Taking back my pledge not to opine on the upcoming elections. Can't help it. I have never before seen such hand-wringing by Democrats over how and why a douche like Donald J. Trump could be doing so well. Things have changed - the racists are out of the closet! The white male is ANGRY! The Republicans are out to EAT OUR YOUNG!!!
Look, I ain't heartless. I see the videos of people getting shot by cops. I see the brave marchers and the cries in the streets of Chicago. I can see that 9/11 led to a destabilization in the world FAR greater than the tragedy of the crumbling of a couple tall buildings. A hundred times more people have died since in needless wars. Thousands more are homeless and state-less. Civil liberties have been cast aside and zealots rule the roost. The waters are rising; folks starving. But what's new, really?
Take Herr Drumpf. Sure he's a psycho. His politics are indecipherable. His manner wouldn't pass muster at a cock fight on a pirate ship. He's bigoted and annoying and undeniably ugly. And yet...he's just another version of the perennial Republican candidate for President. He has no polish, he has no discipline. He's the Republican Id incarnate. But is he really all that different? Perhaps only because he has no filter and a sick sarcastic sense of humor.
Look at the polls. They're in pretty much lockstep with every other presidential election of the past few decades, with the exception of the Reagan landslide of 1984 and Nixon in '72. Heady years those; heady years now. Given that, it's interesting the conservatives aren't doing even BETTER. But answer me this - did you really think that Republicans were going to up and dump their party en masse because their candidate lacked common decency? And I'm not trying to put down ALL Republicans as if there weren't some nuances there. It's a big tent remember - 100 million people or so! The KKK feels comfortable enough to endorse the guy but so do a lot of other folks, many who have morals and common sense. Some rush to disaster-zones and help out in tragedies, give money to the needy, and sometimes ARE the needy. Trump has 40-45 % of the electorate ready to pull the trigger, er lever, either with relish or holding their nose. Because that's what they do, Republicans. They vote...Republican. We're not a Parliamentary democracy - you don't get to choose the specific flavor of right or left leaning without wasting your vote entirely.
Romney was polished. McCain was savvy and a war hero. GWB was a dooffus, but not entirely unlikable (they say). GHWB had the Lyndon Johnson know-how and a gentle presence that made middle class Americans breathe easy. But they and Trump are part of a grand old party legacy that includes everyone from George Wallace to Susan Collins. Why don't Republicans see the truth about Trump? They never saw the truth about those folks either, apparently. Why start now?
The difference is the outrage. The difference is that the Tea Partiers (remember them?) now have a "disrupter" to vote for. They have a chance to stick it to that evil Clinton spouse. Theu can "send a message" and avenge the country for electing its first black president - from Hawaii via Africa no less - with a name that sounds like Osama. In essence, they're doing what Republicans do. Even Ted Cruz sank to his knees in an act of contrition and stumped for Trump. When one man endorses another he hates - that's the Two Party system for you.
The difference is the outrage. The visible outpouring of racial frustration over lingering issues of stigma and degradation, of neglect and coercion. This anger and outrage is exacerbated by Trump, but Trump doesn't cause it anymore than he pulls the trigger in Charlotte. He's a poster boy for the outrage, but he's still just another goddam white male Republican.
The difference is the outrage. My liberal friends are always busy tearing their hair out around this time in the election cycle. This time, it's a bit more hysterical. Even a lot more hysterical. The thought of a Trump presidency has a lot of us envisioning the end of the Republic generally. I don't know that Trump is crazier than Nixon, but we got through Tricky Dick somehow. I don't think Trump will win - he hasn't topped 45% even once. But when all is settled I suspect we will look at an electoral map that looks remarkably familiar. The more things change...
The country's stuck. It doesn't know how to move forward. But we're clearly in a 1965 moment of outrage and unrest and dis-ease. Disease is actually a good metaphor for the country's inability to recognize that racial divides equal political, social and moral divides. They must be confronted in order for us to move towards a more perfect union. And yet, it will take a whole-sale reexamination of the mechanisms of our society. And with white America generally uneasy, not just relishing their entitlement, it will be difficult. Very difficult. No one seems to think they've "got it good." And the ones that actually do got it good are laying pretty low.
So this, I'm afraid to say, is just another election between Republicans and Democrats in the United States of America. The stuff that you're seeing in the streets of Charlotte? That, on the other hand, is unadulterated outrage. And rightly so. Only the outrage is different, and one can hope there's more than JUST the outrage. Real change requires real organization, even a reconfigured Democratic coalition.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.