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Divided State of America

2018-August-13

The Resistance 2017 Collage BlueBeachSong 2We are divided as a country and within our own families.

Trump or Hillary?
Left or right?
Right or wrong.

This is not unique in our history. The 1760s, 1860s, and 1960s – the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the Vietnam War – divided our country and families in deep gouging ways that forever changed us.

But why do we find ourselves once again in divisive times...over an election?

How did we get here? What do we know? How are we dealing with it? How do we get out?

DIVIDED STATE OF AMERICA

The campaigns and election battle of 2016, between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, divided our country and our families in ways that are ugly and incomprehensible for most of us. Our opinions of people we thought we knew have changed. We carefully broach and circle the topic of politics, as if we belong to opposing gangs in some tragic West Side Story musical.

After we voted in November 2016, we all had to face Thanksgiving and Christmas unprepared for the hidden minefield of passionate arguments that lay ahead at work and at home. Some of us tried to keep discussions about the election and how we voted from escalating into weaponized words flung at each other at holiday gatherings. Eventually, most of us learned to skillfully avoid discussing politics with certain people, as the months led to the next holiday and the next family or work get-together.

The Internet and social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, have given us an outlet for our political fears and frustrations, making it all-too-easy for us to argue with perfect strangers, even though no one is really listening. It is too easy to lose our sense of decency and civility, when we dismiss the other person as a troll or a bot. And, as we de-humanize one another, it makes it easier to avoid people who disagree with us by blocking them out of our social media universe, or by shouting past each other at protest marches, or by ignoring emails from crazy relatives who espouse political views that we cannot embrace or understand.

My extended family is a true reflection of this political divide. We are a rainbow of the political spectrum. We have non-voters, Hillary voters, and Trump voters. We have Tea Party, conservative, traditional, and moderate Republicans. We have liberal, traditional, moderate, and conservative Democrats. We have Progressives, Centrists, and Independents. We also have non-affiliated apathetic Apoliticals, and passionate Bernie Bros, and Trump-Can-Do-No-Wrong Fanatics, and Never-Trumpers, and staunch Hillary “I’m-with-Her” Believers. And some crossed party lines to vote for their candidate. We have them all.

DO THE WORK

As for me, I am an informed consumer and voter. I need to do my homework. I have to research and read everything I can, from past to present, from as many different sources as I can find, to every policy paper and transcript of every speech, of every candidate, on every issue. What causes and charities did they take up when they were young? What types of public service have they performed? What did they do and say, early in their careers, before they ever thought of running for office? After all, the best way to predict future behavior is to look at past behavior. The past is prologue, as they say.

voting-for-first-woman-president-2016-1aIs that a lot of work? Yes. However, as citizens of a democracy, I believe that is what is required of each of us. And I don’t believe that is too much to ask of us as citizens when we consider what our founding fathers and mothers had to risk and do to establish this country, or the lives our soldiers give and the sacrifices they and their families make to protect it.

After all that research and work, I was confident in and proud of my vote for Hillary Clinton. I still am. And, although I have tried, I cannot understand how anyone could have voted for Donald Trump, if they had done the work and the research on the candidates and the issues, or if they were simply paying attention during the campaign.

If Trump voters were listening to what Donald Trump said during the campaign, then they heard him admit to sexually assaulting women; they heard him call the press, what dictators call the press, ‘the enemy of the people;’ they heard him disparage Mexicans, Muslims, and John McCain; they heard him incite violence at his rallies; and they heard him lie ‘bigly‘ and incessantly. How about his refusal to release his taxes? How about his over-the-top, clearly false medical report? And since the election, he has only gotten worse. How many Trump voters are still proud of their vote?

UN-LABEL YOUR BELIEFS

Politically, I don’t fit neatly in any box. I am independent of any label, party, or philosophy. Historically, political labels and parties evolved, shifted, and changed, along with their values, principles, and ideologies.

During the Civil War it was the Democrats who were all about states-rights and the Confederacy. Now, it is the Republicans who wave the banner of states-rights and some in the GOP even wave the Confederate, White Nationalist, KKK, and other Alt-Right flags. In fact, just a few years ago, you could have described the Republicans as staunch anti-Russian free-traders, some even claimed to be the fiscally responsible party of family values, but you would not say that now with a straight face.

So, I look for candidates and politicians who reflect and support most of my values, principles, and ideologies. I am idealistic in my beliefs, but realistic in what can be achieved. I know that politics is compromise and the march toward progress is sometimes slow, but that is what our democracy offers us. And, with all its flaws, it is still one of the best forms of government in the world. So, what happened in 2016?

WHAT WE KNOW

We know a great deal about what happened in our 2016 election thanks to a number of sources: first, our U.S. intelligence agencies, who have amassed overwhelming amounts of hard evidence; second, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s methodical investigation, which has already yielded numerous indictments and guilty plea deals from Trump associates who are cooperating with Mr. Mueller; and, third, some excellent investigative journalism, which included sharing the former-MI6 Steele Dossier with the public, and exposing Trump’s numerous Russian connections going back to the 1980s.

The more we learn, the more Mr. Trump lies, the more the Republicans try to obstruct, the more we realize that there is so much about this “Trump-Russia thing” that we don’t know, which is why it is so important that we allow Mr. Mueller to do his job and finish his investigation. And although there is a great deal we don’t know, we do know a lot.

Definition of collusion

: secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose

  • acting in collusion with the enemy

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collusion

We know, for instance, that the Russians infiltrated the National Rifle Association (NRA) and laundered money through them to Republican candidates, including Mr. Trump. And, still, the GOP supports this Russian-influenced gun lobby organization. Why?

We know that Vladimir Putin and his cohorts infiltrated the Trump family, business, associates, campaign, and administration. We know that the Russians, directed by President Putin, attacked our 2016 election with the Putin-expressed intent of electing Donald Trump. What did Mr. Putin expect in exchange for the help?

We know that the Russians hacked into our voter databases and systems, changing voter information to make certain voters ineligible to vote in targeted districts. Some investigative journalists have discovered that it would have been just as easy for the Russians to change the actual vote count, but no one in our government will confirm they are investigating that. One has to wonder why the Russians would not have changed the voter counts when they were already in the voter system. It’s like breaking into a bank, having the combination to the bank vault, not stealing any money, and restricting yourself to only changing the client names and addresses in the bank records so they cannot access their own money. Let’s not forget that numerous states used voting software that had links to Russian entities and had vulnerabilities that made them easy to hack. Many states are still using those same vulnerable voting software.

We know that the Russians launched disinformation campaigns through our social and news media. They infiltrated social-political groups and organized anti-Hillary rallies and protests. They hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s servers and leaked real emails, along with faked emails. Mr. Putin and his Russian military intelligence officers sought to dissuade those Democrats who might vote for Hillary Clinton by planting negative fake news stories about her. They tried to sow distrust of Clinton amongst Bernie supporters to get them to not vote, or to vote for Trump, or to vote for a third party candidate, like Jill Stein, who has ties to the Russians. They did all of this in an effort to siphon votes away from Hillary Clinton. And it worked.

Definition of opportunist

: one that is opportunistic or that practices opportunism

  • a slick, shady, amoral opportunist who has only one desire: to get through life without a day of labor
  • —Allan Ulrich
  • Most burglars are opportunists.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunist

After knowing all that, why would Mr. Trump meet privately in Helsinki for hours with Mr. Putin, the man who directed an attack at the heart of our country, our democratic elections? Why would Republican Senators go to Moscow to meet with the Russian President, carrying private letters between Messieurs Trump and Putin? Why would the Republicans in Congress try to protect Donald Trump by stopping or impeding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s collusion, conspiracy, and cooperation with the Russians to attack our 2016 Election? Why?

Perhaps the Republicans protect Trump because they are reaping the fruits of his chaos and kleptocracy. They have pushed through another fiscally irresponsible tax cut for the wealthiest amongst us that will create a nearly two-trillion dollar deficit we all inherit, with no benefits to lower and middle class Americans. This deficit is now their excuse to justify severely cutting funding for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Republicans continue to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has already left millions without affordable health care. And they continue to dismantle regulations and policies in place to protect our health, our environment, and our children’s future.

And yet, Mr. Trump wants the Republicans to find money to fund his Mexican border wall at a time when we have reverse migration. And he has ordered that a new expensive military branch be created, a Space Force. Is this fiscally responsible? Is this in the best interests of the American people? No, it is not. But Trump’s Republican Party is letting him bankrupt us from within, morally, politically, and economically. Why?

TRUMP, THE RUSSIAN STOOGE

Donald Trump plays the bumbling idiot, but he is steadfastly destroying or withdrawing the U.S. from international agreements, organizations, and trade deals, weakening our leadership role in the world, which is a long-held, well-known goal of Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Trump has attacked our NATO allies and questioned the need for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This alliance, forged after World War II in 1949, now consists of 29 North American and European countries, forming a system of collective defense against an attack by any external entity, like we faced on September 11, 2001. As Mr. Trump questions the need for NATO, our allies question whether we will be there for them, especially, if they are ever under attack by the Russians, given Trump and Putin’s close relationship. So, where are the voices of the Republican party that stood for a strong national defense and protecting democracy everywhere?

Mr. Trump has withdrawn us from the Paris Accord, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving us without a voice of influence or a place at the table. He threatens to dismantle NAFTA, while imposing tariffs on Canada and Mexico. He does not seem to understand that the tariffs he’s imposing on other countries are paid by the American people and American businesses. His impulsive, ill-informed, and arbitrarily imposed tariffs have already hurt his own voters. And yet, he continues to dismantle, with abandon and without consultation, long-held tariff agreements with the European Union and other World Trade Organization members. As a result, the EU and the Japanese have now entered into their own trade deals, reducing markets for American products and services, which ultimately hurts the United States. Since when are Republicans against free trade?

Definition of complicit

: helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way

  • He was complicit in the cover-up.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/complicit

Why do so many Republicans remain complicitly silent on all-things Trump? What about Trump’s policy to separate migrant families from their children. Children who are torn from their parents, placed in cages, shipped across the country, drugged when they cry, physically and emotionally abused, threatened, and, in some cases, raped? Where is the Republican party of family values?

Why do so many Republicans remain complicitly silent on Trump’s clear violations of the emoluments clause, using the office of the presidency to secure money, trademarks, and deals from foreign governments and banks for himself, his businesses, and his family? Why are so many of Trump’s appointments caught illegally benefiting financially from their positions? Where is the Republican party of fiscal responsibility?

TRUMP, THE OPPORTUNIST & KLEPTOCRAT

Trump Political Party Registrations 2Donald Trump has been registered as a Republican and a Democrat, but he is neither. He has no ideology, principles, or values that he shares with Democrats, Progressives, Independents, Republicans, Conservatives, or decent human beings anywhere.

Donald Trump is an opportunist and a kleptocrat. He is a selfish, brutish narcissist. He is a man with no shame and no conscience.

Donald Trump is dangerous. He is a danger to our communities, our families, and our children. He is a danger to our democracy, to our values, and to our way of life.

Definition of kleptocracy

plural kleptocracies

: government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed; also : a particular government of this kind

This is not a game. We need to pay attention, educate ourselves on the issues, and do the research on the people whom we allow to run our government, and, then, we must vote.

We must continue to live with integrity; speak truth to power; call out intolerance; defend our values; and be a safe place for others. We must not allow Mr. Trump to change who we are as individuals or who we are as a country.

If we do not begin to put our country above personal and party allegiances, above petty politics, then we do not deserve to keep, and we will surely lose, this democracy that has been the envy of the world and which we have been so fortunate to inherit and have the honor to defend.



Martie Hevia (c) 2018 All Rights Reserved

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Veritas permalink
    2018-August-13 2:33 PM

    Speaking truth to power!
    Trump is a divisive force and he should resign or be impeached.

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