Monday, March 20, 2017

There Will Be Consequences—There Always Are

According to yesterday’s (Mar 17) article about Bernie Sanders in the Guardian UK newspaper, “a new poll found he is the most popular politician in America. But instead of embracing his message, establishment Democrats continue to resist him.”

Well, there’s nothing new in that, Senator Sanders was never taken seriously in the American media during the primary campaign and when he was mentioned it was usually with the disclaimer that ‘of course, he has no chance at the nomination.’

They said that of Donald Trump as well, but in softer and softer voices as he became the last Republican standing among a blur of unoriginal and uninspiring candidates. Hillary had a half-dozen clear and overwhelming advantages over her ultimate opponent and still couldn’t win:
·       A deep public-service portfolio, covering three decades
·       An abiding understanding of how political Washington works
·       Her gender and the notion that it was ‘time’ for a woman president
·       Wide and personal acquaintance with foreign leaders
·       Name recognition and
·       The presumption that she would win by a landslide

Didn’t work out, did it?

Donald Trump had nothing in his trick-bag other than an electorate that no longer believed in the promises of either party and he was an outsider. That was enough, but no one saw it coming; not the press, traditional media, the new social media, pundits, comedians (did I just repeat myself?), the international community or any of the ships at sea.

The consequences of which I speak are that establishment Democrats continue to resist Bernie Sanders in the face of overwhelming evidence that he was not only a more viable candidate than Hillary but, more importantly, that he could have won.

The Trump message was Bernie’s message, spoken by a more sane and dedicated enthusiast, but with an eloquence and determination that rang from thirty years in the trenches espousing the socialist message in a political environment that was anything but friendly. While Wall Street was busy bribing both parties for its own purposes and Donald wasn’t more than a laughably crooked developer in New York, Sanders was America’s political witness to the decline of its social, economic and military power.

And now we read, from that same Guardian newspaper that “Hillary Clinton 'ready to come out of the woods' and rejoin public life.” The article goes on to say “the former presidential candidate says she still has a hard time watching the news, but urged a divide country to find common ground.”

Well I have news for you Hillary, we have found common ground and you are no longer standing on it. Indeed, you did not occupy that common ground during the primary campaign—but were determined to be the candidate because it was your time. You see now what that exercise in Ego cost the nation and we will find common ground because that’s the historic American way. As Winston Churchill said by way of compliment, “You can always depend upon America to do the right thing—after it has exhausted all the alternatives.”

We’re currently hip-deep in alternatives and less than two months into a Trump Administration the world holds its breath as our president conducts diplomacy on Twitter, his executive orders bring chaos to immigration and worldwide air travel and he chooses to disengage America from trade and environmental obligations upon which American credibility depends. The Congress is in turmoil and we are exhausting alternatives by the bucketful each day that the sun comes up on late-night tweets by our Commander in Chief.

So, there are consequences to four decades of sinking respect for Congress to its current rate of less than ten percent. There are consequences to loss of trust in government, with voter turnout sinking to all-time lows. And there will be more. If life is tragi-comedy, it is not yet certain which the Trump presidency represents and clarity is a long way down the road if it exists at all.

We are told we must not despair, but we dare not go to sleep at the wheel either and if the much damaged Democratic Party has any role at all in America’s future, they better do better than come out of the woods. The electorate has spoken and for those who have ears it has spoken more directly to Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. The Clinton years are over.

Indeed, the last forty years of American degradation from an industrial to a consumer economy is just hitting its stride. We may never regain our industrial dominance, because industry is automating itself out of the workforce on all continents. Yet our economic future simply must be more creative than simply selling one another cheap shit that is made to be replaced. The end-game of Corporate America is too bleak to contemplate.

Corporate America is dedicated to a vision the founders would not recognize. As Grover Norquist defines that vision, “I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.” Grover, elected by no one and whose name is not widely recognized outside the party, dominates Republican politics. He is a corporatist, as are the Koch brothers and other wealthy donors who keep ALEC in the driver’s seat of State and National political machines.

Politics is no longer the enemy, politics has proudly made itself the bought and paid-for toolkit of the enemy. The corporations that relentlessly dismantle America for the financial benefit of stockholders are this century’s bad guys and they’re not going to give up their influence over both parties, no matter the rhetoric. Corporations worked hard to own them both and average Americans are only slowly becoming aware of the strength of the grip.

So, it’s a new game, either with a re-awakened and sufficiently horrified electorate or it’s game over. If Donald Trump in the White House doesn’t pose a serious enough wake-up call, then it’s probably game over. But there will be consequences—there always are.

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