As Others See Us

usa-g2010434b6_640

Once again I find myself quoting someone else’s words … but sometimes, other people have a way of expressing exactly what I’ve been thinking and it seems so much easier to let them tell the story. Thus, following are the comments made by a contributor to the Pubic Forum of our local newspaper:

We were recently honored to host a group of Canadian family.

I thought it interesting to hear their views on our crazy American situation. Here is what I heard.

  • They do not understand how we idolize the rich and powerful and allow these elites to get away with anything. Where is the common value of law and order for all.
  • They compared the American culture to a Roman Colosseum where the masses are trying to survive everyday while the 1% watch the fights and cheer them on from the stands.
  • They all agreed that it’s odd that the GOP and MAGA want to blame every little thing on Biden and Dems. When in fact the world over has the same or far bigger problems. Like the cost of gas. No president actually has the power to control the cost of fuel.
  • They mentioned the American culture of exceptionalism. Years back this was much more true than it is today. Look at the numbers and America is far behind in many areas like children’s education, poverty, and health care. Many other advanced countries surpass America in these basics.
  • “We don’t get the gun thing”. Yes Americans have a strong gun culture. But they thought our founding fathers did not mean the right to bear arms was above the rights to freedom and safety which are even more important. They had a couple mass shootings in Canada the last 10 years but virtually none compared to us because of their strict gun laws. Laws that did not impose on hunting.
  • Our culture “God and Country” go together with what they see as the ‘White Christian’ majority. The irony is these same Christians absolute opposition to other religions. Our country was founded on freedom of religion.

The contributor ended by saying he’s lived in many other countries, but he still prefers America and urges us to “keep it a strong democracy.”

I agree.

*******************************************
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Invincible?

This morning (3/29/20), as has become my habit, before looking at any other emails, I read Heather Cox Richardson’s most recent newsletter. I continue to be impressed by her ongoing wisdom and level-headed perception of current events.

In this particular issue, she wrote something that aroused my curiosity:

Key to Trump’s popularity has been a rhetorical strategy identified in 1951 by political philosopher Eric Hoffer in a book called The True Believer.

She then went on and compared some of Hoffer’s perspectives to the current POTUS. Since I had never heard of Eric Hoffer or his book, I decided to do some research.

Of course, the first place I looked was Amazon for a content description and to investigate cost (Kindle version $8.99; Free to Kindle Unlimited members; Hardcopy $169.14!). Unfortunately, the only write-up on Amazon was related to the author so I had to extend my search.

This led me to Google Play where I found a “free sample” and copied the following from the Preface.

All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them allegiance.

Many of us have wondered how and why so many people continue to cling to and defend Trump, no matter what he says or does. Heather put it all together when she wrote:

Trump has mastered this technique. He has kept his base firmly behind him by demonizing immigrants, the media, and, increasingly, Democrats, deflecting his own shortcomings in office by blaming these groups for undermining him.

She references Hoffer and further writes:

[S]o long as they are unified against an enemy, true believers will support their leader no matter how outrageous his behavior gets. Indeed, their loyalty will only get stronger as his behavior gets more and more extreme.

However, as many of us have noticed, cracks are beginning to appear. The coronavirus crisis is making it harder and harder for Trump to maintain his hold on his devoted followers.

Nevertheless, he will continue to play the game. No matter who it hurts because for him, it’s all about winning. Staying on top. And most of all, being idolized as the “only one” who can MAGA.

Yet, for all his bluster, there is one thing Trump cannot ignore. COVID-19 has loyalty to no one. Insults, threats, and blustering will not change its course. And as has been shown thus far, it is no respecter of persons.

Although the invincibility of Trump has astounded many of us on (too) many occasions, perhaps in this instance he has met his match. Only time– and the coronavirus–will tell.

******************************
Image courtesy of Mark Grayson Invincible Image Comics

A Message for Trump Supporters

As a general rule, the person who serves as President of the United States is held in high esteem by its populace. While this does not mean all citizens agree with this individual’s actions or decisions, there is overall respect for the office.

However, when Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States, all this changed.

As many of us watched this man ride down the escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, little did we know what was in store for us when he announced his candidacy. From his first campaign speech and rally to the present, we have witnessed a man who has regularly and consistently insulted, offended, mocked, dishonored, and slandered people who disagree with him.

And you, Trump Supporter, have encouraged and abetted these actions. You may deny this accusation but you have supported (and even cheered him on) as he …

  • Mocked a crippled man
  • Disrespected women
  • Encouraged violence against non-supporters at rallies
  • Demeaned African-Americans, Mexicans, Muslims, and other minority groups
  • Referred to several nations as “shit-hole” countries
  • Defended white nationalists
  • Defamed a prisoner of war (after his death!)
  • Supported a politician accused of sexual misconduct
  • Slandered members of the media
  • Labeled his opponents as “bad people” (or even criminals)

And he continues to this day to attack and humiliate any and all individuals who disagree with him.

So my question to you is this: When you support and/or defend Trump’s actions…

WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT YOU?

Does it give you personal satisfaction to applaud and cheer and wave your MAGA sign for a man who is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, and misogynist?

************
Giving you the benefit of doubt, you may not even be aware that Trump has succeeded in gaining your support because he …

  1. Appealed to you emotionally through fear and humiliation
  2. Created an enemy that threatens you
  3. Emphasized the weakness and incompetence of others

And then he reinforced it all by making a promise to you (through generalities and few details) that he was going to Make America Great Again.

And you believed him.

But now it’s time to face the truth.

Nothing that Donald J. Trump has done thus far has generated a strong and unified nation that other countries admire and respect. Instead, he has created animosity, hostility, and even hatred among its people by emphasizing and playing on our anxieties, fears, and prejudices.

No matter which side of the political spectrum you are on, as citizens of the United States of America, we cannot continue on this destructive path. There is simply too much at stake.

So the question becomes — what are you willing to do to bring our nation together?