Tuesday, August 21 , 2018, 11:17 pm | Fair 68º

 
 
 
 

Letter to the Editor: Conundrum for Hillary Clinton Voters Now

A huge contradiction now faces Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton:

IF these voters continue in their deep distrust, & yes even hatred, of the billionaire President-Elect, they only damage themselves, the American world hegemony, and ultimately the planet herself.

But,

IF these voters choose to fall in line and slowly sidle up to those dark and nationalistic — read alt-Right — forces behind the President-Elect, as self-aware and educated American citizens, they’ll know they are selling their values out, literally.

When Sen. Harry Reid and others flip out at Bannon’s selection as chief White House Advisor to the new President, when liberals now insist they’re “Californians” not violent/xenophobic/misogynistic/racist “Amerikans”, and when hordes of liberals cry in rage every night…we observe sufferers of the first IF contradiction described above.

Some complacent and aging baby-boomer ex-hippies may counsel us to hunker down and ride out this proto-fascist GOP political storm.  Yeah, just smirk or smile as you witness Gingrich, Giuliani, Gaffney and other toadies ascending into high office and very heavy responsibilities.  Just mellow out, snort some bourbon or toke some good legal weed, maybe zone out watching NFL on TV…

This yawning contradiction causes anguish and heart-ache for thoughtful progressives and liberals everywhere in the USA and Europe.  Not only are the Chinese wary and worried, the Germans are bewildered and wonder if they’ll lose our nuclear umbrella.  Thank god Mrs. Merkel, a sane female leader, will run for office next year in the Bundesrepublik — the President-Elect desperately needs her wisdom and connections with Putin.  As a staunch NATO ally who supports us in Afghanistan and as a forward base vs. resurgent Russia, Germany is our most crucial ally even before UK or France.

Worried Germans are the first to notice the ugly similarities in the USA to what happened in Europe during the late 1920s and the 1930s.  By the mid-1930s progressive liberal democracies were reeling and on the run in Europe: over a dozen countries sank into destructive nationalism led by a heavy-handed strongman.  Examples abound and include Franco in Spain, Marshal Pilsudski in Poland, Salazar in Portugal, and of course the original fascist/totalitarian dictator:  the Italian Benito Mussolini who burst into power in 1922.  Even France and the UK had weak democratic leadership:  the French and German capitulation to Adolf Hitler’s invasions in 1938 at the humiliating Munich appeasement talks happened because France was very weak, and UK Prime Minister Chamberlain was gullible and believed Hitler’s lies.

In this comparison to the 1930s in Europe and USA in the 21st century, the President-Elect is simply another would-be proto-fascist authoritarian: nationalistic, Islamophobic, vengeful against opponents.  We can pity his ignorance a little, but feel even sorrier for the planet, our allies, and the USA since on January 20th he gets all the U.S. military’s lethal power under his impulsive trigger finger.  As Chamberlain and the French suffered a disastrous “failure of nerve” to confront Nazi υber-nationalism in the ‘30s, so all the GOP presidential candidates suffered from low-energy and a failure of nerve in confronting DJT in the GOP nomination process.

The second IF has to honor the authentic rage and anger that disenfranchised anglo men and women have for corporate America, the elites and 1%, the mainstream liberal media, and any group they imagine might threaten their already-weak economic place.  As Bernie Sanders points out, 52% of all the recovery from the Great Recession of 2007-08 has gone to the 1%, and precious little has truly trickled down at all.  Read J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy for real-life details about sufferings in Appalachia.

Whether we should support the new President-Elect or not impales our Clinton voters on the painful horns of a moral dilemma — if I support DJT (aw, he should get a “honeymoon”!) I hurt myself by betraying my core values, but it may help him govern more responsibly… As a teacher in California for over 40 years, I’m a multi-culturalist, believer in the rule of law (Constitution) and equal rights for all, I support religious freedom and fear the anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic influences in the new administration.

However, if I legally agitate against him and his misguided policies, I may weaken the US peace-making dominance abroad.  What does marching down a main street in my town with another 1000 demonstrators “against Trump” accomplish?  Do we fear he’ll wreck our planet-wide economic supremacy and hegemony?

Why shouldn’t China’s emerging navy police the South China Sea, and Russia’s navy control the eastern Mediterranean? DJT asks us why not let Putin just have the Ukraine??

Another comparison to 1930s Europe after World War I is that demagogic and nationalistic dictators flout convention and “normal” rules of international conduct (the USA will make Mexico pay for the Wall DJT’s promised to build…really?).  Most Germans in the very early 1930s were worried about the economy and having enough heat and food to eat due to the Great Depression, they didn’t pay too much attention to the possibilities of global war.  Today, the 47% of American voters who cast ballots for the President-Elect still seem serenely unaware of emergency global issues like climate change, competition against us by Russia and China, growing distaste for “America” from our crucial European NATO allies, and the endless killings in the Middle East.  These Americans do not care that the President-Elect knows and cares little about these issues.  He is a businessman first and foremost (and always):  the bottom line is what matters, and there he is nationalistically “America First”.

The two real questions behind the huge contradiction are whether the President-Elect gets a 70-day honeymoon? and if democracy is actually possible in a mass-media era like ours?

Dan McCaslin
​Santa Barbara

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