Again It Is “1932”

I do not know yet if I am “back” regularly. However, I want to post this. As I am sure you know by now, there is now an official Democratic presidential nominee:

I was a registered Democrat for my entire voting life until I became a Republican after 9/11/2001 mostly because too many Democrats back in the US I knew seemed to think the US “deserved” the 9/11 attacks (a stance which disgusted me). But I have never been particularly ideological about anything, and now I am essentially an “independent”: I don’t care about party labels, I want who I consider the better person for office, whatever the office may be.

The presidential office was created in 1787 with the man who had presided over the Constitutional Convention in mind: It was clear almost immediately to the convention delegates that George Washington would have to be the first president. So the office was contoured to suit Washington’s personality and outlook. He had made it abundantly clear he was adamantly opposed to “factions” – meaning political parties – so it was not intended to be a partisan political office.

It was hoped the “politics” would mostly be in the House of Representatives (much like in the British House of Commons). However the presidency’s “above politics” aspect crumbled under functional reality early during his administration (1789-1797). (Even if you have only seen Hamilton the musical, you know what I mean.) Although Washington was never officially a member of a political party, he clearly came more to favor the “federalist” policies espoused by his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton than those of the “republicans” led by his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and House “Majority Leader” James Madison. Hence the office unavoidably became political.

[George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Photo by me, 2011.]

Yet since then we still cling to the hope the holder at least TRIES to maintain some semblance of Washingtonian civility and seeks to forge alliances and avoid divisiveness; and every president has at least TRIED to LOOK like he has been making that effort. That ended in January 2017. Under the current president even that veneer has been thrown aside completely: Donald J. Trump has been the most DELIBERATELY uncivil and divisive president in US history – and worst of all he takes pride in that.

To display how corrosive his presidency is, this is but one example. I am noticing that the Voice of America feed on Twitter is getting lots of trolls. Most of them seem to be Trump supporters.

VOA was established in 1942 as a shortwave radio service primarily to combat Nazi propaganda; and since 1976 its role has officially been to be journalistically independent while seeking to provide information for non-Americans. It appears Trump supporters who had perhaps never heard of VOA before discovered it after Trump recently heavily criticized it for not being “pro-American” enough. Dear Leader Trump wants an official government “news” agency whose job is only to make him look good, which falls in line with his conception of the presidency: Dear Leader he thinks a president ought to be an authoritarian who makes pronouncements and we peasants meekly go along – while always genuflecting to him – as well as a polemicist loudmouth akin to anyone hosting a ranting so-called talk show on Fox News Channel in the evenings. (Fox clearly generally “fawns” over him as president – particularly its morning “Fox and Friends” program – and provides him mostly sycophantic coverage, and so unsurprisingly he regularly makes himself available to that channel while mostly avoiding others that are more critical of him and will ask tougher questions of him.)

An important domestic example of Trump’s presidential mentality and why he is unfit to continue in the office: his reaction to the street protests and violence (often started by police, remember) over the murder of George Floyd. Remember Obama was president in 2014 at the time of the police killing in Ferguson, Missouri of Michael Brown; protests ensued and there was violence. The stark contrast between the responses of the two men as presidents could not have been clearer: Obama listened and worked to heal; but faced with much the same trouble in 2020 Trump listens to no one and sees any variance from his worldview as a challenge to be met and overcome, and indeed he clearly relishes confrontation and did (and does) his best to aggravate the situation.

[An excerpt from Distances: Atlantic Lives, 1996-1997. Paperback. Copyright 2015. Photo by me, 2020.]

That “fictional” excerpt above is an almost straight lift of a memory about my grandfather which I share here for this reason. Trump was born in my New York City in the same area and just a few years after my parents. Any halfway decent president would be respected in his hometown; but New Yorkers overwhelmingly despise him because long before the rest of the country had much heard of him we in New York had known him all too well. You may support him for reasons that you believe to be reasonable, such as he is a conservative; but I disagree strongly with that “conservative” assertion: Dear Leader Trump is NOT a “conservative” any more than Benito Mussolini was a conservative. He is just a self-promoting gasbag opportunist who has sought to use the trappings of conservatism as the means to leverage his way to the White House by conning those (especially aiming at white men) in the South and the West into thinking he actually cares about them. But New Yorkers had long known he does not give a damn really about anybody but himself. (Indeed he is always bragging about his “success” as a businessman? Really? He is no “self-made man.” He started with tens of millions inherited from his father. In comparison similar-aged businessman and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg – who Trump predictably of course now loathes – was born into a middle class household and is now worth some $50 billion, which is a lot more than Trump is worth. One can only wonder how truly successful the Trump business “empire” might have actually been had Dear Leader he actually been a competent businessman.)

Regularly he cowardly tries to blame his predecessor Obama for the problems of now. Attacking Obama in August 2020 shows what sort of a cynical and poor president he is: he would try to take credit for the beauty of a sunrise if he could, but nothing bad that happens is his responsibility. It is not February 2017 any longer: this national mess is on Trump’s watch. If he is re-elected in November, we may expect just four more years of the same incompetence and ugliness we have had since 2017 because that is what he is – incompetent and ugly. (In 2024 I guarantee he will STILL be blaming Obama.)

Yes, Democrat Joseph Biden will attract the votes from the left; but Biden is not Gus Hall or Mao.

Neither is Trump another Hitler, but his approach to governance and his overall worldview is such that it is obvious after his tumultuous four years in office that his presidency is driven primarily by his fetishes for exercising personal power, the belief he grants status, and displays of “grandeur.” He made a huge fuss we recall over returning the Winston Churchill bust to the Oval Office, yet given how intellectually uncurious he is – former associates and aides have revealed he does not read much for knowledge – one cannot help but think his knowledge of Churchill is probably about what he got from watching the Battle of Britain on the History Channel; for Churchill was a lot more (including bad) than the heroism of 1940, and Trump appears clueless about any of that as well as arrogant in his ignorance. It is all too clear now that rather than Churchill, who would have seen through Trump’s intellectual vapidity in two seconds (Churchill was one of the best read leaders of the last century: he could quote Bible verses and poets as well as ancient Greek philosophers by heart), that Trump would be much more comfortable schmoozing with the likes of similar thickos such as Mussolini or Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

The US is now beset by a pandemic that this president’s incompetent and even vile leadership has merely helped worsen, and which also has by now helped produce nearly another economic “Great Depression” – and it is certainly not over yet. Simultaneously racial antagonisms are now extra-raw largely because of his antagonistic attitude towards those rightfully angered over the murder of George Floyd (and too many others) by police and the routine behavior of too many police nationwide – ignoring that a president who understands the role knows he is first and foremost supposed to be a dignified Washingtonian “father (or, now, mother) of the country.” And those are just two of his failings in the office.

Let us candidly admit we made a big mistake and were taken in by this sleazy con artist and will correct that error. This is the most important election we have had since at least 1932. For the good of the presidency created with George Washington in mind, and far more importantly for the good of the country as a whole, Joseph Biden needs to win the November presidential election – and hopefully in a landslide.

For Trumpism must be smashed at the polls. Despite Trump’s personal marital preferences being (thus far) two women from Eastern Europe, his hardcore backers are clearly nativists and even racists, and he casually panders to both; nothing but a return to an America of “yesteryear” in which the white man – I emphasize man because women are to such men merely meant to be window-dressing – stood unchallenged in control of the society would satisfy such reactionaries… but that is not going to happen nor should it: it is not only “their” country but is the country of everyone born and naturalized in it. Fascism did not come to America under the actual name “fascism,” but it has unfortunately come to us as “Make America Great Again.” Even if he is personally too dim to realize it, insofar as his lazy mind has any discernible identifiable political leanings Donald J. Trump is a modern day fascist.