Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump and the Christian Fascists, and What Trump Election Says About Us

Speaking-truth-to-power sorts of statements I've read in the past day or so, that I'd like to pass along to you:

Chris Hedges, "Trump and the Christian Fascists": 

Donald Trump's ideological vacuum, the more he is isolated and attacked, is being filled by the Christian right. This Christianized fascism, with its network of megachurches, schools, universities and law schools and its vast radio and television empire, is a potent ally for a beleaguered White House. The Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for decades. If the nation suffers another economic collapse, which is probably inevitable, another catastrophic domestic terrorist attack or a new war, President Trump's ability to force the Christian right's agenda on the public and shut down dissent will be dramatically enhanced. In the presidential election, Trump had 81 percent of white evangelicals behind him. . . .  
Those who embrace this movement need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to elevate themselves to the role of holy warriors, infused with a noble calling and purpose. They need to sanctify the rage and hypermasculinity that are the core of fascism. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief, which includes being anointed for a special purpose in life by God, are potent weapons in the fight against their own demons and desire for meaning. 
"Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty," Simone Weil wrote.

And — this is very important to note — in both the Polish and the U.S. context, right-wing religion and right-wing religious leaders (Catholic clergy and bishops in Poland, white evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons in the U.S.) have played a huge role in creating that 36 percent.

Leonard Pitts, "Let's not be shy about why Trump is president": 

[A] few days from now, there will be something else. With Trump, there inevitably is. Things can always get worse — and usually do. 
And when they do, we can count on the GOP, that inexhaustible fount of righteous outrage, to stand tall and courageously look the other way. For almost 20 years, the party has never seen a minor episode ("Travelgate"), a sheer nothing (Whitewater) or even an international tragedy (Benghazi) it could not turn into Watergate II. Yet, as credible accusations of treason, obstruction, collusion, and corruption swirl about this White House, the GOP has been conspicuous in its acquiescent silence. It seems the elephant has laryngitis. 
But the rest of us can't stop talking. 
Indeed, from the studios of CNN to the bar stools of your neighborhood watering hole, amateur psychoanalysis has become America’s favorite pastime in the last six months. Dozens of theories have been floated, all aimed at answering one question: 
What is wrong with him? 
But I have come to believe that question misses the point. Sixty-three million people voted for this. And make no mistake, they knew what they were getting. It was always obvious that Trump was a not-ready-for-prime-time candidate, but they chose him anyway. And the rest of us need to finally come to grips with the reason why. 
It wasn't economic anxiety. As a study co-sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic reported in May, people who were worried for their jobs voted for Hillary Clinton. But people who dislike Mexicans and Muslims, people who oppose same-sex marriage, people mortally offended at a White House occupied by a black guy with a funny name, they voted for Trump. 
That's the reality, and it’s time we quit dancing around it. 
This has been said a million times: Donald Trump is a lying, narcissistic, manifestly incompetent child man who is as dumb as a sack of mackerel. But he is the president of the United States because 63 million people preferred that to facing inevitable cultural change. So I am done asking — or caring — what’s wrong with him. Six months in, it's time we grappled a far more important question. 
What in the world is wrong with us? 

If this presidency goes up in flames (and I'm still not convinced that will happen), is it too much to expect that those who chose to inflict this on our nation admit that they made a horrendously bad choice — and that they apologize?

I'm talking to my relatives who mendaciously claimed they don't have a racist bone in their bodies when they chose to cast their vote for the man who engaged in ugly race-baiting during the campaign period. I'm talking to the Facebook friend of mine who pretends she chose the lesser of two evils and glitzes up her horrendous choice with pseudo-religious language about how "both sides" are equally flawed, and can't we all just come together?

Will these folks choose to behave like responsible adults now and admit that they were played for fools — and willingly so — when they made their choice in the 2016 elections? And that choosing a washed-up reality t.v. star with no experience governing, who has sexually assaulted women and bragged about it and engaged in filthy race-baiting, immigrant-bashing, and overt lying all through the campaign period was a very immature, asocial choice on their part, one negatively affecting the lives of people they call friends, family members, neighbors?

These folks often say say we all need to sit down and talk together. So, okay, let's talk. Increasing mounds of evidence indicate they made a seriously bad, seriously immature decision with seriously negative effects for a whole lot of people. Can we begin the talking with their behaving like responsible adults and admitting what they've done — and apologizing?

Just asking.

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