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Posts published in “Day: August 15, 2016”

The next day


Much - way too much - media time and ink has been wasted on Trump - the worst-ever candidate for president of these United States. The ever-preening, contributing-nothing, obnoxiously-irrelevant, tasteless Kardashian’s filled our continual thirst for national B.S. for several years. Now, the scourge of Donald has replaced them - aptly described by all those adjectives and more: habitual liar, guaranteed loser, wastrel, phony and dangerous.

The embarrassment that is our national media makes sure we know where he is from minute to breathless minute, what’s he’s currently lying about, who he’s currently condemning and how little he knows about the ins and outs of government. His affluent effluence is everywhere 24/7.

But, what’s generally been ignored is what happens in our country after November 8th - the day you and I are supposed to decide who wins and who loses. Will the sunlight of the next morning see the Trumpster retire to his coffin atop Trump Tower? Will Mrs. Clinton quietly begin forming her new governing cabinet? Will the general population - us again - go back to our humdrum lives, knowing the national election is now a burden of history?

The answer is “NO!” If anything, we’ll likely find our political lives more twisted, more rancorous, more divided and angry than the day before. The 50 gallon drum of worms Trump has opened will continue to pour out more rancor, division and anger as he settles in for the long haul.

He’s already promised as much in his oft-repeated lie that the election will be “rigged” - that the “system” is against him and those who cling to him. Trump is not going away. He’ll continue filling the empty heads of millions of his “loyal followers” with lies, challenges to lawful authority, noxious legal actions and just plain crap as long as he has breath and dollars.

The discord, the gridlock, the irresponsible misuse of power by the majority party in Congress, the political abandonment of all but the upper 10% or so of society and the relentless drivel of the far right will continue to jam the wheels of government. For his part, Trump has all but guaranteed it..

If this dour prediction comes to pass, there’s only one thing you and I can do to ameliorate the situation. We’ve got to assure the new occupant of the White House gets a Congress of the same party. At least the Senate. Without that, Trump - and the miscreant Republican far right - can hold the country hostage to whatever machinations he - and they - can dream up.

The national Republican Party has been all but destroyed by Trump, those who’d follow him to the Gates of Hell and the billionaires wagging the tail of what’s left of the GOP elephant. Should he continue his disruptions after the election, the national GOP won’t have enough clout or bucks to do anything about it.

Serious-thinking, forward-looking Republicans, disenfranchised by their own party and Trump, must form some sort of “big tent” cohesiveness to create a new party - a party relevant to today’s economic, civic and ethnic situations. We badly need a fully functioning two-party system grounded in today’s conditions to deal with today’s issues. We need a Congress with more moderate members willing to put self-interest aside and work for the common good. Neither party has all the answers. But, both parties may.

The new political reality is that Trump is not going away. He’s poured verbal gasoline on a large collection of unhappy Americans, mad at a government that doesn’t work the way they think it should, yet ignorant of the civic and economic realities of governing. Illegitimate voices daily stoke their wrong-headed anger with misinformation, distortions of reality and outright lies. Near treasonous voices that blow the disaffected this way and that as they spew their verbal garbage.

We may not be a two-party country at the moment. We may be more a nation of two amorphous groups - the Trump followers and everybody else.

It’s up to us - the members of that larger, more reasonable, thoughtful and responsible group - to take the initiative and begin restructuring our political system. Trump is not going away. As long as the rest of us stay out there on the political playing field, too, he can’t win. But we can!

Trump 86: Incurious


The last time we had a president who was widely described as "incurious" - that is, not terribly interested in learning about new things, or simply learning more - this country experienced, let's say, a wide variety of problems.

Presidents may run for office based on a collection of ideas or proposals, or subject areas, that are of particular interest to them. That's normal and may be unavoidable. But what's also unavoidable is that, once in office, any president is going to be confronted with a whole bunch of problems unforeseen before the inauguration, but which cannot simply be ignored. A president has got to stretch and grow, and a capacity to learn more, and to learn outside of one's comfort zone, is an important qualification for the presidency.

Many of our presidents, maybe in part because politicians tend to be social animals and do need to absorb and use a good deal of information, have had this quality to some degree. The absence of it is a problem.

How often does Donald Trump indicate he's learned something new? Since his whole persona is based on the idea that he knows it all already, he rarely does that. You could put it down to a campaigning style, but there are other indicators as well.

Maybe the best is this: How often does he read? Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, George H.W Bush and Richard Nixon, among others, read extensively, have been strongly self-educated in addition to their formal educations. Trump does not seem to be a reader - at least not of books.

He has said so himself, that he doesn't "have the time" to read books.

He is said to have kept a book by Adolf Hitler (accounts differ on which) on his night stand for some years, but there are also indications he never read it.

Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter for Mr. Trump’s best seller “The Art of the Deal,” said in a recent interview, “I seriously doubt that Trump has ever read a book straight through in his adult life.” (Or write one: You didn't really think he sat down at a typewriter to work on any of those books bearing his name, did you?)

Others who know him well have made similar allusions. And columnist George Will remarked in a July 30 writing, “It would be fanciful to suggest that Trump read a book.”

But then, why read if you already know everything there is to know?

Just to be clear, that last sentence was sarcasm. - rs