Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump’s Wants America to “Start Winning Wars Again”

So, a month and a half has passed since Donald Trump took the oath of office and became the new President of the United States, and still, the news cycle about what new outrage this White House came up with just has not slowed down any, has it? Some prominent member of his administration lying here, or recusing himself there, some travel ban targeting people of a certain faith here, then allowing corporations to pollute our streams and water there. An angry inaugural address is quickly followed by a fake press conference, and some traditionally big media players excluded from press conferences is quickly followed by a speech before Congress where people are hailing Trump because, finally, he is beginning to sound more like an actual president.

Of course, this was the unthinkable scenario for a long time, and for a lot of people, but it has come to pass. Trump won the election, even though many, if not most, people expected that he would lose, and that he did not have any real chance.

It is something that I started to think about recently, within the last couple of days, and mentioned a few times already how it did not come as a shock. Oh, it was a punch in the gut, and there was definitely some measure of shock that the country as a whole finally went through with this next step down. 

However, if you are like me, and live in the suburbs, there is a good chance that you saw what I saw, which meant that you just knew there were supporters - and plenty of them - out there. I live in Hillsborough, New Jersey, and frequently go up to northwestern New Jersey, which is the region of the state with wooded foothills, lakes and streams. It looks more rural, although much of this area now is actually quite suburban. And even months before the election, there were signs and indicators everywhere that Trump had his fans here. Mind you, I am not talking about reluctant Republicans who felt that he was the lesser of two evils, but people who looked at Trump and heard what he had to say, and thought that, indeed, this would be the most fitting way to "Make America Great Again."

There were bumper stickers on the backs of cars, and campaign posters on people's lawns, showing that he had real support in this region. This was especially true in northwestern NJ, the more rural part of the state, although in the more urbanized areas like Hillsborough and Rahway, there were quite a few supporters out and about, as well. But I have never seen such a stark difference in the presence of election posters and bumper stickers favoring one major presidential candidate over the other major one. Months before the election, I saw maybe one Hillary sticker or poster for every ten or so pro-Trump ones. Once the election grew near, that difference grew to ridiculous proportions, as it was probably 20 to 1, and believe me, that is no exaggeration! Mind you, this was in New Jersey, which is a blue state, and where Hillary' victory in this state was never really in doubt.

So, that is why I just could not find the election results particularly shocking. Plus, let's face it, the United States has gone in a generally more neocon, pro-corporate direction for many decades now, beginning with Reagan. I say this knowing full well that two Democrats were elected to the White House during that time, because those two Democrats perhaps illustrated this shift better even than the Republicans who won the White House during this time could have done. After all, both Clinton and Obama were considerably to the right on numerous issues than many mainstream Republicans were dating back to the Eisenhower and even Nixon eras. Maybe conservative commentators made a big huge deal out of the differences between Democrats and Republicans, and accused Clinton and/or Obama of being dangerously liberal to the point of being nearly communists. But in the real world, on real issues that matter, both Clinton and Obama were surprisingly conservative and pro-corporate America. So completely have corporations taken over, that it is hard to imagine that this was not done by design. 

Each election was one step further down for the middle class, as they watched the elite and corporations rise in wealth and power. That first step, with Reagan beating Carter in 1980, allowed the next steps to become easier. Pretty soon, it became a bad habit. In time, the White House was bound to go to someone like Trump.

Still, there was something different about Trump. It was his seeming flirtation with a kind of brand of fascism. This, too, I saw firsthand, during the last summer. In my son's hometown of Bloomingdale, fifth graders have to go to the middle school, which always seemed to me unfair. They no longer have recess or some of the other benefits of being in a regular elementary school, which bothers me still.

Anyway, as we parents came out of the school meeting, we were with the parents of my son's best friend, and they stopped and talked to this one guy who is in some kind of leading position in the local boy scouts (did I mention that my son is about to become a boy scout?). And these people began going on and on about attending pro-Trump rallies, and how the protesters would never dare go to the pro-Trump rallies that they attended, because they knew what would happen to them there.

Of course, to me, this sounded like an outright threat, and it reminded me of what you read about in the days before the Nazi takeover of Germany, when Communist gangs would battle Nazi gangs. Being that comfortable with physical violence over political opponents should be more than a little troubling, yet these seemingly typical suburban parents just outside of a school seemed to be all into it. It was a rather dramatic illustration of what, by then, was clearly authoritarian leanings by many Americans, and it was more than a little alarming.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am no fan of Hillary Clinton. In fact, as mentioned earlier, I hold her and the other mainstream Democrats as at least as responsible, if not more responsible, for what is going on, because they do it in a more hidden, less trustworthy fashion. They make great and stirring speeches, talking about equality and opportunity always being expanded, and always, they mention how special the United States is in this regard. They get the supposed liberals or progressives in this country feeling good and then, just under the radar, they will do something that is a big blow to middle class people of the country. With Clinton, it was essentially getting rid of welfare for workfare, supposedly. It was repealing Glass-Steagall. It was establishing the for profit prison system that has proven such a disaster. With Obama, it was maintaining George W. Bush's tax system favoring the elites and corporations. It was continuing the drone system and not ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as promised. It was getting rod of habeas corpus. And both of them were roundly applauded by people who would identify themselves as progressives the entire way, without too much criticism. With George W. Bush replacing Clinton, and with Trump replacing Obama, many of these same progressives loudly miss their former presidents, so that this complete lack of criticism for mistakes made continues, and gives the green light for other prominent Democrats to follow suit. Does anyone seriously believe that Hillary Clinton would have been far more progressive than Obama, or than her own husband?

If we had a real alternative to the pro-corporate party, which now encompasses most of the itinerary for both the Democrats and the Republicans, then we probably would have moved on by now. But if the biggest problem that Americans have is their inability see anything beyond their borders as worthy of their attention, their addiction to tradition, to keep doing things the same way over and over and over again, with each election, has grown more than a little cumbersome. Trump might seem like a departure from this, and in style, perhaps, he is. Yet, he really is the embodiment of the most extreme tendencies of Americans during these last few decades of decadence. He takes Reagonomics to the extreme. He blasts Jeb Bush because Jeb is too low energy for his tastes, even though the two men would agree politically on a hell of a lot, frankly. The difference with Trump so far is in style, but not so much in substance.

So now, we are where we probably could have figured to be, given the direction that we have rather consistently been going in as a country now for many decades.

If anything, this should prove, once and for all, that Americans are not somehow the exception, but that their tendencies are as predictable and counterproductive as anyone else.

Really, the only thing that is truly different about Trump is that he is willing to state, point blank, what he wants. But what he wants is largely what other recent presidents have wanted. Specifically, that is more power for the executive branch, more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and for corporations, and more spending on an already outrageously inflated military budget, a crackdown on immigration, securing America's southern border with Mexico, and to divert negative attention away from his own corruption and wrongdoing. The major difference is in style, is in how boldly he is pursuing that basic plan.

We all know that Trump has a big mouth. He is not a modest man, and he never passes up an opportunity for self-promotion, and to give himself rave reviews on his own accomplishments. He paints everything that he does in a favorable light, and never assumes responsibility for when things go wrong. In short, he is childlike.

That is in keeping with a society that has become completely fixated on youth culture. Everyone wants to look young and feel young, and this immature desire, this inability to grow up, has steadily gotten worse, and penetrated into ever more aspects of our lives. Now, it has penetrated into the biggest political office in the country.

Should we then be surprised that Trump, who many consider an overgrown, 70-year old child, conducts himself like a spoiled brat? At what point do we stop being surprised, and start to demand accountability. Some are demanding it, to be sure. But as a whole, the country is letting him get away with it, and I do not believe that you can separate this tendency to want to remain young and cool with allowing a reality television personality to become president, and to act like this is all just a big joke, like this is some reality television show where he gets to call all of the shots, because he knows what it takes to get good ratings. In fact, he seems to talk about the presidency in these certain terms, as if that is the only measure by which a president can and should be successful.

Now, here is Trump, once again opening his big mouth without thinking. He received numerous deferments to avoid service during the Vietnam War, but now that he is president, he is showing his true chickenhawk colors. Last week, he mentioned how American needs to "start winning wars again."

All part of his plan to "Make America Great Again," presumably, right? Because our recent wars were just so successful and cost-effective, that we should rush in headlong and start another fight somewhere.

Yes, this is the kind of "leadership" that we have in the White House again. A jingoistic administration that thinks nothing of sending American troops off to die for a war that surely will be very, very profitable to a select group of elite corporations, like Halliburton and Blackwater managed to do in Iraq a decade and change ago.

Sometimes, it really is hard to believe that Trump is actually president. But when you view the increasingly militaristic direction that this country has been going, it is actually no surprise at all. And indeed, it would be no surprise if this guy does get us involved in wars again, perhaps multiple wars like his Republican predecessor, and ones that will be just as costly, too.

And the fault will not be solely at Trump's feet, but at our own, for allowing such a chickenhawk of a man to represent us in the first place!

Yet, here again, it is hard not to bring up Hillary Clinton, and remember how she also was seen as one of those chickenhawks, ready to send American troop  to some new war under likely false or grossly hyped up circumstances. Surely then, the Republicans would be strongly opposed, as they were with Libya during the Obama years.

But you had better believe that the Republicans will largely be supportive of any war that Trump wants to engage in.

Only in America.

Trump’s pledge to “start winning wars again” is ignorant and delusional — and highly dangerous Trump's detour into war nostalgia suggests a profound ignorance of history and no understanding of the world BOB CESCA, February 28, 2017:

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