Trump–The “Pop” Populist, Hipster Joke

While recovering from a persistent super cough, I figured I had to have another go at Donald Trump albeit from a prone position. I admired Celik Kayalar for standing up and having his say about the Trump menace and the grave risk his candidacy poses to this country. Because, don’t forget, if Trump’s elected he’ll only be the tip of the iceberg. The ideological crazies, the rhetorical screamers at the moon, and every kind of conspiracy theorist will ride a loathsome political wave, a wave of change they say they want. But it will be a change, in the end, which only the ignorant, the egotists and narcissists, can profit from, because it will be based on the words and actions of a man who exaggerates everything, and when exaggerations don’t work fabricates preposterous lies and if the lies are insufficient to the day, resorts to a class of meta-ravings previously heard only from street corner prophets on midnight Tenderloin street corners, shouting anathema to the stars. The only difference is that those late night ravers are a lot better at it than he is.

How can you exaggerate a lie? Just watch this man. Shameless. But because the press loves him, either to praise or to slam, his brand of bullying is media- morphed into something pundits choose to call “Populism”. The North Dakota farmers of NORTHERN LIGHTS who, in 1916, rose up and took state power through the ballot box, were Populists. They worked collectively and established state owned banks, grain elevators and other measures designed to help small farmers survive against the rise of the Robber Barons, the Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies and, finally, way down the line, the Trumps.

What’s in a word? Apparently a lot. If the radical members of the Nonpartisan League had tried to operate under the banner of Communism, or even Socialism, they would have been Red- baited out of existence, and in fact, in spite of their attempts to avoid Marxist rhetoric, eventually were. But because I admire what people do and not what they call what they do, I’ll stick with Populism as a term which honors the collective action of embattled people who fight for justice in this world. But, to be fair, and with a nod to current fashion, I’d call Trump a “Pop” Populist and like everything else associated with this hipster term, a joke, but a bad one.

Rob


Reply to Celik’s letter:

Hi Celik,

Thanks for sticking to your guns and saying what needs to be said about the good things Obama and the Clintons have stood for and actually accomplished. Did they do everything we wanted them to do? Are we kidding? Nobody does, or can. This world is created by opposing forces and can’t be rightly perceived until the paradoxes and contradictions click in.  And let’s be clear, this is the human race we’re talking about. Maybe robots could all be programmed to be good, but not us. With humans, even bad action sometimes results in good results. And vice versa. So who could possibly believe that Obama didn’t try to fight against corporate power, try to elevate the status of struggling minorities, try to level the economic playing field, try to drag us out of a Recession created during a Republican administration? Did he have a magic wand and fairy dust which would insure the success of his social idealism? Have we forgotten how the Republicans worked the local highways and byways and by methods, both fair and foul, took control of the Congress in 2010? Did the Obama supporters of the time go to the polls that election day and back up their convictions? No. The liberals who failed to vote let him down just as he was getting started. Think it over.  Remember how Obama tried to be a world statesman when he was first elected, and how the world rejected what it saw as his parvenu assumptions? And for those who consider him weak, let’s remember that Osama bin Laden is no long with us.

Does anyone doubt that democracy is an adversarial system designed to substitute compromise for mayhem? If you think government is about being right or wrong or bad or good, you’re living a nursery rhyme. You need to read our most prescient founding father, James Madison, whose skepticism about people’s stated idealism (as opposed to their real actions) was the main reason he opposed an abstract morality as the standard for right political action. Checks and balances, constitutional barriers to all forms of extremism: freedom above all but linked to limitations on all forms of power. Because people, both murderers and saints, always claim morality for whatever level of self interest they pursue, we should take them not at their word, but by their behavior. And so you compromise rather than go to war. Or, you go to war because you cannot, or will not, compromise.

And, thank you, Celik, for pointing out that most die hard Trump Republicans are living in an alien world populated primarily by their own paranoid fantasies. What a terrible group, his rabid supporters, and how pathetic to read the ignorant hatred behind some of the e-mails you’ve received from them. The Salem witch trials come to mind. Maybe that’s a little grandiose, but the Internet has given us occasion to see how campaigns of hatred encourage many people to express their own frail delusions which they cling to with a quasi-religious fanaticism.

And thanks for pointing out that Hillary Clinton has never been convicted of anything. And this nonsense about her e-mail systems is all Junior G-man high school level posturing. Did a single piece of classified information get stolen by evil ISIS, or evil Putin, because of it? I’m sure those who wish the US harm have far better placed turncoats with more subtle ways of gaining information than trolling Hillary’s e-mails. And Classified Information? What a joke. Does anyone have any idea of how much trivia is “classified” and how little anything detrimental to state security could ever come from the sleuthing of two bit spy wannabes hoping to get incriminating information from Hillary’s ill advised workaround? Well, Trump and his crowd had to come up with something and they did… AND OUR MEDIA MADE IT NEWS!

When we look at the CNN and Fox News’ pundit panels huffing and puffing with what passes for “analysis”, while hamstrung by the fact that “news” corporations are business organizations created to bring profits to investors, do we have to wonder how things got this way? In the best of times politics is the Art of Sorrow, of Compromise, of the half measures necessary because humans just don’t agree with each other.  Politics is refusing to trust what people say, but watching what they do, and then trying to work things out before the bloodshed begins.

But a “media” which creates the fiction that a blowhard Narcissist’s views are commensurate with the good sense, grace and intelligence found in a mind like Obama’s, (and Hillary’s to a lesser degree) and pretends to create “balanced” debating panels half staffed with people who don’t perceive, or care about, the difference, pits ignorance against honest attempts to discover the way things seem to be, and is the mark of a fake media, a jive corruption of democracy. All views are not equal! Uneducated bullshit can’t be dolled up and called debate. But it is what feeds Fascism and that is what we’re looking at.

We’ve gone a long way toward creating a Mussolini in this country and, as we know from not so distant history, this type of demagogue often starts out getting elected in, presumably, democratic elections. And then comes the surprise. You mean Hitler actually meant what he said? And what do elections mean once ignorance rules? In one instance it meant that Mussolini couldn’t muster a majority in the Chamber of Deputies after the Italian elections of 1921 but was legitimized and placed in power by his gang of Blackshirts and… a King!  I know it sounds far fetched, but is it? Can a person so wretchedly out of touch with basic human sensitivities rule without violence, either the violence he inspires against himself, or that which he imposes on others? Can an ignorant real estate czar really know more about ISIS than the generals? As Obama says, he has no health care plan at all but acts like he’s Hippocrates redux. Can he really be the only one who can fix this country? I know a couple of plumbers I’d just as soon call in.

But maybe Trump doesn’t really want to study the world. Maybe he doesn’t have time for policy or respect for programs which can deal with the environment or actually defeat ISIS. Bombing the hell out of them? Does he remember Vietnam? Does he even remember the invasion of Iraq?  He doesn’t act like a man who wants to do the back breaking work presidents do. He talks more like a self satisfied monarch than a presidential candidate. Maybe King Donald is a title he could get behind. As a king he wouldn’t have to think of human enterprise as complex. And it wouldn’t matter that, unlike intelligent people, he doesn’t think he has to read. He could just order people around until his cockamamie ideas failed and he was either impeached, or, as a King, more appropriately, deposed. But in order to be deposed, he’d first have to grab power. And that power grab is something all people of good faith, sound mind, and empathetic hearts have to prevent. Because defeat is not an option for him. Trump says he’ll wait to see how the election turns out before he decides whether or not to honor its results. It takes a very arrogant, hostile loser to put it quite that way.

My view is that there is only one meaningful vote a person of good will can cast. And that is a vote against Trump. Refusing to vote would be like committing suicide in order to prove the sanctity of life. Voting for an alternative candidate with no chance to win just takes a vote away from the chance to, at the very least, keep our slender national hold on sanity alive for another four years. I’ve often voted for alternative candidates but not this time. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton, a tough woman committed to values I support. This guy Trump is a whirling weather vane in a tornado. He can’t guide anyone to safety but he can spin like a dervish, pointing in all directions at once while bloviating false hope about returning to a “greatness” which never existed, and, finally, helping to insure that the funnel touches down and “sauve qui peut” to any and all sucked into its maw, followers and opponents alike. And if that’s what we want, he’s certainly the only man qualified for the job.

Thanks for having your say, Celik, and for inspiring mine.

Rob

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