Reposted from Facebook, September 7, 2016.
My position on Hillary (not that you care): Lots of Americans hate her. They think she lies. This may not be justifiable, but it’s understandable, and I think it was a mistake for Democrats to select her as their nominee. Why?
Because for 30+ years the Republicans and their wealthy donors have seeded a cottage industry of rumourmongering, legal wrangling, and Federal investigations targeting the Clintons. Among these efforts, more than $100 Million of public funds have been spent on partisan attempts to attack and disgrace the Clintons.
From Whitewater to the Impeachment, to Benghazi, to Emails there is little kindling to build a raging fire of corruption. But by promulgating these and more “scandals”, most manifested purely in the imaginations of Bannon et al, Republicans now assert a “where there’s smoke there’s fire” blanket indictment; even where the smoke has largely been billowing from between their own cheeks.
Why are they so fixated? Because Hillary once tabled a supposedly radical, single-payer health care proposal that threatened to sideline trillions of dollars of privately-owned health insurance and healthcare provider companies. That she dared to posit the notion that perhaps human wellness should be a sacred right and perhaps NOT a profit centre for a mature social democracy massively alienated much of corporate America. That this initiative might actually be SUCCESSFUL is a clear and present danger to the fundamental fabric of the Republican Party, as it could shift Americans appreciably to the left for decades to come.
The very same people who now criticize Hillary for voting in favour of the ill-advised, ill-conceived, ill-planned, and woefully-poorly-executed invasion and occupation of Iraq would have called for her to be convicted as a traitor had she done otherwise. And that, my friends, is the majority of Americans. Hypocrites, all.
Fundamentally and broadly, Americans now do what they’re told. And they believe what they are told to believe, largely without cross-checking information and/or throwing sources under the cold light of context. And the general theme across most major media is that Hillary is a liar and Trump (who is a baldfaced, habitual, and reflexive liar) is a straight-talking though controversial outsider.
Frankly it is amazing that a population could be so stupid as to follow this line, but I remind myself that many of history’s most savage and incompetent leaders were indeed elected and widely lauded.
I have seen so many Americans who support #Trump assert “facts” about their candidate or the other which are demonstrably false with even the smallest amount of effort that I am convinced we have entered the Post-Truth Era of American political life. In a Post-Truth era, that which confirms your uninformed beliefs supersedes that which might challenge them. We now value opinion and impulse as more favourable than reason and information, a condition which I suspect is only possible in the wake of a 40-year conservative assault on public education in North America and elsewhere. When you combine this with fuzzy notions of American exceptionalism and Randian rational self-interest (which are the same thing, really) this cocktail of objectivist bullshit is the result.
Similar to the #Brexit fiasco, the months and years following a Trump victory (and there is no question — he will win) will be endowed by a period of instant regret and malaise, political chaos, and systemic entropy. The logjam inflicted upon the US by the Republican Congress and Senate during the Obama years will be further intensified by an ineffectual, diffident President, floundering to gain this segment’s favour or that for easy gratification and political sustenance.
Little of consequence will transpire, which for many on Wall Street will be deemed favourable, and the rich will continue to raid the cupboards of the middle class until the phrase becomes a demented oxymoron. America’s role in the world will diminish, apart from a few conflicts here and there, and their shrinking buying power will throw many overseas markets into chaos.
For his part Trump, a modern-day Emperor Nero, will fiddle while Rome burns and American society and infrastructure decays.
This is bad for Americans, no doubt, but a decreasingly potent America will render new opportunities for nations brave enough to wade into a new paradigm. I doubt that will be Canada, for what it’s worth..
In summation: Trump is a symptom of a set of wider problems, not a protagonist. He will ultimately have little positive or negative effect on what has been a long-term decline in harmony and commonwealth during his reign as clown-in-chief. He will denigrate and embarrass the office and his nation, and will be openly corrupt.
I struggle to imagine how, apart from the denigration and shame thing, a Hillary Clinton presidency will ultimately differ. While she may have a steadier hand on the tiller, the nation continues to drift toward the waterfall of ecological, social, and economic collapse… all the while partying like it’s 1999.