We The People

In a recent post, Robert Vella talked about “Donald Trump’s Authoritarian attacks on American democracy and its constitutional system based on the rule of law.” Then, in response to a question from me related to a seeming increase in the conservative movement around the globe, he responded …

It is political extremism which is widening both on the right and left. Recently, the socialists won in Spain. Who’s losing? The centrist, neoliberal establishment is losing virtually everywhere. Anti-democratic authoritarians are on the rise, and there are more right-wing fascist types around today than left-wing communists.

This phenomenon is eerily similar to what happened in Europe between WWI and WWII, and that’s why we should all be very worried.

As I’m not much of a history buff, I decided to do a bit of research related to the period he referenced and came across the following on Wikipedia:

Fascist parties sprang up, attuned to local right-wing traditions, but also possessing common features that typically included extreme militaristic nationalism, a desire for economic self-containment, threats and aggression toward neighbouring countries, oppression of minorities, a ridicule of democracy while using its techniques to mobilise an angry middle-class base, and a disgust with cultural liberalism.

I don’t know about you, but I found this extremely disturbing as it’s much, much too close to what is happening in these United States.

Then today, The Guardian posted this article: “No holds barred: Trump and his troops push for imperial presidency.”

It seems to me there’s only one solution: We Must Get Trump Out Of Office! For sure in the 2020 elections, but sooner if at all possible because things are getting downright scary.

 

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Image by Lynn Melchiori from Pixabay

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46 thoughts on “We The People

  1. I agree. We simply MUST vote for the Dem in 2020. My preference would for that person to be Warren or Sanders, but, if it’s Biden, like it most likely will be, I say, “GO JOE!! Beat Trump!” He HAS to go! One more term, and he may be around for another decade! He’ll NEVER leave!

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  2. Gee, “the centrist, neoliberal establishment is losing virtually everywhere.” I wonder why that would be the case? It couldn’t be because neoliberalism is an intellectual front for plutocratic greed, now could it?

    We are so fed up with their fracking neoliberal status quo that this racist at the core country elected … a black man as president because he promised “hope and change” while the GOP promised “more of the same.” When that didn’t happen, we elected Donald Fucking Trump! (Because the Dems were promising “more of the same.”)

    Q: When anyone exits the center of any political spectrum, where do they go? A: To the fringes as there is nowhere else to go. The blame for much of this falls upon the supporters of the bogus “neoliberal” system we are now laboring under.

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      • Good article. Couple of take-aways that might add to general understanding.

        Main Points of Neoliberalism:

        1. The Rule of the Market
        2. Cutting Public Expenditure for Social Services
        3. Deregulation
        4. Privatization
        5. Eliminating the Concept of “Public Good” or “Community”

        In the United States neo-liberalism is destroying welfare programs; attacking the rights of labor (including all immigrant workers); and cutbacking social programs. The Republican “Contract” on America is pure neo-liberalism. Its supporters are working hard to deny protection to children, youth, women, the planet itself — and trying to trick us into acceptance by saying this will “get government off my back.” The beneficiaries of neo-liberalism are a minority of the world’s people. For the vast majority it brings even more suffering than before: suffering without the small, hard-won gains of the last 60 years, suffering without end.

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  3. It’s remarkable to me that so many people today buy into narrative that fascism and naziism were a creation of the political Right. Yet every piece of historical evidence – including the symbols and the names by which they recruited, organized, and operated – clearly and unambiguously tells us these were very much Left wing, socialist, worker-party driven organizations that emphasized group identities and national destinies. These elements were then and are today deeply anti-liberal, anti-intellectual, and totalitarian.

    It was when these organizations became legitimate political threats to the various Establishments PLUS the very real threat of world wide Communism gaining a foothold that we find good evidence that the Right became involved and attempted to control them. This both fueled the movement and was consumed by it.

    Everything we see today with the rise of the same kind of ideology that disparages liberal values in the name of groups is the same totalitarian ideology coming from the same political wing, namely, the Left. And it is the response to this rise that we find populism gaining momentum supported by the Right. Again.

    Someone said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and this is EXACTLY what we get to live through, a mass of the population that honestly believes that this time supporting group identities and undermining liberal values of the individual in law will yield a different result.

    I have said for many years even prior to the election of Trump that the rise in populism excused as a means to fight the inherent principle for group identity expressed as political correctness is the harbinger of totalitarianism coming down the pike. And the only bulwark against it is supporting individual rights and freedoms – core liberal values – in law. Those who are willing to weaken and remove these legal protections in the name of aiding some perceived victim group are themselves the necessary tools of fascism against which comes the rise of populist leaders. Trump may have been elected by the Right but his rise is the result of the failure of the Left.

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      • And the fight goes on. And on. And on. *sigh*

        I did find this comment by the blog writer a stark reminder of someone we all know and love (😝🤮) — He was not a learned man and his grasp of history and philosophy was slender at best.

        So one can believe whatever they choose related to Hitler’s political stance, but I think few can deny that the similarities to the current POTUS are strikingly similar.

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      • Fascism is from the word derived from ‘fascio’, a bundle of sticks. A bundle is stronger and more resilient to bending than a single stick. There’s a reason why this term and symbol was adopted by Mussolini to represent his political ideology.

        Socialism is from the word derived from ‘sociare’, to combine or share.

        Both of these terms apply very much to any political (or religious) ideology that seeks to unite many individuals into a single group, a single denomination, a single nation.

        Nazism was very much a social movement to create a strong Aryan nation of one ‘pure’ people united. This social ideology – for that is, in fact, what it is: a social construct – is diametrically opposed to the core value of liberalism: a system of governance based on the rights and freedoms for every individual who authorizes it.

        In the former, individuals serve the State; in the later, the State serves the individual.

        It is only natural that no one wants their political ideology to be associated with gross and excessive abuses brought into being by the Hitlerites, Stalinists, or Maoists nor the state of anarchy brought about by the Nietzsche’s superman; they understand that for any diverse population of people to have a successful society – meaning peaceful, prosperous, and with governments responsible to those who have empowered it – must incorporate some socially responsible aspects to address concerns and issues that affect all its citizens. This is the middle ground between neoliberalism – no government – and totalitarianism – only government. To claim a social movement like communism or nazism – both sharing the ideology that the State is supreme – are somehow separate from their socialist roots but a kind of neoliberalism is an extreme, an extraordinary, abuse of the language.

        But in today’s deeply partisan political landscape of Left and Right, look how easily the slurs are flung at the opponents casting them as members of the deplorable alternative, with loaded words like socialist and liberal… as if these alone were somehow unethical or immoral terms. That’s why we find opposite ideologies – social and individual – hard at work in both sides of the political spectrum.

        My point is that anyone from any political ‘side’ – Left or Right – that tries to undermine our liberal secular democratic countries – no matter what the utopian reasons might be – are the opponent of anyone who thinks we as individuals own our rights and freedoms and that governments are legitimate only by the consent of those of us so governed. The power of that consent rests with each individual equally regardless of any other affiliation or group membership. Anyone of any political stripe who is willing to trade away our shared rights and shared freedoms in the name of something else are in fact attacking the very foundation of our liberal society. In thee name of advancing this group or that group, what is being traded away are my rights, your rights, your grandchildren’s rights, the rights of every citizen who constitute every group of every identity. And that includes many, many people who identify as being ‘Left’.

        This trade off is never, ever a solution but a guaranteed path to greater and greater conflict.

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  4. The first time I saw the Trump raise his arm in what appeared to be a Nazi salute, I thought, dear god in heaven…he holds rallies constantly for his devoted followers, preceded by numbingly loud music, not unlike You -know-who–and anyone who has been accosted by decibel shattering music knows how disoriented it can make you. He scared be bejabbers out of me, still.
    and if you have ever chanced to stroll through parts of YouTube, you can see white people pushing hispanics,
    black kids, women, young men, around. “get out of my building”, “you don’t ‘belong’ in that car”. “you’re under arrest, we’ll find something to charge you with…”

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    • You bet! I know we have many of the same readers/visitors, but there are always others “on the fringe.” I’m hoping some of them will visit my blog and react to how close all of this is to our current political climate.

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        • An annulment would require a new law passed by a supermajority of Congress (hard to imagine in today’s partisan climate) and then would be subject to veto by the sitting Prez. After repeated attempts and multiple vetoes (each taking time), it would then go to the Supreme Court.

          Constitutionally, there are two other ‘remedies’ to remove a sitting President, both of which involve the VP becoming Prez. An annulment would entail everything Trump has done while in Office to be similarly revoked, including trade deals and funding for all departments. This would cause chaos throughout the government so I cannot see any way for any annulment to ever work because SCOTUS would not allow the disintegration of the Office of the President and the chaos of its government to be implemented and for all time let us not forget. It would create a precedent. SCOTUS is empowered by the Constitution and so it’s highly unlikely they would choose recent legislation and a new amendment over Constitutionally approved redress.

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  5. It amazes me that there are still people who only look as far as the word socialism in National Socialism to decide that the Nazi Party was a left wing movement. Naziism was based on racism and promoting genocide of those not belonging to the ruling race, not on the workers of a nation. Hitler was not a socialist, he was a madman who wanted to get back at those who he thought offended him. “Tell a lie, tell it simply, tell it often, and it will be believed.” Does that sound like Obama, or Trump? That was the basis of Hitler’s rise to power. Trump now uses the same tactic. I wonder where he learned it…

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    • You miss the point: the Nazi ‘movement’ was socialist in the sense that it was a move away from supporting individual liberal values with individual rights and freedoms protected by law and enforced by the judiciary and towards group based identities using the victim/victimizer framework (ie. German nationalists good, Jews/Communists bad), that defines today’s ‘progressive’ movement from the Left (ie. Israeli/Jews bad, Palestine/Muslims good). That move to group-based identity IS the same problem regardless of which end of the political spectrum it finds support.

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      • Hello Tileb. You and I have a drastically different view of what is left, progressive, liberal and good for all compared to what is authoritarian, right, nationalistic, and regressive on right of the people. Hugs

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        • We shouldn’t. Classical liberalism is not defined subject to my or your opinions but a set of standard values one either agrees with or does not. It is what it is. And that’s why we call our system of government – regardless of which political brand it might temporarily be – a secular liberal democracy. Those terms mean something beyond you and me and that’s why we shouldn’t be in disagreement over their definitions… unless you’re playing with language.

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          • Hello Tildeb I disagree with this all so. I left my thoughts below on what is left, right, center and all the descriptive words that go with them. Hugs

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      • Oh, so individual liberal values are better than caring about others. I care more about others than self-centered people. Self-centered people want to care about themselves first, let them. Those that care about others equally as themselves or more than themselves, those are the people I want to share this world with. All life is part of the ecological system, except those people who think they are more important than all living beings. That is why we are facing the climate destruction that is threatening our world today. Not to mention nuclear war, or any kind of war. The only ones that win a war are the assholes that sit back safe in their easy chairs and send others to die for them. Funny, their nuclear weapons will kill them too. If we have a nuclear war, I will enjoy watching Trump die from radiation poisoning, slowly, bit by bit, suffering his stupidity.
        Meanwhile, group based identities can be just as self-centered as individual based liberals. Christianity, for one, representing most religious groups. “My god is better than your god!” Capitalists are another, we make the most money, so we deserve to have the poor as our wage-slaves. Republicans, and other rabid right-wingers, we don’t want life to be safe, or to advance to higher beingness. We worship the past, and so should everyone else.
        Believe me, Tildeb, I did not miss your point, I just ignored it so I wouldn’t have to get on my soapbox for you. But you opened yourself up to a verbal beating, and I have lots more I could say, but I know you WILL miss my point. We might be individuals, but that does not mean we are unconnected. We are, even you, even if you do not want to understand that connection…

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  6. I am a bit confused and admittedly not educated about this left / right opinion in Nazism and Fascism roots. And I wonder…we got a problem NOW and what to do about it rather than look for who to blame from the past.

    However, I do remember years back when my now deceased husband watched some Fox News, that Glenn Beck had a show that he was always pushing the idea that both ideologies were from the left. I am left now considering the source, as Beck was a full fledged nutcase. My husband and I were not on the same page politically.

    I am a liberal and a democrat in that I believe in a society and a political ideology that supports freedom within reason, helping the less fortunate, good education and healthcare at a reasonable cost, common sense gun control, fair taxation not favoring only the rich and the absolute separation of church and state. So that makes me a liberal.

    I found this article on Snopes that I thought was enlightening…

    https://www.snopes.com/news/2017/09/05/were-nazis-socialists/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, you’re just like me. I guess our, seemingly, to me at least, reasonable views make us both SJW types in favor of wide open borders and the government seizing everyone’s guns. Amazing, is it not? One can either worship Donald Trump and Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, or be less than human in the eyes of 35 plus % of our nation.

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    • It wasn’t that long ago where being called a ‘liberal’ was commonly used in political discussions as a pejorative, like being called an ‘elite’ today. This language is not pertinent only to some side of the political spectrum but reveals the framework of a social ideology at work, a means by which one views the basic units, so speak, of a society, a larger population of people. My point is about the very real and great danger we allow to grow when we view people not as the individuals we really are (with many differences) but as members of some social group or groups into which we assign people based on this identity (with no differences). That’s the core problem be it from the Left or Right.

      When we use this group framework to then make and/or support social policies – often with the very best of intentions – we create the necessary social environment to then abuse individual people in the name of something else, something presumably socially good.

      But consider: one could not create a Holocaust without first creating a group called ‘The Jews’ even if it was in the name of some greater good called ‘National Socialism’. One could not create an apartheid state like South Africa without first creating groups based on race. The same social restructuring of land use was true for the Russian treatment of ‘Cossacks’ or Mao’s cultural revolution against which the Red Guard of youth had to cleanse the older generation of sedition, or Pol Pot’s dismantling of the urban to the agrarian. Or the battle between, say, the Catholics and Protestants of Ireland for political supremacy. Group-based ideology in order to work must first create and then sustain differences between groups of people in order to create a social identity into which all individuals must then be slotted. Group ideology is the essential ingredient to de-humanize real people in real life.

      Classical liberal ideology in order to work must hold a common value of legal respect for all individuals no matter what other group-based differences people may use as part of their individual identity. This is what’s being lost in today’s rise of ‘progressive’ politics. It is fundamentally anti-American because the ‘Great Experiment’ was revolutionary in the sense it awarded to the individual the base unit of political authority – unlike all previous forms of government that received authority from elsewhere… usually God) which could then be exercised to authorize the legitimacy for term governments, term offices, by individual vote. Granted, this was not universally applied but the idea is what eventually brought about legal equal rights for all regardless of race or religion or gender or whatever. It is a unifying ideology that respects our shared humanity.

      Group-based ideology directly challenges this source of political authority and creates competing social hierarchies, which then receives political authority from the State by means of targeted policies. This is exactly contrary to the American model where each individual owns political consent and then assigns that authority during an election where the majority gains legitimate authority. It’s the individual consent that makes the legitimacy. It’s a bottom up model utterly dependent on each individual having this authority to then offer consent versus a top down group-based authority from the State… or some God or whatever. It is a divisive ideology and we see the extent to which this group-based ideology leads when it gains political mastery, be it in the name of religion or nationalism or racial purity or a worker’s utopia, be it from the Left or the Right: not only are individuals stripped of their authority in the name of some greater social good but human dignity somehow gets misplaced before being rejected as inconsequential. And we see time and time again that totalitarianism and great loss of life is the result.

      So I don’t care what side of the political spectrum it arises, nor how pious or socially concerned it may present itself to be: group-based ideology is toxic to real people in real life because it strips all of us of our shared humanity and replaces us as if each we were merely small interchangeable representative cogs of some group.

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      • Ok I don’t think I’ve had enough coffee yet …
        I can understand what you say about group based ideology being negative, but we all seem to fall naturally into one group or another based on our own views and beliefs. It can’t be helped.

        But it is hard for me to decipher where you stand, who’s ideology you are against and the point you are trying to make and I totally lost the train of thought on Nan’s very fine post.

        Like I said, not enough coffee yet or perhaps an early drink.

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        • Okay, it’s a series of points.

          The rise of populist leaders like Trump and many others throughout the world in democratic countries is a direct result of pushing back against this rising movement mislabeled as the ‘progressive’ Left. This is a problem for many reasons.

          To find solutions to problems, the very first step is to identify the first problem. The first problem is the ‘progressive’ Left, which is neither progressive nor a phenomena of the Left. But today, this movement is very much coming from what has traditionally been people who identify as ‘liberals’, meaning the Democrats in the States, coming from a generation of younger people spoon fed this social ideology in urban schools and TV and now social media and assume it’s a true reflection of the world, that the world really is made up of power imbalances based on victims and victimizers who belong to certain groups, who believe these imbalances must be corrected by state authority.

          What are they doing – ‘they’ meaning these people who feel they come from the Left side of the political spectrum – that has caused this shift towards many centrists – meaning people who sometimes support politics for good ideas regardless if they are enunciated and supported by either the Left or the Right – supporting populists like Trump? They are supporting social policies that are group-based policies imposed form above. This usually involves policies based on group identifiers like race, like gender, like religion. And the policies privilege one group over another explained and justified by reasons about empowering historically under-represented minorities. And we see this language of hierarchy in use, language like a ‘minoritized’ group. So this movement includes descriptors like ‘Identity Politics’, meaning certain ‘identities’ are being used for political support, used to justify certain imposed policies. This is a way of framing the underlying ideology in play, namely, the framing of social hierarchies that compete for power into which each of us is slotted not (as Martin Luther King would say) by the quality of our character but by the colour of our skin. Those who disagree with this ideological framing about group hierarchies are then vilified as some kind of social ‘enemy’, to be disenfranchized from addressing the issues as well as criticizing the social policies that emerge from the movement. Don’t listen to her, you might encounter, because she ‘belongs’ to the alt-Right. Such towering liberals as Steven Pinker and Bret Weinstein have been vilified exactly this way, by labeling what they say as if what they say is wrong by fiat because of their assigned group affiliations – assigned affiliations that are opposite to reality. But reality no longer matters to these ideologues; what matter is saying the ‘correct’ thing, supporting the ‘correct’ policies, empowering the right ‘social justice warriors’.

          The pushback against this imposed ideology is what populists like Trump use to gain power. The message he sends is clear: He will fight back. He will undo some of the social policies previously imposed. He will restore your dignity as an individual. And so on. This is his shtick. And those most ready to support him against the imposed ‘correct’ social policies, the ones who disgusted by the tactics of the SJWs to disinvite, censor, ban, vilify, and attack those who will not go quietly into that social ideologically correct Good Night where the Social Justice Warriors who represent this social putsch want them to go are the typical centrists, the typical liberal, the ones who understand individual rights and freedoms are fundamental to the peace, order, and good governance of the entire social order.

          The rise in populism is an indicator of the deepening divisions between a population who either favour imposed social reform in the name of ‘social justice’ for groups of people and those who for whatever reasons do not.

          My second point is that the end point of group-based ideology is exactly what most supporters do not want. Yet we see this happen time and time again. And this is easily identified by the reasoning used that assures us that some fundamental individual right needs to be partitioned so that we get the absolutely absurd argument that free speech must be kept free by censoring it, that the right to free assembly must be kept free by shutting it down, that legal rights for the accused must be upheld by refusing representation for bad people, and so on. The social justice warrior label for those who do this sort of idiocy is not justice but injustice. It’s not liberal; it’s illiberal. (Note the new push to vilify anything once liberal as now ‘neoliberal’) It’s not social; it’s totalitarian. Group-based ideology is fascist to the core and going along with it is exactly how a civilized population like Germany could become monstrous in its inhumanity to the out-groups.

          To fight against populists like Trump means we have address the movement towards totalitarianism that entices people to join him. What’s the alternative? We have to fight against the piecemeal attack against our fundamental liberal values. The enemy is not really Trump or the next populist who comes along and does their part trying to become tinpot dictators; it is our willingness to give away our strength as a liberal secular democracy: our inherited rights and freedoms in the name of something else, some ‘greater good’, and our call for our neighbours to do the same or become a member of the out-group. We need to stop supporting social justice and recommit to justice for each of us.

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    • Recently on another blog I shared a link from Snopes that I felt was very informational. However, due to the blow-back on Snopes sometime back, many people do not give it any credence — even though it seems to now be offering some good information. In any case, I thought the article you referenced was educational. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Hello Nan. IMO the center of the political spectrum use to be the middle class. The left was for change, the right for the status quo or remaining the same. Both sides were constrained to small steps in their respective directions by the need to keep the middle. Two things happened to upset this. The middle class shrunk to almost nothing due to constant attack draining its wealth and access to improvement, and the right took a huge lurch sideways to the deep right where it is headed at a faster rate all the time.

    It has been clear that the majority doesn’t want the country going deeper right and so the minority that does want that tries to rig the game more and more to stay in power. Seeing themselves losing the right threw away the rule book and went all out on a total power grab. A last ditch hail Mary pass to gain it all or at least screw up any attempts to correct their actions any time soon.

    The left is torn between those that grew up during the times of a large middle class and a slowly moving political culture and a younger “we are tired of the bits and crumbs as our lives burn out / down around us” groups. The Democratic party needs to understand the middle is basically a dream of left overs from a by gone age. Just as the republican party is making themselves unpalatable to the majority of the country, the left needs to understand the people and party have moved to the deeper left and want a party that will act accordingly. What was considered left in the 1960’s & 1970’s is now what we are calling the far left today. Then state collages were free or mostly free. There were calls for caring for the environment protections, equality, and higher wages along with many other progressive programs now talked about by the “far left”. This is simply the party moving back to what has always been what the people want, what its base wants, what polls show the majority of the country wants.

    Starting in the 1980’s the right went full attack mode on the left and on the country. It shifted hard right and made supporting companies, big money , and wealthy as its prime goals. To do that all other things had to take a back seat. To gain the support to remain in power they integrated with the fundamentalist / evangelical Christian groups. Those groups got a taste for the power they craved and took over the party.

    That is where we are today. If the Democrats want the White House and Congress they have to do two things. The have to start telling the country what they can and will do for the majority of people. Populism or not as it is called, is what is basically the people asking ” what is in it for me”, and that put tRump in office. Also the Democrats can not be skittish nor timid. The time for small steps is over. The people rightly see this as a war for the country. They want fighters. If we are going to get the people to turn out and vote in masses enough to over come the rigged system we need to excite them and offer them what they want.

    Yes whoever the nominee is we need to support. But that doesn’t mean we pick the primary candidate based on who we think can win against tRump because both parties have been wrong on that every time. How often have I heard we need to go with XXX because they can beat YYY and it is wrong. No one knows who can beat who until the votes are cast. So we need to look at what the candidates offer and to who they are offering it. Who sparks the drive in people. Don’t take democratic strategy advice from Republicans. Do not worry about the republican base. They are driven, riled up, and going to vote for tRump even if Jesus it self came down to stop them. It is a given. Worry about attracting the interest of the collage kids, the women, the POC, the down trodden and the needy.

    This has been an opinionated rant from a voice in the wilderness who hopes people will hear. Hugs

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    • I think some of what you have written has merit, but I’m not sure all your “facts” are accurate. But then, that’s not uncommon when people discuss the “heavy-duty” topics like religion and politics. 🙂

      We all want things that will make our life easier. And politicians know this so they’re going to say whatever it takes to persuade you they can do this. It’s all a big game. And unfortunately, We The People often tend to come out on the losing end.

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      • Hello Nan. I agree and think you have stated it well. I drew my “facts” on both my own history / life of 56 years and where I have lived plus on polls I have seen. As do most people I believe. The problem with polls is they can be worded in ways to produce a desired response. That makes using polls to prove points iffy, and one needs to evaluate the source as well as the way the questions are asked. I also try to read / watch a verity of news sources from the “left” and those called mainstream to the ones with a right bias. I refuse to read / watch anything with an agenda of the deep right wing such as State TV Fox News or State Radio stations as that is not news but propaganda. I would mention things like the EPA were created under Nixon and signed in to law by a republican. The political spectrum has shifted. There is a thing called the Overton window the right uses very well.

        the spectrum of ideas on public policy and social issues considered acceptable by the general public at a given time.

        As always Nan I enjoy discussions with you on many different topics and even enjoy when we agree to disagree. I would be interested if you want to tell me where you think I erred. I already know you think the middle is bigger than I do, and that the word socialism is a scary word. I have to be off line for a while and will check in when I can. Hugs

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        • I’m not sure why you made the two assumptions about me as I rarely discuss my political views. I tend to be very general although I’m sure some of my beliefs leak through now and again. In any case, I have no opinion on the size of “the middle” nor do I think “socialism” is a bad word.

          What I DO express is my utter dislike for the direction that tRumpsky is taking this nation. However, I admit this is from my personal viewpoint and there may be things I don’t see or don’t understand related to his policies. Nevertheless, what I’ve read (outside of the press) does indicate his policies are against my core beliefs.

          As I said … like religion, there are many facets to consider and much of what we believe/support is based on personal feelings as much as or more so than actual facts.

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          • Hello Nan. I mentioned those two issues because we have talked about them in the comments of my blog. You kept repeating to me that I needed to understand to a great many people in the country “socialism” was a scary word from the past. You also kept telling me you felt that some of the candidates were pulling too far left and should try more to get the people in the center. If I misunderstood you I apologize.

            I think we have to be able to talk about politics, and to do so reasonably. It is what our country is based on, democracy is the people, and so the people need to communicate to each what are views are. I think we should strive to always argue the ideas. Some times the ideas / issues are wrapped up in the person such as tRump. Anyway. Be well. Hugs

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            • No apology necessary. I often make general statements (as I did in this case) but this doesn’t always mean it’s my personal perspective. I DO think the word socialism scares some of the old-timers. As for the pulling “too far left” — I don’t recall this. Perhaps a misunderstanding?

              In any case, I think most of my readers/followers are pretty “reasonable” in their discussions, whether related to religion or politics. And I’m grateful for that because I DO NOT want a blog like some of them out there. 😖

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            • One way to explain socialism is to point to the military or fire department and explain why this model serves the larger community and so I think is worthy of our support (because it fosters our shared liberal values). The other kind is the other way around, where we are expected to serve the larger community and why I think this model is not worth our support (because we must give up our shared liberal values).

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  8. While I agree that we must get Trump out of office before he destroys this nation’s government, the environment, and people’s lives, for the level of corruption in his administration is unprecedented. However, i would caution that removing Trump from office will not solve the problem of right-wing populism, for those who put Trump in office still want a white nationalist government and a white, Christian nationalist country. They are in the minority, but not by a lot, and … how long will they remain the minority? It is not only in this nation, as you have mentioned, but is a pimple on the patootie of the entire western world, largely brought on by the refugee crisis, among other things. We must, in addition to removing our corrupt ‘president’, address the core of the problem, else in 5 years, 10 years, we will find ourselves right back in this spot.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Trump rode into office on the selling of fear … fear of other. The only way to combat that is to prove those fears to be unfounded. But, my friend, I have no idea how we might accomplish this … it requires heads much more intelligent and knowledgeable than my own. No, we cannot all become activists, but I suspect we all have more to offer than we realize. I think that for most of us, the best we can hope to accomplish is convincing people to go to the polls next year, offering to drive them, if nothing else. We can keep writing to our reps in Congress, but these days, after probably hundreds of letters, I admit that I don’t know how much good that is doing.

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    • ” However, i would caution that removing Trump from office will not solve the problem of right-wing populism, for those who put Trump in office still want a white nationalist government and a white, Christian nationalist country. They are in the minority, but not by a lot, and … how long will they remain the minority?”

      See, this sentiment is very much part of the problem by how it frames it. It’s not a ‘right-wing’ populism that is the problem; it’s so many people turning to populism that is the problem. And then to attribute their motives to being racist simply adds fuel to the fire.

      Let me give you and example.

      A few years back, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invited refugees to come to Canada and specifically ordered that 50K Syrians should be fast-tracked. Would you define him – the leader of Canada’s Liberal party – as “a white nationalist” or trying to bring about a “Christian white nationalist country?”

      Nearly four years later, this same PM included new measures to reduce the number of refugees and slow down the immigration in the back pages of a multi-hundred page omnibus bill. And his reasons for doing so are to avoid exactly this kind of charge you so easily level. Believe it or not, there is widespread concern about open immigration, which is why Trump is now championing the Canadian practice of controlled immigration. There is absolutely no question that selective immigration aimed at settling new citizens into their new environment with appropriate financial and social supports in place quickly and easily and successfully integrates newcomers into the wider community and avoids the kind of problems associated with both open and illegal immigration.

      In other words, Jill, until more people understand that the concerns many people have about immigration as its now practiced are justified on legitimate merit rather than filed under ‘discrimination’ and ‘racism’ and ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘xenophobia’, you will continue to add fuel to exactly the kind of populism you criticize.

      This is the poisonous atmosphere across the spectrum far too many people foster when contentious issues arise. It’s very hard to have a meaningful dialogue of differences when one side vilifies the other first and frames disagreement as moral and ethical failures on the other person’s position. It’s not just the Left doing this with the Right, but it is just as common as people from the Right claiming the Left are all socialists and elitists. We have got to drop this kind of framing and realize we’re all in this together and all seek real solutions to real problems.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think I sort of get your point…

        But as I said before, we all naturally fall into various beliefs and if a certain number of these beliefs always appear together or of like mindedness, it begins to set a pattern…a grouping of similar beliefs, if you will.

        So if people vote republican and consider themselves conservative and not liberal, you are likely to find certain common beliefs…like religious righteousness in being against women’s rights and gay marriage, various degrees of racism, not a lot of empathy for the less fortunate, a skepticism of climate change, unquestioned patriotism and a view that corporate and personal profit and money making is the most desired goal in life.

        Not each person on the right of the political spectrum will share all of these, but a common pattern will emerge.

        The same goes for the left…it’s just usually entirely different world views, beliefs and priorities..

        So it can’t help but be framed as moral and ethical beliefs because that’s what it’s all about. If it wasn’t moral or ethical arguments, it would be meaningless and lack any passion to try to make the world a better place for all.

        And in my view, that is the key…the big divide..making it a better place for us all or making it a better place for me…..it comes down to that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Trudeau is trying to play to the anti-immigration crowd before the election. He is hoping to attract centrist conservatives to his side after the SNC Lavelin fiasco. His problem is he is not the politician his father once was.
        But the real problem in the States is the electoral college. Own the EC, and you own the presidency. That is what happened in 2016, and it will happen again in 2020 if the democrats can’t figure out how Trump is controlling it, and do something about that. Everyone knows, Trump cheats. The democrats do not want to cheat. No one wants the dems to cheat. But how do you fight cheating, when Trump’s followers don’t care if he cheats. In fact, they want him to cheat, so that they stay in power. This has nothing to do with governing, and everything to do with ruling–power–Hitler-type power. And American Evangelicals are being given what the founding fathers would not give them, a place in the government for god.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t see any plausible way of getting Trump out of office before the election. Impeachment won’t do it unless 20 Republican Senators would vote for removal, which they won’t, unless Trump’s support among rank-and-file Republican voters declines drastically. Using the 25th Amendment would be harder, not easier, since it ultimately requires a supermajority (and thus a lot of Republican support) in both Houses, not just the Senate. So the election seems to be the only realistic option.

    Nobody wishes it were otherwise more than I do, and I’d be happy to entertain any other scenario for getting rid of Trump that relies on actual rules and processes that exist in the real world, as opposed to made-up ones we wish we had but actually don’t. But in over two years nobody seems to have come up with any.

    So unless Trump dies in office (not impossible — he’s over 70, he’s fat, he has a terrible diet, he won’t exercise, and he’s living in an enormously stressful situation with no mental tools to cope with it), the election is it.

    We need to work on the basis that the next President must be a Democrat, and that which Democrat it is is a far lesser concern. We all have our likes and dislikes about the various candidates. But the worst of them, whichever one you think that is, would still be far better than Trump. I think most non-wingnuts get this. As for those who don’t, well, if somebody can live through Bush and now Trump and still want to vote third-candidate or have a bunch of litmus tests the Democrat has to meet before they’re “good enough”, that person is probably unreachable by any sort of argument. Write them off and consider them just one more obstacle our GOTV efforts will have to overcome. Bu I doubt there are many of them.

    As to the problem of right-wing populism, they are a minority, and a shrinking one. Demographic change can’t be stopped because the most important demographic changes are religious and generational, not racial or connected to immigration. Right-wing voters skew more religious and older than the general population. That demographic is dying off and being replaced by less-religious younger people, more of whom are comfortable around gay people and minorities (and more of whom are gay people or minorities) because they grew up in a world where those groups were no longer kept invisible or sealed off from mainstream society. The right wing themselves are aware of these changes, which is why they’re engaged in a series of increasingly desperate efforts to entrench minority rule. Such measures can only work at the margins, though, as the 2018 House elections showed.

    2016 was a freak event involving Russian interference, some fairly serious blunders by Hillary, widespread overconfidence among Democratic voters, and several other factors, without any one of which Trump would not have won. And because of demographics, the conditions for a repeat of it are getting worse and worse all the time. The more seats of power we win next year (Presidency, Senate, state governments), the more we can do to prevent a recurrence of it. But first we have to win next year.

    Liked by 3 people

    • he’s living in an enormously stressful situation … The situation may be stressful, but IMO, I don’t think it’s bothering him all that much. He lets things out in his stupid tweets and then gets pats on the back and reassurance from the party idiots, which keep him going. Plus all the whoops and hollers and flag-waving at his rallies boost his spirits and reassures him he’s on the “right path.”

      Nope. I think emotionally he’s doing quite well … unfortunately. I think the most we can hope for is related to, as you suggested, his poor diet and lack of exercise. And even then, I wouldn’t count on it. Unless we’re being kept in the dark, based on his personal appearances, he comes across as robust and hardy.

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      • Nan, I agree about the stress of trump. He’s too much of a bully to feel stress and a huge ego that keeps him believing he’s right. But he appears to have anger issues and control issues and this in itself can create stress.

        I also agree with Infidel about us voting and supporting for ANYONE over trump. I think we and the many like us will, but it’s the apathetic voter, the non voter and the third party or write in voter that is the problem.

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