MEAN (and stupid)

gatesofhellwriting

There are six definitions of the word ‘mean’ as an adjective, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary.  Trump voters fit all of them. Stupid, too.

There may be a day when I can philosophize about the outcome of this election, but today is not one of them. I’m deeply angry that the progress we’ve made as a culture has been stopped with the stated objective of turning back the clock. I’m terrified that my sick and dying friends will lose health care. I’m heartbroken that friends who married same sex partners may now face complete loss of their legal rights. And so much more.

The election of white trash to the White House rode on the backs of evangelicals who were willing to ignore Trump’s adultery, profanity, sexual assault, lack of respect for women, intellectual poverty, and pathological narcissism in order to accomplish one of their long term goals: make abortion illegal. In doing so, they believed they could put the genie back in the bottle and return women to their rightful place in the home, barefoot and pregnant.

Meanness: penurious, stingy, characterized by petty selfishness or malice. Eager to judge women who face one of the most traumatic and difficult decisions of her lifetime. Willing to sacrifice her life in order to save a fetus.

Stupid: given to unintelligent decisions or acts. Assuming that a radical right appointment to the SCOTUS somehow guarantees that Roe v Wade will be overturned. Ignoring that a woman’s right to privacy in this matter has been upheld many times even by conservative justices.

Stupid: slow of mind. Not understanding that women have always aborted unwanted pregnancies and always will, whether or not the laws of the nation allow them access to legal medical care.

In a Pavlovian response to four decades of careful brainwashing, evangelical voters convinced themselves that God wanted Donald Trump elected, that Trump was blessed, taken to the bosom of God, forgiven his sins, and worthy of being elevated to the nation’s highest office. Preached illegally in the nation’s tax exempt churches, this sermon echoes off the lips of evangelicals.

After all, Trump must be blessed by God because he’s rich. Bow down to the rich man who was born with a silver white-supremacist spoon in his mouth.

Giddy in their hallucinations, evangelicals dismiss questions about Trump’s character. Believe he never really molested women, never incited violence. Because we all know that a seventy-year-old man rich guy who never took responsibility for anything in his life is going to suddenly become completely different. Because, well, God.

Stupid: slow witted or dazed state of mind

Mean: lacking distinction; a poor shabby inferior quality or status.

Meanness characterizes much of the Trump base. Arrogant in their narrow-minded thinking—I don’t care what anybody says, I’m right. Proud of their willful ignorance—Don’t bother me with facts, my mind’s made up. Enshrined in the character and mindset of now Vice President Pence who refutes the scientific theory of evolution and wants to force women to fund funerals for miscarried fetuses. Yes, the epitome of male privilege.

Stupid: thickheaded imperviousness to ideas

According to exit polls, Trump was pretty much elected by older, married, small town, white, conservative Christian males making $50,000 or more. These are the men who hate women having power and parity. They hate Hispanics and Blacks for thinking they’re somehow equal. They’ll do anything to try to recapture that Elysian field where they rode tall in the saddle and the world was theirs for the taking.

In the narrow primitive view of this group of men, every freedom won by the disabled, women, minorities, or gays directly threatens their righteous authority. Their God-given authority. Because for these spiritually impoverished men, without someone to look down on, how could they possibly stand above?

Because after all, granting women reproductive rights took control of women away from men.

Because after all, God Himself is a white male.

Stupid: lacking intelligence or reason.

Mean: worthy of little regard; contemptible.

The election of white trash to the White House sprang from a cesspool of hatred toward anyone not like them. Hate spawned by ignorance ignited by fear. Names hard to pronounce. Unusual appearances. Hatred of anyone not white, not Christian, not heterosexual or clearly gendered. Hatred of anything they don’t understand.

Anything that doesn’t look like them in the mirror.

There’s a tight correlation between the mindset of Trump voters and the fact that the states they represent rank near the bottom in per capita income, economic growth, and citizen rights and near the top in teen pregnancy, poor health, and persons with addiction and/or disabilities.

People who have little to no experience with the operations of government—at any level—are the ones who claim government is corrupt, the ones who believe that dismantling government will solve their problems, that electing a sleazy real estate developer on his third wife will somehow make all their dreams come true.

These are the same brilliant lights who never learned about the balance of powers, the history of political parties in the U.S., or the background of any nation past or present. They’re arrogant, ill-informed armchair quarterbacks looking for quick and easy targets for their discontent.

Stupid: resulting from unreasoned thinking.

Not making enough money? Must be the government’s fault. Couldn’t possibly be that your skill set simply doesn’t match up with jobs that pay a hundred grand a year. Couldn’t possibly mean that the world has moved forward and you need to retrain to fit the new job market.

No, better to stop the world and go back. How far back? Back to horse drawn wagons?

Not happy with social changes that disrupt your comfort zone? Those g**damn government bastards. Couldn’t possibly be that other humans have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just like white guys—yeah, those minorities, women, and weirdos who freak you out.

Not happy that your religion doesn’t rule the nation? Couldn’t possibly be that the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution specifically to keep religion out of government.

Yet while foaming at the mouth about putting God back in ‘Merica, all these Christian folks can’t wait to terminate the Affordable Care Act. Go back to the good old days when insurance companies could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, when sick people lost their homes and everything they owned because they couldn’t afford health care. When the poor simply died without medical treatment.

What are the poor anyway but failed humans obviously unloved by God. Who don’t try hard enough. Who have something wrong with them. They don’t deserve to be helped.

Let’s elect Trump because he promises to end the ACA his first day in office.

There’s nothing Christian in denying sick people legal access to health care. It’s simply mean to do so.

But let’s go back to a nation ruled by prejudice when women, blacks, gays, Mexicans and anyone else outside the white male norm could be beaten or murdered with impunity. Let’s get rid of the idea that each person possesses inherent rights. Let’s make America great again.

Mean: “Ignoble, abject, sordid mean being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity, suggests having such repellent characteristics as small-mindedness and ill temper, lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit.”

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This Is For You, Donald

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I am so sick of this election campaign. Specifically Donald Trump. Throughout last night’s debate, I kept wishing Hillary would just walk over to that lying chump and slap his filthy mouth. What a jerk.

He respects women. *slap* Because all those nasty lying bitches out there telling the truth about what he did to them, touching without permission, treated like a sex object there for his taking, that was all just lies. *slap*

Because mean ole Hillary and her sleazy campaign set all that up, went out in the night and rounded up a bunch of random women who just happened to have documented prior contact with Trump which made them the perfect candidates for this massive con. Because if he loses this election, it will only be because everyone is so mean to him and he never did anything wrong. (whine whine) *slap slap*

Because the problem is Bill Clinton, because all those nice women accusing Bill are telling the truth. Worse, Hillary said bad things to them at the time. *slap*

Because it takes government and laws to decide what women can do inside their own bodies. *slap slap slap*

Trump’s words originate in the animal part of his brain, that ancient area where fear and hunger control behavior. It’s as if his frontal lobes are missing, you know, that part where analysis and rational thought processes occur. He was unable to outline any specific policies he plans to implement—because he doesn’t have any. His entire shtick is to pump up the fear and hatred rampant in his fan base.

And then once elected, you can hear between the lines—in what for him passes as thinking—that he’ll let Pence and Giuliani and Christie and the rest of his pathetic sycophants run the government.

That an educated, intelligent woman like Hillary Clinton would have to stand there and be repeatedly insulted by this ape infuriates me. His job in this debate was to answer the f***ing questions. He was supposed to demonstrate that he understands national policy issues and present his proposals—how, for example, would he identify and remove eleven million illegal immigrants and their four million children who have been legally born in this country?

He has no idea. It’s a sound bite, pandering to people afraid of people who are different.

How would he improve the situation in the Middle East? Do a Ted Cruz and ‘carpet bomb’ the region until the sand melted? No idea.

Trump knew just enough to look stupid, no doubt the result of exhaustive efforts by those few advisors who continue to believe Trump is worth saving. Our alliances with foreign nations aren’t one-sided deals, no matter how he and his followers manage to obfuscate the issue. I wanted Hillary to rebut his stupid claims, talk about how much we get from all our allies not only in trade and national defense but in outright payment for our goods and services. We haven’t become the most powerful nation in the world by making idiot choices in our foreign policy. And our alliances and foreign policies did not begin and end with Obama or his secretary of state.

Donald, get real. The war in Iraq was entirely on the Bush administration including the withdrawal that, you ignorantly complain, was Obama and Hillary opening the door to ISIS. *slap* The first Gulf war was also a Bush administration move, even though you’ve tried to say that if it had been done ‘right,’ we wouldn’t have had to go over there again.

Then there’s that horrible nasty NAFTA trade deal that Donald kept laying at the feet of Bill Clinton. Another huge lie. *slap slap* That deal started in 1991 when, again, a Bush administration held the reins of our national government. All the details had been worked out before Bill Clinton ever took office. Yes, he signed it into law in 1994, but it was done deal by then.

But you wouldn’t know the realities of foreign policy or anything else requiring thoughtful consideration because you were busy with your snout up some woman’s skirt.

And what about all that job loss you keep ranting about? Well, fact is, Donald, you conveniently ignore the reality about America’s lost labor force. It has little to do with trade deals and a lot to do with technology. Cars aren’t built by union men with high paying jobs because they’re now built by robots.

This is why education should be at the top of the list for anyone who really expects to improve opportunities for working Americans. Standing at an iron furnace is no longer required—computer-operated machines do that. Aging workers who lost jobs to advancing technology can be retrained but only if we invest as a nation in that retraining. Young people can be employed—if they’re computer literate or offered opportunities in technical training—just like Hillary talked about in between having to stand there listening to your ignorant drivel.

What manufacturing jobs remain have moved to Third World countries because corporations have pushed through laws that allow maximum profits and no accountability to their citizenship. They’ve gained legal permission not to pay taxes. Their allegiance is to their stockholders and CEOs. But this isn’t new, not a result of a Democratic administration or the single four-year term of a secretary of state. And I’m sorry, but did I hear you complain about these policies for the last forty years that you’ve taken full advantage of them?

This is a result of slow shifts in how products are made, the incorporation of digital technologies that increase productivity even as they make many old labor intensive jobs obsolete. This shift has been underway for fifty years or longer. It’s been at least since the 1970s that Americans were warned that a new service-based economy was on the horizon.

But Hillary was right not to get tangled up in rebutting his litany of lies. His followers wouldn’t believe anything she said even if they understood it. And Trump is not capable of learning. Anything.

Somewhere deep inside, Trump knows he’s a f***ing loser. That’s why he has to sneak up and cop a feel on women who wouldn’t give him the time of day if he asked. That’s why he can’t formulate a single specific policy plan for any of the issues he likes to rant about. That’s why he has to whine about rigged elections.

Little rich kid Trump never learned to take responsibility for anything—not his actions, not his business failures, not the miserable campaign he’s managed to run on the backs of a terrified and easily manipulated segment of the population. He never did the things he said he did to women—and it’s their fault for bringing it up.

Wait, what?

That he would deny the validity of the election out of his craven need to excuse his monumental failure not only as a candidate but as a human being is not just inexcusable. It’s treason.

And yes, I still want to slap him. Fortunately, I think the majority of American voters are about to do it for me.

Oh, my brother!

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There are people I love who are planning to vote for Trump. This hurts me in ways I can’t fully express. Both of my brothers, for example. These are men with master’s degrees, men who endeavor to do good in this world. How can they vote for Donald Trump?

They tell me it’s because they’re Republicans. Because they don’t embrace the ‘liberal’ agenda. They’ve fallen hook line and sinker for the hate-hillary propaganda that she’s a liar, that she’s committed countless crimes and has only escaped proper justice by pulling strings in the power structure she is part of.

They’re also fervent Christians. I say, surely you don’t think Trump is a Christian. They say they’re not voting for a pope.

They tell me Trump is just a flawed man like the rest of us and he cares about this country. They say he knows business and that’s what we need. Somebody who knows what it means to sign paychecks. As if running a nation is the same as running a business.

They say they’d never vote for Hillary because she’s pro-abortion. I say she’s not pro-abortion, she’s pro-choice. Meaning that in a free society that respects individual rights, government can never force women to carry pregnancies that might kill them, that might produce a severely impaired child, that will bring undue hardship to her or her already existing children.

They say homosexuality and transgender is an abomination of God’s will, that they’d never vote for the gay agenda that Hillary supports. I say, what is a gay agenda? That two people who love each other possess legal rights as next of kin, as property owners, as parents? That everyone deserves to be treated with respect?

I’ve tried to make them understand. They’re not listening.

They’ve latched onto the Benghazi rhetoric. They believe Clinton will flood the U. S. with unvetted refugees and bring a holocaust of terrorism to our front steps. They believe every single hateful lie that has been broadcast about her not just in the last year, but over the last three decades.

Yet they say Trump is just a flawed man who cares about this country. God will guide him. They believe in him. I say, so God won’t guide Hillary? She doesn’t care about this country?

I’ve asked them, what if Hillary was the one who’d been a serial adulterer? What if she’d been sued 3,500 times? What if her companies had filed bankruptcy multiple times?

What if Hillary had refused to release her taxes? Or her health records? Taken money from her charitable foundations for personal use? Not contributed to her charitable foundations with a dime of personal money for the last eight years?

Of course they’d be outraged.

I don’t even try to point out the inherent sexism in their lives that may undergird their instinctual rejection of Clinton. They both have subservient wives. They both enjoy the full measure of white male privilege. For them, God is unquestionably male and all else flows from that. They’re seeking a strong authoritative male as leader and can’t tell the difference between a patriarch like God and a bully like Trump.

It’s not that my brothers don’t have the capacity of reason to examine the facts about each candidate. It’s that their minds are already made up. Why should they ‘waste’ their time reading about Hillary or hearing criticism of Trump?

Which—in an otherwise normal election cycle—might be enough said. After all, we all have the right to be just as stupid and obstinate as the next guy. It’s a free country.

But this is not a normal election. Trump is not normal. Trump doesn’t have policies or plans. Trump has bluster, braggadocio, and unbridled ego. His base instincts feed on anger and fear. He incites and revels in violence, loves to see fury in the eyes of his audience.

Yes, he’s a flawed man, flawed in the worst possible ways for someone who would be granted unlimited access to our nation’s most important secrets, to hold the reins of our military, to direct the future course of our educational systems, to oversee the protection of our air, water, and wildlife. To become the leader of the free world. His flaws go beyond his stated positions on immigration or national defense, beyond his inability to grasp basic human rights or due process of law.

His flaws threaten everything we as Americans hold dear.

To believe, as my brothers do, that Trump can tend to the myriad duties and responsibilities of the presidency is simply to ignore what’s right in front of their faces. Trump is not a reasonable or educated or sane man. He’s ignorant of basic facts. He does not have the equanimity or the patience to negotiate with Congress. He does things by fiat because that’s what you do when you’re the tyrant at the top of a corporate empire.

But government is very much NOT a business. It’s a delicate balancing act of hearing all sides even if you don’t agree with them. It’s a patient practice of enforcing what the Founders set down in the Constitution whether it fits your personal agenda or not. Trump is not capable of reasoning the finer points of anything. It’s his way or the highway. It’s ‘You’re fired.’

What my brothers don’t understand – or refuse to see – is that electing Trump isn’t just a matter of whether he’s anti-abortion or has signed a paycheck. It’s not that he (theoretically) will carry forth the traditional Republican agenda of smaller government and traditional values. Electing Trump goes beyond issues.

Electing Trump is about putting a mentally ill man in the White House. About giving unfettered authority to a man without basic human decency. About expecting leadership from a man who can’t order his own thoughts.

It’s about the future of the world, about everything we’ve gained in thousands of years of human progress. It’s about what can happen in one raged-fueled moment with an undisciplined man who would become more powerful than he’d ever imagined and sees it as his right and his responsibility to punish whoever enraged him.

Martial law? Stop and frisk anyone who might be suspicious.

Mass deportation? The enemy is anyone without white skin.

Genocide? He’s said it—not only ISIS leaders but their families.

Nuclear? Sure. He’s already touted it as an option.

I’m sick with worry, not so much about Trump actually winning the presidency. I have too much faith in a majority of American voters to think he might actually win.

I’m sick with worry that I’m losing all respect for my brothers. Not just in their choice to vote for Trump, but what’s behind that choice—intellectual laziness, a narrow-minded focus on a few social issues, their choice of religion over country.

I’m losing respect over their refusal to evolve.