Sunday, February 19, 2017

Day 29, 01 Year Trumpland: The Great Divide

The division between those who support Lil' Donald and those who do not tragically continues to widen. Indeed, it's become a chasm. I wish had an answer, but I feel like I might just be screaming into the chasm as well, with only an echo coming back. But I haven't entirely lost hope...but it's not the hope of blindness I observed today. Let's look at the divide...

MSNBC conducted an interview today with a Midwestern man from De Beque, Iowa. This long time Democratic town flipped for Lil' Donald. They asked John, who works in manufacturing and is a Union member, why he voted for Lil' Donald. The voter said he was nearing retirement, thought a businessman would be helpful, their investments haven't gotten a high return. He hopes a "return" to a capitalistic system [when was American not capitalistic?] would boost the value of those investments. Indeed, he voted for Lil' Donald because he is motivated by fear. Even the Russian stories don't change the faith he has in Lil' Donald. He called media exploitative, and he prefers to listen to Lil' Donald instead.

Today Lil' Donald spoke in Melbourne, Florida before a crowd of 9,000 people who gathered starting at 4 in the morning to hear him. The lines extended around the entire boundary of the airport. People started lining up at 4 in the morning to see their president. Indeed, watching this event, listening to hours of commentary afterward, it wasn't until today,when my partner told me about an article he seen, that I learned the crowd was 40% less than his September 2016 campaign. 15,000 attended in September 2016 and some were turned away. This time it was 9,000. Reports kept talking about tickets being sold out, so it was difficult for me to recognize that it was a smaller crowd. Sadly, this will become part of the alternative facts world and become spun into a narrative of massive attendance and spoken of all next week like it was a revolution.

As people lined up all day, they brought their signs. Every bully needs an enemy, and Lil' Donald's speeches have persuaded his followers that all news outlets lie. Signs like Very Fake News and protesting news stations like CNN were everywhere. Transforming news into "fake news" was brilliant because Lil' Donald can then become the sole controller of news by speaking directly to the people. His populist, nationalist approach transforms people into followers and true believers. And a juxtaposition of "us" and "them". Ironically, they create the fake news and then believe it.

Back to the rally. Lil' Donald made his grand entrance on Air Force one to the cheering of the masses. Understand, using Air Force one is a problem. Lil' Donald had promised two days before not to use it for a prop at a rally. He travels in Air Force One, so I'm not sure how to approach that. Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but it looks like a prop here:

Lil' Donald has a history of using air plane hangers as theatrical venues. Regarding the use of Air Force One for the rally, Washington Post says:
Trump would enter into a legal and ethical gray zone, as the president is not allowed to use government resources for political campaigns. The president is allowed to travel on Air Force One to campaign events — actually, he's required to do so and doesn't have the option of flying commercial.
So Air Force One will lend credence to the rallies over the next 4 years, like it or not.

The crowds were impressive at the rally:

Profoundly Christian music played, calculated to please the Evangelicals and yet it is commonly known that Lil' Donald is not a man of faith. He neither attends church, or has a working knowledge of the bible. By the way. See the signs in the background "Blacks for Trump 2020"? These folks are members of separatist group founded by Yahweh ben Yahweh. He was "convicted of conspiring to murder white people as an initiation rite". Their website is: These guys are scary, but so are all conspiracy theory driven lunatics. Which seem to flock to Lil' Donald all the way to the White House.

Anyway, he played the Battle Hymn of the Republic as a marshal Christian anthem, when it is actually the great abolitionist anthem from the northern side of the Civil War. Talk about creating a great divide. A point possibly lost in irony on southerns present today. For the full speech, see below:

It was fascinating to see Melania lead the crowd in the Lord's prayer. The whole thing was obviously carefully crafted to please his extreme right Christian fan base. In sharp contrast, signs were waved about the Fake Media and Hillary for Prison. Indeed, Lil' Donald seemed pleased by the latter stopping to read it and acknowledge it's bearer. In fact, newscasters stated no one was allowed to bring in their own signs, but that they were provided. Looks like a sea of home made signs anyway:

Lil' Donald opened his speech in a very nationalist and populist vein. He called the listeners hard working Americans, patriots, his friends. He stated he wanted to be among "his people". Given that he's never punched a clock a day in his life on a factory floor, let his tiny hands touch less than gold in his bathroom, or known hunger or poverty, the hypocrisy is a bit thick. 

From this he spring boarded immediately, without transition, into an attack on the media, his ongoing obsession. Although he certainly used the media when he attacked President Obama or called on Russia to find Hillary's email. The following is from this diatribe: 
I also want to speak to you without the filter of the fake news. The dishonest media which has published one false story after another with no sources, even though they pretend they have them, they make them up in many cases, they just don't want to report the truth and they've been calling us wrong now for two years. They don't get it. By they're starting to get it. I can tell you that. They've become a big part of the problem. They are part of the corrupt system. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln and many of our greatest presidents fought with the media and called them out often times on their lies. When the media lies to people, I will never, ever let them get away with it. I will do whatever I can that. They don't get away with it. 
Lil' Donald's audience is suspicious of the educated and hold no understanding or respect of research or scientific proof. Indeed, through Lil' Donald's carefully crafted speech, it is American to disbelieve those who lay claim to research or verified sources. By claiming that the news uses fake sources, a claim that his followers wallow in, Lil' Donald places the news and the press in the impossible position of having to prove a negative, because the fan base starts with disbelief of any source purely because it is the news and Lil' Donald said so. Furthermore, Lil' Donald's nationalism and populism deny the possibility of non-partisan or bipartisanship, his followers cannot conceive of unbiased bipartisan or non-partisan facts. If it does not fit their world view, it has to be wrong. Bipartisanship is an impossibility. Hence the requirement of an "us" or "them" world in which there must always be an enemy. This is what his speech today is carefully crafted to create under the guise of a campaign speech.

Buzzfeed asked Lil' Donald supporters today about their news consumption. Folks answer with the following:
Supporters told BuzzFeed News their media consumption has changed during the campaign, and others said they get their news from right-leaning outlets, Facebook, and Russia Today, a Kremlin-backed news outlet.
I assume they are readers of Breitbart, and then going to RT because Breitbart does. It is a dangerous trend when Americans trust Russia Today before their own mainstream media and a strong indication that state sponsored media, such as that which Lil' Donald would control, would be considered welcome. In other words, reading Russia Today which is controlled by Putin and allegedly "the truth" acclimates these fans to the idea they only the get the truth from Lil' Donald. So when he shuts down mainstream media, these fans will cheer because the state sponsored media will get the "truth" out there. Lil' Donald cautioned:
They have their own agenda and their agenda is not your agenda. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said, “nothing can be believed which is seen in a newspaper.” “Truth itself,” he said, “becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle,” that was June 14, my birthday, 1807. But despite all their lies, misrepresentations, and false stories, they could not defeat us in the primaries, and they could not defeat us in the general election, and we will continue to expose them for what they are, and most importantly, we will continue to win, win, win. 
 Lil' Donald, who has no respect for scholarship or context or history has completely screwed up Thomas Jefferson's intent. If you would like to read the quote in context, click here. In essence, Jefferson was writing a letter to a friend and apparently answered a question regarding the role of American newspapers in the perceptions of the common man.

In context, however, Jefferson speaks of the press publishing facts as valuable, equates suppression of the press as equivalent to the damage done by lying, and that the truth would find few subscribers, a truth entirely substantiated by Lil Donald's fact resistant loyal fan base. Indeed, here's what Jefferson truly thought about the role of government and the news:
...and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them.
The need of a free and independent press was well understood by our founding fathers, hence the first amendment. The alternative is a dictatorship as Senator John McCain warns:

And yet Trump rebrands the press as fake news:
We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do, how to live, or what to believe. We are free and independent people and we will make our own choices.
In this simple statement, Lil' Donald has created an alternative universe. In Trumpland, fracking, mining coal, and dumping waste proves we are free to act as we choose without responsibility or foresight or concern for successive generations to come. In Trumpland, we don't have to live with differences of faith, of color, or anybody different from"us". In Trumpland, it is American to chose alternative news. In Trumpland, we believe what we what to choose to believe, regardless of facts, scientific evidence, or educational requirements. In Trumpland, we are free of academia, dissenting views, and legislation that limits our control.

Moreover, some followers are over the top. Gene Huber, from Boynton Beach, Florida often talks about Lil' Donald on social media. Apparently, Lil' Donald watched the tv on the way to the rally in Air Force One, and saw Gene. When he saw Gene in front of him, he invited the fan onto the stage, much to the consternation of the Secret Service:

In the interview after the rally, Gene had a story for the reporter. Frighteningly, Gene has a 6 foot cardboard cut out that look like Trump in his living room and salutes it every day.

Image result for raw story gene huber trump

May I point out the obvious and say this is nuts. And, more importantly, signifies the cult following that the would be dictator is creating. Lil' Donald said there was a terrorist attack in Sweeden the previous night as part of this speech. Wrong. There was not. But this audience, including Gene, believe it. Indeed, people like Gene are looking for a Mesiah. Someone to save them from the world that feel so radically difficult them from.

While Lil' Donald continued to widen the division within America today, the division between America and the rest of the world became extremely apparent today as well. While Lil' Donald's speech drew the attention of domestic news media and the citizens of our country, the rest of the world was watching VP Pence:

On the street a reporter asked Pence's stance on NATO and he indicated his position is the same as the president's. Make no mistake about it. Russia is becoming a growing threat to the nations of Europe. They already carved off Crimea, and everyone watches the boarder wondering who is next. Lil' Donald initially scorned NATO and seemed to want to want an ally in Russia. However, instead of reassuring our allies, Pence created more concern:
Instead, he left some of his European allies confused and alarmed, angry at being chastised for failing to pull their weight in the defense alliance, and concerned that too little attention is being paid to the future of the European Union.
Think about this one. VP Pence spoke to NATO, chastising them for not carrying enough of the financial costs of NATO. He had General Mattis with him, but no National Security Adviser because Michael Flynn was sacked. And where the hell was Rex Tillerson, our Secretary of State? Why wasn't he there?

As the divide widens between Trump supporters and everyone else, between America and the rest of the world, we are all at risk. United we stand, Divided we fall. And I weep for George Huber. In the end, his Messiah will betray him, as he will us all.

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