Tag Archives: trump

President Trump And The Beginnings Of Hate (On Both Sides)

I felt it the other day.  I think it was the day after Trump’s election to the presidency, which sent shock waves throughout America and the rest of the world.  But I felt it.  It was something that I have to try hard not to let grow into fruition.  It was the beginnings of hate.

Often I have taken a look at the world, filled with war and conflict, and asked myself the question in the abstract – how and why can humans be so cruel to each other?  How do people get to the point where they are willing to commit murder against other people on a mass scale, as in war?

It begins with dehumanization.  It starts with not seeing other people as human beings, and rather, something lesser than what you are and therefore, not deserving of the full respect that you might offer someone else.  And I feel that, on both sides, Trump’s ascendance to the presidency of the United States has opened the floodgates and legitimized hate and dehumanization.

Whatever Trump ends up trying to do policy-wise, it can’t be argued that he ran  a campaign that fed upon, stoked anger against, and debased “the others,” whether it be immigrants (Mexican or Muslim,) disabled people, women or gays.  We saw a rise in hate crimes during Trump’s campaign, and since election night, an even more noticeable spike.  This is because people have become emboldened by his legitimization of dehumanization and bullying.  If he can be president, with all of his shameful behavior and rhetoric, people start to feel less inhibited and more validated in their own misguided anger and bullying instincts.

Even before Trump won, as I followed his campaign and through all of his despicable behavior and words, I asked myself – do I hate this man?  And the answer was – absolutely.  I despise Trump.  It’s not a pleasant feeling, and it’s not a place I like to stay in, but it’s the truth.  It’s possible that this could change, but highly unlikely.  To my knowledge, Trump has only once ever uttered a half-assed “apology” for any of his disgusting antics.  I might be more open to forgiving the things I can’t stand about Trump in time, but it would have to start with him publicly acknowledging the damage of his words and actions, and atoning for them.

Trump’s election repulsed me, and instantly made me realize just how many of my “fellow” country men and women are okay with all of the dehumanizing behavior that Trump stands for.  Someone on Twitter put it best, as I paraphrase – “Trump’s supporters might not all be racist, but they decided that racism was not a deal-breaker.”  Right away, a division started happening in my mind – Trump voters vs. non-Trump voters.  And then I realized, that’s how it begins.  It begins with looking at another person and seeing some aspect that makes them lesser in your mind.  A thought that came to my mind was how, during war, people look at others and see “the enemy” and something to be reviled and destroyed.  And that’s what was happening to me.  It’s something I struggle with.  Because I am extremely angry.  I do think that there are some people who live in this country that are more morally and conscientiously evolved than others.  And I often wish our lives didn’t have to be impacted by those that want to go backwards through decades of societal progress.

Trump’s victory reinforced the knowledge that we are seemingly irreparably divided.  There have been many times in the past when I have thought that life might be better if the United States broke apart somehow.  Meaning, in my case, maybe California or the West Coast could secede from the Union and become a nation in its own right.  This all sounds crazy for many, but right now it is an idea that suddenly sounds desirable for a lot of people.  That’s how divisive this election has become.  Maybe this will fade in time, or maybe it will grow into an actual movement.  We shall see.  But, whatever happens, from here on out, it is clear that I will have to struggle to contain and channel my anger and loathing into something constructive.  It will be a tough road, but I don’t want to become that which I despise about Trump.

 

Photo credit:  Pixabay/PeteLinforth

 

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

We Are All Born Ignorant, But One Must Work Hard To Remain Stupid

The definitive source of this quote is unknown, although it often is attributed to Benjamin Franklin.  To me, it doesn’t matter who said it.  The message that ignorance is often willful remains loud and clear, regardless of the original author.  And it is perfectly exemplified by the nonsense that has spewed from the Trump campaign, in particular from his spokesperson, Katrina Pierson.

Katrina Pierson - Stupid

The End Of The Debate About Donald Trump

Trump_Disabled

There is a meme floating around that proclaims that the Sandy Hook tragedy was, in effect, the end of the debate on gun control in America.  That if nothing changed after children were slaughtered, it never would.

I think the same can be said about that time Donald Trump mocked a disabled journalist.  If that didn’t convince people that this man is of so low character that he is truly unfit to ever be president, I don’t think anything would.

Dear Hillary: Don’t Make Trump A Boogeyman

A big emphasis that came through loud and clear from the Democratic National Convention was a consistent critique of Donald Trump’s scare-mongering and bleak vision of current-day America.

While repudiating Trump’s attempts to frighten people into voting for him as the one person who can fix America is important, Hillary Clinton needs to be careful not to make him out to be a near-mythical boogeyman who exists in a vacuum.  While Trump is, in fact, trying to utilize the fear and anxiety of Americans, he isn’t the sole source of it.  The apprehensions that he is exploiting are very real and have real-world catalysts.

While Bernie Sanders was running, some people noted how there was a parallel between his campaign and Trump’s – they were both positioned as the “outsider” whose followers were angry and disillusioned with the “politics as usual” that they have been forced to expect from America’s political machine, as well as feeling shafted by the 1%.  There was some validity to the comparison, although Sanders and Trump couldn’t possibly be more different on myriad issues.  Not to mention the key difference that Bernie Sanders is not a complete and utter asshole.  But, I digress…

But the point is that many of the people Trump is appealing to are people that have faced the decimation of the middle class, while corporate America thrives, and who are justifiably worried about their job outlook and prospects.  They see politicians as being bought-and-sold, without their interests in mind, while in contrast, Trump appears as though he can’t be bought.  They see a GOP establishment that for years has asked them to settle for what they perceive as Republican-In-Name-Only (RINO) candidates like McCain and Romney, who lost, and a party elite that has failed to deliver on both social issues, as they see minorities gaining ground on things like gay marriage, as well as the economy as their incomes have stagnated.  They are also scared by the frequent news feed of terror attacks around the globe.  That fear is real and tangible.  Sure, Trump may exacerbate it, but it was there before him and needs to be addressed.

There are many Trump supporters who will never, ever vote for Clinton for whatever reason.  There are a ton of die-hard racists, misogynists and Islamophobes whose minds have been subverted by Fox News and the right-wing media machine for years.  Those people are a lost cause.  What I’m referring to are the people who are open to voting for Clinton, but who (in some ways justifiably) see her as a status-quo, “business as usual” candidate.  If Bernie’s popularity showed us anything, it’s that millions of Americans are truly fed up with what has been coming out of Washington for decades.  They just aren’t buying it anymore.  Clinton needs to work on somehow convincing those voters that she hears their anxieties, that she sees their anger, and that she feels their apprehension about the issues that affect their daily lives.  She needs to remember that Trump is merely a symptom of a larger problem, and she should work to try to validate the emotions of the voting populace rather than give off the impression that once Trump is out of the picture, everything will be rosy and hopeful.  Because it won’t.

 

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