Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Marc Jampole: Trump is changing America

Trump may be living in the past with his ideas and policies, but they are 100% 21st century GOP.

It seems as if the pace of Trump Administration abominations is accelerating. Every day Trump’s soldiers issue another decree that hurts the economy, harms our future potential, endangers our population or curtails the civil rights of a group or all of us. Meanwhile, Trumpty-Dumpty sets verbal dumpster fires all over the place as a distraction: Most recently he has picked fights with the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a distinguished if unchangeably rightwing Senator, his own Secretary of State, the trigger-happy dictator of North Korea and the National Football League.

These reality TV shenanigans claim most of the news, while Trump’s troops continue to reset the long-term course of U.S. policy in civil rights, the environment, foreign policy and energy policy. Just take a look at what has happened in the past week or so; I put the harm each action does in italics:

  • Announcing that he will likely decertify the Iran nuclear agreement. Decreases our safety, isolates us from our allies and reverses path to a real peace with Iran
  • Setting terms for putting DACA into law that are harsh, including building a wall and severely limiting immigration. Takes a winning idea and turns it into a lose-lose situation: Deporting 800,000 productive members of society will send us into recession; not getting the additional immigrants we need to fill future U.S. jobs will stunt economic prosperity
  • Letting employers refuse to cover birth control for their female employees on religious grounds. Raises medical costs and abortions, as less access to birth control always leads to more pregnancies (expensive) and abortions (inexpensive, safe but frowned upon by Trumpites)
  • Ending the exemption to the Jones Act, so that only U.S. ships can dock in Puerto Rico once again, driving up the cost of food and other supplies precipitously. A cruel policy in light of the hurricane damage suffered by the island
  • Announcing a tax reform plan that raises taxes slightly on many in the middle class while giving the wealthy and ultra-wealthy an enormous tax break. Will lead to another asset bubble followed by a crash and will increase inequality of wealth and income in the country
  • Telling companies that they can discriminate in employment matters against the transgendered. Do I really have to write why this decision is wrong?
  • Repealing the Clean Power Plan. Doesn’t help anyone since coal is a dead industry but sets back efforts to combat human-induced global warming
  • Making deep cuts to the programs that enroll people for healthcare coverage on the individual health exchanges. Will increase both premiums for the insured and overall medical costs, as fewer people covered leads to higher premiums and more expensive emergency room visits and critical treatments since the uninsured put off seeking medical attention.

It’s a breathtaking display of ignorance and obstinacy. In every area, Trump prefers to believe long disproven myths and his own self-serving ideas than to follow science, empirical observation and the recommendations of experts. In every case, the basis for his views are observations that apply to past decades, myths that have long been proven false or the imaginary creations of the Internet rumor mill. People used to believe that the crime rate was higher among immigrants, but now we know it’s much lower. Same thing with the job-creating impact of lowering taxes on the wealthy. Economic research has proven it doesn’t happen. Extending an unharmonious relationship with Iran only makes sense to someone whose pride is still wounded by the 1979 hostage crisis, which is a far less crime against the amour-propre of a country than overthrowing its democratically elected leader, which is what we did to Iran.

With Trumpian ignorance comes a full dose of venomous small mindedness. He never forgives or forgets a slight or a grudge. Take Trump’s feud with the NFL because its players demonstrated respect for the American way by kneeling during the singing of the national anthem to protest police violence against people of color. While it continues his subtle campaign to demonize people of color, it also enables him to stick it to an old adversary, the NFL. Some history: the U.S. Football League was minting small money as a way to see football during the NFL off season until Trump bought a franchise (probably with OPM) and bullied the other owners into competing directly against the NFL. The USFL soon went bust, losing millions of dollars for all its investors. It’s the perfect Trump move—he comes into something successful and botches it up. Kind of like the casino business and the White House. In any case, his NFL feud plays to his core of racists and jingoists, while allowing him to exact some sick revenge on someone who vanquished him decades ago.

Thus in every way, Donald Trump lives in a past comprised of misbegotten ideas, obsolete notions and old grudges.

But he nonetheless represents the party that he leads. Virtually all of the current GOP subscribes to his full range of crackpot ideas, from lowering taxes on the wealthy to building a wall to supporting the religious imperatives of rightwing Christians to hating Iran to turning back the clock on environmental, labor and safety regulations.

The 21st century GOP pursues the selfish economic interests of the ultra- wealthy by pandering in word and deed to the social imperatives of rightwing Christianity and white racists. Virtually all of the GOP platform is based on the same old ideas and disproven myths that animate the Trump program. It takes ignorance to believe much of their economic nonsense, which explains why the wealthy sought allies among the most uneducated and intellectually vulnerable part of the populations—those with irrational beliefs.

These views do not represent the opinions of a majority of Americans, or even a majority of the approximately 50% who choose to vote, much less in off years. But a constitutional bias in favor of rural states and rural areas within states, gerrymandering by the Republicans, a wave of voter suppression laws and a mass media prone to tolerating Republican lies have enabled the minority that do hold these views to predominate.

Yes, the irrational, voluble, mentally unstable, ignorant and self-centered Trump scares me. But the rest of the Republican Party scares me just as much.


 

Copyright 2017 Marc Jampole

5 comments on “Marc Jampole: Trump is changing America

  1. johnlawsonpoet
    October 13, 2017

    Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    It’ll be interesting to look back at this column a couple of years from now–and especially in 2020, if, God forbid, this maniac is running for re-election. By then, these forecasts will probably seem mild compared to the incredible swath of devastation that more than three more years of Trump–and Republican domination–will inflict.

    Like

  2. Luz Vega-Hidalgo
    October 13, 2017

    Thank you Michael, this was a magnificent article, as always…

    I absolutely believe what it states, that “These views do not represent the opinions of a majority of Americans, or even a majority of the approximately 50% who choose to vote, much less in off years.”

    It’s a tough fight, but I can see it has meant an evolution in the social consciousness of America, it possibly accounts for the vicious reaction from the extreme right.

    In my opinion Trump is a clear demonstration of what British and American business men during the 17 century African slave trade established as being ” White.” History has unearthed that it was this very few class of men in Europe and America who invented the concept of race and race conflict. But very few European Americans realize that for 400 years at least until 1948 ( the New Deal ) Europeans and European Americans were also being exploited and persecuted, by the same rich class who exploited and persecuted non-Europeans in America and in the Third world.The majority of European Americans benefitted very little from this racist exploitation by the very rich American and European economic and political elites. Some would argue that in the great labor conflicts between workers and owners of industry starting form the 1800 to 1948 ( 150 years) racism many times weakened the unification of European American workers and non European American workers in the labor movement. The divide and conquer racist strategies of the very rich owners of industry, at times was working in favor of the very these very rich exploiters of American labor.

    Now on this day, liberal and progressive European American, look well, are you like Trump? If you are not, then you are not the mythical “White” of our classical racist tale. Instead you are a human being in solidarity with the rest of humanity.

    It’s a difficult thing to wash away a four century brain wash. I know because I’m a woman, and men and women have suffered the brain wash of gender discrimination for centuries in most cultures of the world ( if not all cultures of the world for millenniums) Women throughout the world have been programmed to believe in their own inferiority and to propagate it.

    Likewise among poor European Americans they have been taught to help their own rich oppressors, by defending their divide and conquer strategies in the American population and even agreeing to abdicate their own democratic rights in order to defend the wealth of their very rich oppressors. This is what the myth of ” White” has done.

    Among poor European American supporting Trump, because they are White and Trump is White, the myth has had the power of erasing the distinction of class, and therefore they cannot identify the clear exploitation of their poor class by the American one percent. The brain wash of ” White” has the poor European American follower of Trump, believing that they also share in the wealth, power and privilege of the ultra rich racist which are their leaders.

    Perhaps many European Americans share some degree of this point of view; its a 4 century virus which has infected many levels of our thinking. But it’s a myth, a very scary dystopian driven myth that aims to separate and degrade humanity and American society into a relationship which is similar to the tales which speaks of zombies, which are the living dead, the brainless, or the very stupid, vs. the living.

    ” But a constitutional bias in favor of rural states and rural areas within states, gerrymandering by the Republicans, a wave of voter suppression laws and a mass media prone to tolerating Republican lies have enabled the minority that do hold these views to predominate. Yes, the irrational, voluble, mentally unstable, ignorant and self-centered Trump scares me. But the rest of the Republican Party scares me just as much.”

    PERFECT, when will the serfs/peasants and poor urban dwellers, awaken and arise, and break the chains, and storm the Bastilles of the mind.

    “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” ― Harriet Tubman

    Liked by 2 people

  3. daniel r. cobb
    October 13, 2017

    Trump is destroying America.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: