by Brad Nelson 3/2/16
My daily chore is to do at least a little bit of internet browsing as show-prep. It’s a real pleasure to run across a concise and coherent article on politics. We’ve had more than a few people publish them here. But typically the list of articles at wherever.com is a cacophony of me-me-me personalities, all with the put-on air of Solomon. They’re going to tell us what it’s all about.
Many articles (god forbid this one as well) take five or six paragraphs to get to the point…assuming they have one. But as show-prep, it’s my duty to try to condense all this down and, as Rush often mentions, to make the complex understandable.
But I can’t. In the white-noise of what passes for American media and commentary, there isn’t all that much sense to be made. Everyone has an angle, which is fine. But increasingly these days everyone has a narrow angle.
The brain-trust here at StubbornThings is careful not to run off on tangents while still daring to have a creative and cutting-edge thought. It’s not enough to just stick your finger in the air and dismiss the inferiority of what passes for commentary. One must buck up and do better…even if one is occasionally wrong.
This is all a roundabout what of saying I’m sick of all the criticism of Donald Trump. Yes, he’s a multi-wife blowhard who has hired illegal aliens and is often rude. His policies are a hodgepodge of shoot-from-the-hip opinions with seemingly little behind them but a mega-dose of self-esteem and self-regard.
But don’t blame Donald Trump for the state of America. He didn’t do this. I don’t think he can fix it. No one man can, short of long-term dictatorial powers used with the greatest wisdom and benevolence. But signing a few executive orders and making lofty speeches does not quite rise to this level of power. Donald, if he should become president, might make things better or worse but he’s not responsible for the way things are now. He may be representative of them, but he’s not responsible.
The hacks in the conservative media are going ballistic over The Donald. And without throwing too much psycho-babble at you, I think I know exactly why: They have been supporting a cadre of dishonest, corrupt politicians in the Republican Establishment for years now, all while thinking of themselves as the smartest people in the room for doing so.
Well, it remains to be seen whether The Donald represents a blowing-up of the Republican Party or a reorganization of it. But what we can plainly say is that the citizens of the United States — remember them? — have had enough of The Ruling Class pulling their strings…at least a significant enough portion does to have elevated The Donald to this year’s hope-and-change candidate. We hope to hell the GOP Establishment, and The Ruling Class in general, are taken down and that we start to bring government back to working for us instead of them. And many expect Donald to change that.
That’s the crux of the matter. And if not the crux, it should be. This is why it’s a bizarre comedy to see all The Smartest People in the Media going on and on about Donald Trump’s faults, his lack of a clear political philosophy (one of my own objections), and his potty mouth. They keep running this year’s campaign through deep and complex formulas of policy and philosophy while missing the elephant in the living room which is that we’re all being screwed by the political class of both parties.
Yes, in an ideal world, a candidate would rise who could articulate this and offer a bold and coherent solution. I’ll take another Calvin Coolidge who would hack and slash this government back within Constitutional bounds. But The Ruling Class has had fifty years to massage the population into the jello-mass that it is. Many cannot grasp a coherent political principle if it bit them on the ass. But they do know they’re being screwed. When more people were educated and gentlemanly, it would be a Ronald Reagan who would arise…the man for whom Sinatra was the guy to run his inaugural bash.
But we, the generations of watching “Married with Children,” listening to rap music, and ascribing horrible comic-book movies to the levels of Casablanca are not the people of Reagan. We are, much to our chagrin (if we are honest), the people of Trump. His brash, vulgar, loud-mouth ways represent the way we are now, for better or for worse. And in ways this is refreshingly better, for the mealy-mouthed “proper” language of The Ruling Class and their lackeys in the pseudo-conservative media have been selling this country down the road for some time…but always with their “I’s” dotted and their “T’s” crossed and with the highest of polite and proper language.
Whether you are a Trump guy or a Cruz guy, you should note that it is a mark in Cruz’s favor that he is so hated by the Establishment. This is also a real problem for Trump (not electorally, perhaps, but in getting any real reform) because Trump says he can work with these people. No, he can’t. And if he thinks he can he is deluding himself. They must be brought along kicking and screaming. And it is Trump’s brashness that has many people thinking that he is uniquely qualified to do so. Still, Trump has been on every side of every issue, so there is no telling what he will do.
I hope I have succeeded in being coherent, if not concise. But it is not easy. Some see the current state-of-affairs as a “sea change.” I see it as a clusterf**k. It’s a mess and it’s not easy making sense of it all.
But Donald Trump is not the problem. America is sick, and in our fevered state, Trump — although not the next coming of Reagan — looks like a Reagan if through the fever of our own ignorance, low-attention-spans, and nihilism — conditions brought on or acerbated by The Ruling Class with their dumbed-down education systems, their ensnaring of otherwise good folk in entitlements, they’re instilling of grievance, their corruption and lying, and just their ruinous spending and borrowing. Yes, as shallow Americans, we have often gone along with this, corrupted by the temptation of “free stuff.” We have enabled their lies. We are complicit in the ruin and the corruption.
But one way to look at Trump is as our political redemption. We are rejecting the ways of the past. We are thumbing our noses at The Ruling Class and saying that we can no longer be bought, we will no longer take their trinkets, we will no longer believe their smooth and practiced lies. We’ll take the rough-edge of Trump if only to poke a finger in your eye.
That, I believe, is much of the dynamic in play. Few who reflect on The Donald’s policy statements (such as they are) can truly believe he will fix anything. But, just maybe, he will put the emphasis back onto a core American principle and away from the noxious, all-encompassing, semi-fascist paradigm of Cultural Marxism with its never-ending emphasis on race, class, and gender. He will instead put the emphasis back on bettering ourselves (aka “Make America Great Again”).
As much as we might emphasize the moral aspect of America — and her ideas are at the very heart of the truth of American Exceptionalism — we shouldn’t become tongue-tied with the fine and finer points of moral and political philosophy. American has always been substantially about being able to do better for oneself. This is the true relevancy of freedom. We are not free just to put that word up on the mantlepiece in gold lettering and admire it. We are free so that we are free to better our lot.
And with Big Government and The Ruling Class sucking up so much of the oxygen of economic progress, this freedom to improve our lot has been diminished substantially. It’s not that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, per se. We want the rich to be rich, and the more the better. It’s that government is getting richer and more powerful while everyone and everything else is diminished. The role of government has changed from an enabler of free enterprise to its controller and replacement. Government is now stifling our lives in ways that truly matter (taking for granted it is frivolous and doesn’t matter if some baker in Oregon will or won’t bake a wedding cake for someone).
And in Donald Trump, many see a businessman who has at least a marginal chance of doing something about that. And if he can’t, or doesn’t, remember that this isn’t all his fault. If we can’t get The Donald to do our will, we must keep looking. And we must finally be willing to break the spell of style over substance, for that is at the heart of political correctness. We’re increasingly becoming a society that cannot speak frankly about the problems we face. So much truth has been walled off as “politically incorrect.” If The Donald is a little brash, perhaps people are finally coming to grips with the fact that smooth and polite-sounding lies are worse. The political class and their lackeys in the media have overloaded the airwaves with this kind of intellectual corruption.
It’s a lot to put on The Donald to fix this. This problem ultimately belongs to us. But ya gotta start somewhere. The problem is, well, yuge.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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