Thursday, January 12, 2017

What's the Big Deal? (Or Why We Are Doomed)

In the wake of reports from American intelligence agencies that Russia with specific support and direction from Vladimir Putin engaged in our electoral process to influence the outcome, a lot of people are understandably upset that a foreign power acted in such a malicious way against our democracy. 

A lot of people. But not all. For example, let's consider these opinions from a trio of Trump supporters in Louisiana. 

  • “Sour grapes,” says Bob Marino, 79.
  • “Sour grapes,” agreed Roger Noel, 65. 
  • “Bunch of crybabies,” Reed Guidry, 64.  

A reporter for the New York Times spoke with people in Louisiana and Indiana, two states that not only end in "-iana" but also voted for Trump by wide margins in the November 2016 election. For the full story, click here.  

But to sum up, the reaction to the Russian story ranges from derision to outright rejection. These are voters who support Trump's narratives of faulty intelligence, it doesn't really matter anyway if it is true and besides its the Democrats own fault.   

For some, the hatred for Hillary Clinton runs deep enough to consider that whatever the Russians did, it was a good thing.  
David Gubert, 56, said, "If that’s what it took, I’m glad they did it.”

And this is what the far right of American politics has wrought, an electorate so pushed to the fringes by decades of hateful rhetoric that they few the hostile intrusion of a foreign power into American democracy as a good thing. Hey, if it helped our side win, right? Thank you very much, Mr. Putin. 

And at its core, this presents a fundamental flaw in the basic bedrock of American society, one that may well doom our nation. That flaw is a complete inability to look beyond one's own self interest. Let's get this thought straight in our heads about what Trump supporters are saying: 

  • They value the word of one man over the word of many others.
  • They value the word of foreign governments over our own government.
  • They value their own personal victories over the sovereignty and security of our nation. 
And this extends beyond just the scandal of Russian influence in our way of life. Donald Trump spent an entire campaign railing against Hillary Clinton as being corrupt, crooked, unethical; yet in the lead up to his inauguration, Trump and his proposed appointees are swamped with a variety of ethical breaches, some potential, others very real. But are Trump supporters bothered by that? Hell no! 

For all that they hated in Hillary Clinton, similar or even worse behavior from Donald Trump is getting a pass. 
  • That's different.
  • That doesn't count.
  • Hillary was worse.
  • That's just the main stream press ganging up on Trump.
  • Trump's just being Trump. 
There was a saying once from an overachieving coach or player in some sport or another (Sportsball?) that went, "Winning isn't the main thing; it's the only thing." 

It is a statement that speaks to the drive and the determination to succeed. And there is nothing wrong with that. But it can be viewed as a repudiation of the joy of competition, a refutation of doing the right thing or making ethical judgments, a disregard for the value of others. Winning as the only thing becomes winning at all costs.  

Trump didn't care what he said or did; only that he won. And his voters share that sentiment. No matter that it is a victory that comes at the cost of an America divided within and under assault by enemies without. Trump won. That's all that matters. Nothing else.

And that is why we are doomed. If that mindset continues to prevail, this nation is most certainly doomed. 

Bummer of a note to end all. Sorry 'bout that. 

Try to be good to one another. I'll be back with another post tomorrow.    

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