The Real Risk

An except from a recent post on the blog, written by Sean Patrick Hughes:

There have been and always will be inappropriate men who inappropriately seek power. There’s even been a few elected to lead our country. There will always be outside powers looking to interfere in our wellbeing as a nation. There’s even been a few who have. But what has made us great, what has delivered 55 peaceful transfers of power and 2 percent per capita growth for 240 years, is the institutions and mechanisms that respond to them. The great risk of our times, is that perhaps now, they can’t or won’t.

We’re about to inaugurate a man who has held no position of government in his life; a man who can scarcely point to a single aspect of service in seventy years; a man who capitalized on an ugly message of exclusion to mobilize a frustrated base of voters. But he’s not the real risk. It’s the Americans standing next to him and the institutions charged to check him that scare me the most.

We’re no doubt in for a very different experience. And perhaps the only person who could drive the needed change is someone like Donald J. Trump. But I’ll ask the question to his supporters, when am I allowed to be concerned? What does he say and what does he do that alarms you? Because you’ve shrugged off quite a bit already. And when the people who supported a man’s rise to power can’t be counted on to eventually tell him he’s gone too far, we’re left with the institutions to do it. When I think of those institutions today, it gives me grave concern. Who in Trump’s inner circle blows the whistle? Who on his cabinet resigns over principle? What Republican stands for no more in Congress. Who in the press will we believe? Who are today’s Elliot Richardson and Archibald Cox?

Our most serious problem probably isn’t Donald J. Trump. It’s that the answers to those questions feels like the same ones throughout history that failed to check the truly dangerous leaders that hurt so many. And that’s new in America.


70 thoughts on “The Real Risk

  1. I went to help an elderly man today. He told me he is scared. He says he needs what little he has, that he has worked for all his life. IF the new administration interferes with any part of it, he no longer can care for himself, get by, have any hope. He is so upset and anxious. I was worried for him. I tried to console him but in truth I know how he feels. Like the man said to me, he can’t stop it, nor fight it, and I agree with him, neither can I. We are at the mercy of the wealthy to step up to the plate and say no more. We need those with power, leverage, ability, and resources to stand against the tide and protect those who will be ravaged by this cabinet of millionaires / billionaires. Great post. Hugs

    Liked by 7 people

    • That’s so sad, Scottie. And as you can attest … this gentleman is not alone.

      I truly believe the Democrats will do all they can to keep some sanity in this new administration, but since their numbers are fewer, I’m not sure how much they can do. At least until the next congressional elections. Hopefully, by then the people will realize how important it is to VOTE!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. We should absolutely be concerned. A spot on post. I am having to deal with thoughts that I will probably be burying my parents well before their time. They rely on Medicare and Social Security for their survival. My step-father is also disabled. These are thoughts no American (or anyone for that matter) should have to process. I’ve never been more disappointed in Americans than I am now. I’m waiting for some smarmy, self-righteous conservative Christian to comment here, and say that this is “God’s judgement”, while having played a major role in putting Trump in office.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Nan, have you seen this yet?

    I agree with one of the comments on the YT channel when the commenter said: “He’s clearly not all there but the problem is most of his supporters are not all there either.”

    I’ll add that neither is Pence, or Ryan, or Trumps cabinet, and many if not most of the neocons who believe it’s their god-given duty to turn this country into a theocracy.. We are not a well nation.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I thought it was ironic that the first act of the new Congress was to secretly gut their ethics oversight committee. The move proved short lived as it was beyond the pale even to Donald Trump (many folk noting the irony of President Elect Trump lecturing other folks on ethics). But it sets the scene for how the Congress is thinking about issues.

    I also noted that the Congress is proposing some sort of omnibus bill that will enable them to undo most of President Obama’s executive actions since May 2016, without the need to consider each action individually.

    What really puzzles me is why so many folk who are struggling economically don’t understand that with a Republican President and Congress they voted for will repeal many of the Obama initiatives to assist low paid workers. Still as we have observed people generally make decisions based on emotion not rational thinking. This is why economics is such a mess, it assumes people act rationally, talk about the house built on sand.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. This is hitting the nail on the head. (Pardon the cliche but such seemed appropriate in light of Trump.). In order to insure our system and institutions work we need to know why people voted for the likes of Mr. Trump. I find it difficult to accept job loses, border walls, etc. what are his supporters really afraid of? When we understand that, then we have a chance to reconcile their concerns. Otherwise it we be a very difficult four years for our society.


    • From this particular post, it seems the primary reason many voted for tRump is because they were so unhappy with Obama — the “Marxist, Islamist, Hate-America Foreigner,” who was also a “misfit freeman,” and “deviant, sly, clever, capable, silver-tongued, communist community organizer enemy of civilized free people.”

      They seem to prefer the virtues, moral excellence, and national leadership qualities of a sleazy refined billionaire who has a proven record of …. sorry. I’m about to gag.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Exactly, Nan. They knew exactly who they were voting for. It speaks volumes. I don’t give a flying fuck (yes, I said fuck) why they voted for him. I am surrounded by these type of people who only care about their tribe; and quite frankly, I’m sick of hearing that we need to take the time to listen and understand. What is there to understand? They knowingly voted for the lowest of lowlife, a reflection of their own character?

        Liked by 3 people

      • ” ..leadership qualities of a sleazy refined billionaire who has a proven record of …” Tax evasion, pussy grabbin’, kissing Vladimir Putin’s arse, avoiding all sense of responsibility as President-elect by refusing security briefings, lying, deceiving, and, dismantling medicare, social security, medicaid, and disability insurance though he swore up and down he would do no such thing. Even before taking his oath of office, an oath he has no intention of keeping, this orange idiot has become the most crooked, corrupt and vile human being ever to have won a Presidential election. If something looks like rancid diarrhea, smells like rancid diarrhea, and oozes like rancid diarrhea, the odds are it is, indeed, rancid diarrhea. Though, I must admit, comparing the Orange Fuhrer to rancid diarrhea is an awful insult to rancid diarrhea everywhere.

        Liked by 3 people

      • After 8 years of a blackman in the White House they were not about to vote for a woman. Fear of loss of status of white male dominance can lead people in a dangerous direction. I can’t accept blaming a president with a relatively high popularity rating as a justification for voting for someone like trump.

        Liked by 4 people

      • I just read that link you provided, Nan, and the comments. I realize you live in a “Red” area, yourself, but not near as Red as it is here, which encompasses a whole region of the U.S. You can imagine how much I SMH when I read the road signs here saying “Mississippi, the Hospitality State”.

        Visit Mississippi, y’all, where we’ll cheat you right, just like Trump.

        It’s even on our driver’s license.

        Anyway, the rhetoric on that blog you posted is pretty common around here. It’s maddening.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, I’m pretty much surrounded in this area of Oregon by the tRumpsters. However, occasionally I see a glimmer of common sense in a local group Facebook posting. It gives me hope that not everyone has been bamboozled.

          Having said that, I do feel deeply sorry for you. I hope your ability to move to more saner surroundings arrives sooner than you think.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thank you, Nan. It can’t happen soon enough. I belong to a few groups on FB whose members are from Mississippi, and sometimes I have a glimmer of hope, too, but Mississippi has always been this way, regressive, always, and I don’t see the majority of people here gaining a glimmer of common sense any time soon.

            Liked by 2 people

  6. Do we have any idea what proportion of people who voted for Trump are actually “Trump supporters”, as opposed to just being “other choice [Hillary] opposers”? i.e. How many really agree with his rhetoric, as opposed to just thinking that he was the least of proposed evils? Not that I agree with that position either, but it allows for seeing someone more as mistaken or misinformed, instead of necessarily bigoted, racist, selfish, etc.

    This is probably separate questions at different times, like in the Republican primaries vs. the general election, as you’re dealing with different groups of people and different choices offered…

    Are Trump-opposers painting accurate pictures of the opinions of those who voted for him? Or setting up a straw man?

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Specifically, the researchers conclude that racism and sexism explain most of Trump’s enormous electoral advantage with non-college-educated white Americans, the group that arguably gave Trump the election. “We find that while economic dissatisfaction was part of the story, racism and sexism were much more important and can explain about two-thirds of the education gap among whites in the 2016 presidential vote,” the researchers write.”

      Liked by 5 people

      • Thanks, Victoria. I read the article you posted, and hope to read some of the links from within it.

        Seems like it takes a lot of work to really know the truth, but I do find that article provisionally persuasive. (That in turn makes me sad.) I have the impression that you’re more widely read on this than me at least, so good on you for that.

        That said, I’m challenging the ideas to see if they hold up to scrutiny…

        The title says that racism and sexism are predictors that a person will support Trump. Does that necessarily mean that it’s the cause of the bulk of his support? For example, suppose 5% (or some other size minority) of voters hold hostile racist and/or sexists attitudes, which cause 95% of them to vote for Trump. (High correlation and causation.) Then the remainder of those who voted for him did so because of other factors, e.g. economics, believing his “drain the swamp” rhetoric, etc. I think then that while racism/sexism may even have tipped the scales in Trump’s favor, it wouldn’t be the primary cause of people supporting or voting for him – perhaps not even a significant factor.

        Do you agree that such a scenario is hypothetically possible? Have the data already ruled out this possibility?

        Liked by 1 person

        • ratamacue0, I will give your question more thought, but to give you an quick question, I live in Trumpville, where people continually vote against their own best interests, economically. Why? Because they vote for people who align with their own beliefs and ideologies.


          • Thanks Nan. I have actually been doing research for a blog post, which I’ve already started working on about this very subject. Right now, however, I’m dealing with a bout of dyslexia, which pops up from time to time, usually during stressful situations, you know, like the fact that U.S has hit an iceberg, and most Americans are going down with the ship. But, I will get this post done. I’m determined, because I think this information is vital to understanding what took place right under our noses, that got us to this point. During my research, I was flabbergasted over how huge the conservative infrastructure is, predominately funded by tax exempt money from conservative Christianity, and the fact that they’ve poured billions into it to literally rewire the brains of Americans in order to defend this “moral hierarchy’.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Didn’t realize dyslexia was a condition that came and went! Yuk!

              Anyway, I will most definitely look forward to your article. I feel certain it will remain timely, so take care of yourself until you’re ready to publish.

              Liked by 1 person

        • Extremely pertinent from the article …

          That is why those who voted for Trump didn’t care if he constantly lied, or if he treated women outrageously, or if he was ignorant of foreign policy. What mattered was the voter’s moral identity, the voter’s sense of right and wrong, the voter’s self-respect as a conservative.

          Trump and those in his campaign understood this. Those in the Democratic party, the media, and pollsters did not.

          Liked by 3 people

    • Have no idea of the “figures,” but your point is well-made. MANY were unhappy that we had a black president … and then to allow a WOMAN to lead the country? God Forbid!

      In fact, I tend to think these two factors probably influenced a great number of voters. They saw tRump for what he was, but the idea of a woman as president? Never! But also, many people simply didn’t like the way Obama did things so they grabbed onto the idea of CHANGE. I just hope the “change” doesn’t turn out to be the disaster that some of us fear.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Nan, thank you in advance for just a short answer to two questions. They will help me to understand something more of this problem – and share more doubts with you! 🙂

        …..many people simply didn’t like the way Obama did things so they grabbed onto the idea of CHANGE……
        —The real risk is not tRump but the Americans standing next to him and the institutions charged to check him. — I take it that you agree with this statement of Sean Patrick Hughes, and also that a change is needed anyhow? – Of course, we must hope that the right changes will be made.

        …..allow a WOMAN to lead the country? God Forbid!…..
        Is the famous saying “What is in a Name?” always true? If Mrs Hillary would not have been Bill Clinton’s wife, would she have a better chance to win the election?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Federico, let me answer the second question first –There are those in certain parts of this country who are EXTREMELY against women in power so it’s doubtful they would have supported any woman. They might have been a wee bit less antagonistic towards someone like Elizabeth Warren, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The fact Hillary was part of the establishment they felt was driving the nation into the ground obviously hurt her chances.

          Yes, I do agree change is needed. What scares me is the type of change that may come with tRump and his band of incorrigibles.

          Perhaps after tRump has his run and performs as many of us expect him to, people will wake up and actually look at our nation with clear eyes. That is … if the new fearless leader hasn’t blown us all to smithereens.

          Liked by 3 people

  7. Good, thank you Nan. That was what I wanted to confirm, that changes are needed indeed (not only in the USA). It’s no use crying over spilt milk, but I can’t help saying that I regret the inability of the political parties to come up with at least one (strong) “positive” candidate instead of two “less evil” contestants.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sean Patrick Hughes hits several nails on the head. If or when the tRumpness wheels begin to lose brake-pads, smoke, and fall off because one or several too-scared whistle-blowers won’t step up… it will indeed fall to the “institutions” created to check and in good principles monitor possible/probable meglamania from spreading!

    Yet, that is the innate institution of collective sound reasoning which was absent in April 2015 and remained absent through to November 2016. It was instead replaced by malleable emotions, hyped cheerleading, and an unproven missing track-record of ANY type of government service or exemplary collaboration skills with a multi-diverse public.

    Riddle me all that. I STILL cannot wrap my head around any of it! 😮

    Liked by 3 people

    • Professor, an in joke with some of my work colleagues who were of a like mind to me was:

      Common Sense, that inappropriately named term

      I conclude as most of us get older and world weary we come to realise that so many decisions are made for the wrong reason, being emotion rather than reason. Indeed emotion will virtually always displace reason when the two compete in our decision making process.

      Also one should not underestimate the propensity for so many organisations/institutions to be in a perpetual state of crisis management. Or if not a crisis just muddling through:

      Liked by 2 people

      • …as most of us get older and world weary…

        I, my friend, drink from the Fountain of Youth, so I know not of what you speak! I am wiser and younger — in my head and words! 😉

        Seriously though, that is an accurate assessment Peter.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I am not sure what you and Peter are talking about, but as the guy in the corner looking over the people here… I have to say that fountain of youth is working wonders on you! If my thoughts at my age could be as clear I might even be able to make breakfast without burning the toast. Oh to think of things I could do with going back into the youth of the ones around us who drank from the fountain of knowledge instead of those of us who drank from the one titled “fast fun and pretend respect”. But then I guess I would have lost my undershorts either way. 🙂 Hugs

          Liked by 2 people

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