Monday, June 06, 2016

June 6, 2016--"He's Not Hitler . . . But"

A very liberal friend sent me the link to an article by New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik with the ominous title, "The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump."

The dangerous part is by now a familiar theme to writers on the left--he'll encourage Japan and South Korea to develop nukes of their own, he will trample on the First Amendment, he will not respect separation of powers, and so forth.

The acceptance part is newer and describes how Trump went from being regarded as a joke and an entertainer to being embraced by most of the Republican mainstream. On Friday, for example, House Speaker Paul Ryan came around to saying he'll vote for Trump in November.

Clearly not familiar with Godwin's Law which alerts us to how Nazi references pop up quickly during disputatious political discussions, toward the end of his piece, unable to resist, Gopnik writes--

"He's not Hitler, as his wife recently said. Well, of course he isn't. But then Hitler wasn't Hitler . . . until he was."

Impressive--three Hitlers in fewer than 25 words. Perhaps a New Yorker record.

But enough with the Hitler, Mussolini, and fascism references.

Trump is ridiculous and terrible enough without having to go there. And, electorally, labeling him a crypto-fascist only makes his supporters crazy and further motivates them to get out and vote for him, including dragging to the polls family members and friends who haven't voted for decades, or ever.

In the meantime, I'm losing family and friends who feel I have gone over to the other side. And saying that they don't just mean politically but also in sanity terms.

So here's what I propose--

For those of you who think my struggle to understand the Trump phenomenon (and can we at least agree that it is that, a phenomenon?) is a not-so-tacit endorsement of his candidacy (it isn't), let's make the following deal--

If once, if just one time Adam Gopkin or Robert Kagan or David Brooks or Paul Krugman gets out of his New York or Washington bubble and spends real time wandering around in Donald Trump's America, if only one time, after doing a lot of roaming and listening, really listening (putting aside their conformation biases), if after spending more time on Staten Island and Toledo than in Georgetown, the Upper Eastside, or the Hamptons, if after that they write one column, just one, that expresses understanding, compassion, and empathy for the sense of betrayal Trump's supporters feel, their fears and anger, the residual belief they retain in the American Dream (in spite of the evidence from their own and their children's lives)--and of course their resentments and xenophobia, if you can point me to that one article of that kind I will cease and desist writing as I have been about the remarkable ad disturbing ascendence of Donald Trump.

All confusion about what I have been attempting to do will end. I will stop writing about HIM. Please, point me to that one column or op-ed piece because I am weary and bored with myself when it comes to thinking about our politics. It will at once relieve and release me.

And while you're searching for that confessional article, see if you can find another from anyone on the left who fesses up to how privileged she or he is, how out-and-out lucky he/she is to have their lives. Particularly how since the 1980s they have been beneficiaries of conservative polices. Economic policies, for example, such as the current tax system that they publicly oppose, citing its contributions to growing inequality, but which over the last three to four decades has reduced their marginal tax rates.

See if they confess that they do not know anyone who has volunteered for military service. Family or friend. How they do not know anyone who has been killed or grievously injured in conflicts that they for the most part at first supported.

See if they confess that though millions struggle to pay for health insurance, they have gold or platinum polices supplied and largely or wholly paid for by their employers or by their own businesses.

See if they will tell us that their children for the most part are enrolled in fine colleges and that there is not much problem handling tuition. I doubt if Adam Gopnik has a child at Brown that she or he has incurred any student debt,

See if they acknowledge that not only aren't their homes underwater becuase they can't afford to pay their mortgages, but if and when they decide to sell them they will most likely experience a hefty capital gain. I, for example, have seen the value of our Manhattan coop apartment increase ten-fold in less than 25 years.

And if I decide to sell it (in my building, apartments on average sell at full asking price or higher in less than a month) I will pay only 15 percent in capital gains tax, down from Bill Clinton's 20 percent as the result of the Bush (Republican) tax cuts.

And if and when one receives a sizable inheritance, again thanks to Bush, up to $5.45 million will be tax exempt. A much higher tax-free amount than during the Clinton years. During his presidency only $600,000 was untaxed.

If one of my progressive friends opts to terminate a pregnancy, no matter where one lives, if one has significant savings, is mobile, and willing to pay cash, there is no problem having one in a safe medical environment.

My privileged compatriots and I also have done well in the stock market and for the most part, again thanks to the booming economy for the well-off and Republican tax policy, for our retirement we have secure 401(k)s and other forms of savings.

And, of course, like me do you doubt that Gopnik, Kagan, and Brooks have weekend houses to escape too and have no problem with car payments or gas prices?

Much of this I and they fear will be threatened if Donald Trump is elected. Aren't we as concerned about our own privileges as we are about cuts to Medicaid and food stamps?

Again, please send me links to confessions and acknowledgments of this kind. Especially if the self-assigned word hypocrisy appears, all right, just twice in 25 words. That too would be a record and better dispose me to those worrying about how, because of Trump, the Constitution is threatened and fascism is coming to America.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home