The Conversation — Part II

This is Part II of the series I started yesterday afternoon, in response to a very thoughtful and thought-provoking comment I received from friend Mary on Tuesday.  Mary’s comments are in normal text, mine are in blue.  The conversation continues …

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1When I look around and see the support trump still has after 2 years, I believe it is hopeless … truly. I do hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling. 2Education is not getting better, 3politics are even more corrupt, greed is rampant, 4our government supports killers over their own intelligence agencies, selfishness is rampant, 5far right religion is out of control with their end times desires and pushing their own special brand of bigotry, 6fires being blamed on not raking leaves, wars without end, 7the real fake news (Fox and their ilk) are taking over the simple minded and on and on…  Let me take these one-by-one:

  1. Trump’s support is still the minority. His approval ratings have never, since his first week or two in office, come above about 43%, and typically run in the mid-to-high 30s, lower than any other president in modern times.  The thing about his supporters is that they are loud and obnoxious, have radical and hateful ideas, so, as the saying goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”.  They are given the attention of the media, making them seem much larger than they actually are.

  2. Education has been in decline for more than a decade, though I agree that under Trump it is certain to decline further. Betsy DeVos would make college available to only those in the upper 1% of the income bracket and would siphon funds meant for public schools serving the many, into charter and religious schools serving only the elite few.  The problem, however, traces to parents who prefer their children to be schooled in a skill or a trade, so that they are prepared for a specific sort of job when they leave school, rather than receiving a liberal arts education that gives them a broad scope of knowledge, and most importantly, teaches them to think, to ask questions, to find solutions to problems.   Thus, the future leaders of this country, as well as the future scientists and inventors, will likely come only from among the very privileged.  It is a problem, certainly, but not one without a solution.  The solution is that we, as parents and grandparents, must step up to the plate, must demand that our children be given the same opportunity as the children of the Koch family. And we must motivate our children, for today’s youth is the future of this country.  Spend time with them, teach them what they need to know, teach them to reason, to ask questions, not to simply accept the easy answers.

  3. Yes, Mary, politics are as corrupt as they have ever been. The first thing that needs to be done is to take the money out of it.  Citizens United was the single worst decision ever made in terms of campaign finance, and even a few Supreme Court Justices have since regretted their vote.  It has left the door wide open for large corporations and lobbying groups, such as the fossil fuel and arms industries to buy members of Congress.  Today, it isn’t about the candidate’s platform and ideologies, but rather about how much money he can bring in.  I would personally like to see a system where donations are made to a central organization and divvied equally among all candidates.  Not going to happen, but it’s the only way we can ensure that our elected officials are truly representing us, We The People, and not in the pockets of the wealthy, industries, or the NRA.  Another suggestion I have is that we expand the current two-party system to either make it easier for an independent to get on the ballot, or to have a multi-party system such as many European nations have.  The United States is the only nation that has a duopoly, a two-party system where all power rests with those two parties.

  4. It appears that it is Trump’s decision alone to support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and to ignore the evidence of his role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Members of both parties in Congress are displeased with this decision and I cannot imagine that any other president would be so unwilling to listen to his own intelligence agencies, but Trump … well, he thinks he knows more than anybody else.

  5. The far-right religion, the evangelicals, as a whole are a problem for our nation only to the extent that the government and the courts allow them to be. Trump promised his followers that he would nominate justices to the Supreme Court that would be willing to overturn Roe v Wade and Obergefell v Hodges, and thus far he has seated two such judges.  It is to be hoped that he does not get the opportunity to nominate others, and that the rest of the court has respect for the decisions of past courts.  Our laws call for separation of church and state for good reason.  Ours is a secular government and has no right to interfere in any religion, but by the same token, religions must not have the right to determine law.

  6. I agree that Trump’s response to the forest fires in California was abominable. The good news about that is he surely didn’t make any friends or find any new supporters in that state!  The only thing he did do was prove his own ignorance, as if we needed further proof.

  7. Trump’s close ties with Fox News are indeed worrisome, especially when he is said to call Sean Hannity for advice! And to add insult to injury is his demonization of the legitimate press, calling them the “Enemy of the People”.  I must admit that, while I see the danger quite clearly, I am at a loss as to how we can make people think for themselves, make them wake up and realize that Fox News is naught more than state-sponsored television that panders to Donald Trump.  I think we must rely on the organizations that are established for the purpose of being the watchdogs to monitor freedom of the press, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and hope they do their job and get the word out. 

And once again I am at over 1,000 words, so I shall stop here and wrap up with Part III later today.  Please feel free to join in the conversation with your own ideas!  And thanks for not throwing those rotten tomatoes!  🍅 🍅 🍅

Link to Part I in case you missed it:  The Conversation — Part I

33 thoughts on “The Conversation — Part II

  1. Pingback: The Conversation — Part III (Conclusion) | Filosofa's Word

  2. Dear Jill,
    The defeatist feelings that many are feeling are what Authoritarian leaders want to cause. It allows them to keep pushing the envelop more and more.

    In the up side, the GOP in the US Congress who have been MIA in exercising their oversight duties just had Democrats flip 40 seats from republican lawmakers to Democrats. We can do likewise in 2020.

    You are right about the influence of monies. The NRA, fossil fuel companies, pharmaceutical companies and others donate lots of monies to GOP coffers to where even the GOP US Senate members are addicted to where they don’t give a hoot about the American citizens that they are supposed to represent.

    There are those in the US Congress who are championing the concept that any one, any company, any group can donate monies to political candidates but the public has a right to know who they are before the candidates use the monies for anything.

    Then there has to be election integrity and whatever fixes that need doing, have to get done by 2020.

    I’m at the point that I would support a push for term limits for legislators.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I absolutely agree with all you say. I think that first on that list is that we need an update to the Voting Rights Act that restoring the portions that were struck down by the Supreme Court several years ago and insisting on re-drawing all gerrymandered district maps. Voter ID laws need to be uniform and fair, and ‘no excuse’ absentee voting should be applied in all 50 states. Automatic registration, extended early voting, extended polling hours … these all need to be done in order that we have a FAIR and HONEST election in 2020. And, while I know it won’t happen, at least not prior to the 2020 election, we MUST tighten campaign finance regulations. Citizen’s United needs to be overturned, for elections these days are determined by who can raise the most money, and they will sell their souls, sell We The People downriver, in order to raise that money. Platforms? Ideologies? Pah … not as important as money. And lastly, I have pushed for term limits for years now … Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley are the poster boys for why we need term limits.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 43% nowadays is enough to win an election. Just about anywhere. So beware. All the issues you mention are of concern.
    One of my many readings? Worldwide? There has to be a middle ground between the Tramp and Maduro. Problem is there isn’t. Macron in France seemed to be such an option but he is… skidding. Lost his vision.
    And in the US? Sorry to say, I don’t see that the Democrats have put together a “vision”. A path, a strategy. What is their vision for America? I don’t see it. And believe me I would love to.
    Food for thought: the dangers of “marketing segmentation”. Procter et al. have developed segment marketing for years now. That product for that segment (“white females, middle class, 45 to 55”) Or that segment (Young latino males 15-25). The application of that segmentation to politics is that once you only talk to minorities, (= segments) you do not talk to the People at large. And as long as common issues are not addressed, the crook will remain in power. Sadly.
    Be good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had meant to ask you before your opinion of Macron, but you answered my question. And no, Trump & Maduro will never find common ground.

      To your point … you are so right, and I’ve been worrying about this for a while. I think the democratic party lost its focus with the 2016 election and hasn’t recovered significantly to do the job that needs to be done for a definitive win in 2020. Two years. Not very long, and no strong, viable candidate is even on the horizon. There are a few ‘maybe’s, but nobody much stands out. The DNC did a lousy job in the 2018 mid-terms of promoting the candidates, yet democrats managed to pick up enough House seats for a majority. But imagine what might have gone down if the DNC had done a good job. I think Obama helped win more seats than anybody! These are trying times, for certain. Thanks for your clear insight … you always help me to think a bit more clearly when my mind gets muddled.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I absolutely agree! I was horrified at the protests of the Yellow Vests over the weekend. But you know the one thought that kept coming back to me? “Thank goodness every Tom, Dick and Harry doesn’t own a gun over there.” If those protests had happened here, with the same crowd sizes, we would have dozens dead.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You’re right. On all counts. On the one hand, the “yellow vests” are just expressing the despair of a large part of the population who just can’t make ends meet. And of course, extremists mix with the protesters and break everything.
            Now, guns? The ownership is very low thank God, otherwise there would already have been many dead. Tsss.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Peaceful protest is one thing, and one that I very much support. But when the agitators and extremists stick their noses in, it can turn very ugly very fast, and at the end of the day people are hurt or dead, and not a thing has been accomplished. I have no idea what the solution is, and I’m not sure Macron is experienced enough to know quite how to handle the situation. Still, I’m glad he is in office instead of Ms. LePen! Tough times everywhere, it seems.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Agreed on all counts. (We must go get a beer some time!) 😉
                And particularly having Macron in lieu of Le Pen (or Melenchon!)
                Problem is… he has been screwing up a tad since the summer, and if he doesn’t find a solution soon he will pave the way for le Pen (or Melenchon again!)
                Macron is addressing the Nation tonight. Let’s see what goes.

                Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, plus Trump and Congress are not focusing on things they should – stabilizing the ACA, co-investing in infrastructure needs, addressing our debt, addressing climate change, adding better gun governance, ceasing needless tariffs that are hurting people, focusing on job retraining, etc. We have to chase Trump’s fears he created. Note, DACA was not a problem until he made it one. But, it was only in place because Congress would not act to address immigration issues. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, and the list goes on and on. Which is top priority? ALL of them, for they are all reaching crisis proportions. And what is he doing??? Allowing seismic testing to kill all the fish off the Atlantic seaboard and sending even more troops and others to the southern border when the ones that are there don’t even need to be there. WHERE does it end? WHEN does Congress finally grow a pair of cojones and ACT? I have never seen so much collective ignorance in one place by so many people in my life. He’s either going to start a war or turn our clock back 200 years.


      • Jill, thirteen agencies analyze data and report that climate change is a costly problem. Their data follows on a detailed United Nations report and analysis. Yet, with no counter evidence, Trump says his “gut” is smarter than most people’s brain. Why do people buy into his horse maneuer? Keith

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rasmussen almost always shows his approval much higher than any other polls. The most reliable are considered to be Quinnipiac, Monmouth, and ABC News/Washington Post. However, I usually just go by the aggregate on FiveThirtyEight. Even so, as you say, anything over 15% would be too high in my book. People simply are NOT waking up!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very good points Jill.

    I was distressed recently to learn that DT suggested that UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, gets a beating from the UK press and that she should have her own state press to put forward her views and policies.

    Has the world sunk into slavery under dictatorship? Did I miss this while having breakfast?
    Will the BBC start spouting state propaganda? Perhaps it already does and I missed that too.

    The only thing that I believe these days, is that when I walk outside, there should be a sky above me, ground below me and gravity still seems to work. Everything else is ‘Smoke and Mirrors.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t heard about that remark from Trump, but who the heck is he to be giving her advice? Oh yeah, I forgot … he is a “MAN” (and I use the term loosely) and she is a mere woman. And he already has his state-run network, so perhaps he could give her pointers on training them in boot-licking 101. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Not much room here to get a word in edgewise. You pretty much fill up all the available space with your words. The only thing I can offer is charging FOX NEWS with selling lies as truth, and I’m not sure if there is even a law against that. There must be some kind of a regulation somewhere against passing on fake news or alternative truths as actual facts. Taking away FOX’s broadcast licence is about the only way to shut them down. Or jamming their signals, which probably is illegal.
    Way to go, girls!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww … I’m sorry if I took up all the space with my chattering! One might assume that laws to keep the press honest would be in place, but not even close. About the only things that are prohibited are inciting to riot, or shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. If the theater isn’t crowded and people don’t get trampled, you can even get away with that, I suppose. So no, Fox, Breitbart, Alex Jones’ InfoWars … they are all within their rights, sadly. It’s a slippery slope, and there’s too much danger of the legitimate press being stifled. That leaves us with the task of convincing the viewers to use their noggins … not an easy task!


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