Tuesday, September 01, 2020
Is the Culture War Going Hot?
Ask yourself what America would look like if Donald Trump is re-elected president of the United States.
What would America look like by the time Trump would be sworn into a second term in January? What would it look like after that?
Trump has already erased any doubt that he is a cruel, vindictive malignancy for whom reality is a function of his psychotic imagination. He doesn't bridge divides, he doesn't brook dissent. He doesn't forget a slight and always makes those who offend him pay for it. He must always win which, by definition, means others must lose.
This psychopath has had an unbelievably successful, borderline magical, first term in office. He has subdued the Congressional branch of his party. He has weeded out the disloyal to the point that winning a primary has become an act of fealty. He has emasculated the lot, from Mitch McConnell to Lindsey Graham to Ted Cruz. None dare stand against him. He has turned the Department of Justice, the one agency that is supposed to serve the American people, not the executive branch, into his personal legal arm.
He has corrupted the federal courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court by his purely partisan appointments. He is proud of how he has stacked the deck for the nation and the American people for decades, possibly generations.
Trump has amassed a fanatical following, the Gullibillies, who are prepared to accept whatever he says regardless of whether they believe it. These are people who knowingly embrace lies as truth often told.
He has embraced and empowered the radical right, groups that the FBI and national security agencies have repeatedly denounced as the greatest terrorist threat facing the United States. They have become Trump's 'brown shirts,' his Sturmabteilung. To their excesses, including murder, Trump looks the other way and blames Democrats and BLM protesters for all the violence.
Trump has raised a private army, a militarized force drawn from the ranks of ICE, Homeland Security and other agencies that he can unleash on protesters in the name of law and order. They are dispatched to what Trump calls 'Democrat cities' to confront and incite protesters and crush dissent.
Does any of this sound like a president remotely interested in uniting the American people? Conflict is his shtick. He understands it and how to exploit it. He knows it draws the Gullibillies to him as a lantern draws moths.
If Trump wins, his sins and crimes will be buried. The Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee report that so belatedly acknowledged what Trump and his Congressional lap dogs so continuously denied - that the Trump campaign was neck deep in Russian collusion in 2016, will be forgotten.
Completely omitted from Trump's agenda is anything that could heal the deepening divide between white America and other, lesser Americans; between rich America and poor America; between the radical right and domestic terrorists who back Trump and moderate Americans who do not. From these glaring omissions it seems save to assume that these fractures would only worsen under another Trump administration, testing the warning that 'a house divided against itself cannot stand' perhaps to the breaking point.
The challenges facing Trump in a second term will likely be far more challenging and, for the nation, more damaging than what America endured under his first term. If Trump guts the payroll tax it is estimated that it could drain Social Security of funds in as little as three years.
Trump is incompetent. When confronted with challenges such as the pandemic and recession, he says he takes absolutely no responsibility for them. Instead he exploits them to blame others and worsen the already deep divides. He went into a trade war with China and he lost. Those manufacturing jobs did not come back but the agriculture sector was hammered by Chinese counter-tariffs.
As Trump has turned his back to the world, especially the "shithole" countries, American hegemony has waned. Power vacuums resulted and China has been quick to add them to its own sphere of influence. The past four years have been bountiful for China and its Eurasian ally, Russia.
Meanwhile Trump seems to be backing into a "Thucydides Trap" Trump is being herded by fanatics in his inner circle included Miller, Navarro and Lighthizer. Not for nothing has the Doomsday Clock been moved to just 100 seconds to midnight. Anyone exposed to war studies knows that many terrible wars were neither wanted nor intended. The First World War is a fine example of nations blundering into a murderous debacle. Remember this is the same Trump who, during his transition briefings before his inauguration asked military briefings what was the purpose of America having a nuclear arsenal "if I can't use them."
Say what you will about Biden but Trump's mental faculties have declined noticeably over the past two years. His intellect may have dulled but his basest instincts and impulses are still as ominous as ever, perhaps even worse.
Four more years of Trump may be more than America, or the world, can survive.