Sunday, February 23, 2020

2020: America's Ongoing Civil War

As the highly flawed Democrat presidential nomination process seems at this point headed towards nominating a candidate who is almost assured to lose in November, 2020, a  piece in Salon looks at the ongoing civil war in America where Trump and white supremacists and religious extremists are actively engaged in a war turning back time and undo the progress of the last five decades.  Should Trump be re-elected and worse yet, Republicans recapture control of the House of Representatives, by 2024 America will be unrecognizable and the verdict is out on whether democracy will have survived. I try to be optimistic, but at the moment, it is difficult not to be highly pessimistic about the future. Here are highlights from Salon:
In what amounted to a casual aside at his rally in Colorado Springs on Thursday night, Donald Trump drew the battle lines in this election as clearly as I've heard them drawn yet. Facing another of his virtually all-white audience in the city that is headquarters to multiple fundamentalist sects and several Christian megachurches, Trump waved his arms and asked, "By the way, how bad were the Academy Awards this year?" The crowd jeered loudly. "Did you see it? And the winner is … a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about?" he went on with undisguised disgust.
Trump may as well have waved a Confederate battle flag. The crowd knew exactly what he meant. "Make America Great Again" now had a point of origin, and the greatness they yearned for had not been expressed by the Oscar win of "Parasite" director Bong Joon-ho or, God forbid, the election of Barack Obama, but by Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara. 
Trump is letting us know that he and his base don't think of this as an election. It's a civil war. They want to turn the clock back to the time that Negroes knew their place and women were happy making biscuits in the kitchen and employers could pay their workers anything they wanted and the question of who got to vote was decided by a few white men in a smoke-filled room. 
Look around you. With William Barr at the Justice Department and Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and Senate Republicans voting in lockstep with Mitch McConnell, living in Donald Trump's America feels like the South won the Civil War. If we don't get our shit together and drive him from office at the ballot box in November, we'll lose this one, too. 
Trump made use of an enemy foreign power, Russia, to win election in 2016, and if what the intelligence community told the Congress this week is correct, he's in the process of doing it again. There won't be any investigation of foreign interference this time.
Republicans voted in lockstep to acquit him and nothing happened. There were no consequences for Trump, and now he's unbound. He's going to accept Russian help with his campaign right out in the open, and he'll stand up at one of his rallies and look into the cameras and say, "I did it, and fuck you." 
Donald Trump is who he always was: a mobbed up grifter from New York who learned from his father that you can welch on debts, pay people off and game the system, and when you get caught, walk away. If you're outrageous enough about it, people will be so stunned they are unwilling or unable to act. . . . I never believed in your democracy, I never believed in your capitalism, I never believed in your establishment, and look what I did! I got elected president! Fuck you! I'm going to take everything I want! I'm going to fly Air Force One anywhere I want, and I'm going to play golf more often than Arnie Palmer, and I'm going to bellow racism and lies at my rallies, and I'm going to jack up the Secret Service for rooms at my resorts, and I'm not going to pay a fucking cent and what are you going to do about it? I'm going to call Vladimir Putin on the phone and I'm going to get him to help me steal another election, and fuck you."
That's Trump's philosophy in a nutshell: do whatever you want and say "Fuck you." He's getting away with it the same way he got away with stiffing contractors and welching on bank loans and going into bankruptcy and taking out more loans and when they come due saying "Fuck you." 
I think we stand a chance to beat him, but we'll have to dig ourselves out of a deep, deep hole when he's gone. Some of us never will: The children ripped from their mothers' arms at the border, the voters who will go to the polls and be turned away, the poor who will go hungry when their food stamps are cut, the land and water and air that will be despoiled, the species that will go extinct, the companies that will fail, the women whose health clinics will close, the hopes that will be dashed and gone away forever.
Trump has cut the heart out of America. He's turning our democracy into a dictatorship, and he's not finished.

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