Monday, May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017--"Vile Scumbag"

A friend, referring to Donald Trump, posted this on Facebook--
Vile scumbag. How I so purely and truly despise this spineless sack of shit coward. When will the carnage end? It is just so exhausting.
About all other subjects, my progressive friend is an otherwise moderate and thoughtful person. He is also literate. But here he is so in a rage that he's sputtering semi-coherently.

I have other liberal friends, all of whom oppose the death penalty, who are so crazed that they are cheering the death of Fox News' founder, Roger Ailes and they are so excited that he is dead that they are wishing the same fate for Steve Bannon and Rupert Murdock. I am sure others are on their death list.

When I try to get them to tell me why they have these feelings of murderous fury they say, in effect, isn't it obvious. Two words--Donald and Trump.

When I press, some confess that their rage is connected to the anxiety and fear Trump and his presidency have unleashed.

They are afraid about what will happen to the environment and the Earth (the New York Times on Saturday published a piece about the accelerating melting of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antartica--it is occurring so rapidly that many scientists are saying that by the end of the century, sea levels will rise by up to six feet, enough to inundate much of New York City and south Florida); they are worried about their jobs (many are professionals who work for or are funded by the rapidly shrinking government); they have deep fears about what their children will be facing (many are mired in tens of thousands of dollars of student debt and living in their parents' basements); and almost all are panicking about their 401(k)s.

Above all, most are feeling unable to do anything about it.

Rage comes largely from feeling powerless.

These are very efficacious people who are used to helping make things happen. They pride themselves on their ability to take on complicated problems and move them toward solution. They have been upwardly mobile and feel that this is because they have earned their way and deserve to be part of the professional and managerial classes.

Now, as they see things, everything is changing, becoming upended by the barbarians who have seized control. Used to feeling accomplished and even superior, they are now finding themselves being treated disdainfully. Being dismissed. And worse than death, being ignored.

The "deplorables" are in charge. The knowledge my friends have acquired, the history they have participated in shaping is no longer, they feel, valued. And since they cannot figure out what to do, what to think, or how to fight back, rather than dig in for the long haul and devote themselves to a sustained and relentless political and cultural resurgence, when together, they complain, they fulminate.

When I ask them what they think will make a difference, they say joining the "resistance" movement. When I ask what's planned, they say more marches. When I ask when the next one is scheduled, they say they do not know. When I ask how long ago was the last one, they tell me they are not sure. Maybe a month or two.

I tell them I don't think this will get the job done. In the latest polls, last week, 84 percent of Republicans say they think Donald Trump is doing a good job. Considering what he has been up to, we need to figure out why that is. We need to figure out how to push these numbers and, forgive me, figure out ways to reach out to some of them and get them to consider other ways to think about what's going on. About how they are being manipulated and taken advantage of.

In the meantime, some friends say they plan to post more on Facebook.

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