure why people are surprised by any of this. Bernie isn’t a Democrat. He is a very proud Independent who labels himself a Democratic Socialist. He has been registering as a Democrat when he runs for President because he knows it increases his chances of winning. Because, without that big D after his name, he won’t get the political wind at his back that comes from running in a primary organized by one of the two big parties in America.
On the other hand, I don’t know about you but I am terrified of what will happen if Donald Trump gets a second term. So much so that I have every intention of voting for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is, in the general election. And I am not alone. The DNC knows lots of people feel that way. Which begs the question, why would they risk alienating Bernie’s legion of supporters?
The answer itself is simple, they’re doing it for the same reason a concert venues charge you $7.50 for a bottle of water. Because, who the hell else can you turn to?!
Sure, there are other candidates and other political parties.But when the stakes are this high, a protest vote becomes nothing more than a vote against anyone who’s running against Trump. And passing on negative rumors or stories about any of the democratic candidates is akin to endorsing Trump’s brand of politics. Just don’t do it. Instead, spend that energy passing on positive stuff about your favorite candidate. The worst thing that will happen is you might slow the spread of negative press. But by not reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, you can deprive your political opponents the pleasure of seeing someone knocked down a few pegs.
If we don’t learn this fact now, we may never get another chance.
While Congress wrings it’s hands over Bill Barr, here’s an idea:
Why doesn’t every person currently running for President (regardless of party) make sure to make the following pledge in every speech, “My name is Blah Blah Blah, I’m running for President of the United States and I refuse to accept help from a foreign power to get elected to be your President!”
At some point, what will be most notable and newsworthy will be the candidates who don’t make that promise. And it doesn’t take an Act of Congress!
I grew up in the northeast, and was in high school during roughly the same time period as Brett Kavanaugh. Here’s what I know about that time period.
Parties were measured by how many kegs they had. When a party was described with terms like tenkegger, no other descriptor was required. This was only a couple years after Animal House was released. And some of the most popular movies about high school life at the time were Porky’s and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Both movies were shining examples of how all early 1980’s high school students spent their time — on academics, sports, church, and service.
Every guy I knew that went to a private prep school (which is admittedly a very small number of people) were absolute douchebags. They all basically acted like entitled pricks about everything, especially with girls. And, thanks to people like Owen Labrie, we know more about what happens at elite prep schools than we used to, and we know how far we still haven’t come.
I knew women and men who were raped and sexually assaulted. If the topic came up around someone new, the most empathetic response you could hope for was, “That sucks”, before they quickly changed the subject. But when the victim wasn’t around, people would ask each other what she was wearing. The idea being that if you dig down far enough, there’s always something wrong with what the woman did to make the guy rape her. If you were a guy, you could also count on being made fun of, and told that “You can’t rape the willing!”
Today, while listening to both witnesses testify, I didn’t focus so much on the details of their words, as the context of their speech. And what I saw was a very scared woman testifying before the entire United States Senate, and openly discussing one of the most frightening events of her life.
Then I looked up to see a room full of dour faced white guys hiding behind a hired gun, one who just happened to be the same gender as the victim. And each and every one of those Republican Senators sat in their shame and pretended to look busy, while their constituents made sure to note whether their Senator has the guts to ask their own questions, or if they abandoned their responsibility to a woman that no one voted for (this is getting to be a thing with these guys).
And then the nominee/accused rapist spoke. And suddenly I was too angry to watch anymore. I used to know guys who talked to people like this. Every entitled prick I have ever known has acted the same way.
Every time I start to write a post lately, the news changes and my jaw goes a little more slack.
Now I’m watching the news about the hearing in the morning. Christine Blasey Ford will be questioned regarding her accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The questioning is done by the peoples’ representatives to the Senate… usually.
However, this majority party is willing to make Herculean efforts to derail the Russia investigation, sell off national parks to the highest bidder, and even question the credibility of possible rape victims who are willingly putting themselves directly at risk for persecution before they even speak, and even prosecution from the FBI if an investigation found their stories to be fraudulent. So, I can’t imagine it took very long before some of the old white coots said they didn’t want to have to watch themselves call both Ms. Blasey Ford and Anita Hill the same disparaging terms. In for a penny, in for a pound. May as well shirk your Constitutional duty, because you don’t wanna look bad!
It looks like politicians are finally adapting to the idea of that their instant sound bites are now forwardable to everyone’s back pocket.