The price we pay for being “above” politics


Enough of our continually waiting for people to step up. They aren’t going to do it—they don’t have enough interest in maintaining a democracy to place that above their own prejudices. It’s time to stop cajoling them.

But first, let’s understand that there are two different Trump voters: those who have had it with Washington politics and want a change by any means; and the dimwitted who get their news from the Drudge Report where they learn that the Clinton campaign worships Satan.

The first group deserves our respectful attention—eight years of obstructionism (mainly from their own party but nonetheless…) have forced them to seek a change in the very foundation of our government, even if that change means a diminution of personal and Constitutional freedoms for decades to come. Some in that first group are issue-driven: abortion, immigration, taxation, trade—their disgust for Trump’s vulgarity cannot dislodge their need to address the issues.

But  then there’s the second group.

I call them the dolts. You may prefer the word dunderhead. I bow to your personal choice. These are the people—young and old, male and female, uneducated and uneducated—driven by the same issues but who have no understanding of them other than a child’s eye view of a black-and-white world where Trump is good and Clinton is the devil.

Immigrants—bad. Coal—good.
Muslims—bad. Guns—good.
Obamacare—bad. Insurance companies—good.
Climate change? Hey, I’m no scientist.

And on and on.

I heard an appropriate analogy recently—something about going in for surgery and having the option of a doctor who had never practiced before but thought he would do a helluva good job, and one you didn’t like but who could perform the procedure blindfolded. We know the obvious answer, but we have to understand that connecting that obvious answer to a similar situation—the concept of the analogy—is beyond the ken of the dolts and dunderheads. Although the first group of Trump supporters may understand and disagree with the premise, appealing to the higher-level thinking skills of people yelling “lock her up” or placing “Trump the bitch” signs on their lawns is a consummate waste of our time. And that’s the approach that many of us have been taking—trying to salvage the unsalvageable, to talk sense to the senseless, to implore the deplorables. Yes they’re still Americans with the same inalienable rights as all the others, but that doesn’t mean we actually have to listen to them.

As we grow closer and closer to Election Day and begin to recognize that a Trump presidency may be more immediate than we had ever thought possible, it’s time to prepare for the eventuality that, a year from now, we’ll live in a markedly different country—one that we won’t like much, one that won’t make us proud. I’m not one of those who think we can’t survive it. We’ve endured the Civil War and the Great Depression—we can certainly overcome a know-nothing in the White House for a year—a year, that is, if the FBI does the same due diligence on Trump as it did on Clinton.

But if the dolts and dunderheads do in fact win next Tuesday, we’re going to have to fight them. I don’t mean in the streets with sticks and assault rifles, but I mean at the polls and with motivated and organized political action. And if they don’t win, the same truth applies or it will all happen again. It’s been easy for us to dismiss politics as something “we don’t get involved in” and in that condescension have allowed gerrymandering to proliferate, the petroleum and pharmaceutical companies to control our legislatures, the NRA to dictate policy, and in Trump’s case, provided a vacuum for the vacuous to fill. These are the fruits of our non-involvement. They don’t taste that sweet this morning, do they?


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