Tag Archives: donald

Fighting The Rise Of Fascism In America

For a long time, I was hesitant to use Hitler comparisons when debating about Trump. In short, because it has become such a cliché and it serves to negate one’s argument (Godwin’s Law.) But also because no matter how horrible or despicable Trump is, until he has taken actions such as Hitler, the comparison becomes flawed. Someone like Hitler evokes such an emotional and visceral response due to the atrocious events of the Holocaust, that comparing someone in our current society to him still sounds like a stretch.

BUT, with that said, I have no doubt that Donald Trump is a fascist, and would become Hitler-esque if he could. The following short video provides a summary of all of the ways Trump embodies fascism and how the current political climate is conducive to it.  While it was made before Trump won election, the ideas still apply:

The thing that scares me these days is the realization that someone like Hitler could happen again, as much as we would like to think it won’t. In fact, thinking that it can’t happen is a big part of why it could. The battle against the growth of fascism in our country becomes spread across several fronts, and it can be exhausting. There is the need to pressure representatives in Washington to oppose and fight Trump’s policies. There are protests that must happen, as well as boycotts and other forms of civil disobedience on the part of citizens. Remaining vocal in opposing Trump and everything he is bringing to America is of utmost importance and is one of the easiest things we can do – do NOT stop expressing outrage and disgust at what Trump is doing and what his supporters represent – even if it means losing friends or family connections. We simply can’t afford to remain silent right now.

The more abstract and difficult layer to fighting the rise of fascism here in the United States involves the current state of news and information, as well as the level of ignorance of so many citizens. Trump has his followers believing that anything that comes out of “mainstream media” is a lie or “fake news.” Which opens the door to basically limitless manipulation potential for Trump and his administration. They are able to put out bald-faced lies, and if they do it often enough, it actually becomes truth for Trump supporters. Conversely, those same people can easily be convinced that information to the contrary of what Trump’s administration says is untrue and invalid. We have seen this happen already. A recent poll suggested that over 40% of Trump supporters believe his baseless claim that there were 3 million illegal votes cast (in an election that he won.) That is simply a lie that Trump made up, and since he has such sway over his supporters, they believe it without any evidence or supporting information. Scary stuff.

I think the situation is basically hopeless for most of Trump’s ardent followers, in terms of trying to convince them of the many ways Trump’s actions and policies are problematic. When you have people supporting an administration that says facts are debatable and that they are simply presenting “alternative facts,” those people are obviously too far gone to bother reasoning or debating with. The key, then, simply becomes having more people who are opposed to Trump show up at the polls on election day than Trump supporters, as well as ensuring that the younger generation has the tools and information necessary to see the myriad ways Trump is unacceptable as POTUS. We must not let the lies and misinformation become the accepted norm. Whenever Trump lies, we need to call him on it and not let words become redefined or euphemisms (such as “alternative facts”) become commonplace. State and local level elections become crucial. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are two enemies of democracy that must be fought vigorously. Our elected representatives in Congress need to know that we are watching them, and that we expect them to vigorously oppose Trump’s agenda. If they don’t, we need to throw our support towards someone to replace them. We need to stay engaged as progressives, united against the common enemy of Trump and the GOP. We absolutely cannot afford to become cynical or apathetic, lest we allow this great nation to be completely taken over by fascist anti-patriots.

We just need to stay engaged, alert and active. There are times when it might seem insurmountable or hopeless, but we can’t allow despair to fill our hearts and minds. We need to remember that Trump does NOT have a mandate, and that a majority of Americans agree with liberal positions on most, if not all, major issues. There are more of us than them. He is a minority-elected president that was able to get through due to questionable circumstances and the antiquated electoral college system. Let’s never stop treating him as such.

#RESIST

 

Trump photo:  Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Trump’s Refugee Ban Is Shameful

Like many others, I had reservations about using this image for a meme, as I don’t want to disrespect this boy’s death.

But then I thought, it is even more disrespectful for people to ignore and shut out this child’s death and the many others like him. People need to see what is going on to give context to Trump’s shameful policy of blocking refugees from certain countries and giving Christians “priority.”

I think it’s a shame that our country would turn away refugees, when it is known that doing so can very well be a death sentence. It reflects a fundamental selfishness, as well as a deadly cowardice. We are supposed to be the “home of the brave.” Not so much, anymore, I guess.

I don’t understand how people can be proud of any of this.

 

#RESIST

 

Why I Have No Respect For Trump Supporters At This Point

I think it’s safe to say that this country is divided right now.  The campaign and election of Donald Trump, AKA President Pussy Grabber, to the highest office in the nation, has brought about a ton of lost Facebook “friends” for a lot of people, increased family infighting, and a daily onslaught of bitter back and forth and arguments on the internet between decent Americans and the Trump supporters who have poisoned the well of this great land.  For a person like myself, who already has an inclination to engage in political discussions online, it’s not as noticeable of a shift.  But for the average person, I think there has been a yuge increase in this type of adversity and discord.

This has all brought up the old debate about whether politics should get in the way of friendships, and whether people can retain their relationships even if they strongly disagree in that arena.  I have seen memes floating around which self-declare that (the meme creator) is capable of disagreeing with others, without losing or sacrificing their friendship.  While I think it is generally true that people should be able to “agree to disagree,” I think that what we have seen with the Trump campaign, and now presidency, has far transcended the boundaries of “normal” political discourse and engagement.

I probably don’t need to go through the laundry list of reasons why POTUS Pee-Pee is categorically unfit for the presidency at this point.  We have all seen and heard what Trump and his cult of followers have brought to the table.  He has cultivated and encouraged outright bigotry and racism, toxic xenophobia, degradation of  women and the disabled, and advocated violence against those who oppose him.  He invited a foreign government to interfere with our presidential election, and suggested that perhaps “2nd Amendment people” could do something about his presidential opponent.  He is probably the most polarizing political figure in modern U.S. history.  With Trump, things go beyond mundane disagreements such as how much of a social safety net we should have, or how much foreign aid we should give to any given ally.  Instead, things have become about having or not having fundamental decency as human beings.

On top of all of this, Trump’s administration has been shameless in their “gaslighting” and blatant lies to the American public.  Things that are obvious and documented, such as the  relatively unimpressive attendance at Trump’s inauguration, are being called into question by Kellyanne Conway and crew as “alternative facts” as they attempt to promote an alternate reality for their delusional horde to believe in.  It was the same when Trump mocked a disabled reporter.  He later denied it, even though it’s on tape, and there are actually people who insist that the controversy was all a result of “biased media.”  Not to mention all of the times Trump has been recorded saying something, only to later flat-out deny saying it.  Or the recent revelation that Trump has no intention of releasing his taxes, even though he had promised that he would – and, to add insult to injury – Trump incorrectly speaks for the American public and says that they are not interested in them.  The sad thing is, Trump’s remaining defenders are perfectly okay with being deceived this openly.  They apparently don’t mind being psychologically manipulated by Trump and his administration.

When it comes to expressing opinions online, I actually think it is everybody’s civic duty to be vocal in opposing things like blatant and dehumanizing bigotry, hate and degradation.  So much so, that people end up losing friends, if need be. Because remaining silent only serves to enable those that seek to strip away our rights, freedoms and dignity.  Resistance starts with vocalizing opposition.  Things like racism should be something that we frown upon, and there should be a consequence felt by those who choose to fill their hearts with hate.  The way I see it, the kinds of people that would have an issue with me voicing opposition to those things, I honestly don’t want or need in my life. I have “lost” a few “friends” on Facebook since the campaign season started, which had happened only once before (that I had noticed.)  But I don’t really feel any “loss” – rather, I feel like I am being the person I was meant to be, without resistance or static from individuals that have revealed themselves to be morally and ethically contemptible.  I have also chosen to unfollow a few people because I was just tired of seeing their asinine pro-Trump bullshit.  I simply don’t need that kind of ugliness or negativity in my life, and I think the world throws enough of that at me as it is.

I always come back to this picture that I saw a while back, during the campaign. It sums up why I don’t have any respect for the most ardent Trump supporters, which by now is pretty much anyone still standing by him.

These “forgotten people” (as they have come to be known) don’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but themselves. Why should anyone give them any respect? They spend all their time pledging allegiance to politicians and individuals that feel completely comfortable and content attacking and denigrating anyone that isn’t white, male and straight (or females that are inexplicably bound to them.) Sure, there are some minorities who for some silly reason support Trump, but they all subscribe to the white male patriarchal ideal of American culture.  They bring no actual argument or thought process to the table – it’s “woe is me, immigrants take our jobs, blah blah blah, cry cry cry.”  And it inevitably becomes deflected into “Obama this, Hillary that…”  It’s pathetic.  I have had countless arguments with Trump supporters online, and I have concluded that, at this point, they are unreachable.  There is no point.  I mean, when you have people who proclaim that they are proud to be “deplorable,” how are you supposed to reason with them?  The level of discourse from almost all Trump supporters I now encounter daily amounts to little more than trolling.  It’s “neener neener neener, we won, you lost, get over it.”  No substance, no philosophical basis (other than “hey, we’re assholes”) and lately, not even acknowledgement of basic facts that can be seen and heard by our own eyes and ears (think “alternative facts.”)

I hope people on the right realize that this is far from over. They can expect what they have seen recently, with the historic women’s marches around the world, and then some, to continue as long as a despicable man-baby who was put into office through a questionable election is in power.

#RESIST

 

 

 

Democrats Need To Stop Finger-Pointing About Hillary’s Loss

Like millions of Americans who have been crestfallen by President-Elect Pussy-Grabber’s election win last month, I have done a lot of reflecting about what the hell exactly happened over the past 20 or so months that led to the travesty of the United States electing the worst presidential candidate in modern history, and probably ever, to the highest office in the land.

As with most other things, I don’t think the answer is any one thing.  But for me, it boils down to an American society filled with misinformed and willfully ignorant people, that were okay with racism, xenophobia, misogyny and a general lack of decency, as long as it offered catharsis for their anger over losing ground in the American culture wars during the last few decades and returning to an era of heterosexual white male patriarchal dominance, especially in a symbolic sense.  This is why Trump is seemingly invulnerable to the normal trappings which would have doomed any other presidential candidate.  Trump’s supporters didn’t care so much about what Trump did, but more what he stood for in their eyes.  And this is why I think that, even as Trump breaks more and more campaign promises, he will still have his cult of followers standing by him.

On social media I have seen a lot of angry Hillary supporters pointing the finger for her loss since November 8th.  One of the targets has been the mainstream broadcast media, which has been faulted for normalizing Trump’s bigotry and glossing over the many glaring and legitimate reasons he should not be president.  While I ultimately fault voters for their bad decisions, I do think there is validity to the frustration that many people felt with the reporting done by news outlets like CNN and the other major networks.  Like many other people, I think members of the media simply didn’t take Trump seriously as a candidate, and this was reflected in their coverage.  They got caught up in the clown show, which was good for ratings, and forgot to treat Trump as a legitimate, fascistic threat to our society and democracy.

Another target of liberal ire has been Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  There are many Democrats who think that the issues Bernie raised while he campaigned against Hillary, such as her ties to Wall Street, did lasting damage to how voters perceived her, even though he ultimately did support Clinton.  I think this is really unfair, and fails to see the reality that many voters already believed the negative perceptions that they had about Hillary, due to years of attacks put out by the likes of right-wing propaganda pushers such as Fox News, and would have thought the same way even if Bernie had never campaigned against her.  This is compounded, no doubt, by deep-rooted sexist double standards about how American society views and receives women in high-power positions of authority.  And it didn’t help that broadcast media offered such a disproportionate amount of coverage about Hillary’s “damn emails.”

It is important to note that, even though I fervently supported Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, she was far from my ideal candidate, and wasn’t my first choice.  I wanted Bernie to get the nomination.  Alas, that didn’t happen, I accepted it, and when it came down to Hillary against Mr. Sexual-Assault-Is-Okay-If-You’re-A-Celebrity, the choice was clear as day for me.  I don’t like to play hindsight guessing games or dwell on “coulda, woulda, shoulda” scenarios, but I do think Bernie would have fared better against Trump, and sometimes I even wish Senator Elizabeth Warren had been in the race.

One soundbite from Warren comes to mind as a symbol of why Hillary was flawed as a candidate, or at least how she might have fared better against political “outsider” Trump.  When the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scandal broke earlier this year, Elizabeth Warren laid into their CEO and others of high rank there, highlighting the hypocrisy of low-level employees losing their jobs because of the scandal, while high-ranking executives got off with few consequences.  As she tore into Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, she displayed a fire and fighting spirit on behalf of working and middle-class Americans that I think was sorely lacking with Hillary Clinton in the minds of voters.  Compare that clip of Warren to Hillary proclaiming during one of the debates that she would have the big banks “cut it out” when it came to behavior and policies that led to the economic crisis of 2008.  There’s just no comparison.  Senator Warren and Sanders both frequently demonstrate that they have the gusto and “oomph” that I think many voters are looking for as they deal with the (justified) perception that the economic system is rigged in the favor of big banks and corporations.  This is something that I think would have really helped Hillary, but too often, she came off as somewhat robotic and as if she was offering up canned responses that she or her handlers thought voters wanted to hear, rather than passion coming from the heart.

I think Democrats need to stop finger-pointing and focusing on who or what to blame for Hillary’s loss, and instead should start placing their energies into how to morph and solidify the Democratic party into what it should have been all along, but which I think has been lost in recent years – a progressive party that will fight for American workers and stop being so influenced by big corporate money and donors.  Now that the disaster of a Trump presidency is upon us, progressive Americans need the Democratic party more than ever to step up and fight the inevitable Trump/GOP agenda of privatization and their overall threat to programs which help average Americans, women, people of color, the disabled and others who need someone in their corner in the fight against the corporate control and oligarchy that has come to threaten and degrade many Americans’ faith in the “American Dream.”

Now is your chance, Democrats.

#Resist

 

Hillary Clinton photo credit: By lorie shaull (source) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Donald Trump – An American Disgrace

Donald Trump - An American Disgrace

America, you’re never, ever, ever going to live this one down.  This repugnant, embarrassing, narcissistic, arrogant and disgraceful bully is the man you thought belonged in the White House.  And the photo above represents just one of a mountain of things which should have disqualified him from the presidential race, long before voting even began.

Thanks for making us the laughing stock of the world, Trump voters.  As George Carlin said, “garbage in, garbage out.”

Trump - Selfish Ignorant Citizens

Don’t Fret, America. Latinos Will Be A Game Changer.

The message to the GOP over the past several years has been “adapt or die.”
 
Their long-standing bastion of dependable voters, white men, have become a shrinking percentage of the American electorate as a whole. It has been clear to many that as minority groups made gains in population and eligible voters, the Republican party would have to try to expand their base.
 
So what did Republicans do in 2016? They ran Donald Trump, one of, if not the most, blatantly racist and chauvinistic presidential candidates in U.S. history, at least in modern times.
 
I have long stated that I don’t think this race has been or will end up being as close as it is being portrayed in the media, providing there is no horrible event such as a massive terror attack before election day. I think the key difference-makers will be women and Latinos.
 
I think the race has been presented as closer than it is for two reasons. One, the media wants to build interest in the race, for ratings. They want it to seem closer than it is to keep eyes and ears on their broadcasts.
 
And two, because the patriarchal white male power structure that still dominates most major news corporations simply doesn’t take into account the voting power of women and Latinos and the influence they would have on the election. What should have been at the forefront of the conversation for months (that women and Latinos would be mobilized by, in particular, Trump’s despicable offensiveness to those two groups) became an afterthought for far too many pundits and pollsters.
 
Well, it looks like Latinos in particular have begun answering the call that Donald Trump inadvertently put out to them with his constant racism and immigrant bashing. But it’s not only that. Latino voters don’t just care about immigrants. They, like many other Americans, are repulsed (rightfully so) by Trump’s despicable, embarrassing and buffoonish behavior. They, like many other American voters, see a repulsive pig who has the audacity to think he can take over the reins of the United States of America. And they want to send a message loud and clear, that they are here and are a force to be reckoned with.

Trump Supporters Are Full Of Shit

The New York Times recently revealed that, due to claiming a nearly billion dollar loss in a single year in the mid 90’s, Donald Trump could theoretically have paid no taxes for the following 18 years. Since he claims to know the tax code better than anyone, and since he refuses to disclose his tax returns, it becomes very easy to believe that this is, in fact, the case. In addition, there was at least one year in the past in which it was revealed that he didn’t pay a cent.

This information exposes the Trump phenomenon as a movement of bigoted anger with little in terms of justifiable substance when it comes to the basis for that anger. Trump supporters have been said to be angry about feeling shafted economically for years and believing that the system is rigged against them. Their chosen savior? The person they think can and will fix their problems? A billionaire who very well could have lived for nearly twenty years in opulence and luxury without paying anything in taxes. Donald Trump is the EMBODIMENT of the rigged economy that these people are said to be so angry about.

Trump Taxes Those Are For Poor People

Who do these people think have been picking up the slack? Do they not realize that THEY have? Do they really still think it’s just great that someone like Trump can live high on the hog for years while they struggle paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet?

The Trump phenomenon, then, isn’t really about economic anger. It’s about anger, definitely…But it’s part of a culture war, being waged against gains in recent decades made by minorities, women and gay people. These people want to go back to an America where English is the only language option at ATM’s, and where black and brown people and women know and remember their place in society. They want a “strong man” to take their anger out on those fucking terrorist Muslims and border-hopping Mexicans. They don’t want an actual answer to their problems, unless it involves fucking over the “others” in some way.

In short, Trump’s popularity and the closeness of the race to this point is really because of an electoral temper-tantrum. His supporters don’t want an America of fairness and equality. They just want America to be THEIRS again.

It Is Better To Keep Your Mouth Closed And Let People Think You Are A Fool…

This is another piece of wisdom, the source of which is uncertain.  Some have attributed it to Mark Twain, others to Lincoln, among several other notable figures.

But there’s no doubt about who embodies it perfectly – TRUMP.  The man who is his own worst enemy, who couldn’t keep his mouth shut to save his life (or his campaign.)

Trump - Fool

Art Should Comfort The Disturbed And Disturb The Comfortable (Cesar A. Cruz)

I have been reading different reactions to these statues of a naked Donald Trump that have popped up in cities around America, and it seems that most people find them somewhat distasteful. There’s also the “imagine if someone did this to Hillary…” trope. Some people say that while Trump may have it coming, that we shouldn’t stoop to the level of “body shaming,” etc.  The statues are from the art group INDECLINE.

I look at it in the context of protest art. Sure, the statues may be in poor taste, offensive to look at or humiliating. But let’s not forget that this is a man who has slandered the president as the founder of America’s most hated terrorist enemy, as well as not so subtly suggested that people shoot his opponent. These are just the recent examples of the type of garbage that has come from Trump’s mouth, and don’t begin to demonstrate the types of things he has said and done to shame and mock other people.

So, it’s not surprising to me that an artist or group of artists might go to extremes in desecrating Trump’s image. To quote Cesar A. Cruz, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” The time for politeness regarding Trump is long gone.

And comparing it to someone doing the same to Hillary is bogus. Like her policies or not, Hillary Clinton has not gone out of her way to insult and degrade a multitude of people across the nation. So, yes, if someone did the same to Hillary, it would be seen as going too far, and with good reason. It’s just not the same with Trump.

As a general rule of thumb, when talking about how people relate to one another, “when they go low, we go high” should be the approach. We should try our best to not stoop to the level of someone like Trump. But when it comes to art, I think all bets are off. I don’t see this the same way I would see someone sending out private pics of Trump to humiliate him, for example.

Donald Trump has taken a no-holds barred approach to his campaign. He speaks his mind. He says what he means. He’s not “politically correct” Let’s not expect the opposite from artists making a statement about him.

Trump Statue Art