They proclaim themselves utterly dismayed by the dark, dismal, depressing acceptance speech of Donald Trump the other night. Sunshine Superman he definitely is not. And that he didn't make God a centerpiece of his diatribe is only more proof of how un-American he truly is. Failure of a politician to constantly mention a supernatural character is a direct slap in the face to our official national motto: In God We Trust.
Trump only mentioned God once in his speech, and that was in the final sentence. Even then, he committed the ultimate faux pas, uttering "God bless you" rather than "God bless America." Kate Smith must be rolling in her grave.
Superstition has been the glue holding the bipartisan military-industrial complex together since the dawn of the Empire, and Trump threatens to turn that neocon propaganda of exceptionalism right on its overstuffed puritanical head. He wears his xenophobia on his sleeve, willfully ignoring the code of etiquette which holds that politicians' foul cores must always be masked by pretty, soothing, humanitarian words.
In the annals of presidential politics, the Trump horror show is making Dick Cheney look about as anodyne as folksy misanthrope Mike Pence.
Rather than agree with Trump that most people are more down and out than ever, the Democratic Party is choosing instead to shoot the messenger. They're blasting away at Donnie, that nasty brutish short-fingered authoritarian messenger of gloom and doom. Because to acknowledge the terrible reality of Dystopian America would be to unconscionably betray the last seven and half years of the Obama presidency itself.
The premature and perpetual burnishing of Obama's legacy - and the party's retention of political power - seem more important to Democratic elders than addressing such inconvenient social ills as poverty and homelessness and drug addiction and suicide and premature death rates, and past, present and future corporate malfeasance and war crimes.
In the view of elite eyes peering out from behind their rose-colored glasses, killing the messenger certainly trumps (sorry!) killing the legacy of Barack Obama in particular, and the Neoliberal Project in general. The Democratic Party cannot possibly admit that the wealth gap has increased under Obama, that the poverty rate has increased under Obama, that the jobs created under Obama have mostly been of the low wage, service sector, temporary and precarious variety.
So instead of espousing a new New Deal and a government-sponsored jobs program for every citizen wanting employment, they're holding their ears and insisting that the kids are all right - even in lead-poisoned Flint, Michigan. They gave out free plastic filters to everybody, didn't they? So they won't even bother to sing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow at their convention this week. As far as they're concerned, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and for that matter, in every other corner of its inclusive, diverse Big Tent of the Free.
Sure, they grudgingly allow,"there's still work to be done." Hillary Clinton has vowed to fight (against her own neoliberal policies?) from Day One, ensuring that every last shlub will get the chance to live up to his or her "God-given potential."
Just like Little Mary Sunshine, the Clinton party is a subversive parody of the Pollyanna genre, though unfortunately not in a feel-good, funny way.
|You're Either With Her, Or You're Secretly With Donnie|
You gotta believe... in incrementalism. Hope is so yesterday, and so Berniebro-ish. (just look at the DNC's leaked Sanders-trashing emails in case you still had any doubts. These flacks sound just as depraved as the "Sunny in Philly" cast. Is it too late for Bernie to still take the fight all the way to the convention?)
Donald Trump might be a fascistic strongman and a false idol, but the Sunshine Love Party of Hillary isn't exactly winning friends either, what with trying to convince us that everything is hunky-dory, and that the hunky-doryness will continue into the foreseeable future. The only influencers they seek to impress are their donors and the comfortable believers of the professional class. And that includes Republicans who are just as horrified at Trump's dark material as the establishment Dems.
The Clintonites aren't interested in wooing hippies and lefties and poor people, and they never have been. Why else select Wall Street and TPP-friendly Tim Kaine as Clinton's running mate, and then add insult to injury by colluding with the New York Times to cynically cast him as a "progressive?"
(Now, to be perfectly catty about the whole thing, I think that one reason she picked him is because he makes her look ten years younger.)
|Slim,Trim,Grim, and Brim-full of Vim With Tim|
New York Times columnist and Democratic factotum Paul Krugman, long a Panglossian defender of the neoliberal Obama regime, wrote a hilarious blog-post the other day, assuring his readers that because New York City's tony Upper West Side (where he owns a fortified $1.7 million co-op) is safe and secure, fear-mongering Donnie Darko has no idea what he's talking about, claiming that America is not strong or great.
If you listen to Trump, shames Krugman, it probably means that you're paranoid and delusional and perhaps even just as racist and misogynistic as he is.
Krugman is an intelligent guy, so it's painfully, transparently obvious that his piece is simply a desperate liberal counter-gambit as well as an ode to the wellness regimes of the wealthy.If you want to feel good about the state of America, you could do a lot worse than what I did this morning: take a run in Riverside Park. There are people of all ages, and, yes, all races exercising, strolling hand in hand, playing with their dogs, kicking soccer balls and throwing Frisbees. There are a few homeless people, but the overall atmosphere is friendly – New Yorkers tend to be rushed, but they’re not nasty – and, well, nice.
Yes, the Upper West Side is affluent. But still, I’ve seen New York over the decades, and it has never been as pleasant, as safe in feel, as it is now. And this is the big bad city!
The point is that lived experience confirms what the statistics say: crime hasn’t been lower, society hasn’t been safer, in generations. Which, of course, leads us to the Trump gambit from last night. Can he raise 1968-type fears in a country that looks, feels, and is nothing like it was back then?
My published response:
Well, if all is right in Krugman's privileged world, then it naturally follows that all should revel in his self-satisfaction.I didn't have room to add the text of a letter from the disaffected guy in the Highsmith novel to his particular Upper West Side target. But since it's apropos of Krugman's own clueless mind-set juxtaposed with seething working class resentments, I'll include it here, minus the annoying ALL CAPS beloved by the various and sundry angry people you meet on Yahoo comment boards, at Trump rallies, in Highsmith books, and in your own neighborhood:
This post creepily (and hilariously) reminded me of a Patricia ("Strangers on a Train") Highsmith novel called "A Dog's Ransom." An upper middle class guy goes for an innocent stroll in Riverside Park - and everything is, well, nice. It's so perfect, in fact, that there isn't one homeless person around to blot the landscape. There are even some frisbee-throwing black and brown people on hand to lull the open-minded passer-by into thinking that bad things can never happen to good and well-off people.
But Highsmith being her usual misanthropic self, we soon learn there's a dark side to that walk in the park. She's about to do a real satiric number on affluence, the class war, and consumerism.
Little does her open-minded professional dude know that there's an urban (white) psychopath lurking nearby, and that his whole privileged world is about to crumble.. In the process, he discovers there's a world beyond the Upper West Side.
It's dawned on me that Krugman is addressing the top 10 percent of the readership as well as his own professional cohort. Little does he seem to realize, or care, that the more he contributes to the class-blind liberal classism genre, the more that right-wing populists will gleefully and correctly pounce on the elitism of the media in general and the Clinton Dems in particular.
Brace yourselves for the Talented Mr. Trump.
Dear Sir or "Gentleman"
I suppose you are pretty pleased with yourself? People like you disgust me and not only me but a hell of a lot of other people in this world. You are smug, you are self-suficiant (sic) you think superior to everyone else. You think. A fancy apartment and a snob dog. You are a disgusting little machine, nothing else. Your days are numbered. What right have you got to be 'superior'?
Anon (as in see you anon - HA!)I don't want to be a spoiler, but I do want to reassure readers that the rich assholes in the novel do survive, despite being ripped a new one or two. Evil usually triumphs in the realistic dark world of Patricia Highsmith. But it never triumphs unscathed.
This novel and others in the Highsmith oeuvre were long out of print, but are again popular thanks in large part to the film adaptation (Carol) of her early novel, "The Price of Salt."
One of them, a collection of short stories called "Little Tales of Misogyny" is especially apt in this Age of Trump. I recommend all her books, especially "The Talented Mr. Ripley," which was also made into a well-received film.
Tom Ripley was actually a more perfect psychopath than Donald Trump, who is also a clinical narcissist with a monstrous id competing with an equally monstrous ego. He is neither charming, nor literate, nor polite, nor classy.
To be a true member of the tribe of refined psychopathy, one must be the opposite of Trump, capable of oozing empathy in public and acting callously in private.
And that brings me back to (at least) one of the other major characters in this blog-post, who's managed to fool enough of the people enough of the time to earn public approval ratings above 50 percent.
But sometimes even the best of them slip up, including the law enforcement officials in the audience who laugh along appreciatively and ghoulishly:
If you prefer more unabashed ghoulishness:
As far as garden variety mendacity goes, Hillary still needs a lot - a whole, whole, whole lot - more practice in fooling at least some of the people some of the time:
But look over there! It's Trump, baring his bottom teeth.