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THE FACE OF YESTERDAY – TODAY

July 27, 2017

THE FACE OF YESTERDAY – TODAY

When I see the presidential spokesperson and daughter of the Arkansas preacher-governor Mike Huckabee on television defending Trump’s indefensible antics I have to control my own responses which range from laughter to outrage. I can neither compare nor control Trump’s version of reality with mine, nor can I control the spin and duck and dodge his press representatives are forced to use to cover his narcissistic instincts as he brings them out of his dark otherworld to ours. I do not envy them their tasks.

However, it has occurred to me as a long time liberal that I have been too hard on the Evangelicals; that they simply and in most cases just want to bring back yesterday, a sociological yesterday of the Norman Rockwell era in which dad went to work, mom stayed home, and their kids played hopscotch , went fishing, and did other Tom Sawyerish things; a world where dad’s job was well-paying and secure, where his union saw to it that he and his family could have a home, a car, and a pension, and all on one paycheck for a forty-hour week.

World War II was over, the economy was booming, Wall Street was fairly sharing the economy’s income, taxes were fairly levied, and most if not all was well with America as families bought into the blessings of democracy and happily traveled down the road to American greatness and a sense of exceptionalism, especially when contrasted with the then recovering economies of war-torn Europe and the Orient.

Then politics reared its ugly head. From the Iron Curtain speech of Churchill in Missouri to the Cold War and the Cuban-missile crisis and the Viet Nam and Iraqi Wars, domestic politicians found ways to destroy that idyllic era, and did, and when running out of excuses for war, they inserted race, abortion, religion, immigration and other such manufactured problems into the mix to keep the pot boiling for political advantage. It didn’t have to be that way, but that is the reality we have to deal with today.

The above is prologue designed to give a background for what I think evangelicals are lamenting today, i.e., the loss of yesterday. It is easy for us liberals to dismiss the evangelical vote for Trump and play the elitist role of attributing such vote to ignorance, lack of education etc., but that is not the case. Ignorance knows no party. I know many Evangelicals who are certainly not ignorant or under-educated and who voted for Trump, and why? Did he ignite their resentment of their present situation where the good old  days are gone because of lost jobs to China, immigrants who are going to take what jobs are left here, fear of Muslim terrorism, unrestricted abortion etc.? Yes, and more, as though his election would suffice to make all these bad things go away. He lied; tidal waves are not easily shunted aside.

Thus while I can understand how otherwise good Evangelicals can have made such a toxic choice for president based on their background and experience and a hope for return to the good old days, the fact is that those good old days aren’t coming back and that whoever was elected cannot bring them back because the die is cast and socioeconomic outcomes are what they are irrespective of who heads the government. The issues involve not whether we are to have automation, immigration or even abortion. Those issues, if they are issues at this stage and whether we want to continue arguing about them or not, are decided. My Evangelical friends are beating a dead horse. For instance, the question is not whether we white people are headed for minority status. It’s a settled fact, among other such sociological predictions; only the timing is available for argument.

The question then, it seems to me, is not whether these changes in our society are going to happen because most of them already have. If immigration stopped today we white people would still be in a minority with only a few year’s delay of the defining event. Our Evangelical friends are going to have to somehow understand this and deal with this reality, among others.

The solution from my point of view is to quit using our time and energy in debating the inevitable but rather to use our time and energy in accommodating the socioeconomic and political changes by welcoming immigrants and infusing them with American idealism and the values that inhere in our practice of democracy. Many of such immigrants come from countries where individual rights and democratic practices are in short supply, so we are apt to find a willing audience among such new Americans and, if so, we might find contrary to naysayers looking for political gain an irony that immigration strengthens our democracy, a democracy now under siege from within by Wall Street greed and their political operatives.

While I can understand the reluctance of Evangelicals to come around to my way of thinking, the fact is that their yearning for a past with its then values to be those of our future is not in the cards. It’s not a matter of political choice; it’s just the way things are because, as Stan Greenberg points out in his book, America Ascendant, “The ascendant majority takes for granted that the country will invest in education, promote equality, build a stronger safety net, support the growing marriage diversity and acceptance of gay marriage, honor America’s immigrant diversity, and get moving on addressing climate change.” The Republican Party is opposed to each and every one of these soon-to-be changes and is on the wrong side of history with their spoon-fed and accelerating giveaways to the rich and corporate class while ordinary Americans, including Evangelicals, flounder in a leaderless government with such abominations as wage inequality and voter suppression.

Numbers don’t lie; politicians do, and the numbers say (in spite of the freak election anomaly of 2016) that Republicans are soon to find that their pretentious stand on social values augmented by immigration fears and a return to the good old days of yore is not a winning formula. The numbers say that the Republican Party must either become an advocate for change or, like its predecessor Whig Party from which it arose in 1854, perish, and as a liberal Democrat I would not like to see that since I think a two-party system is a good mechanism to have around in order to serve as a check and balance on the other party’s excesses, but it’s their move.       GERALD        E

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2 Comments
  1. I have come to the conclusion, as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. stated before he died, “Don’t be ridiculous, there hasn’t been a two party system in America for decades, there is only ONE political party in America: it’s called The Money Party.”

    That’s right. We have seen both Republicans (who historically have always sided with Big Business) AND Democrats (who use to represent The Forgotten, i.e. Working Man) morph into The Money Party. The Clinton’s, in fact, had an equally important and guiding hand in allowing The New/Fair Deal policies and programs that helped create the so-called “Rockwell Years” of post WW2 be dismantled piece by piece.

    The Clinton’s knew about the Powell Doctrine. What did they do to keep protections for the working family in place that FDR enacted during the Great Depression? How did they keep corporations and Wall Street from buying out our political system as had happened in the years leading up to the Crash of 1929?

    One word: NOTHING.

    In fact, as I have already stated, they helped push forward the dismantling of our manufacturing economy and protections from Wall Street and Big Business. Again, FACT.

    Same with Obama. What did he do to stop the continued path of political buyout of our government by Wall Street and Big Business? Again, one word: NOTHING.

    In fact, Wall Street and Big Business (and one can throw in the Military Industrial Complex) made record profits in his 8 years. Whistle-blowers of corruption involving said institutions went to jail in record numbers under Obama’s so-called watch. On going war for profit expanded under Obama. Meanwhile, millions lost their homes, jobs and savings with barely a sniff of help under his watch. And we wonder why millions of frustrated and angry people who have been the victims of lost homes, lost jobs and savings voted for Trump??? Really???

    We have seen this movie before for those of us who pay attention (and try to learn) from history, whether at a personal family level or between nations. Trump, like Hitler, is NOT the problem. He is a SYMPTOM of 30 years of Democrats (again, think Clinton and Obama recently) and Republicans having sold out to the highest bidder rather than looking after The Common Good. He is a symptom of 30 years of stagnant wages, the growth of poverty jobs, the disappearance of government grants for education, the vanishing of the 40 hour week, sick leave, vacations, etc, etc, etc. Like Hitler, Trump came at a time when enough people in this country are so pissed at the Established Order of The Money Party (McConnell, Pelosi et al), that they decided to throw a bull into the china shop….and that base is loving it!!!

    And I, frankly, don’t blame them. Naturally, Trump, like Hitler, will not solve anything and will only make things worse. But, again, Trump is merely a symptom of a Corporate/Wall Street Government that has killed the American Dream.

    Until there is a serious discussion (as Sanders tried to have while dismissed by the so-called Liberal News and the DNC) about the REAL problems that have led us into our Corporate Government and poverty jobs, nothing will change!

    Trump will come and go as all ideologues have throughout history. We will STILL have a Corporate Government when he goes. We will still have mega Institutions and their hired politicians of BOTH parties making billions of dollars on our vulnerabilities (as Obama Care has for the private Insurance companies and Big Pharma).

    I’m not holding my breath for any significant change to the corrupt system that is our government whether Democrats control things or Republicans. They have proven that they have worked in tandem to get us to this point in history.

  2. After the musical chairs of this past week, I don’t want to watch these actors continuing to play into the soap opera which is supposed to be our government. No one cares that healthcare is off, that the college debt reduction plan is bypassed, that Medicaid is not secured <- remember that this program helps our wounded warriors with treatment for their disabilities, as well as nursing home residents and children. And the thug who claims he will fire everyone defies belief. He is short.

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