Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Deplorables

The term "deplorables" (except when famously employed within the context of a "basket of deplorables" by Hillary Clinton on September 9, 2016 to describe the intolerant and hateful nature of half the supporters of her Republican opponent Donald Trump) is a word that does not exist in highly regarded English dictionaries.  Strictly speaking "deplorable" is an adjective which has morphed into a noun referring to the "group of low-life, die-hard Donald Trump supporters who are on the fringes of society, like racist KKK members who support Trump. Now this same group of swamp-dwelling skinheads are no longer offended by the term, now they proudly refer to themselves as deplorables - akin to the way some people proudly embrace calling themselves hillbillies or red-necks or trailer park trash".

Unless one is bent upon making oneself taller by standing on others, the condemnation of Trump or his supporters is without purpose.  Besides, like so many other instances of difference, there is far more to be gained by understanding an opposing position than merely insulting it. This requires time and energy and some intellectual depth (a compliment not to be confused with attacking others with a blunt instrument). Enlargement of the scope of insight is not however guaranteed to translate the opposing thesis into something palatable or correct. There remains the possibility that an argument is wrong.

If for example Trump succeeded to "Make America Great Again", the universal perception is that that means an anaesthetized return to Norman Rockwell's America, repetitive subdivision houses inhabited by saccharin whites (male and female) with two children, a chicken in every pot, working at the factory, drinking beer and persisting in imagining that a national baseball game somehow qualifies as a World Series. What appears to have become deplorable (the "vox populi") in the Trump vernacular are abortionists, gays, blacks, foreigners and non-Christians, never mind Trump himself, Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Rudi Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, Fox News and Vladimir Putin.

"Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit."

And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.

It isn't much of a challenge to list the many ways in which Trump's purported effort to make America great again has failed miserably.

.  I cannot imagine that his reputed female supporters are any other than alcoholic bleached blondes who are irretrievably beyond fecundity. What little experience I've had with the abortion process leads me to question the opposition's keenness of thought.

.  Reviving the "don't ask, don't tell" mandate in the military is to say the very least reactionary, not to mention damaging and self-defeating.

.  The euphemistic employment of "Merry Christmas" to advance the cause of Christianity is perhaps the most irreligious proposition I've ever heard.

.  To pretend that white supremacists or Nazis have some equally legitimate complaint to those of alleged bleeding-heart Liberals is more than a stretch of logic.

. Associating immigration with social, financial, religious and racial contamination is an historically dated posture and one for which there is little support other than anecdotal prejudice.

The standard persuasion of the Trump dynasty is not that his new clothes are especially grand but rather that the economy has improved. First it is objectionable that part of the stimulus derives from the elimination of regulation - including such significant features as fossil fuels, waste contamination and climate control.  This narrowness has been augmented to foster an approval of isolationism which includes the appearance at least of abandonment of national trade agreements and international cooperation. Second it is objectionable that the world economy - even the American economy - is miraculously indebted to Trump.  My 7-decade exposure to finance has led me to believe that the ups and downs of the world of investment and money is cyclical; and that the event has little if anything to do with one national leader or another. It is preposterous to assume that the wizards of the finance industry suddenly saw Trump (a repeat bankrupt) as their messiah.  If anything it is more likely that those wizards manipulated Trump to do what they wanted.  Lest one sees this as a distinction without a difference, I remind you that the same financial demons have existed for centuries and that they were long ago hardened in their ways.  The mere change of administration is but a blip on their map of improvement.

If therefore Trump's so-called benefits are simply accidents of time and place, then one has to wonder how did he get where he is - namely, at the big desk in the Oval Office of the White House?  If I were to accept my deepest convictions - that is, trust your instincts and believe what you see - I would have to say that if I saw Trump entering a board room I would be puzzled to know by what strength he presumes to lead the charge. It is a small compliment to the American people that their President and the newly appointed justice of their Supreme Court are both accused of sexual impropriety; both hopeless narcissists and self-apologists; both angry white men who lie; both already suffering what will prove to be an endless dénouement.

It is vital to note that my attack upon Trump and his minions is not a disapproval of his supporters.  If as is well documented a large contingent of his supporters (who are not the majority of the popular vote) are those who have endured painful economics and other social disadvantages (health and education to name but two of the more significant elements), then it is perfectly understandable that they were motivated to change.  Even the most unsophisticated politician knows that the desire for change frequently out-distances the value of the candidate.  Change is the common sweetness of many an election. I don't however sanction the hope for change as a well-founded basis of disagreement.  Nor do I rely upon the dismissive adage that it is the privilege of the masses to mock their betters.  Indeed I question who is better - he who foments anger by fuelling conflict; or he who seeks to improve the lot of others.

Another hackneyed kernel of politics is that the memory of offence is short. We have spontaneous and greedy appetites for diversion and entertainment, both of which we're as quick to ignore by the next news cycle. While the mindless masses flog themselves with accusations and assaults concerning the comprehensible trifles of daily administration, the real business of running the country is taking place in the shadows. The truculence of the groundlings is mere theatre, as amusing to themselves as to those in the galleries.

Meanwhile it rests upon us to contemplate the needs of others.  If it is true that the most challenging delicacy is to listen to our opponents, then I remind you of the adage of the weakest link in the chain. Until we address that primary need we are at risk of contaminating our objective for universal upswing.  This entails the occasional exposition of fair gamesmanship to acknowledge the success of others.

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