Telling It Like It Is — Reality

I remember 2015-2016 when I would ask friends and acquaintances what, exactly, they saw in this clown named Trump who was running for president.  Their answer was often an enigma: “he tells it like it is.”  Now, I was never able to pin them down on just what “it” was, but in their minds, they were convinced that whatever ‘it’ was, Trump told ‘it’ like ‘it’ was.  Well, we now know that he fed these people a bucket of bullshit, that honesty is not in his vocabulary, and that there is no ‘it’ that he understands well enough to talk about, but rather talks at the issues.  However, journalist Charles Blow is one who actually does ‘tell it like it is’, especially in his latest column in the New York Times


America Shocked Itself and the World

Charles BlowCharles M. Blow

29 October 2020

How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so naïve? How did we not believe that the worst was possible until we plummeted into it?

We didn’t believe that a demagogic tyrant-worshiper could rise to the presidency.

The founders of this country worried obsessively about the rise of a demagogue, and the power of foreign influence on our democracy. And yet somehow, over the years, after centuries of American presidents behaving in ways that at least demonstrated a fealty to the country and its institutions and the power of precedent and legacy, those fears waned to a whisper.

Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable. This was America. We would only go so far. We might race up to the precipice, but we would never hurl ourselves into the abyss. Wrong.

With the election of Donald Trump, America did the unthinkable, shocking itself and the world: It put the most powerful country in the world under the control of a lying, grifting, shady carnival ­­­­­conductor. He had no experience in governance and no expertise. His entire life was a game of smoke and mirrors, double talk and double-dealing.

Even Trump, not a student of history or much else, didn’t seem to grasp the awesome power he possessed until he systematically started to test all the fences supposedly restraining him, only to realize that the only thing holding many of them up was customs and conventions. Most could be run through or pushed down.

It was like a scene in the film “Jurassic World” where the scientist created a hybrid, Frankenstein dinosaur because people got bored of the conventional ones. Well, the dinosaur was clever enough to break out of its cage and run through the park, killing everything in sight. As one of the scientists said: “You made a genetic hybrid. Raised it in captivity. She is seeing all of this for the first time. She does not even know what she is. She will kill everything that moves.” He continued, “She is learning where she fits on the food chain and I’m not sure you want her to figure that out.”

Trump realized the power of the presidency, that it was uniquely at the top of the food chain, and so began his rampage.

We didn’t believe that in this era we could have a president who could be so regressive on issues of white supremacy, white nationalism and xenophobia.

To be sure, there have been other presidents more racist than their predecessors.

Andrew Johnson assuming the presidency after Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. Although Lincoln had professed his white supremacy during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he led the nation to emancipation and into Civil War in part over the issue of slavery. Johnson’s racist reconstruction plan after the war excluded Black electoral and governing participation, led to the rise of the Black Codes and led to his impeachment.

Lyndon B. Johnson being followed by Richard Nixon comes to mind. As a senator, Johnson had shepherded the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and as president he pushed through the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. In addition, he nominated the first Black justice to the Supreme Court: Thurgood Marshall. Nixon on the other hand, was different. As Tim Naftali, an associate professor of history at N.Y.U., wrote last year in The Atlantic: “Nixon believed in a hierarchy of races, with whites and Asians much higher up than people of African descent and Latinos. And he had convinced himself that it wasn’t racist to think Black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard.”

But, in some ways, Americans came to see these occasional regressions as more minor — a hiccup, a stutter step in which the country took a small step back among much greater strides forward. We were not prepared for what Trump delivered: a generational retreat into darkness.

We had not seen a modern president so openly and blatantly court and even defend racists and xenophobes. We had not seen one refuse to clearly condemn white supremacist hate groups, instead retreating to a position of false obliviousness when condemnation was demanded. We have not seen a recent president who would stoop so low as to separate immigrant children from their parents, apparently with no plan to reunite them, as a matter of unwavering policy.

These are but two examples. But the list is legion. I could enumerate them until my fingers blistered. But they would all illustrate the same point: We, America, let our guard down for a campaign cycle, believing, surely, that the most qualified woman to ever run would defeat the least qualified man to do so. We didn’t vote with the intensity the emergency required. And in doing so, we allowed the country to be dragged to the brink of ruin.

We are now living the reality that the founders feared and that women, minorities and immigrants hoped was an artifact of former times.

36 thoughts on “Telling It Like It Is — Reality

  1. The primary duty of an leader of a nation is to keep that nation united, from that follows the next duty to ensure the nation as a whole prospers. These truths I hold to be self-evident.
    Trump has made no attempt to to unite the nation, he has not appealed to those across the divide, has made not attempt to win them over. This I hold to be self-evident.
    Thus he has failed, as have many before him and sadly so will many to come.
    This is all that has to be said.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Trump may have on occasion have denounced White Supremacy but he’s refused to do so on occasion and that’s usually just after they’ve done something nasty, Then it’s a case of there are some nice people on both sides. Today he praised some Patriots who tries to run a Biden bus off the road. He’s done nothing to try and control the Coronavirus according the the expert Doctors advice and the death to is horrific. Is that because the virus attacks people of colour harder. It’s laughable that he send his daughter to speak to ‘gays’ and say he’s done more for them than any other president ever or has spoken bigotted words about blacks yet exhorted them to vote for him this week because he likes them and has done so much more for them than any other president. I swear words just pour from his mouth.but make no sense. Even Fox appear to have had enough and question his lies now. I can usually find something positive about anyone but he defeats me

    Liked by 1 person

    • If Trump has ever sincerely denounced white supremacy and white nationalist groups, it has certainly flown under my radar. He has called white supremacists who caused murder, “very fine people”, and has since called them ‘patriots’, as he did the group of assholes who accosted a Biden campaign bus last Friday. This is a ‘man’ with no conscience, no moral fiber whatsoever, and who will lie, cheat, steal and murder to further his own ends. Sigh. This is a ‘man’ who should have been executed long ago, but instead is revered by some 40% of this nation. I wash my hands of the “United” States of “America”. May they all rot in hell.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, to be truthful, Donald Trunp cannot tell it like it is, because he does make the effort to know what it is. He self professes not to read or study, so he is has a superficial view of problems that he can offer over-simplified solutions to. He acts today as he has always acted, so it should not be a surprise when he lies, bullies, demeans or cheats. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

      • Jill, we are a nation of entertainment. So few folks watch any form of news, even the biased ones. So, the sensational conspiracy stories that Trump and others peddle, get their attention on social media. All politicians lie to a degree, but the president has lapped the field twice. In the middle of the GOP primary in 2016, Trump referred to Ted Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted” yet Trump’s untruthful rate was much higher than Cruz’ and more than double Hillary Clinton’s. Yet, his fans think it is the other way around. I mean think about it – the dude is caught on tape bragging on his ability to grab women’s private parts in public with impunity and he dismisses it as locker room talk. And, he convinces voters it is OK because Hillary’s husband (not her) was a womanizer, too. He is also caught on tape witn Howard Stern bragging on his wont to walk in on teenage beauty contestants while they were changing. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • I have grave concerns for the future of this nation when some 40%+ of the people in this country think that all the things you mention above are just fine, and when they are closing highways, trying to run a campaign bus off the highway, and assaulting people on the way to the polls. I seriously do not recognize this nation today!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hillary was not the most qualified woman to run, she was unlikable, she had no platform and if the corrupt dnc hadn’t thrown bernie sanders under the bus with the help of one incompetent boob named debbie wasserman schulze, you most likely wouldn’t have a trump presidency. And as for that crap about his racism, he has denounced white supremacy so many times but you guys don’t want to hear it, don’t want to read the information, watch the videos because you’re perfectly fine with listening to what the mainstream media doctors for their political agenda, cuts up for their political advantage and distorts to advance the narratives that they have in mind.
    People like Dave Rubin of the rubin report who is one of the more balanced journalists out there, he’s gay, and a former democrat who used to be on the young turks. why not look at his channel, listen to his interviews and expanding your sources of information?
    but if you want to be angry all the time, that’s your choice, after all, it is a free country.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable.

    Yes, that was unthinkable. And it was unthinkable because of our system of checks and balances.

    What we had failed to grasp — or what I had failed to grasp — was the extent to which the Republican party had become corrupt; the extent to which they had become a party of traitors and crooks.

    In retrospect, I should have recognized that back in 2008, when they nominated Sarah Palin for the VP slot.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Neil and Jill,

      The article “America Shocked Itself and the World” by journalist Charles Blow is indeed very sobering.

      As far as I know, Sarah Palin was the first politician to subscribe to the politics of grievance and vindictiveness. Her approach would be far surpassed by that of Donald Trump. Here’s a detailed article from The Atlantic at https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/06/the-tragedy-of-sarah-palin/308492/, which begins as follows:

      From the moment Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech electrified the Republican convention, she was seen as an unbending, hard-charging, red-meat ideologue—to which soon was added “thin-skinned” and “vindictive.” But a look at what Palin did while in office in Alaska—the only record she has—shows a very different politician: one who worked with Democrats to tame Big Oil and solve the great problem at the heart of the state’s politics. That Sarah Palin might have set the nation on a different course. What went wrong?

      In any case, John McCain later regretted picking her.

      Happy Halloween to both of you and Happy November!

      Liked by 3 people

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