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 …
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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