Monday, July 18, 2016

Trump and Hysterical Fear-Mongering

Reading Don Surber ("Trump Fascism") convinced me to put some thoughts down that have been echoing in my head for months now.

Lately we hear lots of claims that Trump will be some kind of epochal, "never before in history" downgrade from, one assumes, an uninterrupted string of virtuous presidents. It's only now, at this moment, when Trump is knocking at the door, that we must all go on high alert and man our battle stations to prevent what is sure to be the worst disaster EVAR.

I find this argument to be laughably stupid.

Exhibit A: Bill Clinton. Remember his conduct and how it degraded the office, and how after his term, and all the talk about oral sex in the news, and the stained blue dress, and all of that, the kids decided that oral sex wasn't really sex, so now 14 year old girls give out bl*wjobs like candy. Nice going, dipshit. And his wife has a long history of enabling and defending her serial abuser husband against claims of rape, harassment, and other charges. He was also disbarred from practicing law for a period of five years in the state of Arkansas, to avoid facing contempt charges from the Lewinsky testimony. Or was it the Jones testimony? There's so many of them. Again: Hillary Clinton is married to this pervert. Am I supposed to be more worried about Trump, compared to this team? Really?

Exhibit B: Barack Obama. He has already brought more shame and dishonor on that office in two terms than I've ever seen, BY FAR, in my many decades on this planet -- and that includes Watergate. He insults and demonizes his domestic political opponents, taunts and belittles traditional overseas friends while kissing up to despicable despotic regimes like Iran's, makes unwise promises he has no intention of keeping, and routinely abuses the Constitution by overstepping the power of the office and issuing decrees from the balcony like a Roman emperor. He does it all with a disdainful "I'm smarter and better than you" stance, and reminds you of it by referencing himself countless times in every speech. He is by far the biggest jackass, and the least qualified individual, to hold the office of President in my lifetime. And that includes Jimmy Carter, so ...

This is just in the last 20 years. The Clinton impeachment hearings were only 18 years ago.

The White House is not in good hands now, and it has not been in good hands very much in the last 50 years. Trump, whose life has been mostly scandal free, is quite likely an upgrade from those two.
But if Trump is just not your cup of tea, for whatever reason, that's a perfectly reasonable position, since voting is ultimately an irrational, emotional act in the first place. Most of us don't really use rational, fact- and policy-based reasons to vote for candidates; the vast majority of voters just don't have the time or aptitude to get into things that deeply, and we can't expect them to. Most people vote for candidates, actual people, not policies.

But the fascist talk, the "never before in history" talk, the "he's not worthy of the office" talk, is hysterical fear mongering. You might believe it, but that doesn't make it true, or persuasive.

Hysterical fear-mongering always rings hollow, especially during scary times when America already feels like taking a risk on a guy like Trump in the first place. People are very worried about the direction we are heading, and the quality of our "leaders" and governance, and as a result are much less risk-averse.

We already have a "fascist" in office, exactly the kind of president our system of government is designed to prevent. History shows that we had a remarkable succession of clowns in the White House, both in the last 20 years, the whole Nixon/Ford/Carter disaster, plus the entire period after Lincoln and before Theodore Roosevelt. In fact, we've had *lots* of lousy presidents.

Some advice to the Never Trump people. If (a) you're not going to vote at all in a public show of petulant defiance, fine, please just shut up about it already, or (b) you're going to vote Hillary in a public show of petulant defiance, fine, come out for Hillary and quit yammering about the GOP nominee. Pick one. And get ready to watch 2 or 3 Hillary nominated judges remove every last one of your freedoms.

Nobody ever said you are entitled to love every candidate your party nominated, and some of us had to put up with your shitty candidates in the past but we held our noses and voted for them anyway, and LOST. I voted for the biggest RINO of them all, McCain in '08, do you think I wanted him? And he lost. I voted for Romney in '12, a decent candidate, who I actually liked, but he was far too nice for presidential politics. And he lost and election that was very winnable.

What was your plan to compensate me for supporting your shitty candidates, and handing the election to an America-hating clown prince like Obama? I'm waiting.