We are embroiled in a national debate over homosexuality, abortion, and race. Trump is not the cause of our consternation; he is only the symptom. Some people are willing to tolerate his insanity because he represents the underlying resentment of the poor whites and religious right. They see the political power structure of the past 30 years slipping from their grasp, and they are furious.
He is successful only in one aspect of the role of the President. He motivates people. Unfortunately, his primary appeal is to the lunatic fringe elements of our society who are incensed with their status. What they don’t understand is how corporate control of not only our economy, but also our government and electoral system, has hurt them. The corporations have deliberately deprived the working class of their former standard of living as a method of increasing profits and executive pay. We don’t actually make anything anymore. The economy and tax system are really just financial gerrymandering that increase inequality. We are re-living the Gilded Age. He also is an expert in manipulating the media. They take the bait every time and can’t resist quoting how outrageous his tweets are. He makes good copy because controversy and violence sell.
Because we are preoccupied with these issues, we fail to deal with the existential issues of our time. We are threatened daily by the lack of gun safety laws, climate change, and dissolution of international agreements and cooperation. In the US, we kill more people every day than in most of the regional wars. We are literally drowning in the seas, and we quibble about the impacts of disrupting the fossil fuels economy. We once cooperated with Russia in the International Space Station, and now we talk about weaponizing space. We have abandoned our nuclear weapons treaties with them. The world is flooded with refugees from regional wars and genocide. Failed nation states disgorge their miserables into a panic-filled mess that can’t deal with them in any humane way. The United Nations, NATO, the European Union, and other regional organizations face dissolution.
The United States following World War II literally rebuilt the world’s infrastructure and economy, and now ours is collapsing from neglect. Basic needs such as roads, bridges, water, sewer, airports, ports, rural hospitals, and rail transport are falling apart. China, Japan, and the European countries have functioning high-speed rail passenger service while Amtrak struggles because of lack of funds for capital equipment. We talk about infrastructure, but we don’t do anything about it. The Triangle has plans sitting on the shelf for public transportation, but has taken little action for the past 20+ years. The status quo is choking our cities from the gridlock, high accident rate, and cost of lengthy commutes.
If we cannot come to terms with each other and face these existential issues, the United States will go the way of the Roman Empire that collapsed from internal corruption, greed and focus on personal self-interests rather than the common good. It ceased to function as a democracy, and so have we. It is time to wake up and demand action. I’m ready to bring out the pitchforks and challenge the corporate control of our government at every level. Populism is not a negative concept. It simply has been distorted into a mass hysteria based on fear.