Democratic Dedication in the Age of Trump- A Call For Help.

Living in Donald Trump’s America has been a lot like living in a pressure cooker.

The time leading up to the election was not the worst year in American history, but it may well have been the most stressful. Around 2014, ominous signs began popping up, in strange form and large number, that we had a real problem on our hands. The forces of radicalism are always given a shot in the arm by economic recessions, i.e. the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler. On the left and the right alike, people started getting really out there.

By the time it was widely realized that Bernie Sanders was actually going to not only be taken seriously, but held up as an example and idolized, it’s not hard to think looking back that it was already too late. If I would have started organizing sooner, worked a few more hours, shared to a few more Groups, tried a little harder to reach people, etc. It’s a wistful feeling, looking back on a great battle lost.

It started to become clear that a great many, a terrible many people, were not going to embrace Hillary Clinton as a candidate, no matter how good a President she would be, and she would have been great. The biggest tragedy here is the scale of the missed opportunity.

We’re talking about a person who had on-the-job approval ratings that were through the roof in every job she had. Those are the only kinds of polls that really matter; the others are nothing but a photograph, one second’s popularity contest. Rational people know that. So when it had clearly started falling by the wayside, in favor of emotional considerations poorly expressed and ill-conceived of, it became darkly evident that things were not going to continue managing themselves.

In our lives, when we come up against a wrong too big to be ignored, it forces us to make a choice. We either take a side or turn a blind eye. We are given a voice for a reason. The time had come to use it, for every American. We were, and are, in the midst of facing a major existential crisis, one to set the direction for the entire nation’s paradigm. Simply stated, the question is: Do we want to keep being a democracy?

A terrible shame is self-claimed by anyone who was fortunate enough to grow up in this country, and still attempts to justify answering that question in the negative. The very fact of people being able to run around on the streets spouting off in that manner is in and of itself a tremendous luxury, one that was paid for and made possible by the success of American democracy. In the days of fascism and communism, things were otherwise to a very horrible extent.

Stalin’s gulag system held nearly 3,000 to 100,000 of its citizens at any given time.  Most, like author of the Gulag Archipelago Alexander Solzhenitsyn, were there for speaking out against the government. The Tiananmen Square incident in China was a murderous repression of democratic protesters. It is not yet thirty years old. The Nazis had a whole interior of labor camps, such as Dachau or Mauthausen, reserved exclusively for German “political criminals” until the final days of the war.

There have never been such things in America. We have plenty of prisons, but no concentration camps. Foreign radicalism has never taken deep root over here, because for the most part, people have had the good sense to know how lucky they are to have the chance to participate in this. To risk all that because you are angry is insane. Recessions and depressions are a part of human life on Planet Earth, and that is not going to change to suit anyone.

At this stage in our history, the entire global economy is already deeply interconnected. Wherever you live, they are going to come and go.

If you think that’s a good reason to start down the road toward a second Dark Ages, you might want to read up on the first ones. There are many problems in this country. We are not a perfect nation. But for all our faults, we are the linchpin of the entire global order. Every life in the world will feel it, should the lights go out again.

All through the year of 2016, we heard a great deal about a revolution. Why is it we never heard any of this under Bush, when it was necessary? Back when the world really needed that power, it was found lacking and largely absent. All these brave revolutionaries waited for a kind and tolerant President Obama to come in and start actually making America great again, to start screaming about a revolution. They gambled with the utmost recklessness with the future of the whole human race. Why?

It’s been like this all throughout history. Tightly repressive regimes are rarely overthrown. It’s only after the restrictions are loosened, that the people tend to break levees. We see this all the time, in the Middle East. Its hallmark was all over the place in Syria. It was also this way when the French Revolution felled the monarchy in 1789, and again when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Just as soon as a system starts to mature, it suddenly collapses.

The events of American life since the year 2000 have indeed been nauseating; it’s worth remembering that Hunter S. Thompson took his own life just after the second Bush was reelected. Times have been hard since Bill Clinton left office.

Still, after Obama got elected, and particularly when compared to the past, we had things really good. We suffered for eight years under Bush, but after that things started getting better.

The economy started recovering, we got universal health care in the form of decades worth of work with the Affordable Care Act, and we started getting back to work. We were once again having the time to worry about things other than base survival. To risk that, on the gambler’s promise of some screaming demagogue, was the absolute height of stupidity. How anyone could have been so foolhardy as to risk our tangible, hard-fought gains on a pack of ridiculous pipedreams will never be explainable by any sort of logical standard. Everyone is trying somehow to get to the answer. Yet for all we have learned along the way, the governing dynamic still manages to elude.

As we approach the midterms in 2018, the Republicans have been killing us in terms of small donors. That’s an ugly fact. For Republicans to be outdoing Democrats, on a grassroots level, is the very worst case scenario. They have taken the strategies of the Bernie Sanders campaign and turned them into a juggernaut.

For all the ugliness and chaos surrounding his presidency, Trump is getting stronger. And not a day goes by that he doesn’t use that strength to chip away further and further at the bedrock of our democracy. Koch Industries has had an unprecedented opportunity to pass through their long-sought Libertarian agenda. The star of fascism is clearly on the ascendant.

What is it going to take? That’s the question we keep coming back to, ever since November of last year. What can we possibly do, to pull back from this chasm we are heading toward? A disturbing percentage of us are behaving like nuclear powered lemmings. There is no one on the horizon at this time who can do much about any of this, except possibly for Robert Mueller, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of our whole drama.

Think as well, about Bob Mueller himself. His good, kind, honest face. How hard he is working, and in his retirement age, no less. All the years he was the director of the FBI, the best one that we ever had. He chose James Comey as his successor. He spent many years training him. He made sure he was the best man to head up the Agency.

Trump threw Comey away like the garbage, and it makes me want to vomit. All the best people in the country right now, are completely excluded from its government, while the worst are getting away with bloody murder. Putin is laughing at us. The Russian media laughs and boasts about the way he’s made a toilet out of Trump. And rock bottom is still nowhere in sight. Surely some revelation is at hand.

In the interim, the author of this article is in Facebook jail, over sharing the articles we recently published regarding the Zapad war games in Russia and the fact of Russian Stuxnet viruses being found in over a hundred American power grids. Facebook Jail is slang for when you get blocked from various Facebook features by its robots, because the Russians and their proxies have figured out how to game its Report as Spam/Abuse buttons.

Sixteen other Democratic activists I know are in jail also. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg does nothing with the greatest of industry. As a good friend and mentor of mine wrote recently, Congress must reform Facebook.

Posting is way down. Russian ads are everywhere. People are scared, and actively exploring other platforms. We are being stopped from participating in the political process of America, as Americans, by foreign agents and agitators who have effectively conquered our entire section of cyberspace, while the people able to handle it have their hands tied behind their backs. The indignance I feel at this state of affairs cannot be adequately expressed by language.

The only clear way forward for us is to get serious about education. Education is the key to it all. That’s why the Kochs and the DeVos’s and all the other Tea Party monsters have been paying so much money to destroy and withhold it. It’s why Betsy DeVos was chosen for the Secretary of Education post. They know knowledge is power, and they don’t want reliably Democratic voters to have any- which includes every single at-risk part of our population, including all persons of color and women.

That’s what this is all about for the opposition. Power, dominance, and money. The Republicans have no actual social agenda. They can only whip up enthusiasm among their supporters by lying about and otherwise savaging ours. It’s become a trench battle, and it threatens every day to break out into another wild fight.

In the end, is it really possible for reason to understand emotion? Because when we analyze the 2016 election, that is the task that faces us. Donald Trump is not something most people wanted, but they chose him all the same, out of desperation.

We’ve got to find a way to address the pain that caused that desperation, because it is severe in the extreme. In the midst of it all, heroin use has gotten so bad that our children are in prison and dying. And Jeff Sessions wants to go back to locking us up for weed. People are looking for a release valve, and if they do not get it, then one should fear wholeheartedly for the future of our beloved, hopeful, wonderful country.

Shortly before he was murdered, Robert Kennedy had these words to say.

“What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis, and that is what has been going on within the United States—the division, the violence, the disenchantment with our society; the divisions, whether it’s between blacks and whites, between poor and more affluent, or between age groups or on the war in Vietnam-is that we can start to work together. We are a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country.”

Those words are still true, but it’s going away. If we don’t fight for it, with all that we have got, it will be too late before much longer. Millions have lived and died, for the future of a great America. We cannot disgrace our ancestors, and we cannot let down our descendants.

This is the purpose of Millennial Democrats. This is the task that lies before us. It is largely up to us now. We have to get our peers to see the light and get active in their own fates and futures. Remember when we were kids, and we all watched the NeverEnding Story on the big screen? It is like when the Nothing came. It has eaten everything, and the last glowing seed held by the Empress is ours to blow life into. We must somehow find the courage to dare what we dream.

 

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How the GOP Grew Gangrenous-World Wars and Imported Fascism, Pt4.

In a free and open democracy, such as America was meant to be, the natural exchange and competition of ideas is a wholesome and essential part of social life. Citizens come together, hash out the issues, and forge a national dialectic on the anvil of debate. When communication thrives, interconnections between people come together of their own accord. This creates the large-scale social cohesion necessary to run a healthy state.

However, when that communication breaks down, those bonds start dissolving, and with them the prosperity and well-being of both individual and collective. It is our contention that the increasing ideological extremity of the Republican Party has grown increasingly corrosive, and as such has become a serious threat to national stability and harmony.

By the turn of the century, the political parties of America had become like the shells of hermit crabs, repeatedly picked up and sat down again by their varying occupants, the competing ideologies of the early 20th century.

Movements like socialism, anarchism, fascism, and communism were all established by this time. They settled naturally into their places on the political spectrum, and went about the business of fighting for control of humanity’s minds and hearts. The resulting struggles have had tremendous implication for the Republican Party, and for us all.

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The Great Cow Analogy

These days, the parties are more firmly in the hands of the two ideologies then at any other time in history, and in diametric opposition to one another. The result has made a pressure cooker out of our country’s political climate, which recently led to far-right Nazi thugs waving swastika flags around at Charlottesville and murdering our sister Heather Heyer.

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Colin Kaepernick

The President, at the time, said there were very fine people, waving around those Nazi flags and running down women- but says Colin Kaepernick is a son of a b*tch, over a perfectly nonviolent protest. LeBron James summed it up best on Tweeter this week, when on Sunday athletes nationwide took the knee in solidarity with the controversial quarterback and the protest that has made him famous.

This is all symptomatic of the larger problem, namely, that there is a well-entrenched and organized fascist element in American politics today. It has had control of the Republican Party for a very long time now. Cracks in the GOP defenses were opened gradually by disunity and change, and after World War Two, far more extreme and virulent faction has intermingled with their system and become it. In examining how these changes took place, it will be necessary to examine the foundation-shaking events that led to such massive upheaval,  for the Republican Party and for the world.

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The Revival of Fascism

In political science, realignment theory describes a synthesis of perspectives emanating from history, highlighting the existence and impact of “critical elections” as key factors in shaping the practice of democratic politics. The last two centuries have both seen their fair share, right around their turning. The Republican Party has radicalized increasingly as

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1900 Presidential election poster

President Woodrow Wilson, the beneficiary of the splitting of the Republican Party in 1912, spoke at length about World War One as a war being fought to make the world “safe for democracy”. That war was won, insofar as a war can be won. The war to decide the form that democracy would take was just beginning. This was to prove to  be of of the highest significance in the evolution of both American and international politics.

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President Woodrow Wilson

The general tendency in American presidential elections has generally been for one side or the other to win soundly. Extremely close elections like 2016 or 1896 used to be statistically rare. But in recent history, they’ve been the norm.  In times of unrest, when the public is highly polarized and inflamed against one another, it seems to be just the opposite.

The 1920’s came to be known as the Republican Decade for the three Republicans who occupied the White House during it: Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Harding was corrupt and a fool, and Coolidge was a milquetoast.

Many historians rate Harding as the worst president the country has ever had. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that the old ratings machine, Donald J. Trump, has finally managed to break a presidential record.

Herbert Hoover had risen to the occasion of large-scale relief work admirably in Europe, toward the end of 1918 when the Spanish Flu was killing men in the tens of millions. Unfortunately for everyone, he proved out of his depth when faced with similar challenges domestically. His short-sighted, laissez-faire policies did little to relieve the poverty and massive national debt that characterized the Great Depression.

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President Herbert Hoover

Before the 1920’s and 30’s, America was mostly comprised of a loosely-knit network of regional communities, who interacted little and communicated less. During this time, however, it began to consolidate and take on a nationwide flavor. Nothing encourages social cohesion like a terrible outside threat, such as a world war or a Great Depression. Both peace and the economy had been shattered, and things were not improving.

In the 1930’s, the Dust Bowl took place as a result of shortsighted agricultural practices, and rendered much of Middle America uninhabitable, leading to a large-scale migration from states we now think of as being solidly red, to California and other places still fertile.

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Traditional beliefs were also facing erosion, from the point of view of many Americans in the 1920’s. This led to a counter- movement known as fundamentalism, which partnered with mass media in the earliest prototypes of televangelism.

This partnership provided a localized and custom-made belief system, capable of justifying anything in the name of God and country. It also provided a way to disseminate these ideas to the rest of the country. Slowly, the American value system began taking shape.

However, this newfound social cohesion was not to work out well for everyone.

During these miserable times, the black community down South was continuously victimized by their white neighbors. America’s first terrorist organization, the hate society known as the Ku Klux Klan had experienced a major revival.

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This revival of the Klan generated an organization much stronger and more numerous than the original Confederate veterans who came up with the concept. Many black people living down South decided they had at last had enough. This led to a mass exodus to elsewhere, known as the Great Migration. Before 1915, 90% of African-Americans lived down South. After 1970, a full half of these were gone.

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They had always looked to the Party of Lincoln as their hope of legal protection, but times had changed.

In the critical election of 1932, many formerly Republican blacks switched their allegiance to Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democrats.

FDR’s New Deal had largely eroded the Southern wing of Democratic coalition, because a large section of it had traditionally relied upon rural agrarian interests made possible by slavery. For those fine gentlemen, treating black people with human decency was viewed as a diminishing return, not politically or financially expedient. Many of them refused to adapt to the changing reality. Because of that, they were no longer wanted, and they knew it.

These began to find themselves more commonly in agreement with Republicans, in terms of economic issues such as the rejecting of deficit spending or the creation of a social safety net. Little by little, the reactionary elements of the party began defecting to the GOP. This tendency continued all the way through FDR’s four terms and was firmly established by the end of World War Two in 1945.

Meanwhile, the GOP had spent the 1930’s helping the Nazis all they could. This partnership was reciprocal and continued after the war. Perhaps the most famous example is that of Wernher von Braun, the rocket scientist and former SS officer who built America’s first ICBM missiles. Given a new image, that of anti-communist crusader, and the help of his ideological allies in the GOP, von Braun was able to successfully integrate into American civilization. In exactly this way, much of the rest of the fascist network that ranged across Europe back then was successfully was incorporated, imported, and used by us, both at home and abroad. We will take a closer look at this later.

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W. Prescott Bush shaking hands with Hitler

That network is alive and well today, and of the two parties, it has chosen the GOP as its home. This is an empirical fact of life that exists within the American political process. It is not the product of partisan bias. It was no accident, that they were waving Nazi flags in Charlottesville. It is not new, and it is not random. It is deeply entrenched, vicious, and deadly.

George W. Bush’s grandfather, W. Prescott Bush, has been tied to financial institutions used to help finance Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Most of the practitioners of eugenics were Republican, such as Lothrup Stoddard, whose works are of interest for the serious student of this time period, the repugnance of his views notwithstanding.

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The philosophy of eugenics

Charles Lindbergh, another Republican, actually flew to Berlin to meet with Hitler. Back home, he started an organization and gathered many powerful people together to vigorously pursue an isolationist position using a slogan that Donald Trump has repopularized- America First.

Had this policy become official, it would have given Adolf Hitler a completely free hand in Europe. The America First Committee was even against the Lend-Lease act during World War Two, which was our policy of lending material aid to our allies in Europe.

It is all but certain that the Nazis would have won the war in Europe, which would have placed the Axis Powers in control of two-thirds of the world’s resources. We had only a third. It would have been America last.

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Charles Lindbergh meets with Reichmarshall Hermann Goering

Fortunately for every living soul on the planet, that is not how it worked out. Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wise, temperate policy led us through that darkest of ages. He ended up being elected to four terms in the White House. People trusted him.

Franklin Roosevelt is unanimously placed near the top of the list of America’s chief executives. He guided the nation through World War Two, in which our participation was official after the cowardly sneak attack that was Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. His domestic policy, known as the New Deal, ended the Great Depression and Prohibition. His policies secured tremendous protections for the people of the future.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Many of the rights and social programs that people take for granted now, were conceived and secured by him. His adaptation of his famous uncle Teddy’s Progressive policies to the Democratic Party platform stands as one of the most crucial realigning factors in the history of both parties, as the Republicans were to take a strong position against them. They have been entrenching that position ever since.

Roosevelt passed away during the final days of the war, and his Vice-President Harry Truman took the reins. Truman had his own style, resolute and unostentatious. He made some rational changes right away. This did not improve the increasingly strained relations between the Southern conservative wing of the Democratic Party and the new progressive wing exemplified by FDR.

The estrangement became more and more pronounced. Civil rights were to become a pressing priority for Democrats, which was to alienate its white conservative wing to the point of affecting their own great migration, one more commonly known as the “white flight”.

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The Geography of Segregation

Truman’s desegregation of the Armed Forces in particular was a decision that enraged them, and a series of others were to follow, such as when the Supreme Court ruled official prayer in school unconstitutional on June 25, 1962.

The developing value system of the Democratic Party was unified further following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Following this, the partisan realignment of the South was a fait accompli.

The crucial shift came when Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He carried the South, but failed to win the Presidency. Lyndon Johnson continued to push through civil rights legislation, but warned that it would lose the South for Democrats for a generation, a prediction that proved more than accurate.

These continuing developments ensured that Johnson was the last Democratic president to win a majority of white votes.

At this time, the Republicans began targeting and nurturing these malcontent white voters, encouraging their basest instinct and assuaging their hurt feelings with assurances of racial superiority. This policy has now borne a strange orange fruit named Donald Trump. These people have not done each other any service. Their decline is inevitable, because they have lost the capacity for self-reflection. When people try and make themselves stupider than they already are, they almost always succeed.

The 1950’s, primarily spent under President Dwight Eisenhower, were the last we were to see of anything grand in the Grand Old Party. Eisenhower was a good man and a good president, but he left office with an uneasy feeling. The speech in which he warns America against “undue influence from the military-industrial complex” is more relevant than ever today.

The Pentagon has been the only thing holding order together during the Trump crisis, and we are grateful for it, but caution must be taken. There’s never been this much of a military presence in our civilian government, and the tendency needs careful observation. Great warriors are not always great diplomats, and vice versa. Both are necessary for the maintenance of a healthy America.

Eisenhower’s successor was John F. Kennedy, popularly known as JFK. He was lain low by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s bullet on November 22, 1963. A conspiracy to take his life cannot be proven. What can be proven, is that the Republicans, who ever since have served as the henchmen of military-industrial interests, gained a great deal from the removal of JFK. The GOP intensified and made official the Vietnam War. Kennedy had planned to end it.

Vietnam proved to be one of the bloodiest and most heartbreaking conflicts of the twentieth century. Its ramifications have taken decades to sort out and we are still not finished. Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today.

The Vietnam War was used by the Republicans to divide and discredit Democrats. It splintered the liberal consensus. Opposition to the war didn’t unify or define the party, it divided it. Lyndon Johnson’s heart was broken by it, and he refused to seek reelection in 1968. The Democratic nomination was up in the air.

JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy, who had served as his Attorney General, was a strong favorite to win. It looked like a sure thing, until he too was assassinated, shot down by kitchen worker Sirhan Sirhan for reasons that remain a mystery. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated two months and one day earlier, on April 4, 1968. The country was being torn apart.

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The Vietnam War

Lyndon Johnson’s Vice-President, Hubert Humphrey, ended up running instead, but he was associated with the war and couldn’t split with LBJ. He received the nomination in spite of not receiving any delegates, because the party machinery chose him. After he lost, he became a scapegoat because of it. The old Tammany Hall method of leaving the Democratic nomination process under the control of the party elite was scrapped. A commission, called the McGovern-Fraser for the men who were heading it up, was assigned the task of creating a more open and democratic system.

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Tammany Hall prepares for the 1868 Democratic National Convention

Authorities have roundly criticized the reforms they made as having been a mess. It was a badly conceived and chaotic system. It left a tremendous amount of the nominations decision up to a disinterested and uninformed electorate. Rational actors influenced by well-formed policy positions are not what is filling our voting booths. The McGovern-Fraser Commission is one of the key factors behind the rise of both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

One of the Commissioners, George McGovern, ended up being the Democratic Party’s next Presidential candidate. He was the democratically chosen, favorite of the people candidate. He was also the recipient of a terrible slaughter at the hands of Richard Nixon, largely because his system was weak and full of holes.

But it didn’t stop there. It was the days of the Fourth Party System, all over again. Tad Devine, former campaign manager to Bernie Sanders, took steps to fix this by inventing the process of the superdelegate system. Democrats were being taken advantage of. Giving 15% of the party’s power back to its most trusted members was the most sensible thing the Democratic Party ever did. This was evidenced clearly by the first and worst crime of the McGovern-Fraser Commission- that it let Nixon seize and keep power.

The Nixon era was the beginning of the end, for any kind of Republican morality, although they continue to cloak the nakedness of their greed with the fig leaf of the Moral Majority. During this time, the men who ran the Nixon administration made the world a worse place to live in, with all the zeal they could muster. The damage they did paved the way for Trump and the Russians.

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Moral Majority

A decade before, Harry Truman said succinctly that “Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.” This was the truth, and it had a tremendous amount to do with the setting of the stage for today. In our next chapter, we will be looking closer at the Nixon era, and its relationship with the enduring legacy of fascism.