Sunday, June 17, 2018

Trump’s America: Selfish and Uncaring

Much to the dismay of some, I frequently credit the rise of evangelicals and militant far right Christians - those I call the Christofascists - with the descent of the Republican Party into something loathsome.  Having followed falsely name "family values" groups run by "professional Christians" who live very well of the monies they scam from their followers have bred division and hatred towards those they label as "other" for decades.  To call these "leaders" con-artists is too flattering. Hate merchants and deliberate liars is far more apt, especially when one scratches the surface and discovers many are white supremacists as well.  Their agenda has always been one of selfishness, including inflicting their beliefs on all of society, displaying a love for money and power, and caring nothing for the rights or even lives of others - e.g., they claim to be "pro-life" yet support the savaging of the social safety net for anyone has exited through their mother's birth canal. Now, they have faulted the biggest con-artist and hate merchant of them all to the White House.  America, which has a very ugly history if one is honest (and can see common humanity in Native Americans, blacks, Hispanics and others who were treated horrifically), and under Trumpism, we are rapidly headed towards repeating past sins.  A column in the New York Times that I bookmarked earlier in the week looks at the immorality of what is being done to immigrant families.  Another in the Washington Post looks at the damage being done on a larger scale to the international order.  All so Trumps base can vent hatred and focus on its never ending selfishness. I truly am ashamed to be American (working on my dual citizenship may be in order after all).  First this from the Times column:
It may be hard to believe that this is happening in the United States in 2018, that hundreds of children are being snatched from their parents, frequently under false pretenses, often screaming, and placed in vast warehouselike centers like the former Walmart in Brownsville, Tex., where nearly 1,500 boys now spend their days. The parents often don’t know where their children are, or when they will see them again.
In 2014 the Obama administration detained hundreds of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the border, a practice that the federal courts quickly curtailed. But separating families as a matter of unofficial policy is something new and malicious, a function of President Trump’s obsession with undocumented immigrants.
The United Nations human rights office called this new practice a serious violation of the rights of children and demanded an immediate halt. Catholic bishops denounced it as immoral. The American Psychological Association warned that the separations threatened the mental and physical health of the children. All to no avail.
The administration has come back with a mix of just-following-orders and falsehoods. The Department of Homeland Security said it had no policy for separating families; it was just catching criminals. President Trump feigned sympathy for the separations but claimed he was the victim of “bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” which nobody could find.
The heartlessness of that is mind-boggling. It seems to elude the administration and its cheerleaders that this is not about crime or security, but about the most elemental human values; that ordering armed border guards to cruelly and needlessly rip children from mothers — in one case, while she was breast-feeding the child — goes against fundamental American values and undercuts its standing in the world.
Call Congress. Find out who represents you in Washington, and let them know you want the practice of family separation to end.
Join protests. People are taking to the streets in communities across the country Thursday to register their outrage at this border policy. Join these or future actions.

Heartlessness - that is the main pillar of the Christofascists and their white supremacist first cousins.  They truly are little different than Germans who flocked to Hitler's banner.  As children suffer this morning, many Trump supporters will sit their fat asses in church pews, feign piety and show concern for their children and grandchildren without a though to the suffering they have helped unleash.  These people are the face of what Christianity has become.  They are monsters.

The Washington Post piece looks at the even broader damage being done by Der Trumpenführer and his supporters.   None of it bodes well for the safety and security of the world.  Here are excerpts:
Since the end of the Cold War, it has widely been assumed that U.S. foreign policy would follow one of two courses: Either the United States would continue as primary defender of the international order it created after World War II, or it would pull back from overseas commitments, shed global responsibilities, turn inward and begin transitioning to a post- ­American world. The second approach was where U.S. foreign policy seemed headed under President Barack Obama, and most saw the election of Donald Trump as another step toward withdrawal. It turns out there was a third option: the United States as rogue superpower, neither isolationist nor internationalist, neither withdrawing nor in decline, but active, powerful and entirely out for itself. In recent months, on tradeIranNATO defense spending and perhaps even North Korea, President Trump has shown that a president willing to throw off the moral, ideological and strategic constraints that limited U.S. action in the past can bend this intractable world to his will, at least for a while. Trump is not merely neglecting the liberal world order; he is milking it for narrow gain, rapidly destroying the trust and sense of common purpose that have held it together and prevented international chaos for seven decades.
At the core of that order was a grand bargain. To ensure the global peace that Americans sought after being pulled into two world wars, the United States became the main provider of security in Europe and East Asia. . . . The security bargain had an economic dimension. The allies could spend less on defense and more on strengthening their economies and social welfare systems. This, too, was in line with American goals. The United States wanted allied economies to be strong, to counter extremism on both the left and right, and to prevent the arms races and geopolitical competitions that had led to past wars. The United States would not insist on winning every economic contest or every trade deal. 
This bargain was the foundation of a liberal world order that benefited all participants, including the United States. But it left the United States’ allies vulnerable, and they remain vulnerable today. . . . In the past, U.S. presidents were unwilling to exploit this leverage. They believed the United States had a stake in upholding the liberal world order, even if it meant abiding by or paying lip service to international rules and institutions to provide reassurance. The alternative was a return to the great-power clashes of the past from which the United States could never hope to remain uninvolved. . . . . even President George W. Bush’s America cared about them, if only because Americans had learned through painful experience that they had no choice but to care.
The United States’ allies are about to find out what real unilateralism looks like and what the real exercise of U.S. hegemony feels like, because Trump’s America does not care. It is unencumbered by historical memory. It recognizes no moral, political or strategic commitments. It feels free to pursue objectives without regard to the effect on allies or, for that matter, the world. It has no sense of responsibility to anything beyond itself.
Trump’s world is a struggle of all-against-all. There are no relationships based on common values. There are merely transactions determined by power. It is the world that a century ago brought us two world wars.
What Trump is doing - not to mention his personality resemblance to Kaiser Wilhelm II - in some ways seems to be a case of deja vue.  A century ago the word suffered horribly from the actions of malignant narcissists.  Trump and his supporters seem determined to repeat the horrors of the past. 

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