Our Naive Assumption

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Brooking’s Lib began his last essay by asking why anyone would ever vote for a Republican. He then went into great detail about why Republicans represent a clear and present danger to America today. He concluded his essay by asking, “Am I wrong?”  No Jeff, you’re not wrong. You’re 100% correct. I’d like to offer some additional thoughts I’ve had for quite some time however.

To answer your question simply, people vote for Republicans because they like what they’re hearing from Republicans. That part has never changed.

But many things have changed. Things are very different now. We see what’s happening on the news, we read about it and we feel it in the air. We’re at each other’s throats and we literally hate each other. Many say it’s not impossible that we’re heading for another civil war, and it wouldn’t surprise me because the hatred and feelings of justification are there to say nothing of the powder kegs. All we need is a white-hot spark. What brought about these kinds of changes?

Donald Trump, of course.

If Trump only understood one thing well while in office, it was how to use social media platforms to tap into the bigotry, division and hatred below the surface and make them gush out like broken water mains. But how did a guy like Donald Trump come to be our President?

Our laws just let him in.

It seems our laws were built around what has proven to a naïve assumption that nobody would ever come along and actually try to destroy our democracy. We all felt that such an act would be impossible with such a strong government in place and that no citizen would ever be so ‘Un-American’ as to try. We put faith in the idea that everyone would play by the rules, even if we had ‘spirited’ disagreements. How wrong we were.

If our Founding Fathers installed safeguards to protect our democracy from evil players, they’ve certainly proven ineffective so far and that fact goes to my point that America never envisioned or believed that a ‘Donald Trump-Type’ President was coming or that a January 6th insurrection was even remotely possible.

Trump slipped in legally. There was nothing wrong the 2016 election. He won more electoral votes than Hillary and got the win, even though more citizens voted for Hillary than they did for Trump.  If we had used the Popular Vote to elect our President in 2016, we wouldn’t be on the verge of losing our democracy today. Put another way, we all wouldn’t be swimming in a bucket of piss right now.

Trump came in like a trojan horse and easily did his dirty work. The Democrats got on their podiums and vociferously reminded him that he was expected to follow our rules and our laws. He came in with no such intentions. He simply ignored our rules, and backed by his complicit enablers in congress, he packed the Supreme Court so the Justices could legally change our rules to help him down the road. In our present day we can see his plans have worked very well. We have a GOP congress who knows they need only obstruct, stall and ignore our laws and they’ll eventually get their ways. And of course, our lopsided Supreme Court will likely have their backs. The bigger problem is that we can now do very little about it.  Just as we once never dreamed that fully-fueled passenger jets would make excellent terrorist weapons, we never dreamed our own rules, procedures and laws would one day render us paralyzed and unable to fend off attacks from within… which is exactly what’s happening now.

We’re not high-thinking people in America, at least not those of us who need to be.  We vet our supreme court picks but have no such process in place for those who run for our highest office. We rely on the antiquated Electoral College to choose our President instead of going with the will of the majority. We allow the filibuster and the almost certain impossibility of supermajorities to hog-tie us and allow a minority Congress to rule. We then tolerate a lopsided Supreme Court to potentially guide our country for generations to come.  How can any of these things seem okay in our modern world that’s so different from when we started?

Over his time in the Oval Office, Trump quickly amassed more than 150 million followers across his social media platforms, and through them he fanned the flames of bigotry and hatred even more. He coined the term ‘Fake News’. It was brilliant in a diabolical sense because now his followers truly believe that genuine news is fake, and Fake News is genuine. Even worse, it’s progressed to the point where if one doesn’t like what one hears, it’s dismissed as being Fake. If one likes what one hears, it’s accepted as being factual. ‘Fake News’ is Trump’s legacy in more ways than one.  We have people in the streets ready to go to war for our country because Trump told them that Joe Biden stole the election away from him. They think they’re the patriots and the Democrats are the insurrectionists. And of course, they’re wrong. But they swear that we are wrong. 

In a democracy where we vote to choose our leaders, facts are immaterial on election day.  All that counts are the beliefs, founded or not, that people bring with them to the polls.

It seems to me that the rules of our game were written with an underlying assumption that every player would naturally follow them fairly and justly, because that’s what we’ve come to expect of all good American Citizens. That’s not what’s happening. Trump changed the rules of the game while Democrats relied on the same old playbook. We’re presently getting the shit kicked out of us. By the looks of things, 2022 will simply clear the path to the end of our democracy in 2024. It’s surreal to think that. From where I sit however, it appears we need miracles to occur. 

I have no solutions to offer that aren’t “too little, too late.” If we survive this, it’ll prove to every person in our country and in the world how resilient America can be. This is easily the greatest test for our country. If the Democrats pull some needed rabbits out of their hats and end up on the winning side, changes need to be made. Big changes. Changes big enough to allow us to make other changes when we most need to make them. Unlike our situation now where we can do little else but sit back and watch our country destroy itself from the inside out.

27 comments

  1. Because of how corrupt Trump’s means of governing over the U.S. had been, that’s why the voters are no longer happy, which showed in the last election, as the Democrats won, and, we are often, misconstrued in our beliefs that if the party ruling over us is running the country into the ground, we vote the other way around, and things will get better, but this doesn’t change, because what’s corrupt is, the party politics, and, if the party politics don’t change, then, it wouldn’t matter WHO won the elections.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Some astute, overdue commentary from Ohio Realist. I am sad and sickened to say that I agree with your assessment and share your pessimism about our nation’s future. What saddens me most is that some folks close to me have no love for Trump, but they refuse to say anything because they don’t want to rock the boat. I say, “Better to rock the boat now than to sink with it in 2024.” But, alas, I’m looking for a floatation device.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, thanks! 🙂 Very kind of you to say. ‘Overdue’ is an understatement, definitely. Jeff knows the long version, but the short version is that last March, I thought I was back… then responsibilities in my life basically tripled. It’s tough going and it won’t be getting any better in the long run. My wife and I did get some assistance on our end though… she’s no longer caring for her parents by herself.

      Flotation device… yep, that may be what were all going to need! Thanks Sir!!

      Like

  3. Awesome job partner! You’re spot-on. We are certainly at a precipice in this country. The pandemic has only exacerbated that which has been simmering for years. I’m trying to stay optimistic but then I see that the disgraced former president is still holding ‘rallies’ fanning the flames of flat out racism and division. This is unprecedented in America. We’ve got to do something about him. Otherwise? I don’t even want to think where we’re headed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeff, tRump is forced by his own ego to continue holding rallies. He NEEDS that adulation and praise. He’s always looked for ways to get in the public eye … his run for the presidency was the ultimate opportunity … and he’s not going to let it go. To the country’s demise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s why I hope the man is ultimately charged with a crime surrounding the 2020 election. And convicted, of course. Do we have those in government with the spine to make that happen? I’m not encouraged

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I hear you Jeff. It’s hard to think about, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder if I got it all wrong, but everything is pointing that way. What kills me is how easily they made their moves. We were just wide open.

      As always, thanks for all your patience!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, the guardrails weren’t really guardrails Greg. Mostly, they were made of paper, just waiting to be shredded by a lunatic autocrat like Trump. SIGH

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Seems we are both sitting on the same side of the fence … I’m truly concerned!! … and I have choice words not fit for this platform!! — ” We’re presently getting the shit kicked out of us. By the looks of things, 2022 will simply clear the path to the end of our democracy in 2024. It’s surreal to think that. From where I sit however, it appears we need miracles to occur. “

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dr. Rex for your comment and for the Re-blog!! We appreciate that very much!!

      To be honest, I never cared much for cussing in writing. I always thought it can cheapen the impression one leaves upon a reader. I purposely used two cuss-words this time, though. Thoughtfully placed, and used only once or twice, I thought they might help me grab some needed attention to our predicament. Then it seemed very silly to worry about swearing when my piece was about losing our democracy, so I went with it. I hope to not make a habit of it though! Thanks and take care!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You did very well!! These are urgent times, this is an emergency. The ‘other’ side doesn’t care – not to be like them – but we need to ‘play’ strong & show the power the majority is supposed to have – every little thing counts!!

        Be well dear friend! Great piece!! 👍🏽

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good post, as was Jeff’s. I put together a post based on a comment I had written on Jeff’s. Here is a link if any of your readers are interested. What surprised me most about the former president’s term is not the lying and bullying, as I expected that. What surprised me is what conservative pundit David Brooks called the Trump White House, “equal parts chaos and incompetence.” Presidential historians have voted Trump in the bottom five of US presidents, saying he will go down in history for the Big Lie and instigating the insurrection and his awful handling of the pandemic which led to hundreds of thousands of more deaths than should have been. Per the historians, these two things will overshadow any good things he did as well as the other not so good things. What is interesting is Ann Coulter wrote today that “Trump is done.” Keith

    https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2022/01/17/why-i-left-the-republican-party/

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I would say that Dem senators Joe Manchin and Kristin Sinema should read this post, but it would be for naught because they can’t see our woes in front of their face. Unbelievable (well, not really).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Looking from outside of the USA one aspect which needs to be taken into account is the elevation of Trump by both sides. On the MAGA Right: A Saviour. On the Liberal / Democrat Wing: An evil, manipulative genius. Whereas the former is ridiculous, the latter has its own dangers; making too much of an vain opportunist as the source, whereas this individual is no more than a symptom. Attention has not been on the correct source, which has been (arguably) 50- 75 years in the making.
    You will have witnessed far better than I the slow steady re-branding of the Intolerant Right, through a malignant number of radio show programmes and the equally divisive corporate style evangelic churches, the taking over of The NRA from ownership and use to quasi-militia mindset.
    For too long although a source of annoyance they were also looked up with bemusement, something which would go away, or be reined in by the established Conservatives who valued stability. The warning signs were there- Newt Gingrich’s nihilistic antics on Capitol Hill for example. As we know critical was reached for this Right when an African American occupied the Whitehouse for two terms. All bets were off; it was time to throw out the established views and embrace every rant and extremist view; nothing was too ‘far’. White Privilege had to be won back at all costs.
    So Trump, another Creation of the Media’s danger irresponsible game of building up loudmouthed, unpleasant folk into celebrities decided he wanted to play politics, and The Mob said ‘Yes! Our Action Toy. Gimmie. Gimmie!’
    As so often, one wing of the party thought ‘Yeah. Just the Klutz we can use’…trouble was The Mob was not going to go away; it was intent on keeping it’s Action Toy as the only game in town.
    Did Trump ever have an original thought ? No. Just a sounding board for his voter base.
    And there is the threat to democracy. Not some ‘gone tomorrow’ ‘dime-a-dozen’, ‘media-sensation’ . It’s those tens of millions who put him there. And how to deal with them, win the majority back to Common Sense is a very large problem.

    Like

    1. On the Liberal / Democrat Wing: An evil, manipulative genius.

      I have never looked at Trump in that way. To me, he is a conman and only barely literate.

      The big problem is with his supporters, most of whom are conservative Christians. These are people who consider themselves to be true Americans, but they have never accepted the “all men are created equal” aspect of our traditions. They are people who consider themselves to be Christians, but they have never accepted the “love thy neighbor” aspect of Christianity. They are a society of pious hypocrites.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yep. Standard stance of those who pick what they want out of creed / belief system / viewpoint to suit their prejudices.
        You’ll find them all over the world. We’ve got mirror images of them in the UK Left.
        The only difference being they are a minority grouping in the UK political set-up
        One of the most worrying features of the 2020 US presidential election was that Trump got that very high number of Republican votes, even after all that ineptitude.
        I feel a lot of upset for moderate Americans, sharing the nation with that many folk angry folk.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Religion (the Abrahamic ones) destroy many things, because it’s based on privilege, bigotry, arrogance and the desire to feel superior.

        Liked by 2 people

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