Heil to the Chief

I can’t say or write anything about Donald Trump that isn’t being said or written everywhere—and, for the most part, by people who are more articulate and informed than I am. But still, since there isn’t anything I can do about him and his followers I feel a need to say or write something—if only to join with other, like-minded souls who are experiencing the same sense of dread and despondency about what’s happening now and what might happen in the future. And I want to write something so I can tell myself, no matter what happens later on, that I didn’t just shake my head, wring my hands and watch this final “reality” show in passive silence. Continue reading

 

I can’t say or write anything about Donald Trump that isn’t being said or written everywhere—and, for the most part, by people who are more articulate and informed than I am. But still, since there isn’t anything I can do about him and his followers I feel a need to say or write something—if only to join with other, like-minded souls who are experiencing the same sense of dread and despondency about what’s happening now and what might happen in the future. And I want to write something so I can tell myself, no matter what happens later on, that I didn’t just shake my head, wring my hands and watch this final “reality” show in passive silence.

Trump does not seem real to me. That feeling could derive from the fact I don’t want him or his political “movement” to be real; the consequences are too terrifying to imagine (Germany in the late 1920’s and early ‘30s). Or this feeling could be because there is about him a quality of inhuman-ness—as if he were a machine that operates without the basic spark of animation; something with the form of a human but without an actual mind, heart or soul.
When I listen to him speak I don’t feel the existence of any meaningful process of thought or depth of feeling behind his absurd pronouncements and daily contradictions. His words, even the puerile hostility and sarcasm, his main form of expression, seem to be uttered randomly, without any psychological context or an awareness of cause and effect; like a robot that has experienced a breakdown in its original programming.
He even looks made-up (and I don’t mean all the actual make-up), I mean that he appears to be the creation of some alien life-forms that were working without any original concept or diagrams of what a human actually looks like.

But of course, Donald J. Trump is real.
He is the product of a sperm meeting an egg. He was born. He cried when he was hungry, had to have his diapers changed and had to be toilet trained (probably successfully). He had a father and mother and siblings; he has a wife (and former wives) and children. He’s attended schools and he’s created and run businesses. His body is subject to same needs as the rest of us—performs the same basic daily functions as all our bodies do.

So, as an individual human, Donald Trump has a history, a verifiable existence. It’s in his public form and behavior that I experience the unreality. I don’t see an actual man who has created himself as a national political figure—I see, rather, a surreal hologram of all the horrors of America’s past and present.

Currently, Trump is being denounced and disowned by “respected” members of the Republican establishment. Mitt Romney and John McCain have expressed their disgust and revulsion that such an unqualified, vulgar, and destructive man could be the party’s nominee for President. Mitt Romney, the hedge-fund destroyer of companies and jobs—one of the men who has successfully turned the American dream (however real that was to begin with) into a nightmare; Romney, who wrote off half of the entire American public as useless parasites and bums.
And John McCain, who would bomb, invade and occupy every inch of the planet in a vain attempt to get back what he perceives to be his lost honor and manhood. McCain, who, when asked on the campaign trail, couldn’t even remember how many houses he and his heiress wife owned.
The pillars of the Republican Party are shocked that Trump has the support of evangelicals and White Supremacists and the great majority of the country’s aggressively ignorant or bigoted citizens. But, in fact, these are the very same people that the Party has assiduously and successfully courted for the last sixty years as one of the main foundations of its support!

The response to this criticism from on high could easily have been anticipated. Trump’s followers are angry that these pompous hypocrites are insulting their idol and instructing them on who they should vote for. And they (the Trumpers) have a right to be angry. The old Republican men’s club (ORM) has never had anything but contempt for them. And as Trump hastens to point out, Romney and McCain were losers themselves. (In Trump world—not that this applies to Romney and McCain—there is no such thing as a noble fighter for the cause who didn’t win—there is only the pitiful spectacle of someone who didn’t win and is therefore worthless).
Of course, being desperate that “their” country is slipping away from them and that there are no jobs or even the promise of jobs, Trump’s people completely disregard the fact that no one could possibly have more contempt for them than their own hero. They admire his contemptuous attitude toward the whole world, they just don’t think he means to include them in it.
I think Trumps fans (that’s what he calls them) couldn’t care less about who is or isn’t a real Republican. They’ve let go of that old form of predictable political structure and have marched into new territory (new territory which is, frighteningly, not really new at all).

And then there’s the sensationalist print and electronic media that have deliberately spent the last few decades building up a similar fan base of tens of millions of misinformed, hate-filled bigots and fools; the sarcastic and vicious talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, the shameful liars and touts of Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s scandal sheets. All these people and organizations are now having to deal with the insults and attacks of the monster they spent so much time and energy creating in the first place.
Trump and his hollow, grandiose posturing, his empty-headed, poisonous comments on politics and culture, have been given tens of millions of dollars of free publicity by the very organizations that are now having to deal with the torches and pitchforks of his followers.
And it’s not just the usual suspects. It’s also the radio and the TV Networks and cable news stations like CNN (and even MSNBC) with their 24/7 world of over-caffeinated, sound-byte interviews and constantly “breaking news.” “BREAKING!!!—The President is going to give an address in 23 hours and six minutes… BREAKING!!!—The President’s address is only 23 hours and four minutes away… We have no idea of what the subject of his address is but we go now to our panel of experts for an analysis of what they think it might be—right after this break.”

But it’s not just the dishonest appeals to the worst in people that the Republican Party has indulged in for so long, or even the sensationalist, dumbed-down “reporting” and commentary of the right-wing and other media that has created and inflated the racist, sexist belligerence of Trump and his lumpen mobs; it’s the long, deep, ingrained culture of America itself.

Trump—not the man himself (whoever that may be)—but Trump, the glowering  fascist, the national figure who represents tens of millions of Americans, is the final realization of the darkest parts of our country’s history; the theft of the land from, and the mass murder of its original inhabitants; the great, indelible stain of slavery and the continuing repression and murder of African-Americans; the fear and hatred of poor immigrants who are trying to escape tyranny and misery in their own countries (a lot of it aided and abetted by long-time US policy); the relentless degradation and demeaning (historical and current), of women; the pure intolerance of anyone who isn’t white and Christian.
Trump’s public declarations of rage stem from the same mindless psychopathology that enabled the United States to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and murder two-hundred-thousand innocent people.
His very appearance—the pompous, Mussolini-like posture, the hooded expressionless eyes and downward, twisting frown—is shaped by the same arrogant colonialism that allowed this country to use napalm, bombs, artillery shells and bullets to slaughter over a million Vietnamese.
Whatever it is that flows in Trumps veins springs from the same source of over-weaning greed (and ensuing destruction) that has informed so much of our country’s internal and external behavior since the first Europeans set foot on this continent.

Trump is also the end product of the brainless (and increasingly sadistic and violent) culture of “amusement” and celebrity that has infected the soul of America. He is the shimmering, golden hallucination of millions of people who (for various reasons) have no meaningful life and spend most of their time watching other people suffer embarrassment, humiliation and pain to win a prize or to merely imagine themselves “famous” for a very brief moment in time.

This celebrity culture is an amalgam of our long-time consumerism and our narcissistic, tech-addled society.
I think that many Americans see their lives reflected on a shifting screen of electronic impulses—a screen on which the images are vivid, clear and endlessly stimulating but have no reality—a fantasy mirror that merely hides the barren landscape that stretches out behind it. It’s hard to distinguish anymore between what’s real and what’s “virtual”. And this is where Trump appears and triumphs—in this netherworld between reality and fantasy.

In old myths and fairy tales, when an evil dragon appears and begins to ravage the land, a savior appears as well; a knight, armed with a magic lance and a pure soul—a champion of the oppressed who defeats the monster and saves the day.
So where is the knight in shining armor with a pure soul who will save us from this new dragon? We look up from our prayers for salvation and who do we see? Hillary Clinton—and we are, once again, possessed by an all too familiar sense of powerlessness. We sigh to ourselves and say,”It will have to, once again, be the lesser of two evils.”
Yes, there is Bernie Sanders, but corporate state (Democratic chapter), is well on its way to ensuring that Clinton is the one to save them and is the only one who is electable—especially over whoever the Republicans choose.
Of course, Hillary Clinton is, along with politics-as-usual and the corporate media, one of the co-creators of Trump and Trumpism. She is the poster-woman for corruption and hypocrisy in our political system. Clinton is one of the old boys and girls club, a lover of power (especially military power) and a willing colleague/employee of the banks and the very rich.
Now that it’s necessary for her to convince the suckers that she should be the candidate (and later, elected President), she has discovered peace, love and the true value of the American worker. This embarrassingly phony persona she’s adopted is probably convincing a lot of uninformed Democratic voters but to anyone who is aware of her background and allegiances it’s just another exercise in cynical theatricality.
And to Trump’s people, her newest line of bullshit is just another reason that Trump is seen as the real “truth-teller”. “He says what people really feel”. Well, that’s true enough, even when what they really feel is irrational desperation and pure, unfiltered hatred. A lot of Americans are sick unto death of the lies and hypocrisy of their elected “leaders”, so when Trump graphically pronounces their (the citizen’s) hidden—and increasingly not so hidden—thoughts and feelings, he is the one (God help us) who appears to be honest.

So now we’ve passed the point where it’s a joke, where Trump is just another reality show with smash ratings. He and his movement have become the new American reality.
Hitler, too, was once considered a pompous fool, a harmless, ranting clown. German liberals, intellectuals, aristocrats and members of established political parties didn’t take him seriously till it was too late. When Hitler’s movement became truly powerful, German industrialists and leaders of the most right-wing parties supported him and supplied all the money he needed for his private army and mass rallies. And for quite a while—even, in the case of weapons manufacturers, through most of World War Two—there were people who profited from their association with him.
Ultimately, the right wing parties and corporations that imagined they could control him paid the price along with everyone else when he and his police state became so powerful that no established influence could alter it, and when he and his military went beyond the borders of civilization and brought down such terrible destruction.

In the end, if Trump gets enough delegates, he will be the nominee and the same thing will happen here that happened in Germany in the 1920s and ‘30s; The Republican party (despite some defectors) will support him and there will be enough right-wing billionaires to pay for his Presidential campaign.
And if they do fund him and he becomes the nominee, is it completely unreasonable to imagine a repeat of what happened in Hitler’s Germany? Would we see beatings and killings of non-Aryan Mexicans and Muslims, physical intimidation of the political opposition and terrorist acts blamed on “un-American” radicals (liberals, Jews, etc. etc.) so that Trump would be forced to take power to save the country?

But even if he is not allowed to get the nomination; even if the rich and powerful in the Republican Party wake up and see him and his movement for the self-destructive force that they are, Trump’s enraged mobs will still be there, looking for blood.
Trump might decide that he’s had enough excitement and go back to swindling people full-time, but what happens to all the people he’s whipped into such a frenzy. They’re not going anywhere. Maybe, if the next President and Congress wake up and decide that they want to preserve their power and continue the long-running comedy they’ve been starring in for such a long time, they will have to address the actual grievances of the alienated and lost people who have battened on to Trump. People need jobs, they need free health care and a free, decent education–and they need to see a purpose to their lives. Maybe then they’ll give all those funny unchristian non-white people a break. They’re going to have to, sooner or later, because these pesky foreigners aren’t going anywhere either.

Trump and his supporters, even the ones who might deplore his violence and vulgarisms, are a real threat to our constitutional form of government. But I think it’s essential to remember that one of main reasons they are such a threat is because our democracy has been so weakened and decayed by decades of corruption from inside. There is little difference between the two political parties when it comes to the fundamental realities of power, money and control. People are sick of the corruption and hypocrisy of their “leaders” and that, combined with a culture that has lost the habit of thought, reflection and even the knowledge of right and wrong is why Trump and Trumpism is ascendant.

I have to resist the desperate urge to deny the terrible reality of Donald Trump and his movement. No matter that he is seems like a broad-brush cartoon of a dictator, or that he resembles a grossly inflated balloon in a parade of nightmares; No matter that he is the karmic manifestation of all the darkness of America’s past and present. Yes, all that is true. But what really counts now is that he and his movement are having an actual effect in the actual world we live in and they have to be stopped.
You have to hope that there is enough functionality left in our democratic system to reject his rise to ultimate power, because if achieves that, we are lost. But even if he and his movement are rejected by voters, you also have to hope that the lesson is finally learned by the larger public and their elected representatives—you can’t maintain a democracy with nothing but deceit, violence, greed and power. It inevitably blows back on you and where one fascist movement (McCarthyism, Trumpism) is defeated, another one will surely grow in its place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 Responses to Heil to the Chief

  1. As I watch Drumpf’s rally crowds swell and his numbers grow, I experience a deep, gloomy sense of helplessness. How can people NOT agree with what you have written, how can this all NOT already be plain? I could never stand to watch The Donald on TV, not for a minute, but obviously I am in the minority. If he can be a national TV celebrity, hey — why NOT president? Any good (or bad) actor can fill the role. How much experience do you really need? How big do your hands have to be?

    We are a nation of idiots…with everyone ranting and spewing venom now. I am reminded of how startled and disappointed I was when Nixon trounced McGovern. How could that HAPPEN? Who are these voters? Well, the historical list goes on…Raygun, Bush Elder & Lesser, Giuliani, et al. Drumpf is worse because he is SO vulgar (although Christie did a good job of clearing a loudmouth’s precedent pathway for him in our metro area.) I’m not even sure that Drumpf is the worst GOP choice; Cruz and Rubio espouse much of the same crap ON PRINCIPLE…Perhaps their intransigent radical dogma is even more dangerous than Drumpf’s spontaneously improvised “positions.” He seems so precarious, so unbalanced and unstable. Within the last two weeks he was yelling “Boycott Apple! Hey everybody, I just thought of that!” ….Little Jack Horner pulled out a plum and said “What a good boy am I!” This is an aside, but —Just by the way, did he give one second’s thought to the potential impact on our national economy when he recommended a boycott of a major American business enterprise? No, but the slogan “Boycott Apple!” sounded real good in his head in the second when it occurred to him. The actual legal-ethical issue involved with Apple iphone security encryption is complex and nuanced, but why allow intellectual consideration to interfere with the pronouncements of a great national leader? I digress, but not really. That’s the way his policy tends to zig-zag. Now The Donald wants to change the libel laws so he can go after the press when he is criticized, and within the last couple of days he warned Louie CK that he “…better be careful.” Louie CK had compared Drumpf to Hitler, and the dumkopf willingly acted this out.
    I was glad to listen to some of Hillary/Bernie’s polite and thoughtful discourse tonight. At least it was not embarrassing, trite, insulting, crude, juvenile…WHAT?! Why should we have to even worry about such things? Part of our problem is we’re expecting a candidate to be able to effectively address all the problems of our society. If not, they’re criticized or dismissed. Bernie doesn’t have ALL the answers. Come on. Which president did? We inhabit an inherently imperfect world, and it’s been that way ever since Adam & Eve’s forced expulsion from Eden. Ah, the fundamental myth of our civilization.

  2. Tom says:

    “There is little difference between the two political parties when it comes to the fundamental realities of power, money and control.” … if “they want to preserve their power and continue the long-running comedy they’ve been starring in for such a long time, they will have to address the actual grievances of the alienated and lost people who have battened on to Trump”
    All true..
    Unfortunately they scare me on both sides of the fence. I couldn’t even stand to look at Donald Trump, he was so disdainful. But he has shaken up the “Business as Usual”. My hope is that it is for the better.

    • Don says:

      Well said and agree with you. However if it’s Bernie and Trump I will vote for Bernie. If it’s Trump and Hillary will vote for Trump. I believe Bernie can shakeup the system

  3. Sally says:

    You continue to astound me in only the best of ways….keep on writin’!

  4. Tom Elliott says:

    I’m no expert but I think so far the experts have made both bad and dismissive assessments of both Trump and Sanders.
    I also think the Democratic National Committee is gambling when it comes to the clearly irresolute favor and blind bias for Clinton. I’ll cite Don’s reply to a previous post above as an example. I have heard the similar anybody but Clinton opinion in an almost mantra fashion repeated around my personal and public environs hear in southeast Michigan.
    There is and always has been in the public the full range from dislike to hate for Hillary Clinton and the party leaders continue to ignore that, folks just don’t get warm and fuzzy for her.
    I would not be taken aback if Trump were to beat Clinton, maybe I’ve been reading the wrong polls but so far the results aren’t matching the forecasts. Trump was to be finished by Thanksgiving.
    The Quinnipiac usually showed Sanders over Trump by a larger margin versus Clinton over Trump.
    Im saying my agnostic prayers that Sanders manages to wrest the nomination from the self entitled royal Clinton’s

  5. Michael says:

    As I look back at the political battlefield created in my lifetime of 67 years not much has really changed. As I sat in my high school literature class and heard the announcement that our President John F. Kennedy had been murdered , in Dallas , the realities of anyone , with the exception of Jimmy Carter trying to create peaceful discourse does not come to mind. Having lived through the horrors of an actor playing a politician first as my governor then as our President the American people have never had much concern for electing anyone with any real abilities or experience , especially that of a statesman. It’s all be pretty much downhill for the workers of our country since Reagan was hired to play the role of a lifetime and Bush Sr. was placed on his ticket at the demand of the powers that be. All of us , even those that cried the loudest have sat back in our caves staring at a screen , sipping our favorite beverage and only occasionally turned our collective heads as our Republic was stolen right from under our noses.
    The payoffs of the elected officials runs deep in this country, money slipped under the doors of politicians from city government to the halls of the White House! Talk about being sold a bill of goods by an inexperienced political upstart one does not have to look too far to see the current occupant of the people’s house to understand the feeling of being sold out. I feel it everyday when I hear rumors of Executive Orders being signed that I am sure if made “fully transparent ” would cause a cry of outrage.
    We all need to take stock of what we have created as a nation . Most people who never really wanted to be disturbed or were too busy working to look up as long as the Lazy Boy functioned as designed, the ever growing screen before us remained illuminated and the cold ones kept coming. Look before you my fellow citizens and gather in the gloom that lay before us. This great experiment designed by our founders has become a war torn , jobless wasteland, with its empty factories, it’s purposefully under educated graduates, with no hopes of a meaningful career , once employed family men living in run down motels, having given up hopes of ever finding a job to support their families. What about the lies told and illusions created by false flag terrorist events that are supposed to be hiding at every turn all created with malice and forethought and at the behest of our greed filled corporate masters . The result I give you the so called Patroit Act, a document created before any buildings were blown up , designed to strip away the basic rights of our citizens, rights fought for on blood soaked beaches, on dirt pathways , on bombed out city streets in foreign lands , when threats were real! Yes, these Titans of industry and their Bankster buddies who sold out their nation to fill their narcisstic ego manical souls, and to what end ? While the citizens of this nation, the now invisible middle class ,the working poor are left with not much more than a carnival come to town with an obnoxious barker at its entrance as the potential leader !
    With no real electable leader with the power or guts to put a stop to the endless war machine , tearing through a parade of nations who neither requested our assistance , could stop our invasion or even desired our help, with the dollar teetering on inevitable collapse and a citizenry who has no idea what they hear is truth from anyone of our so called elected leadership or mainstream media outlets is it any wonder that the horrors of electing a shill for those who stand behind the veil could become a very real possibility? If, this situation that presents itself today is not a call for all those heretofore have rarely turned their heads to see what was happening to their nation then sadly I will go to my grave having witnessed one of the greatest experimental failures in history.
    We stand on the threshold of last stages of a facists dream becoming a reality in a country with most of the blood sucked out of its soon to be lifeless corpse, so what’s next ? When will the extermination of the undesirables begin, when will the gates open wide at the internment camps and begin greeting their guests? We have all been manipulated , even those of us who cried the loudest .

    • Mike Feder says:

      Michael,

      A beautifully written, passionate, and ultimately sad summing up of the current state of our poor country.
      Sometimes I think the way things turned out was inevitable–especially when you have country founded as much on greed and power as on idealism and equality.
      From the start (slavery and the treatment of the native people, etc.) the USA was based, in reality, on bloodshed and aggrandisement as much as it ever was on liberty and equality.
      I’m a couple of years older than you but I remember growing up proud to live in the USA–proud of our fighting dictators in Japan and Germany, proud of freedom of speech, etc. Most of the feeling of pride left me with the war in Vietnam. But also, I just got older and learned more about the country’s history and the realities of power.
      I think it’s true that, back in the Fifties and Sixties, for instance, there was more freedom of speech and more of a sense that one’s words and one’s vote really meant something–but maybe I was just being naive.
      On paper, and in many ways throughout it’s history, our country has been a noble experiment, but the baseline of power and greed was always there too.
      Again(!) this fall we will have (if Clinton is the Dem. nominee) the lesser of two evils–a scene that has been repeated over and over again–to the point where it seems to take away all belief in the viability of true democracy.
      Anyway, thanks for the moving response–

  6. Carolyn says:

    I voted twice for Obama and now I am voting for Trump. Only someone completely outside the system can fix it now. Only Trump will rollback the trade agreements that have decimated the middle class.

    Do I applaud everything Trump says or does? Not by a long shot. But a little voice in me says, ‘he couldn’t be any worse than we’ve had. Why not give him a shot?”

    I think the press is entirely missing the story in the numbers of Democrats that are disillusioned by 8 years of Obama and now will vote Republican.

    • Mike Feder says:

      I think it’s really unpredictable. I deeply detest Trump but I feel the same about Hillary Clinton. People are sick of the same old corporate state figureheads like the Clintons and Obama, that’s true and I agree that that is why so many people feel like Trump is a breath of fresh air.

  7. Eugene says:

    Eloquent brilliant beautiful passionate persuasive writing – but what about his platform? The bad trade agreements? He’s the only one who says he will fix those agreements, which destroyed the American economy (according to Ross Perot 1992). I’m not saying I support him but this is what I hear from my friends who do.
    Ross Perot 1992
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkgx1C_S6ls&feature=youtu.be

    Industrialists supported Hitler to stop the Communist advance on Europe, according to this researcher:
    JFK to 911 it’s all a Rich Man’s Trick
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Qt6a-vaNM

    McCarthy was not a fascist. He was a patriot, according to Maureen Heaton’s meticulous documentation over 30 years of the decades-long secret campaign to undermine and destroy American sovereignty. History is written by the vanquishers. You won’t find this in the Strand or on Amazon –
    The Impossible Dream:
    http://www.slideshare.net/RareBooksnRecords/the-impossible-dreammaureenheaton1990356pgspol

    The vast conspiracies that have brought down America (in the 2 sources referenced above) have completely demoralized me. The power and breadth of what they did and continue to do is beyond my ability to express. I forget most of what I read but I’m left with a sense of what’s true. For anyone who ignores it because they don’t “believe” in conspiracies: whatever works for you, good luck.

    • Mike Feder says:

      Thanks for the links, Eugene.
      No doubt there are conspiracies–and I think the worst one, in my opinion, was and is the corporate state–which Eisenhower pinned early on as the military industrial complex. This kind of thing was always going on in American history, through Dems and Repubs, but went into very high gear after WW2– I think Hillary is just the same old thing. I really detest Trump, but aside from his refreshing stands on issues, I don’t think the real power in the country would let him actually be President.

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