Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Crave Unity If You Must - But Not At The Expense of Conscience and Moral Clarity

Image may contain: text that says 'ANALYSIS Many fed up, craving unity Mailed pipe bombs, deadly shooting amid political hostility'

Look, I get the sentiments and angst of "middle of the road" voters like Elisa Parker, described in a Denver Post front page story as terrified at the nation's polarization and desperately searching for it to end.  But for god's sake, that doesn't mean - or shouldn't - sacrificing clarity and conscience at any cost - just to get peace. It can't or we are all for the high jump.

There is ONE side, one source, at fault and it is up to even the "moderates" to figure that out before election day next Tuesday. It is simply not good enough to wring hands and bleat repeatedly about being caught "between both extremes" while you shift from "liberal to conservative" media to find answers.  The answers are there, in front of citizens' eyes- they just have to look- and not very far.  Then the source of all our travails and political division exposed as Donald J. Trump, as former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt put it last night on 'All In':

"What Trump is doing is stoking and inciting for the purposes of political power the worst amongst us to take action in his name..... This man (Robert Bowers), a fanatic  was radicalized by FOX News, by talk radio and a right wing propaganda machine that is as sophisticated as it is deadly."



I advise all readers to watch Schmidt's explanation of how and why Trump has waged a cold Civil War that has now become hot on the margins. And will get even hotter unless people come to their senses and put a check on his authoritarian narcissism.

We know, for example, that the White Nationalists marching last year in Charlottesville, e.g.
Far-right activists marched through the University of Virginia campus with torches on Friday night.
grew even more fond of Dotard after Trump said there were some “very fine people on both sides.  They took that as a cue to get even bolder.   We also know that Robert Bowers believed the caravan was caused by Jews and supported by HIAS. That's when he then tweeted, "Screw your optics, I'm going in!"   Would he have been that energized if Trump hadn't been pounding the "caravan" as an existential threat at every damned rally he had? I say, doubtful. So it merely took his already virulent anti-Semitism in conjunction to what he interpreted - from Trump's rhetoric - to be an immediate threat, to act.

See e.g.

Trump's phony 'caravan' hysteria led to the Synagogue murders: Adam Serwer for The Atlantic

Trump is the source of our current tribalism and "cold Civil War" to use Steve Schmidt's term. Trump, aka Dotard, even had the shameless audacity to blame Jews for their slaughter by saying they ought to have had armed guards at the synagogue. The same idiocy he had proposed (with his crank NRA lackeys) for schools after the Parkland massacre.

According to Stanford Sociology professor Robb Willer, quoted in the Denver Post piece, "the violent tribalism currently so ingrained in American life will eventually right itself". However, this will not be until the public decides it's had enough and stops rewarding politicians who use incendiary language and demonize the other side."

Newsflash! That is exactly Donald Trump!  Don't use excuses to deflect by saying (as WSJ's Holman Jenkins often has ) that "it's just his style",  or as some media pundits insist "he likes to punch back". (Hey, let this mutt punch back at a tackling dummy or whatever.)

At least, let's call a spade a spade and outright just say he loves to foment hate. It's in his DNA.

As Prof. Willer explained:

"That is the question of our time. Are we going to continue the war or are we going to choose peace? We don't yet know what the answer to that will be because while a majority are fed up with the political divisions it does feel we're stuck here."

Well, we're stuck until the message to cease and desist is sent. That opportunity arrives next week and as former Republican commenter Max Boot put it, the only way to send a clear message is to vote Democratic because now that is the only way to put a check and balance on Trump - wich the GOP congress chooses not to do.

As reported in The Guardian, it is Trump who has fueled a climate of hatred in general and antisemitism in particular, with the GOP congress acting as his enabler, several experts warned on Monday. Trump's  tone has justifiably received renewed scrutiny after Saturday’s massacre of 11 worshippers at The Tree of Life Synagogue, the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history.  David N Myers, a professor of Jewish history at the University of California, Los Angeles put it bluntly:

He has dramatically elevated the level of rhetorical tension in ways that do not discourage people from acting out their terrifying views,"
Trump renewed the offensive on Monday with a tweet that warned of an “invasion” of immigrants, echoing the hate-filled writings of accused synagogue gunman Robert Bowers.
Trump wrote thatsome very bad people” were mixed into the caravan of several thousand people, mainly from Honduras, currently travelling through Mexico. “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” Trump added.
Citing official sources, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration was preparing to send 5,000 more troops to the border to help with security, angering immigrants’ rights activists and others who say the move militarizes the issue unnecessarily for political gain ahead of crucial midterm elections next week.

But Trump’s choice of words also caused further outrage.
Again he tried to shift blame to the media on Monday, arguing that “fraudulent” reporting was contributing to anger in the country and - in yet more homage to Hitler - again declaring that the press was the “true Enemy of the People”.  Like a true fascist or proto-Nazi Trump has consistently  decried criticism of his corrosive rhetoric and fears over its consequences.  All of which are entirely valid, given only a confirmed tyrant would be at home with an obsequious press.
A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found a majority (54%) of Americans feel Trump’s decisions and behavior have encouraged white supremacist groups, compared with 39% who say they had had no effect and 5% who say he has discouraged these groups.
Critics say he has a history of using Jewish stereotypes.

In 2015, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition “I’m a negotiator like you folks” but suggested they would not support him “because I don’t want your money”. The following year, he tweeted an image of Clinton set against a background of US currency with a six-pointed star (reminiscent of the star of David) and the words, “Most corrupt candidate ever!”  E.g.
Image may contain: 1 person, text
His closing campaign ad further railed against “global special interests” and featured images of George Soros, a billionaire investor and philanthropist, and the Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, both of whom are Jewish. Let's not mince words here, though "the Donald" may have thought he was cleverly disguising his anti-Semitic hostility most of us saw right through it.
Subsequently, the Trump White House issued a statement to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day that made no mention of Jews or antisemitism. Then the press secretary, Sean Spicer, was forced to apologize after asserting that Adolf Hitler, who gassed millions of Jews during the Holocaust, did not use chemical weapons.

Myers went on to say: “There is a toxic culture of vilification and demonization that has pervaded American political culture in recent years. Donald Trump did not invent that toxic culture but he has certainly stirred the pot considerably.”

As I've written about before, Trump has also made derogatory comments about women, Mexicans, Muslims and others. Myers added: “He’s an equal opportunity and equal opportunistic vilifier. My surmise is that he doesn’t dislike Jews more than other people but I am stupefied by his unwillingness to call it out when it occurs, especially given his own family background with his son-in-law and daughter.”

Want to sent a message to stop this insanity? Vote all Dem, down the ballot, next week on Tuesday. Dithering about and unable to decide so you plan to stay home? Then you award Trump and deliver a de facto vote for more polarization and hate speech - also the destruction of vital social insurance programs if the GOP retains the House as well as Senate.

Not bothered by Trump's rhetoric and like his economic moves  (tax cuts, dergulation etc.) instead?  Then you are merely an accomplice after the fact to enable his hate speech further, under the misguided belief the economy will keep working in your favor. 

Here's the single takeaway or bottom line in this pivotal election: We are in the midst of a moral crisis and the leader of the political coalition that controls all levers of  the federal government is continuing to stoke the fires of fear, resentment and hatred that have led us to this moment. If you seriously believe not voting Dem  -and hence putting a check on Trump - is not in your self interest, there is nothing more I can write or say. You clearly believe the nation's welfare is of lower priority. 'Nuff  said.

See also:

We Can't Deny the Connections Between the Pittsburgh Shooting Suspect's Apparent Motivation and Trump's Bigotry

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