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Category: Politics

Politicizing a Tragedy
I want to take a moment to politicize the horrific attacks in Paris. It may seem like it is too soon after that tragedy to do such a thing, but I have to say this. I think that we should do all we can, in responding to the massacre, to hold onto our humanity.

You might say that such a timid assertion is not really political statement at all. But consider this: a commitment to hold on to your humanity includes a pledge to honor the shared humanity of every person on earth — even those who have abandoned their own humanity with these heinous acts.

So yeah, I am politicizing this tragedy. It seems, moreover, that the Republican candidates for president would not subscribe to my brand of politics. Instead, they are exploiting the carnage in Paris to make their own political points. Donald Trump took the time to suggest that the scarcity of guns in French society led to this mass shooting. Ted Cruz has declared that now we should care even less about killing innocents with our air strikes. Bobby Jindal saw a confirmation of his crusade to secure our southern border. Marco Rubio thinks that we no longer need to be concerned about offending Muslims. Mike Huckabee views the murders as a reason to abandon the Iranian peace treaty. And every single Republican presidential candidate thinks we should not accept Syrian refugees, even children, into our country. Unless they’re Christian, of course.

Those are the lessons they have taken from this atrocity. They were certainly not holding on very tightly to their humanity. Or maybe they were, and they just sold it out cheap at the first sign of trouble. I can understand the temptation to do that. Humanity is not an easy promise to keep. Holding onto your humanity while keeping yourself, your family, and your community safe in the face of mass murder will be next to impossible. War, indeed, is the greatest test of our humanity.

I am only suggesting that we try. Unlike those presidential contenders, I don’t have any specific solutions to offer. All I have is a starting point. I want tragedies like the one in Paris to stop — everywhere, now. I don’t want anyone to kill anyone else, period. That’s what holding on to your humanity looks like. The rest is up to our imagination, intelligence, and courage.

It is human to feel the fear and sorrow and rage of Paris. It is human to want to strike back. Those are genuine emotional responses. But before we act on them, let’s make sure we have a good grip on our humanity. We will need it when we come out on the other side of this darkness.
Unity Government
Whatever you might think about the recent scramble to fill the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives, you’ll have to admit that it’s been educational. All of the eye-gouging and nipple-twisting and mud wrestling has unearthed one interesting tidbit of legal trivia: the voters in that contest —members of the House of whatever party — need not choose one of their own for the post.

In other words, members of Congress could elect someone from the general populace to lead them. It does appear that the candidate must be an American citizen, but they could pick just about anybody to be Speaker.

Am I the only one, or does this sound like a fantastic idea? Enough with the bickering and infighting. Let’s get some new blood in there, someone untainted by politics and untouched by the stench of dysfunction. What Congress needs, it seems clear, is a fresh, can-do attitude, a willingness to tell it like it is no matter what the cost…and those are qualities that only an outsider can bring to that tired institution.

I can tell from that impish twinkle in your eye that you are thinking the same thing that I am thinking. Yes…Donald Trump! For Speaker of the House!

Okay, we agree that it’s a great idea, but let’s not let our excitement carry us away. We must ask ourselves, “What unintended consequences would this action have?” The answer: many, no doubt, but it seems like they’re all good. One of those consequences, for instance, might be that you would have a Speaker Trump and a President Trump at the same time. This idea is getting better and better!

My five minutes of exhaustive research have uncovered no reason why this couldn’t happen. There are scholarly opinions suggesting that it might not be permitted, but there is nothing in the letter of the law that forbids it… and no precedent, either, because all of this would be unprecedented. We’ve never had a non-member Speaker, so no laws or experience exist that would govern this situation. This is virgin political territory we can ravage and despoil any way we want!

Furthermore (and here is what seals the deal on this proposal), President Trump could then appoint himself, once there is an opening, to the Supreme Court. A government of perfect unity would be created! Once again, my research finds nothing in the law to prevent it.

So, are you fed up with the inability of your government to get anything done? Well, a United States of Trump wouldn’t have that problem. He could pass a bill, sign it, and declare it to be Constitutional on the same day — all by himself. He’d get plenty done, you can be sure of that, because he wouldn’t have to go through all that messy arguing that “traditional” politicians seem to love so much.

It’s really a wonder no one has thought of this before. One man, cutting through the red tape and doing what needs to be done. It could revolutionize democracy.
Bitch Nation
Let me be clear: I do not support Donald Trump in any way. He has, however, awakened in me a serious cause for concern.

I am worried that I might be Donald Trump’s bitch. I can’t not pay attention to him. And I am not the only one. The political class and the news media can’t not pay attention to him, either. The other Republican candidates have to pay attention to him. All of those people, the ignorant and the enlightened alike, are Donald Trump’s bitches.

And yes, since you’re still reading this, you’re probably his bitch, too. Kind of sad, isn’t it?
Low Card Wins
My last Deep Cover was a sin against my own principles. This Eaganblog compounds that sin by giving even more attention to someone I had vowed to ignore. He was, I had thought, desperately seeking attention without really deserving it. Yes, I’m writing about Donald Trump — even though I promised myself that I never would.

It makes me sick to say so, but Trump himself has forced my hand. He is right in the middle of the 2016 presidential campaign, and he is not only making headlines, he is forcing the real politicians to dance to his tune. His fellow Republicans are squirming pathetically so as not to alienate that large sector of the Republican base who are now drawn to the real estate mogul. John McCain called those supporters “the crazies.” When Trump turned his bile on McCain for that comment, the other candidates fell all over themselves to cry foul, even though Trump’s charge that Mexicans were a race of rapists and drug peddlers hardly caused a ripple among them.

All this makes him genuine news. I have to pay attention, even if it’s distasteful. I am compelled to try to understand him and his campaign. I know that whatever conclusion I come to will be meaningless in and of itself, because his campaign is doomed to fail. But I need to know; it’s my job.

For my own sanity, however, I have decided that I will not make fun of Trump or critique his seat-of-the-pants policy pronouncements. Instead, I intend to treat him as if he were a natural phenomenon, like El Niño or plantar warts. I’m not a fan (as he might say) of his line of ties or his choice of hairstyles, but I won’t hate on him for that. I will reserve my energies for a detached analysis of his possible motivations and the effects of his presence on the Presidential race.

Donald Trump will never be President. He will not get the Republican nomination. Too many people actually do hate him for that to happen. He will become more famous, though, and my current working theory rests on that fact: he just wants more fame, simply for its own sake. Even though I subscribe to this view, however, I still don’t really grasp the rationale. What exactly is the allure of fame, anyway? What good it it? Since I do not know, I am open to alternate theories.

One of those theories suggests that it is not fame he is seeking, but rather to entertain us by making a mockery of politics. Under this view, he is a Jonathan Swift or a Stephen Colbert or any political cartoonist. He is not just a provocateur, but my brother satirist. If true, this would be yet another reason not to make fun of Donald Trump. Not only would it be too easy, it would be silly. It would be like mocking Daffy Duck. What would the point of that be?

It is also possible, I suppose, that he is only seeking to entertain himself with this run. His “campaign,” in this case, would be nothing more than public masturbation — exposing himself to the rest of us as a way of getting off. That’s one more reason to maintain as much detachment (and distance) as possible.

Or…it’s for the money. Under this theory, he will lose money in the short run, but as long as he doesn’t falter and abandon his ego, he will earn that money back tenfold in the future just on name recognition alone. Call it fame-chasing with a business plan.

Another one: it’s all about ego, and nothing else. I do like the charming simplicity of this explanation.

Yet another theory: it’s not the ego, but the id. He says and does whatever he wants, without a filter, and he never apologizes. Instead of tough policy stances, he deals in vitriol and personal attacks. That would make Trump the id of the Republican Party and a conduit for their baser nature. Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle calls him their Lord Voldemort. She and other conservative pundits want their party to ignore Trump as a way of making him go away. Good luck; that would be like trying to ignore El Niño.

Those are the possible motivations I see so far. I could say that his run is based a little bit on all of them, but I can’t stand that kind of wishy-washy answer. Until I do figure him out, I will treat him simply as an avatar for all the mean-spiritedness on the right — the dark side of conservatism come to life, so to speak. His competitors and the rest of their party created the Trump monster by looking the other way for a decade while mindless viciousness and the glorification of ignorance grew ever larger on the right. They wanted those votes then, but now the monster has turned to pursue them. He’s not Lord Voldemort; he’s Frankenstein.

As to the effect of his presence, I’ll admit that thus far he has stripped bare the cravenness of the Republican field in a very entertaining way. If that was his intention, then he has certainly delivered for me.

It may be a sin, but I can’t wait for the debates.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon