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Archive for December, 2015

Keep Calm and Carry On

The stock-in-trade of Republicanism is a resort to fear. Recall Reagan’s “There’s a bear in the woods” campaign?

keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanHave we become such lily-livered cowardly pampered brats that a few terrorist deaths and a few Mexican immigrants can drive us to the brink of national insanity? If our cultural heritage takes its foundation from the Anglo-Saxon Judeo-Christian tradition, why don’t we act like it?

This simple wartime slogan expressed Britons’ courage and resilience in the face of an overwhelming destructive force. We face a comparatively mild terrorist threat, one which is thousands of times less likely to kill any of us than we are to be shot by a gun-toting, native born, non-Muslim, fellow American, or by a drunk-driver[1][2].

Are we letting fear-mongers manipulate us? Are we giving the terrorists what they want – our fear and over-reaction? Why do we allow demagogues to preach hate, why do we contemplate for a moment discarding our basic values and liberties values in the face of a few modest terrorist attacks. To do so is defeatist and un-Patriotic. yourcourage_6696

The patriotic thing to do is stand up to demagogues, buck up our national courage, and tackle tough problems of the world with inner strength, real resilience, and calm, intelligent choices, in keeping with our most cherished values, as real Americans should. That is our patriotic duty.

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Big money Republicans had a good run and duping working class Americans with trumped-up fears, foreign wars, guns, religion, and testosterone-fueled chants of YOU-ESS-AY.  Treat ’em like idiots, fail to educate their children, arm them with false self-superiority, fear-fueled hatred of others, and outright hostility to the common good, and what do you expect?

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Now, the bitter harvest. Muscular jingoistic patriotism may have served well to get the votes while the real beneficiaries of Republicanism got richer, and everyone else suffered. But the unwashed masses believed what you told them, and now they’re coming to Drumpf rallies to chant Sieg heil!”, to beat up protesters, and shout Light the motherfucker on fire!”

Where that fire will end, and how many Americans will burn, those are the harder questions. This is the storm that Republicans have unleashed on themselves, and on America. There’s a reason why Republicanism is consistently hostile to public education. You reap what you sow.

The country is teetering towards what Drumpf’s rally attendee had the clarity to shout out, Sieg Heil!”. That is where Donald Drumpf is leading. It will be no less a disaster for America than it was for Germany, the country from which Donald Drumpf’s grandfather fled when he came to America as an immigrant. If only it were as easy as sending Drumpf back where he came from. Maybe they could teach him a thing or two about the consequences of muscular stupidity.

Republican Party leaders know the house is burning down, but are too timid to stop it. Someone on the right needs to call him out, clearly, loudly, as the vicious demagogue and traitorous un-American fool that his is.

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Donald Crop
The New York Times provided an insightful explanation for the baffling appeal of Donald Trump.  Fear is the basis of his support.

Hence the irony of a campaign based on what makes America great – because fear, and acting out of fear, certainly isn’t it.

What makes America great is the exact opposite of fear – doing the right thing because it is right, even when there is risk – doing the good thing because it is good – home of the brave. Brave is the exact opposite of Bravado, which is a bold manner adopted to hide behind when one lacks internal conviction. Brave appeals to what is best in us, our wisdom, generosity, and our faith; bravado appeals to what is base, mean and low. Brave is real courage and confidence, the confidence to take the harder, better, wiser path. And Trump hardly exemplifies that.

Trump does provide an apparently confident persona to hide behind, someone who seems to provide the courage to face a challenging world that a voter lacks for himself.

I do understand the strong attachment his supporters feel. If you’re in a state of panic, he is the only candidate offering visceral solutions to your anxiety. Unfortunately, those solutions are also chimerical. He is a dangerous candidate because he lacks the wisdom to govern, would lead us to reckless disasters, and is profoundly well endowed with a charismatic appeal to people who are afraid.

He could well win the nomination on that strength. My only remaining hope is that swing voters are not so easily moved out of the rational and into the limbic brain. My fear, and I do have one, is that we are one terror attack away from even moderate voters seeking false refuge in a scoundrel.

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