This is a Job for Superman!

I notice a shift in (relatively sane) people’s attitudes about the political successes of Donald Trump. Even the media seems to have pretty much caught on. He is not an anomaly; not some creature from outer space. He is clearly representing, not the reasonable thoughts, but the feelings of a huge number of Americans who are afraid and angry; people who are looking for a “strong man” to save them from the all the chaos and terrors presented by the world around them and the extreme changes the culture and the economy has undergone in the last couple of decades. Continue reading

I notice a shift in (relatively sane) people’s attitudes about the political successes of Donald Trump. Even the media seems to have pretty much caught on. He is not an anomaly; not some creature from outer space. He is clearly representing, not the reasonable thoughts, but the feelings of a huge number of Americans who are afraid and angry; people who are looking for a “strong man” to save them from the all the chaos and terrors presented by the world around them and the extreme changes the culture and the economy has undergone in the last couple of decades.

Trump is a populist without credentials. He didn’t rise up from poverty and he has never had any of the worries and troubles that almost all other Americans have in their daily lives. Trump, despite his superficial “maverick” stand, has never really been an outsider. He was rich and privileged—part of the American establishment—since the day he was born. Even Hitler served his country on the battlefield and was poor until his unique “abilities” brought him to the attention of certain groups that were looking for a radical change in their society.

But the fact that Trump’s populism is unearned doesn’t matter. Even the fact that he has nothing but contempt for the very people who are making him a success and, in fact, is more a cause of than a cure for their ills—none of this matters.
When the old, understood “rules” of morality and culture are undergoing such extreme change; when tens of millions of people are out of work and slipping into permanent poverty; when the “dark” forces of annihilation seem to be (and sometimes actually are) threatening from without… When even the very planet itself seems to be in danger of being destroyed… Then a hero must arise; a strong leader who knows just exactly who the bad guys are and exactly what to do to get rid of them.
For thousands of years, when a clan, a tribe, a culture or a country is suffering from oppression and deprivation from within and attacked from without, then the people call out for a savior.
Sometimes it’s someone like Jesus, or Ghandi or Martin Luther King—or it’s someone who works inside the political and cultural structure, like FDR.) But just as often it’s a Trump or a Hitler.

Is Bernie Sanders a Ghandi or a Martin Luther King? No. He is working inside the political structure like FDR did.
Sanders certainly has identified the cause of most of our troubles (Income inequality) and has the passion to change that. But Bernie doesn’t have FDR’s vast political experience and his willingness to go for the jugular when it comes to dealing with people who oppose him. He also doesn’t have that particular charisma that always means so much when trying to attract the great majority of the population to follow him. But still, his efforts to correct the basic wrongs of our system are right and just, and are appealing to certain groups who had given up hope that anything would ever change; also most interestingly, to the young, who have no training or investment in business as usual.

Hillary Clinton is part of the same continuum that the Republicans (including Trump) are on. Apparently she is now using “we” and “us” when referring to the troubles most people in the country are enduring. It’s obscene that she could say “we” need someone who will solve “our” problems. She is part of the problem, not the solution.

But our established political structure is based on compromise—on choosing people who are the best balance we can get to represent the right principles and the ability to get the job done within the confines of our system.
Hillary Clinton certainly has all the connections and the savvy and the experience in working within the elite, closed club that runs the country. She probably is more “electable”.

But I think I will stick with Sanders. He knows it’s not the Muslims or the Mexicans. Blowing up large portions of the Middle East isn’t going to do Americans any good. Sanders knows it’s the corporations and rich, with their stranglehold on the whole economic and political process, that are the cause of our ills.
Even with his faults he is the closest thing we have right now to a public figure with a true sense of fairness and the passion to go to extremes to create a better democracy.

In my heart, I’d like to see it wind up being Trump against Sanders. That’s taking a chance that we might wind up in the hands of a hare-brained, narcissistic bigot with violent tendencies, but it also gives us the possibility of having a President who doesn’t just appear to represent the masses but actually does represent them/us.

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10 Responses to This is a Job for Superman!

  1. edh says:

    “Idiocracy was a movie based on a true story happening right now!”

    Sarah Silverman

  2. Chris Whent says:

    Mike:

    Some random thoughts aroused by the above.

    Notwithstanding the fact that I have lived in this country the greater part of my adult life (and incidentally knowingly became a US citizen rather than having it thrust upon me at birth), there are a couple of things about US Presidential elections that bemuse me. One is the touching way in which voters conceive of presidents as having powers far beyond the office, as if they were, for instance, a British prime minister with a comfortable majority, or a French president. The other is the persistent myth (it can be traced back to at least early in the 19th century) of the outsider. The person with clear eyes who can come into Washington, unsullied by any previous contact with, ugh, politicians, and clean up the mess.

    This election is no different, notwithstanding all the guff about it being the brink of the revolution led by whoever’s favorite outsider.

    The only difference this time is that the Republicans diligently sowed the wind and are now reaping the whirlwind. Remember George Wallace? Of course you do. This time his followers call themselves Republicans. Nothing new. The dog whistles worked, and the dogs are inside the tent.

    But the charge goes on, and it is apparently taken seriously. People who, given a choice between a poet and a plumber to fix their leaky faucets, would wisely choose the plumber, convince themselves that what is needed in Washington is anything but someone who knows how to do all the things necessary to actually achieve something. “I’ll build a wall across our Southern border and make the Mexicans pay for it”, “I’ll repeal Obamacare on the first day” and so on. And, yes, gosh Bernie, nobody thought of the advantages of a single-payer system. Thanks for pointing it out. We’ll do it tomorrow.”

    The saddest thing about this election is that Hillary Clinton, like her or not, is probably the best qualified person of all of them, based on her experience, to be President. But that’s the last thing she can say on the stump.

    • Mike Feder says:

      Yes, I agree– the saddest thing about this election is that Hillary Clinton, despite being a long-standing member of the old boy’s club that runs the country for its own benefit, is probably the most qualified to be President.
      I suppose Roosevelt was an anomaly–the rich man who knew how to play the game but managed (for various motives) to fundamentally improve the lot of the mass of Americans. He was Bernie with connections and the savvy (and charisma) to make it work. It didn’t hurt that he had, during his first term in office, a congress that almost always supported him. Where he had real trouble was with a pretty conservative Supreme Court. When he tried to pack it with liberals, he went too far, even with some of his staunchest supporters.
      Still, I like that Bernie is out there fulminating, like a wild-eyed prophet in the desert. At least for the length of the primaries and the election, it clearly drags Hillary over to the “left”.

      • Tom Elliott says:

        The Hillary hate on the other side runs solid and deep whereas Sanders when given a fair platform wins converts. He spoke and took questions at Falwell’s Liberty U was applauded and admired. One of the faculty called him John the Baptist and openly endorsed Bernie.
        My brother is a retired pipe fitter from the now closed Ypsilanti Hydra Matic plant living in Washtenaw County, Mi.
        and has always has been ardently left politically although he knows other tradesman gun rights types who support Bernie in a red district.
        I defy anyone to find a gun rights or religious type that would consider Hillary Clinton.

        I never thought Sanders presented a pie in the sky fantasy, conversely he presents realistic concepts that are that work well for other nations and never said it would be easy.

        To compare Sanders with Trump with his wall and quick mass deportation of Muslims and workers from Mexico is like comparing apples to cinder blocks.

        I hope everybody is right in this fear support for Clinton.
        I’ve seen plenty of Bernie signs in southeast Michigan but have yet to see a Hillary sign or sticker.

  3. Christopher Keller says:

    The U.S. president is pretty powerless without a congress of the same party. It is unlikely to happen for the democrats before 2024 thanks to republican race baiting and gerrymandering leading up to and after the 2010 census. Having said that, I still think it’s important to support Sanders. First, it’s better to have the conversation so you can take proactive steps before something bad happens and people flee to the democratic party to bail them out which is what happened in 1932 and 2008. You know with Hillary there will be little debate. Second, you would be sending a strong signal to the moneyed interests and the politicians that think they need them that it is possible to win without the backing of large donors and Super PACs. Third. Sanders would appoint regulators that are not perpetually stuck in that revolving door between government and business. We all know who Hillary would appoint.

    I think both Hillary and Bernie would be equally good at appointing good at appointing Supreme Court justices. While Hillary as seen as a hawk, Bernie has voted for most military appropriations to keep our wars going. In short, I don’t see our foreign policies changing that much under Bernie. Hillary is fond of saying she’s a progressive that gets things done. Ironically, this the biggest concern I have about Bernie. I mean he has been in politics over 40 years making deals and compromising with republicans. I’m afraid many people will hear Bernie’s rhetoric (like they hear Obama’s rhetoric) and think socialism has been tried and has failed (similar to many thinking Obama is a socialist) instead of series of compromises.

    I think Bernie is not the perfect canidate and he will be relatively powerless to accomplish his agenda, but he is worth supporting.

  4. Tom says:

    …’the old boy’s club that runs the country for its own benefit’… Amen.. there aren’t even two parties anymore .. the both work for the same masters……………..

    I even hate to say the name …but.. ‘Trump’ knows well the ol’ boys club .. and once in the ultimate driver’s seat will turn the tables on the whole thing .. including our so called friends round the world .. it will be something different .. fingers crossed we can survive ..but if just keep going down the same old road our survival is in question anyway … Like T.J. said .. there comes a time to start it over again ..

  5. Tom Elliott says:

    “Hillary Clinton certainly has all the connections and the savvy and the experience in working within the elite, closed club that runs the country. She probably is more “electable”.”
    And when it gets to her standing strong against them “we” get little if anything from the Clintons and most lost ground during and after President Clinton as a direct result of his policy and the continuum of trickle on economics.

    The media get a “two for” if it’s Clinton – 2 Bill will get plenty of coverage that I’m not looking forward to.
    Fortunately Sanders very early in the campaign framed the context of the debate on the Democratic stage.

    Trump is good on single payer and sees the benefit to business if it is a Sophie’s choice between him Cruz or Rubio? I would find Trump the most palatable, he makes noise about the bad trade deals he benefits from.
    He won’t get there on my vote.

  6. In fact, I predict that Hillary will beat Sanders. Trump will run against Hillary and many Sanders voters will switch to Trump.

    • Mike Feder says:

      Bernie’s people to Trump? Doesn’t make any sense at all. He is the opposite of Trump in just about every way. Do you have some explanation for what you said? It’s hard to see.

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