Thursday, August 18, 2022
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Make America Grate Again

by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

A lot of unpleasant things have been rubbing people the wrong way lately.  Considering Brexit, endless wars, democratic revolution, senseless terrorism, threat of nuclear bombings and constant abuses of human rights, no wonder people are grated. It’s easy to lose perspective when you take only a narrow view. Focus can unfortunately cause a misguided intensity.  But widen the lens and the obtrusions on the horizon tend to become less prominent. Life generally operates in cycles, with its ups and downs. Yet when – as I now regularly do – an observation is preceded by “fifty years ago…” there is bound to be a difference between the historical and the contemporary scenes no matter how generous the frame of reference may be.

Contrary to what we imagine to be imperceptible change, the landscape is radically different from what it once was. Granted the current blemishes diminish in significance when regarded from afar; and the past and the present tend to bleed into one another. But we mustn’t dismiss the palpable advancements which have evolved. But where do we look for those changes, in the broad view or in the detail?

The plight of the United States of America is an unavoidable and universal topic of conversation – as it has been since 2016 when the Presidential election got into full swing and its touchstone Republican candidate Donald J. Trump proved he wasn’t going away. As entertaining as Mr. Trump has proven to be I am hard-pressed to attach any more credibility to him and his so-called “Make America Great Again” campaign than I would accord a circus performer. As wont as he may be to attach to himself novelty and singularity, he’s really nothing but one of those blips on the horizon – a molehill obstruction that will be flattened by time if nothing else. In the meantime I was recently impressed by a comment from a political pundit that Mr. Trump is a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Establishment by a disgruntled group of people who feel hurt and disregarded, often with good reason. As fun as it has been for Mr. Trump to play Monopoly with real people and real things he is clearly not up to the task of doing anything constructive.

In a pathetic attempt to rekindle the public fires of admiration for himself he persists in conducting government by tweet  while contemporaneously tightening the noose about his own neck in a failed attempt to appease his base.  Pointedly he has totally ignored the precipitous decline of his favourability thermometer. Like so many maniacs before him (not the least of which includes the likes of Hitler and Napoleon), it is hubris which will ultimately do him in. The corollary nemesis has already begun with his erstwhile adversary John McCain. It won’t surprise me in the least if the entire Republican party turns on Mr. Trump the way the Roman senators turned on Julius Caesar. From what I can tell every one of them has a drawn dagger held behind their back.

“Brutus was close to General Julius Caesar, the leader of the Populares faction. However, Caesar’s attempts to assume greater power for himself put him at greater odds with the Roman elite and members of the Senate. Brutus eventually came to oppose Caesar and fought with the Optimate faction, led by Pompey the Great, against Caesar’s forces in Caesar’s Civil War. Pompey was defeated at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C., after which Brutus surrendered to Caesar, who granted him amnesty.

However, the underlying political tensions which led to the war had not been resolved. Due to Caesar’s increasingly monarchical behavior, several senators, calling themselves “Liberators”, plotted to assassinate him. They recruited Brutus, who took a leading role in the assassination, which was carried out successfully on March 15, 44 B.C.”

The lessons to be drawn from this historical account are two-fold and simple: pride kills and all will be forgotten. The madness of the Trump administration will soon evaporate and Americans will return to a rejection of the reactionary government which currently grates them. Small-mindedness, hate and isolationism are no prescription for the evolution of any society. Fuelling prejudice among Boy Scouts is a hideous exemplification of Mr. Trump’s perversion. Anyone with a sense of the world affairs knows that the current climate of American politics is seriously marred by a preposterous gloss. We’re watching a spiralling implosion.  Fortunately the gravity of the disaster is drawing only its adherents with it. Everywhere there are Americans who are utterly appalled by what is transpiring without their wish or consent; and even the supporters of Mr. Trump are discovering to their dismay that he is sucking the life out of everything. Mr. Trump is on the outward swing of an unhinged projectile.  Even his base supporters will not be there to catch him when he plummets downward at last.

Many Americans – like political activist Michael Moore – dislike what they see but they are obstinately not going anywhere.  They intend to remain until Mr. Trump is gone. Though of course I cannot possibly document it, my guess is that there is an elephantine  undercurrent of intrigue in America to oust Mr. Trump from his throne. Only recently with the threats by Mr. Trump to his former close allies (beginning with Sean Spicer and quickly moving to Jeff Sessions and now Reince Priebus) the depth of dissatisfaction with and reluctant endurance of the Trump administration has galvanized not only the badly shaken GOP but also the entire American public. The Trump administration – aside from boosting the ratings of cable television – is unsustainable and doomed. Remarkably there still remains a shred of hope among some of the American populace that Mr. Trump will somehow perform the miracles he spouted during the election campaign. But incrementally his paper constructs are fraying at the edges; his leadership incapacity is painfully obvious and embarrassing; his threat to national recovery and world peace is no longer something to be dismissed. As comedian Stephen Colbert caustically observed, Trump should be in a home!

My philosophic instinct compels me to search for the parallel advantages arising from these unfortunate events. Though I don’t for a second believe that Mr. Trump intended to “drain the swamp” or to remedy any of the other things he insinuated were wrong with “Washington”, his diatribes have nonetheless heightened an awareness of the danger of complaisance. Likewise his relentless attack on minorities has promoted a national analysis of both the past and the future to re-visit whence Americans have come and wither they intend to go. It is no accident that Mr. Trump’s so-called popular vernacular is now being viewed as simply vulgar and unintelligent notwithstanding its preliminary appeal to the groundlings of his sideshow. But as with any other shallow thesis, his doctrines are proving to be illogical and dangerous. His initial behaviour was that of a lout at a drunken brawl of like-minded swaggerers; but the day of reckoning is fast approaching and he will be left standing alone. Even enlisting an empty-headed mercenary like Anthony Scaramucci will do nothing to preserve either of them.

I am confident that this irksome experience will ultimately fortify Americans. When the astonishment abates concerning the annoying particulars of Mr. Trump’s behaviour, the broader picture of change will emerge. It will facilitate a focus on what is really needed for Americans – universal health care, universal education and improvement of the national infrastructure.  To do that every person in the United States of America will have to buckle under and work to lift themselves above the mire into which they’ve momentarily, unwittingly descended. Already Congress is talking about bilateral negotiation when not so long ago it was unheard of. As long as people like Trump continue to energize prejudice and narrowness generally they will delay the advance to make America great again. His distracting tactics of self-aggrandizement will ultimately prove to be the deplorable remonstrations of an unstable mind.

Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth




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