Facing Up to Reality

When something absolutely unforeseen challenges your worldview, it is probably prudent to take a step back and re-examine your assumptions.

After the shock of a Presidential election that successfully appealed to festering bigotries and primal hatreds that I naively thought had declined, and after a period of disbelief (and nausea), I made myself take that “step back.” You may or may not agree with my conclusions, but I’d ask you to consider them.

America’s democratic institutions and processes haven’t worked properly for quite some time. All of us can tick off evidence: a Senate that simply refuses to hold hearings on a Presidential nominee for the Supreme Court; legislators’ willingness to petulantly shut down government when they don’t get their way; the widespread, obstinate denial of science and rejection of empirical evidence in favor of policies based upon ideology and/or religious dogma; and of course, the toxic partisanship and racial resentments reflected in the decision of Congressional Republicans to block anything and everything proposed by our first African-American President, irrespective of the merits of any particular proposal. I could go on.

Had Hillary Clinton been elected President, she would have faced the same ferocious, partisan hostility that Obama has had to deal with–but on steroids. Irrational hatred of the Clintons, especially Hillary, is baked into Republican DNA. Not only would she have faced constant, repetitive Congressional “investigations,” several House members were already drawing up Articles of Impeachment. (Why wait for her to actually do something impeachable?)

Meanwhile, lawmakers in both parties continue to block policies seen as threatening to the interests of the oligarchs that effectively control our national and state legislatures. It is irrelevant that large majorities of Americans favor background checks for people buying guns, higher taxes on the rich, a discontinuation of obscene subsidies to oil companies or numerous other measures. Especially at the federal level, the policy preferences that count are those of the big donors as conveyed by their lobbyists–many of whom used to be legislators in the incestuous political stew that is Washington, D.C.

This is not the way a working democracy operates.

Although the self-dealing and the nastiness has unquestionably gotten worse, most of this isn’t new. It has become more visible in the Internet Age, but the inability of our governing structure to deal with a technologically integrated, inexorably globalizing, demographically diversifying modern world has been apparent for decades.

American government does not work as it should, and it hasn’t for quite some time. It certainly hasn’t ameliorated or addressed–or even explained– the dramatic changes that have created economic and social distress among so many of our citizens.

Dissatisfied citizens look for someone to blame. To the extent they blame the status quo in Washington, that’s probably fair enough. Given human nature, however, a lot of our fellow-citizens blame immigrants, African-Americans, Muslims, Jews, “uppity” women…the “other”…for cultural changes that disadvantage them or make them uncomfortable, and for a government that doesn’t work for them.

Social scientists tell us that the two strongest predictors of support for Donald Trump were racial resentment and misogyny.

So now we have a President-elect whose profound ignorance and incompetence is likely to deliver the coup de grace to creaky government institutions and even more likely to exacerbate the social divisions and bigotries he cultivated during the campaign. Whether he serves out his term, or we end up with Mike Pence (a rigid theocrat who is equally incompetent, equally uninterested in the mechanics of governing), all signs suggest we are on the cusp of an era of massive social upheaval.

The question is: when the incommensurate passions triggered by impending conflicts subside, will we be able to construct a fairer, more streamlined and responsive, more (small-d) democratic governing structure, one that is more adapted to the realities of the modern world?

Can we salvage the best parts of our governing philosophy, and create institutional structures that work for all our citizens? Or will four years of authoritarianism and continued exploitation of racial, religious and ethnic divisions leave the oligarchs and white supremacists firmly in charge?

What would a better, more trustworthy American democracy look like?

I have some ideas I’ll share tomorrow. I invite yours.


  1. I have my doubts that social scientists, unnamed in this case, have had time to determine that the two strongest predictors of a Trump vote are racism and misogyny. How then to account for many previously Obama voters drinking the Trump Tea this time around. Even more difficult is how to account for Trump’s female vote. The racism/misogyny thesis no doubt explains some of what happened, but we may be deluding ourselves if we conclude that it explains most of what just happened.

  2. Will this conflict be violent? That is the real question? Are we working our way toward another civil war?

  3. Alan Keller. The statistics I’ve read are that only 16-17% of voters supported both Obama and Trump. I don’t find it surprising that 16-17% of voters cast inconsistent votes.

  4. “Facing Up To Reality” Wow, Sheila, I came to my computer desk with two sections of today’s Indianapolis Star (Section A in it’s regularly curious two parts), including our daily abbreviated free sample of USA Today, kindly provided by Gannett, Inc. I was hoping today’s blog would relate to these sections I came armed with to have my say and, viola, here it be.

    Section A, page 3, contained a half-page column covering “Hamilton” cast’s speech to Pence draws both backlash and support. The actor, Brandon Victor Dixon read the cast’s prepared speech directly to Mike Pence, one of two newly elected Republicans totally against the protection of civil and human rights expressed in the brief speech. The speech was brief, the message was massive in it’s simplicity. Trump’s reaction was what we would expect from him and his minions. Pence walked out during the speech but was reported to have stopped outside the auditorium to hear the full speech; for which the cast thanked him.

    Still in part one of Section A; I did something I have never done before, I read the two columns on the Faith + Values page which caught my eye. The second column fits perfectly with today’s issue; “Interfaith service can give another perspective”, written by Teri Thomas, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church. She begins by relating the story of unspecified teachers who gave their students a debate assignment during the 1976 presidential election between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The students were asked to choose a candidate to support, then research, study and prepare to debate their findings. After the debate the students were then assigned to research, study the candidate they had opposed and prepare to debate those findings. Basically what Sheila proposes today. Pastor Thomas also invited all to attend the Northside Interfaith Clergy’s Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service; 7:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 86th Street and College Avenue.

    The top column, “Are you strongly grounded in faith?”, written by Victor Mercer, a member of the Northminster Presbyterian Church. It contained the Biblical parable about the wise man who built his home on rock and the foolish man who built his home on sand, we all know the results of this story after the storm. We can use this part of the column to compare with the election results tearing this country apart. The Democratic campaign primarily built on the rock of Democracy and the Constitution; the Republican campaign built on sand of old, outdated racism, bigotry and hatred. Mr. Mercer’s conclusion is to ground his faith in the Word of God and Jesus Christ as his Savior. We should also note the connection between the two columns being written by members of the same congregation but reaching opposing conclusions.

    In part two of Section A; the headline “RFRA defense used in tax case” is regarding the controversial law being used by Rodney Tyms-Bey to refuse to pay $1,042.82 in back state taxes due to his religious beliefs. ’nuff said about this one.

    Page one of our USA Today sample; “Trump lawsuits were “distraction”. ’nuff said about this article, too. Sigh, sometimes I get so tired. I am now ready to tackle the big Sunday crossword puzzle in today’s Star.

  5. Jobs. Simply jobs that most of the people out here in the great empty counties can’t live on. For most of them, we might as well be in another Great Depression. Never mind the Republicans started us down this path, they have been successful in reaping the reward of it since 1992. And still we haven’t put our finger on the obvious.

  6. At the very heart of it “truth” and “facts” need to be re-defined. I do not see how a democracy will work when we are told a duck is a cat or or a rock is made of cotton and are expected to believe it. There needs to be sincere accountability and severe repercussions for elected officials choosing to spew garbage that intentionally misinforms the citizenry.

  7. There are more reasons, equal reasons, for voters choosing Trump over Hillary than racial resentment and misogyny. There was Hillary’s disconnect with working class America and the poor. Her message, big words and lots of them, only promised more of the same. What people saw was that while Trump was out in the areas of the country that were hurting economically, Hillary was at fund raisers with the wealthy and the insulated. Trump acknowledged people’s pain. Hillary couldn’t even see that it was there. It doesn’t’ help at this point that so many of us saw the horror that is Trump and Pence. What matters now is how truthfully we face our own failings and how forthrightly we move forward.

  8. Yes; I’m back again.

    Theresa; you are so right, there were many reasons not to vote for Hillary but even more reasons not to vote for Trump. Contrary to the often posted statement, “Love Trumps Hate” – apparently that is not the case in America today. Obviously “Trump Trumps Love”.

    I neglected to include in Pastor Thomas’ invitation that the Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be held on Wednesday.

    An AOL news article (they are obviously right-leaning in their politics) included this information regarding the Electoral College. “Only electors from the party that won the popular vote get to cast their ballots in December, so only Republican electors will vote in the states that Trump won, and only Democratic electors in the states Clinton carried.”

    If the electors elect the president; ALL electors in all states should be allowed to cast their final, legal votes. There is always a chance in politics of “buyer’s remorse”; never more true than today. The Electoral College is “rigged” to favor one party or the other; it happens that using this system has given the presidency to two Republicans. Even if I were a Republican I would question this rule.

  9. One thing we clearly need to do is tie the Republicans to the bad government they constantly deride. They have been selling a bill of goods that says government is inherently bad, then doing everything in their power to make certain that government doesn’t function well, then pointing to that disfunction as proof that government is bad.

    Democrats need to learn to market as well as Republicans do. Presenting sound policy options isn’t the way to win elections. If it were, Hillary would have won in a landslide.

  10. The oligarchs will allow as much democracy as they deem is necessary to keep law and order. It is hard to see a change in either the house or senate unless the Democrats buy into the oligarchs version of democracy. Any change or candidate that threatens the oligarchs true control will be squashed by the oligarchs’ deep pockets of dark money. A de facto fascism will be (is) the result.

  11. Are we on the verge of another civil war? Yes, several months ago I stated I felt we were on the cusp of a social civil war. I was also watching the Hunger Games movies alot and reading the books and so that could have influenced my thoughts but I still stand by them.

    Steve Schmidt on MSNBC who is a Republican and very critical of Trump and Comey made a statement that stuck with me. He was upset with Comey and the FBI and upset that they are now apart of the growing dysfunction of Washington DC. He said, and I will paraphrase as I can’t remember his exact words…Fascism didn’t ruse because it was strong, but because democracy was weak. The two parties have contributed to this, but as of late it seems Republican Congress shares the greater blame for some of the reasons you state.

    There isn’t any one smoking gun that elected Trump there are alot of variables…hate for Clinton’s (I voted for Obama in the primaries because the hate from the right was so palatable for the Clinton’s was higher than the hate for Barack Hussein Obama), poor economy (I hear the Stas have improved but I come from and am the working class and we have not seen any improvement for us in decades), people voting on a side Glenn issue to get rid of “Roe versus Wade” (Alot of people from what I can tell voted Trump for this issue only), Supreme Court Justice picks since the Republicans are now the only party allowed to pick them, and the ‘isms’.

    DC area is Panama. The richest counties of the country surround DC, the elites are on the coast and the middle states have been ignored.

  12. DC is Panem, not Panama…I even checked to make sure autocorrect didn’t change it and it hadn’t when I checked…must do it as soon as I hit submit

  13. As a muckraker, I attribute the “racism and misogyny” articles to “journalistic laziness” which has afflicted this nation for years. It’s not only laziness, but it’s manipulation by wordsmiths or naive democratic party faithfuls. Rachel Maddow @MSNBC comes to mind. Rachel is no different than the women of Fox News who peddle propaganda to republican party followers.

    Lazy journalists peddle garbage to lazy American viewers who can no longer think for themselves. Those areas of our brain used for critical thinking suffer from atrophy due to our lack of use.

    George Monbiot recently wrote an article for The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/neoliberalsim-donald-trump-george-monbiot#comment-87599576).

    He believes Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan get the nod for creating Trump due to conservatives, Reagan and Thatcher, reading the same library book. He writes:

    “The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism. It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.”

    Needless to say, long before Thatcher read this book, the billionaires of the time had already accepted the premises advocated by Hayek, especially the idea of “trickle down” economics. It was very much to their liking.

    By the time Bill Clinton took office in the 90’s, he aligned the “party of the people” with Wall Street – the Banksters, who owned the spigots for the “trickle”.

    Once that happened, the American people were abandoned for old Oligarchs and new Billionaires. The 1/100ths, of the 1%’ers.

    Oppression was hand delivered to the Plutarchs. Billionaires like the Koch brothers have been building and expanding a network since the New Deal was inked, but Hayek, and then Milton Friedman at the Chicago School of Economics, made Neoliberalism, a generally accepted practice.

    What’s really interesting is Neoliberalism flies directly in the face of science – human behaviorist have surely been screaming in the background, but they’ve been drowned out by economists within the College of Business with fancy titles.

    Albert Einstein’s, 1940’s dictum on the planning economy – socialism – was very explicit that free market capitalism is “evil” for what it does to the human spirit.

    Those “unrestricted entrepreneurs” that Hayek referred to in his dictum turned out to be sociopaths in suits. It legalized and created a culture of greed.

    Fast forward Neoliberal practices to 2016, and what we have is oppression by our “unrestricted entrepreneurs” who used their power to eviscerate the free press and now controls our state and federal governments. Now they use lobbyists to write even more policies to protect their existing wealth and power, and create opportunities for even more wealth creation.

    Our public parks will be privatized to allow for resource extraction. Social security will be drastically changed and privatized. Corporate powers will be enhanced.

    In other words, it will get much worse and even more oppressive. In order to protect themselves from expected social upheavals under oppressive regimes, they’ll expand the national security apparatus. Again, it won’t be to protect US citizens from “terrorists”. It will be used against US citizens who rise up against the, “unrestricted entrepreneurs”.

    Republican against democrat; Liberal against conservative; Men against women; White against black; Citizen against immigrant; Urban against rural; are all a waste of time and signs of misdirected anger. The media is being used to disseminate propaganda to keep us bickering amongst ourselves.

    Barack Obama had 8 years to tell Americans the truth about what happened with GWB/Iraq, and to jail him for international crimes against humanity – didn’t happen. He had the pulpit to explain the fraud committed against the global markets by Wall Street – didn’t happen. Obama’s cabinet was chosen by Citibank in 2008, who bailed out banks, extracting trillions of dollars from the federal reserve/American taxpayers. Not one single banker was jailed for the fraud committed against investors world wide. Not one.

    We’re not “naive”; we’re in denial. We fell asleep at the switch. In a democracy, our apathy has a price, said Plato; “…we will be ruled by our inferiors.”

    Our free press should have been pointing out the demise of our democracy as moneyed interests gobbled up our government. We should have demanded that bribing public remain illegal. We should have demanded that our SCOTUS be free of political and money persuasion. We should have demanded that political contributions not be able to cross state borders.

    Indiana’s senatorial race was against a non-resident (Bayh) versus a resident backed by out of state money (Young). How in the world would either of them help Hoosiers?

    Okay, everybody go back to sleep…it was just a bad dream.

  14. Perhaps all of us who are rational and want to discuss real policy choices are presenting our views against the superior framing of the Republicans so that the real issues are not discussed while we succumb to their framing of the issues to be discussed. George Lakoff (a cognitive brain scientist who holds forth at the University of California, Berkeley, and who, incidentally, got his doctorate at IU) has written extensively on framing of the issues, which Republicans do rather well. I recommend reading his book, The Political Mind (a cognitive brain scientist’s guide to your brain and its politics) in which he advises us how to reframe the issues and have Republicans argue from our framing and not theirs. When we do that, we start winning arguments that lead to policy formation.

  15. Hope you will incorporate your experience from last Thursday’s Women’s Summit for Change in your ideas. Many of us who may had been there, but not under the roof (not enough room inside for all who showed up), felt a sense of relief that so many in suffering for all the possible coming changes were shared by so many others. It seems to be about forming an alternative community, showing up, networking and informing what is happening, and being of support for others….good values and actions supported and voiced by many…..but seems to be not shared in channels of information of support.

  16. RN: I repeat that the voters who voted for change and elected Trump are going to be very disappointed. Judging from what we have seen thus far he is working w some new extremists and considering the same old republicans for his leadership posts. Nothing new about any of it except it seems more extreme.

    This election demonstrated that the “win at any cost” philosophy is strong, especially in the R party. What happened to the republicans who opposed Trump? Where is the outcry ? Not going to happen.

    The congressional election in two years provides an opportunity for democrats to focus on some key republican candidates – Paul Ryan, and to start that campaign early and pound the message that he is determined to kill social security and medicare.

    Find a viable opponent NOW and start dismantling this congress as soon as possible.

    That would be real change.

  17. My own analysis of the exit poll numbers suggests that those who voted for Trump were largely the same people who voted for Romney, and that really the story of the election is that support that had accrued to the Democrats in ’08 and ’12 simply eroded. The real differences were that men who had voted for Obama did not support Clinton both white men and African American men whose support for the DNC dropped from 87% in ’12 to 80% in ’16 (down from 95% in ’08) with no increase from them for Trump, for white men from 45% to 41% with a 1% increase for Trump and largely no increase from white women (+1%) for Clinton while Hispanic women’s support shifted slightly to Trump from76% DNC in ’12 to 68% in ’16 but for the RNC/Trump from 23% in ’12 to 26% in ’16. None of these shifts are seismic. Whites proportion of the electorate dropped from 74% in ’08 to 72% in ’12 and 70% in ’16 even though the electorate had five million more people in it – the math just doesn’t match a whitelash narrative. What you see is Clinton’s support in suburbia eroded such that she couldn’t convert several key states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, etc. and the DNC’s base simple did not support them … probably due to the Clinton candidacy.

  18. “Fascism became an all-purpose term because one can eliminate from a fascist regime one or more features, and it will still be recognizable as fascist. Take away imperialism from fascism and you still have Franco and Salazar. Take away colonialism and you still have the Balkan fascism of the Ustashes. Add to the Italian fascism a radical anti-capitalism (which never much fascinated Mussolini) and you have Ezra Pound. Add a cult of Celtic mythology and the Grail mysticism (completely alien to official fascism and you have one of the most fashionable fascist gurus, Julius Evola.”

    “We must keep alert, so that the senses of these words will not be forgotten again. Ur-Fascism
    is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be much easier, for us, if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Black Shirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come backunder the most innocent of disguises [try evangelical Christianity]. Our duty is to uncover it and point our finger at any of its new instances—every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt’s words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling:

    “I venture the challenging statement that if American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day to day and night be PEACEFUL means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in our land.”

    From “Ur-Fascism” by Umberto Eco, in the New York Review of Books June 22, 1995.

    The point I’m trying to make is that even if you eliminate Trump/Pence you will still have Ur-Fascism to tend with.

  19. “The question is: when the incommensurate passions triggered by impending conflicts subside, will we be able to construct a fairer, more streamlined and responsive, more (small-d) democratic governing structure, one that is more adapted to the realities of the modern world?”

    Another question is whether or not that modern world and the geopolitical construct that it entails will give us enough of a breathing space for us to put ourselves back together. Given what is going on today with both the Russians and the Chinese already pushing the outside of the envelope in terms of international law, what else will happen that could skew what we may be trying to do since we may lose the baton of world leadership while all of this is going on?. If that happens how will it affect the quality and cohesion of the decisions that will have to be made by all Americans regarding any realignment our system of governance, not to mention its outcome? None of this will occur in a vacuum. There will be no time out called while this process plays out.

    We could find ourselves being overpowered by world events as we try, as you have alluded to, salvage the best parts of our democratic system and work out the internal conflicts that we currently have in a constructive way. I am concerned that American International leadership will be diminished as a result and give way to something that will make it that much harder for any semblance of global stability to be preserved while we’re sorting ourselves out. We don’t even know how such a process would occur, be managed, or consummated.

    We are in very much in unknown territory folks, a place that this country is never been in within our lifetimes and while we did suffer through our American Civil War 150 plus years ago its impact on the management of the international system was nowhere near as profound as what we may go through all over the course of the next four years might be.

  20. Please excuse my syntax as I was using my laptop’s voice recognition system in keying this. Obviously there’s still some work that needs to be done although I try talking as if I’m a graduate of the Columbia School of Broadcasting.

  21. Failure analysis is a specialty within the broader field of design engineering and it’s critical to designing things that are robustly reliable. It’s how learning takes place.

    In thinking about America’s failure let me propose a strawman.

    What is continuing to fail repeatedly is neoliberalism which I personally prefer to call regressism. I believe that our governance design is relatively but obviously not perfectly robust. Could it be? Perhaps but I don’t see how.

    But let’s not throw the babies out with the bath water.

    Neoliberalism or regressism is a weakness in thinking that is apparently seductive to some. So be it.

    It is because it promises something for nothing. It’s intellectual comfort food. There’s a toy in every box.

    Living and competing in an overcrowded overconnected world is hard. Keeping individually up in a world exploding with new knowledge and technology is hard. Being immersed in diversity is hard. Having to rely on strange specialists getting narrower and more abstract every day is hard. Turning off inane TV is hard. Thinking beyond our own skin and planning for ongoing humanity rather than only us and today is hard.

    We’re surrounded by hard like Gen Custer was.

    Neoliberalism offers easy. Given that, it’s easy to ignore that not possible is the price of easy.

    We have often thought about the mechanism by which our house of cards fails. We confuse ourselves by the sheer complexity of failure. How will the country fail? The GOP? Healthcare? Economics? Our neighbors? The Climate? Energy? Freedom? Religion?

    We simply can’t know. The analysis of failure of this magnitude is beyond our capabilities. It’s like the structural failure of the World Trade Center towers, it is beyond imagination.

    We have desperately tried for what engineers call nondestructive testing of failure modes. Let’s not hurt ourselves learning.

    We have learned that we have to fail at that. Destructive failure is the only option. Painful but true.

    Save the baby. Hang tight to what our ancestors also learned. Democracy and freedom works. Our Constitution works. Respect for individuals works. Diversity works. Science works. Education works. The brotherhood of man works. Men need women and women need men. We all need all of the other ingredients in the stew.

    We encountered hard and chose to make it harder. Regretful to be sure but doable with the skill set we have evolved to.

  22. Todd 9:39, I agree with what you wrote. I also read that Guardian article. If this election demonstrated anything it is bankruptcy of the McMega Media. Fox, CNN, MSNBC all had same marketing plan. Hours and hours of a panels of “experts” engaged in opinions not news, slanted toward their audience and political Jerry Springer just to spice things up.

    Jeffery St. Clair has written a book Bernie & Sandernistas. The book is a strong critique of Sanders campaign. He mentions in his book Goldman Sachs ties to the Clinton’s go back to 1985. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was the financial vehicle for the so called Third Way.

    Bill Clinton was a chair of the DLC from 1990-91. Evan Bayh was chair of the DLC from 2001-05. The Clinton’s went for an audition in 1991 at a dinner meeting with Robert Rubin Goldman’s co-chair. Rubin went on to become Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury. NAFTA, Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and a gutted Glass-Steagall followed in the wake. The World was made safe for the multinationals to move their factories from America to offshore and any semblance of over sight of Wall Street went up in smoke. The Republicans embraced this Third Way.

    Since Bill Clinton’s presidency the Democratic Party has been on the decline. We ended up during the Obama Presidency with Eric Holder as AG who basically said, Too Big Fail, Too Big to Jail.

    Now I do not know if the all the people who voted for Trump and Bernie understood the history here but they seemed to understand their economic past, present and futures had been compromised.

    It may have been Howard Zinn that wrote the establishment the 1% and the Media they control understand the psychology of divide and conquer. It is vital to them to slice and dice and provide binary choices, where compromise is not possible. The real threat of Socialism is it has the potential to bind people together.

  23. Yesterday, I was in my library replacing some books and magazines, one being the Saturday Evening Post, October 13, 1962. The illustration on the front cover was our war planes bombing the Soviet Union. Accompanying it was the question: Can Accident Trigger a Nuclear War? FAIL-SAFE, a novel in Three Parts by Eugene Burdick, coauthor of “The Ugly American” and Harvey Wheeler. [Harvey was my partner in the Project to Save the Republic].

    Harvey died in 2004. A few weeks before he died, while under hospice care, he called and we talked. He could no longer use E-mail to communicate with me for more than one or two words in order to agree or disagree with our “Crash Couse in the Transformation of America’s Democratic Institutions.” It was going to be a video teaching course.

    The following is from Harvey’s last communication:


    The following is a transcript, with a few added words, of your dictation concerning Leo Strauss during our telephone conversation last Saturday, August 4th [2004]:

    “First of all, we must look at the role of the faith-based politics under new conditions. All of this will bring your discussion (Democracide: The Far Right’s Path to Power [www.Democracide.info]) up to a new level. It’s an added dimension. Secondly, President Bush is being advised by the “disciples of Leo Strauss.” Strauss provided the philosophical foundation for the Neo-Conservatives advising the President. The Neo-Cons are a different breed from the Radical Right/Far Right people. They are mostly ex-Jewish liberals. They fell in bed with Strauss at Pomona College where they adopted his form of Platonism, the so-called “noble lie.” From this doctrine, they have created the rationale for Bush’s reliance upon faith and religion because the “noble lie” was Plato’s doctrine that people can’t understand the reality of nature without God. You must give God to the people, the “noble lie,” the real truth of philosophy. From this, the Neo-Cons have developed and promoted with their colleagues the doctrine of religion for the people. According to them, this is what nature has similarly suggested. So that’s the way Bush and his advisors have integrated this form of relationship with God and its application to politics.

    This application of politics means that the power exercised by the Neo-Cons and Bush is a power that relates to Armageddon as set out in the Book of Revelations in the New Testament. This religious doctrine reflects two different worlds, the present one of Satin and the world to come after Armageddon. This is an elaborate body of doctrine and philosophy that has been systemized based on a foundation created from the teachings of Leo Strauss. It is designed self-consciously to bring this world, the world of Satin to an end.”

    This is the first time, Harvey’s “last political words” have been disseminated to a general audience. Harvey was the Program Director for the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California, the premier democracy “think tank” of its era and my organizing partner with The Political Epidemiology Institute. http://www.StrategicPower.org

  24. Louie I’m sure that you and I can agree to disagree on who’s to blame for neolibralism and it’s failures.

    You say the DNC and I say the gullibility of the electorate and the fact that neolibralism is a lie; an empty promise; an unfulfillable fantasy.

  25. Ron,

    Thanks for the link. That was a great portrait of present-day America. But still, what comes after raking the leaves? That’s the portrait we need in order to stir up America, not raking leaves. Isn’t raking leaves total capitulation?

  26. So then, a complete wingnut will soon take the Oval Office. He will be surrounded by his bigoted and equally dangerous cronies. And they all will be free of any system of ‘checks and balances’. Name 10 things wrong with this picture. Start now!

  27. I keep thinking I’m in a dream state and that soon, I hope, I’ll awaken, and this will all be a big nightmare–you know, like those shows where they kill off a character, only to find out that it was all a bad dream. Where’s Auntie Em when you need her to soothe us and reassure us that we’re awake now and it was nothing but a bad dream?

    One thing we must never forget, and that is the reason the Trumpster ran for office in the first place–his massive ego, no doubt stoked by feelings of inferiority and need for affirmation. He delivered a message based on racist hate–all of the insults directed to President Obama, calling him the stupidest man ever elected to the Presidency– were calculated to appeal to uneducated whites who yearn for high paying factory jobs that will never return. Our job is to make sure that he doesn’t receive the reward he wants. He and homely Kellyanne will huff, puff, threaten and bitch, but we’re not going away any time soon. He wasn’t the choice of the majority. The positions he espoused and his character are toxic. He doesn’t understand the job or the need to bring people together to move forward. Just today, England snubbed his suggestion for Ambassador to the U.S. Just today, he tried to intimidate the news media by holding court in his gilded tower. Does he think that the news media will fail to report protests, the serious deficiencies with his proposed appointees, and all of the other objectively negative things his incompetence and ego are causing?

    Does he think the rest of us will just forget all about all his flaws and the hateful speech that got him elected by a little more than 100 K votes in 3 key states? He and his surrogates tout patriotism as a reason for not continuing our protects. Patriotism isn’t the reason he ran for President–ego and power are. Patriotism didn’t cause him to pander to people who felt left behind with jobs getting shipped overseas and who resent the first black American President. He won’t be able to deliver on his promises, and we must never stop protesting, if, for no other reason, because it pisses him off.

  28. Natacha; Trump is “walking back” his entire campaign, all his rallies and the Republican campaign foundation. I really, really hate that term “walking back”; it proves he believes the voters are stupid and didn’t hear what their lying ears heard or see what their lying eyes witnessed. I, too, feel I am living a nightmare; one I am not sure I want to wake up from to find the reality that lies in waiting.

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