Putty Peeps Diaries - Fascism, Laughing Buddha and a Good Old Fashioned Bigot
While perusing the online universe from the comfort of my liberal-leaning, rational-thinking, tastefully-decorated tin, I came across three unrelated posts that sum up the current state of politics. The first is a statement by Sinclair Lewis. You remember Sinclair Lewis, right? The American novelist, short story writer and playwright and the first writer from the United States to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He wrote, and I got this from my English Crib Notes, satirical and critical prose sympathetic to the views of middle-class American life in the 1920s. Sinclair's most-read novel, at least in my school, Elmer Gantry is about a traveling evangelical salesman who was kicked out of seminary, loved to drink and chase women and preach to any who would listen about hypocrisy and the evils of evolution. The book was written during a time when Prohibition reigned supreme, the Temperance Movement was queen, and Jazz was king. Lewis, through Elmer, exposed the hypocrisy and pomposity of the times.
If Sinclair were alive today, he would have a new muse and would probably mumble to himself "you can't make this stuff up." Today he would say, Donald, is insane. He is eloquently insane, lovingly and pugnaciously insane. He would introduce his protagonist, not so loosely based on our current POTUS, with these words and begin his dissection of the religious right and their hypocrisy under the wing of Donald's impertinent thumb. He would assert there are two insults no human will endure. The assertion that he has no sense of humor and the doubly impertinent assertion he makes up his own news, despite the facts. Lewis would go on to say he knows America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she was better than every other country under 44. He would say that fascism has come to America, under the slogan make America great.
The next post I noticed was an innocent piece of advice. "Don't promise when you're happy. Don't reply when you're angry. Don't decide when you're sad." The author of this piece of advice is unknown. However, you can find this little gem all over the Internet, on mugs, t-shirts, and other inspirational items for your wall and desk. It is a simple notion but a powerful ideal. An ideal that 45 ought to consider using once in a while.
Stop and think how different this past year could have been if 45 had followed this advice. Don't promise when you are happy would have stopped him making promises to build a wall, charge Mexico for the construction, and destroy diplomatic relations with our neighbor to the South. It would have stopped him from signing an executive order four days into his term still giddy with his win, withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The deal was basically dead because Congress failed to pass the measure during Obama's two terms, but it was an early signal that Trump would do things for purely symbolic reasons while misleading the public into thinking he actually knew what he was doing on his way to fulfilling his promise to make America great.
Had 45 internalized the sentiment of don't reply when you are angry the Twitter servers could actually rest during the wee hours of the night, the State Department would not have to read about U.S. foreign policy changes in 140 characters or less, he would not fire officials for disagreeing with his fake news rants, he would not threaten judges when they dared to uphold the constitution and defy his travel bans. Had the Donald stopped to think for just a moment about the impact of his words he would not label those who disagree with him, or report on issues unfavorable to him or provide information that has not been bleached by right-wing conservatives to appeal to the underlying current of bigotry and hatred and he would most certainly not call for a state-run media because that was so 1984. We don't need a department of truth to rewrite history.
Last but not least had the Donald stopped and waited to make decisions when he was not sad he would not have released statements alleging watergate type conspiracies and wiretapping by the Obama administration against him, Comey would still have a job, and the sheriff of Wall Street would still be on duty. Plus the Internet would not be flooded with so many pictures of POTUS with a pouty lip, arms crossed and furrowed eyebrow. I mean come on, at least try to look like you accept responsibility for your mistakes, enjoy your job and are not thinking about dinner at Mar-a-Lago all the time.
The third post was a montage of 45's winning statements, you know the ones where he promised we would start winning again, we would win so much that we would say stop winning it is too much winning for us. This meme montage reminded me of the statements by Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at their annual press ball. Trump refused to go to the White House Correspondents Association dinner. I guess he had enough in 2011 when President Obama (oh how I miss that man) and Seth Myers took some good-natured shots at the Donald. Some wonder if the Donald decided to run for president as a way to get back at those laughing at him. I know he is saying "who's laughing now," but come on grow up! Okay, I am not laughing, in fact, this little Peep spends many a night crying until I fall asleep dreaming of a time when America was respected our President won the Nobel Peace Prize and everyone had health insurance.
Back to Australia and their transgressions against 45. So in his address at the press ball, Prime Minister Turnbull took his turn at the microphone and aimed a few shots across Trump's bow. He joked about Trump's alleged connections to Russia (oh well no need to say allegedly anymore about that one) and gave a few details about his first official meeting, on a mothballed aircraft carrier in New York, no less.
“It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever,” Turnbull said in his best pouty Trump voice. “The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much. We are winning like we have never won before.”
You know who is not winning? Us, as in the U.S., as in all of us. We are not winning. We are now pitted against one another in a digital civil war. Overnight racism and bigotry and sexism and misogyny and outright hatred have sprung up like weeds in a garden. The roots have always been there because where there is diversity there is dissension. Now it has become fashionable to hate, it has become the norm to call someone a liar simply because you disagree with them, it has become commonplace to shout racial slurs on social media as a joke.
We are not winning, we are losing. We, as a nation, are losing our place in history as the last bastion of hope and freedom. Our nation, as Lincoln said is a nation "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." At Gettysburg Lincoln called on a fragile nation, healing from Civil War, to "never forget what they did here." He charged the survivors that this nation "shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Now here we are almost 154 years later and one man has succeeded where so many have failed before him. He has forced us to forget, he has confused the issues and obfuscated the truth. He has misled the people into thinking the government is a tool to be used against the people, to divide the people, and to further the whims of those in power.
He is insane. He is eloquently insane, lovingly and pugnaciously insane.