“Hell… is the suffering of being unable to love.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
“I and the public know, what all school children learn; those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.”
– W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939
“To my knowledge, America has never known any enemy children.”
– Senator William Langer (R-ND), March 29, 1946
“We ask ourselves what kind of world we live in, but it’s too painful to face the truth. Maybe our worst fears have already been realized -- maybe the justice system has collapsed. More and more people are feeling overlooked and superfluous, and that feeds the escalation of senseless violence we’re seeing. Violence has become part of our daily reality. We complain about the way things are, but sometimes, I think things are worse than we’re admitting.”
– Henning Mankell
“The ACLU is better positioned than ever to throw up a roadblock every time the Trump administration tries to violate our rights. We will continue to litigate every single unconstitutional policy. We will continue marching and delivering hundreds of thousands of calls and messages to Congress. And if our elected officials still have the gall to ignore the will of the people, we will make the midterm elections a referendum on where the country is headed, and educate the voting public on the importance of civil rights and civil liberties.”
– Anthony Romero, July 4, 2018
“Pessimistic policemen rarely solve [d] complicated crimes.”
– Henning Mankell
Historically speaking, hatred is much easier to organize than tolerance.
One of the questions facing optimists or pessimists between now and November is: how much damage can Donald Trump do to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, before one or both Chambers in Congress flips to the Democratic Party. Democrats are more than willing, but, as of now, constitutionally unable, to take him on in a formal sense. Informally of course, they, and a host of other organized forces in the private and public sector are taking him on with a vengeance; calling Trump and his enablers out, the first step in impeaching a tyrant.
It is the abuse of children by this reckless and incompetent President and his unrepentant followers that most dismays the decent among us. Tearing away infants and toddlers from their mothers and fathers, like all forms of sexual abuse, constitutes a “murder of the soul.” Now that Mr. Trump has used his Presidency to such ends, another crime against humanity has been chalked up to the American nation for which we should atone, and may well do so, sooner than we think.
One wonders what fatherly abuses cause Donald Trump to behave so savagely towards the vulnerable and so slavishly towards dictators, whose crimes outstrip the abilities of an American Executive with term limits, short of blundering into a nuclear war. Or does Trump just get a kick out of behaving like a jerk? His loyal followers certainly enjoy it. What’s up with them?
Hating Hillary is one thing. But Canadians and Europeans? Being “carefully taught” from childhood to hate people “whose eyes are oddly made,” or “whose skin is a different shade,” is also, sadly, explainable in Anglo-American history. But ripping babies away from their mothers, and putting legitimate asylum seekers in concentration camps? What’s up with that? Possessing no reliable crystal ball, I turned once again to my canine analysts sitting it out with me as the Mandan fireworks displays subsided.
High Plains Reader: When the Nazis appealed successfully to German nativism in 1932, times were tough, Great Depression tough, while Americans turned to a politically unknown, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who preached that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” In 2016, when “trickle down economics” was mostly trickling up, but safeguards from the New Deal to Obamacare were cushioning Depression era blows, Americans turned to Donald Trump. His vicious nativism has made Muslims targets, like Hitler targeted the Jews, and brown-skinned Central American asylum seekers into targets, like West Coast hysteria, California Attorney General Earl Warren, and FDR targeted Japanese Americans. What has gotten into us?
Putin: Americans have wearied of the expense, both human and material, of being the world’s #1 Superpower. They just don’t want to admit it. So it becomes necessary to blame others. China. Islam. Mexicans. Anyone but themselves.
HPR: But America didn’t win World War II on its own. We allied with the devil Stalin to defeat the devils Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo. And FDR was lucky enough for Hitler to declare war on the U.S. three days after Pearl Harbor, allowing him to follow General Marshall’s advice to tackle the greater Nazi danger in Europe first, and deal with a more popular attack on the Japanese Empire secondarily.
Rasputin: And there wouldn’t have been a free world to defend by the time of Pearl Harbor, if Churchill and the British Empire hadn’t held on.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Try telling that to our fellow Americans on July 4th! Honoring our veterans is a good thing; but the efforts we make to do so can cover up the abuses by our political leaders of soldiers who were obliged to serve in American wars that were more of a racket or a folly than ones of self-defense.
Kim Dog Un: So, in 2016, you put a Donald Trump in the White House who defames a genuine war hero, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), because he was captured and tortured in a war that should not have been fought in the first place. The Vietnamese were sworn enemies of the Chinese long before China became a part of the Communist experiment.
HPR: But all this self-righteousness of Trump Republicans. A friend of mine in North Dakota was told by a distant relative at their Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago that “all Democrats should be shot;” who then pointed to an American flag nearby and said: “See that flag; that’s a Republican flag!”
Chicago Dog: That is certainly not the “North Dakota nice” that I have heard so much about. What concerns me is all the “religious” fervor that infuses so many Trump Republicans, as distinguished from Republicans who, at best, wanted government that was effective and cost less, and at worst, merely worshiped money like the rest of us.
HPR: While I have a number of friends who worship as Evangelical Christians and actually behave like Christians, it concerns me that many politically active Evangelicals are hell bent on supporting an agnostic like Trump because he supports their dogmatic positions. It is also a disturbing comparison that, in the last free election in Germany in 1932 before Hitler’s takeover, the Nazis did far better at the polls in the Evangelical Protestant regions than in the Catholic sections or left wing precincts of the country.
Lena: That is a matter for Evangelical Pastors to address. They may be tempted to do so as trade war antics of an economic ignoramus in the White House turn troubled times into hard times in places like Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and the Dakotas. As revelations in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation come out it could actually happen if they and their following realize that Trump is not only a fake leader, but a real Troll.
Lena: Not like cute, roly-poly ones in the movie Frozen. More like nasty ones of Scandinavian folklore and Wall Street reality; those who are happy when everyone else is unhappy; who are lucky more than good, but who never see the distinction between the two.
Rasputin: Trolls also seek to congeal power, hold summits and ‘breakaway’ sessions where deals get hammered out in secret. No disaster goes unexploited by a Troll to achieve its desired ends. A Troll will work division between people, always seeking to ‘divide and conquer.’
HPR: That sounds like Putin!
Putin: Vladimir Putin does his evil with a studied purpose: the destruction of free societies whose weaknesses he understands, but whose strengths he fears, and does not fully fathom. Trolls like Trump do their evil through carelessness, with very little thought for those they harm, or for why they do it, except that it pleases them.
Lena: And Trolls like Trump, when taken to task, are also adept at blame, outright lies, or [my favorite], invoking the Fifth Amendment.
HPR: But, whatever his real reasons, will Trump get away with what he has done?
Chicago Dog: Not really. Trump continues to suffer from not being taken seriously; the butt of jokes at his expense for the fraud he has been, and continues to be. The real source of loathing for his predecessor, Barack Obama, likely comes not from racism, which is a tactical ploy of long standing among American demagogues, but from his roasting by the former President at the Washington D.C. Correspondents’ Dinner, which comes from the hate in Trump’s tiny heart.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Perhaps. However, I think that Donald Trump fancies himself as “The Message,” but is really more “The Medium:” Cervantes’s Knight of the Mirrors to the Don Quixote of American Arrogance of Power since 1945. The madness will not end until Americans reject the reflection of the hateful figure we see in Donald Trump’s baleful mirror. This madness has taken decades to accumulate. We don’t have as long to cure it.
Chicago Dog: The solution is simple enough. As early as next November, Americas can reject illusions of being Knights in Shining Armor, brandishing swords or AR-15s; instead returning to the day-to-day tasks of a living, breathing Statue of Liberty, brandishing torches of liberty and justice.
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