Friday, February 10, 2017

A Political Discussion

On November 8th, 2016, the liberal left got our asses handed to us. So, as someone who leans that way, what should I take from this? What did I fail to do? How can I fix it?

Well, we're doing it now. We're talking.

This is an edited transcript of a couple of Facebook discussions I had with supporters of President Trump. In all cases, I asked a simple question: What do Trump supporters expect him to provide that the other candidates would not? I got some worthwhile dialog and some that ended abruptly. It is essential that we try to keep up the civil discourse between opposing sides if we are to make any improvements to our country’s undeniable problems.

I’d like to pose a question to Donald Trump supporters. And I mean this sincerely. What is it that you hope to gain? What do you expect your government to give you that they have failed to give you in the past eight years? What do you want?
I’ve seen plenty of sarcastic posts from both sides. Cracks about Trump and cracks about Trump protesters. I’ve written a few myself. But mockery doesn’t help. We call you names and you call us names. We insult you and you insult us. In the end we just antagonize each other. But what is it that you want? I assume that you want what is best for your family and your children’s future. So do I. You want what’s best for your community. So do I. You want what’s best for your country. Believe it or not, so do I.
I don’t want to deny anybody their rights. Not you. Not LGBTQ people. Not Muslims. Not women. Not Native Americans. Not blacks. Not anybody. And I assume you feel the same. Americans are Americans, whoever or wherever they come from. I want to join with those people who also want what’s best for their families, their communities, and their country. And ultimately, the world. So do you, I hope. So do I.
So please. What do you want? I’d really like to know.

One response:

He already accomplished it. He had no reason to run except for being a fed up American. So by winning he said what many people feel and that stands by what the people said when they elected him POTUS. No more main stream politics and media bias. Real change not smoke and mirrors and hey I am going to wipe my ass with my left hand because everyone else does… Stop illegal immigration… Secure our borders.

OK. I don't know of anybody who would disagree with that. But I'd like to see the president's plans. Illegal immigration is, by its own admission, illegal. But how is building a wall going to stop it? Isn’t that just treating the symptom? The question should be: Why do people want to come here illegally? If we take away that incentive, no one will want to come here. Oh, I’m not categorically against border security. Every country has a right to safe and secure borders. But if we have to build a massive wall, then something else is going on. What?

Some illegals come here for work. So, why do we employ them? If I can drive into town any morning in a pickup truck and hire some people to pick lettuce for the day and pay them $50.00 after 12 hours of work, no questions asked, I will do so. If I am required to check IDs, pay them minimum wage and deduct state and federal taxes, Social Security, unemployment and send them w-2's each January, then we can force people to do that without a wall. Of course, I hope you don't mind paying twenty dollars a head for that lettuce.

The outsourcing of jobs started in the Reagan administration. So it's been going on for five administrations, three of them Republican. If we were to roll back globalization, which seems to be dying all by itself, then, yes. There would be more Made in America products in Walmart. Our T-shirts would now cost seventy five dollars. We would have to go back to living like we did a hundred years ago. You’d have one set of clothing for everyday use and one going to meetin’ set. And you probably made those yourself. Maybe this would be a good thing.

I'm enough of a socialist to despise the obscene wealth of the .1% Robber Barons who wish to go all Downton Abbey on us. But I don't think stripping them of their wealth will be enough to give everyone a living wage. It would be better, of course. Nobody overseas would buy our products. But we could make our own green eggs and ham. Oddly, the sanctions against Russia had exactly that effect. Instead of punishing Russia, it motivated them to invest in their own dairy and vegetables. Russia is now the No. 1 exporter of wheat in the world. And it’s non-GMO. Europe is the one who suffered. As Homer would say, DOH!

So, I'd love to see Trump's overall plan. I wish him luck. Truly.     

One issue at a time and actually there are just as many countries supporting us because Trump is in office. There is always an opposing view… in the middle east.. lol Jon I don’t know too many people who have read as much as I have concerning the hatred toward America and it is deeper than you can imagine and has nothing to do with Donald Trump. I have an extensive list of titles I can summarize for you. The issues Trump is faced with weren’t created overnight.

OK. But you just brought up another issue. We were talking about illegal immigrants and job loss by outsourcing. Our reputation overseas is an additional topic. Do you have any comments on my comments above? For instance, the unintended consequences of barring illegal immigrants and replacing them with legal, properly paid and taxed Americans and the unintended consequences of relocating basically slave labor sweat shops overseas with OSHA regulated factories obeying our labor laws here? I'm not saying that those are bad ideas, just that we may find consequences that are hard to swallow. We may have to make a lot of changes to our way of life and our economic prospects. We should be prepared for that. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But our standard of living will necessarily have to change.

Regarding our image overseas, the Pew Research Foundation did a poll last year (2016) and found that, on an international level, the US is considered generally positively around the world, with unsurprising variation from region to region. However, Noam Chomsky quotes a different poll (WIN/Gallup) that states the greatest threat to peace and security worldwide is the United States. Not Russia, not Iran, not even terrorists. Us. We are now the bad guys according to this study. We went from the authors of the Marshall Plan post WWII, the country of the Peace Corp, founding member of the UN, and emulated abroad to today being the Evil Empire. And they are fighting back with the various security and economic alliances sprouting up around the world that pointedly exclude us and our Yankee Dollar. Bit by bit the rest of the world is learning to get along post Pax Americana. Some day we are going to wake up and the world is going to say, "No, thanks, America. We don't need you anymore." Shouldn’t that concern us?

The people I talked to in youth hostels in Europe a couple of years ago weren't hostile to me as an American, which might explain the Pew poll reading people’s thoughts about Americans, not the US. But they had stories of their home countries. I talked to a Libyan college student on his way home from school in Sweden. Remember Libya? The country Hillary Clinton destroyed and laughed about the impalement of its ruler? I wouldn't like any of that happening in my town, or anywhere else in the world, and would resent the country that did it, too. Do you blame them? We’ve pretended that International Laws don’t apply to us. When we do it, it’s OK. When Russia does it, it’s genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity! People around the world notice this. They’re not stupid.

Chickens eventually come home to roost. So, if there is so much animosity toward us overseas, what should we learn from this? How should we respond? Maybe a Marshall Plan for the countries we've destroyed? Vladimir Putin is now considered a hero around the world. Why? Because he stood up to us. He stopped the destruction of Syria and our propaganda machine went ballistic. The same thing with Iran. The same thing with Syria. And now we’re hobbing knobs with China in the South China Sea.

Post Script

Now that Donald Trump has been in office a few weeks, we’ve had a chance to see him in action. Some of what he’s done was actually started in the Obama administration. The immigrant ban, continuation of the border fence. Though Trump, in his usual style, made them grandiose and got the details wrong, resulting in confusion and Judiciary intervention. That doesn’t bode well. The corporate owned media has not helped. In misrepresenting what Trump says and does, it does as big a disservice as it did under Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc. going back to when the media could actually stand up to Washington. Ellsberg, maybe? Or the Iran-Contra scandal? I don’t believe anything I hear in the western media unless it’s been confirmed by a trusted source.

But more than that is who he is surrounding himself with. Those people are really the ones in charge, since they operate their own intelligence agency out of the Oval office. What they chose to provide or withhold from the President shapes his actions. He’s got an education secretary that doesn’t know anything about education, an Interior secretary that never met a national park he didn’t want to frack, an Attorney General that is too far right for most republicans, and a Chief Strategist who gets his news from Alex Jones. The rest don’t sound too qualified, either. Though I am inclined to support Tillerson as Secretary of State. As a businessman, he’ll be more likely to want to make peaceful agreements with countries than to blow them up. And that’s something. Still, he is surrounding himself with people hostile to environmental concerns, renewable energy, civil rights, women’s rights, science, and education. Rolling back regulations sounds good. But the Devil is in the details. Will he roll back the Environmental Protection Act? The Food and Drug Act? The Jungle, anyone? This does not bode well.

But no matter what, it will take cooperation from all sides of American political life to fix these problems. Trump appears to be taking a ‘no survivors’ approach to leading. This may be alluring at first, but there is bound to be a backlash. Quick.

Jefferson said that a well informed electorate was essential to keeping our democracy. I am asking for constructive dialog. Sure, I satire Trump but I also satired Clinton. Public figures have to expect that. But I won’t insult Trump supporters since we need each other.

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