Maureen Dowd of the New York Times does me and others one better with our rationalizations that at least Donald Trump has provided the silver lining of spawning the biggest mass protest movement since the Vietnam War. In a nod to his Versailles lifestyle, she describes his flailing fascistic antics as a lining of pure solid gold.
As I wrote in my published response to her Sunday column, Trump has indeed made millions of "Sleepers Wake!" in his own unique, Bach-wards, Antichrist sort of way.
"I hope the protests last," I wrote, "and that Trump's recent canoodlings with the border patrol, the sheriffs' association, the military brass, and the Intelligence (sic) Community aren't signs of of the suppression to come. If a squelching of dissent is what he has in mind, the "norms" are certainly in place for him -- the Homeland Security fusion centers, the Patriot Act, the FISA Court, etc. He's already supplementing those wonderful executive powers bequeathed to him with his own undemocratic brand of capitalistic crack - while the bored, compliant Congress critters are stoned into a stupor when they're not frantically buck-raking."
There is method to Trump's madness of insulting the entire judicial system and making a big show of rounding up immigrants. His real aim is to round up the half of the country that abhors the very ground he plods upon by pulling an "I told you so" the minute another blowback of a massacre occurs on our soil. He aims to scare people into getting off the streets and going home to stay obediently riveted to CNN, a/k/a the Terror Channel.
When I read recently that the new president is an obsessive-compulsive watcher of this military-industrial complex-sponsored cable outfit, it all started to make perfect sickening sense to me. Donald Trump and his band of Nazi White House advisers have been as brainwashed into their xenophobia as millions of other viewers. The manufacture of fear into the huddled masses is the primary weapon of capitalism gone wild. It's all they have left to control us.
Meanwhile, the Vichy Congress continues its own bipartisan grift, plotting cuts to the social safety net as the price we have to pay for our precious "freedoms."
The Democratic Party is a lost cause. During their recent and aptly named "retreats" in Baltimore and Houston, they were still bickering about procedures and catchy slogans, as opposed to an actual platform and programs that would benefit the refugees of the middle class, the working poor and the perpetual underclass.
In one of many recent forums for the politicians vying to lead the Democratic National Committee — and, ideally, the party — out of the wilderness and into better times, the candidates were asked to distill the importance of fighting Donald Trump to 10 words or less.
Trump, correctly observes Bruni, has become the only reference point for every Democratic Party utterance. As a result, more voters are familiar with Steve Bannon, Trump's fascist guru, than they are with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of Wall Street, who famously shed crocodile tears as he co-opted the airport protests a couple of weekends ago. He became instant fodder for ridicule by Trump -- who knows his fellow plutocrat-serving New Yorker only too well.I heard clichés: “Power to the people.” I heard fancy words: “Anathema.”I heard answers over 15 and 20 and even 25 words.Only one of the seven candidates onstage at this particular event — which took place in Washington just two days before Trump’s inauguration — came in under the limit, with a reply that was more upbeat than downbeat and more assertive than reactive.“Freedom, fairness, families, future,” said Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., using four words. “I got six left?”
But Bruni ultimately can't help but join the Democrats in their own losing game: tamping down the "re-litigation" of 2016, and decrying the disunity between the party's centrist corporate faction, and its populist progressive faction. Bruni, who with his Times colleagues went out of his way to both negatively boost Trump, and to alternately ignore and denigrate Bernie Sanders throughout the primaries, is still at it. He ends his column with yet another dig at Sanders, who has had the nerve to call for a major, disunifying party restructuring.
My published response:
Mr. Bruni rightly criticizes the shallow intra-party nitpicking and the futile anti-Trump outrage.
But then he seems to suggest that all Democrats need do to win is to get rid of the wizened old fogies and put forth some young, photogenic (let's "groom" them!) and hip (in sync emotionally!) candidates who can be "ruthlessly pragmatic" enough to whip the electorate into a frenzy.
That is just sad.
Surmising that most people are shallow enough to be bored stiff with substance over style, all they can think about is a better "process." Cosmetic appeal, maps, narratives, diction and personality have become more important than, say, supporting single payer health care, a living wage, public unions, and a job for anybody who wants one.
A cynical strategy that aims to fool enough of the people enough of the time just to get themselves back into power is a deservedly losing strategy.
Most of us aren't interested in who's the cutest, smartest liberal running for office. According to polls, younger voters lean toward socialism - which is absolute anathema to the party as it currently exists, in such thrall to Wall Street. Nancy Pelosi just last week condescendingly scoffed at a young man at a town hall who dared to question capitalism.
Younger people didn't rally around Bernie because of his looks, grooming and personality. There's a good reason that membership in the Democratic Socialists of America (not even a party, per se) doubled in 2016.
It's still the economy, stupid.