Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Electing a god

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, December 16, 2019

Some Republicans and Trump voters/supporters have realized something that the Democrats, in large part, have not:

Their chosen candidate is not perfect – no, far from it.

And, that’s okay.

As I consider Mayor Pete, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former VP Joe Biden, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders — the top four Democratic nominee contender-candidates — each one of them has increasingly been attacked, either by another candidate (though not by name), or by the media/press who pointedly critique their ideas and prospective policy platforms as if they were already done, set in stone, or otherwise enacted into law, though those same media critics neither offer, nor point to, nor counter any idea, or offer with any prospective alternative solution(s) themselves.

In other words, rather than offer constructive criticism, the press just bitches, gripes, moans, groans, and complains.

That’s not good.

Somehow, over the years (and more so in recent history), the “media,” as it’s called nowadays, has come to think of, and present themselves as, impartial arbiters, seemingly non-critical thinking, individuals who are neither opinionated, nor fraught with their own biases, however hidden (or not) they may want others to believe that they are. That somehow, they — and only they — know the truth, and only they can be trusted to always tell the truth at all times, in all circumstances, forever and ever… amen.

That’s just simply not the case, nor has it ever been.

The “Fourth Estate,” as it has long been known (though it’s now often simply monikered as “the media”), consists of the Press which delivers “content” (which is what news is now often called) through the airwaves via traditional broadcast means such as radio and television (over-the-air, and cable), including the more modern means of satellite, and via the Internet, while the staid, storied, and ultimately longer-lived print mediums — flyers, circulars, newspapers and magazines — are still around, though they’ve suffered somewhat, which also concerns some that perhaps one day, paper will simply disappear (which I don’t think will ever happen). And, of course, one can get it all — including superior high-quality video and sound — on their “smart” cell phones — micro-miniaturized computers which have more computer processing power than was in the Saturn V rocket — and which all fits handily in one’s pocket.

Valid scientific polls can now be, and are, conducted via cellular phones, as well as landline phones — which increasingly have been going the way of the dinosaur. The ubiquity of the portable personal/home computer (often as laptops), has similarly facilitated greater ease of polling.

But to complicate matters, smartphones and other personal mobile devices — which can readily and freely block certain phone numbers — when combined with the plethora of abusive practices colloquially known as “SPAM” or “spoofing” in telemarketing, and “phishing” in email — most of which are deceptive practices facilitating thievery — result in unintended inverse consequences. It is precisely because of the ubiquity and facilitation of the ease of communication which has made communication more difficult, and therefore often unreliable.

As called by some broadcast ratings services (Nielsen, etc.), “eyes on the set,” or as “click bait” on the Internet — which includes “fake news” which the President has made his personal political stamp — we have collected, and continue to garner and give up abundant private information about ourselves through voluntary participation in FREE services such as “social media” (most notably as Facebook and Twitter), and other services, including Facebook-owned Instagram. To those Wild-Wild-West guerilla marketers, we have become mere numbers to be traded for a free box of clothes-washing detergent, box of crackers, or roll of toilet tissue.

There’s no question about it — we’re genuinely in the midst of a communications revolution.

The point being, is that in the midst of any revolution, whatever the type, there will frequently be greater attention given to often-inconsequential matters, while important matters get the short shrift, or are completely ignored.

To illustrate, Mayor Pete is catching hell for having briefly worked at McKinsey & Company – which the Harvard-educated, Rhodes Scholar, Navy veteran has explained helped steer him to his true calling, public service.

Elizabeth Warren is being assailed because she formerly advocated for corporations as a law school professor early in her career — which similarly led her to discover that our nation’s bankruptcy laws have been written for the advantage of corporations, rather than people, which in turn guided her path toward consumer advocacy while a Harvard Law School Professor.

Joe Biden has been castigated for his former stance on busing in the 1970’s — nearly 50 years ago — while the practice, which sought to eradicate the egregious social ill of segregation, has long since been abandoned, because no one — neither Blacks, nor Whites – liked it, and it created more problems than it ever attempted to solve.

Bernie Sanders has been critiqued for having survived a heart attack while campaigning, and scathed for his renown public policy positions — despite the fact that among almost all other candidates and politicians of any party, he has been historically unwavering in his positions, a genuine rarity in politics.

Of course, they’re also all White, and with the exception of Mayor Pete who is aged 37, they’re all “old,” i.e., aged 70 years, or older.

Age discrimination is a very real thing, as we’re discovering, yet the pristine press denies they criticize the candidates that way.

Furthermore, the press acts as if people (the candidates) are monolithic, and incapable of change.

Yet the differences between the four front-runner Democratic candidates and Donald Trump couldn’t be more stark.

Before his Electoral College win, Trump had never held any elected public office, nor any office of public trust. He came into the highest office in the land, and became the world’s most powerful governing official with exactly zero governing experience. No American President had ever been without any experience in the public sector. Never.

Not so of any of the top 4 Democratic candidates.

Trump had not had even ten seconds of experience in his entire lifetime as being elected to anything — not even as Dog Catcher. He ascended to the throne of his presidency much like he came into his business from his multi-millionaire father. It was handed to him on a silver platter, while the silver spoon was yet in his mouth.

Not so of any of the top 4 Democratic candidates.

Before he announced his candidacy, Trump had been, and remains, long infamous for his narcissism, coarseness and bluster, along with being notoriously stingy, miserly, a self-serving cheapskate, and for his Scrooge-like ways, which include cheating and refusing to pay others, including business partners and contractors, often in guise, or pretense of unfulfilled contractual obligations, through abusive and pretentious court filings meant exclusively to wear down his perceived adversaries… in addition to having filed numerous corporate bankruptcies, and deliberate hiring of countless numbers of illegal aliens to work in his restaurants, at his golf courses, and in his private clubs.

Not so of any of the top 4 Democratic candidates.

Trump’s delusions of grandeur and pompous behavior, his self aggrandizing and maniacally chronic lying, his incorrigible manipulative wheedling, his sociopathically self-serving and psychotic conversation, his delusionally aberrant and persistently inveterate behaviors are all appalling in the extreme. And yet, they are all par for his incorrigible course of life. He is, of all people, a most miserable example of anything, save for being the ultimately pathetic excuse of pusillanimity.

He is the epitome, the exemplar, the quintessential embodiment of wantonness and depravity, the veritable and practical prince of profligacy, the dean of dissolution, a damnably deigned denizen and fully self-contained hoard of worthlessly wretched and wrongful behaviors, the crown prince of cravenness.

Not so of any of the top 4 Democratic candidates.

And those are his good behaviors.

Not so of any of the top 4 Democratic candidates.

Again, it must be borne in mind that we are in the midst of an upheaval, a practical revolution of communications, and that important matters will often be overlooked while focusing upon, and amplifying the minuscule, and glorifying the trivial.

So, when the Press (or so-called “Fake News” as the Current White House Occupant calls it) focuses on making mountains out of molehills of any candidate — much less the Liar in Chief – bear in mind this one thing:

They want your attention,
and nothing more,
because your attention means money to them.
And Trump has been exceedingly good for their ratings.

To be certain (as mentioned above) the term The Fourth Estate refers to the Press – radio and television news, including news sources via the Internet. Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), an 18th century Scottish philosopher/essayist/mathematics teacher, wrote that the term “Fourth Estate” was first used in 1787 by Edmund Burke (1729-1797), an Irish/English philosopher/statesman, Whig Member of Parliament in a debate on whether to open the House of Commons to reporters. Burke is reported to have said, “There were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

Since the founding of our nation, our Fourth Estate has been often fully mixed with news people who are more concerned with selling ads and papers than in impartial, inquisitive, or substantive reporting. That’s because “easy news” — like obituaries, reports on local sports teams, the weather, who had building permits issued to them, who was arrested, party cotillions, and coming-out society balls — was, and remains much less likely to alienate or aggravate advertisers, is far less costly to collect, and means greater profit for the publisher. This type of news remains a staple of many newspapers even today.

Sensationalistic news, such as was prominent in the era of “yellow news” and newspaper wars between publisher William Randolph Hearst and his adversary Joseph Pulitzer, was guaranteed to attract buyers, and was similarly cheaply and easily available. News reports of who’s divorcing who, who’s having sex with who, which celebrity is in trouble with the law, or some seemingly shocking declaration from someone unknown, even reports of outer space aliens, or detailed descriptions of horrifically grotesque crime, is certain to incite public passions. This type of “news” and reporting is also featured quite prominently today.

And then, there’s investigative reporting, such as when journalists spend great time and significant resources to uncover and expose public wrong-doing, illegal, unethical, and/or immoral behavior which are matters of public concern, often done by public officials or others who have responsibility to the public, or by those whom have abused the public trust. That is the type of news which brings The Fourth Estate into its own realm, and is the ultimate form of public accountability. Such reporting is rarely easy, and is often expensive. And to complicate matters, the findings of such reports are frequently publicly divisive, and often decidedly unpopular. We see such an example today in the investigation of matters which have led to the Impeachment Investigation and Hearings concerning President Donald J. Trump.

Regardless, journalists demand accountability upon intercessory behalf of the public, and must continue to hold politicians’ and others’ feet to the fire, and demand an accounting for what they have done with that public trust, and how they may have abused power, money, time, or other resources entrusted to them. Again, such are the questions placed before our elected officials in the matter of the behaviors of President Donald J. Trump.

If history is any guide to us — and frequently, it is — we can look to the era of Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957), who, from the late 1940’s to the 1950’s, embarked upon a maliciously misguided and deliberately false effort to demonize his political opponents by deliberately mischaracterizing them as “Communists” and expending significant public resources to investigate them.

Along with racist segregationist practices and public lynchings, McCarthyism and his “Red Scare” has become one of America’s most notoriously infamous periods in which hard-working, decent American entrepreneurs, elected public officials, and hundreds of others — including highly regarded public service organizations — whose character was serially politically assassinated, without any regard for truth.

His “enemies list” included the renown late journalist Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965).

When McCarthy attacked Murrow, he didn’t take it lightly, and made a very public response, which today is uncharacteristic of journalists. Murrow’s words were unsparing.

Hear Murrow’s memorable response, in his own defense, to McCarthy’s salacious, and blatantly false accusations:
https://americanrhetoric.com/mp3clips/politicalspeeches/ermurrowresponsetomccarthy.mp3

Since 1971, the Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards, which is among the most prestigious in news, and “recognize local and national news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, demonstrate technical expertise and exemplify the importance and impact of journalism as a service to the community.” Work which wins the Murrow Award “demonstrates the excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.”

Again, history often seems to repeat itself, and the journalistic “Whitewater Investigation” of Bill and Hillary Clinton, including the 3 separate governmental investigations, the 5 investigations surrounding the death of Clinton White House Counsel Vince Foster, and later, the 10 “Benghazi Investigations” of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are similar examples of costly and ill-advised publicly funded investigations which found little, if any, substance, and no wrong-doing to bring anyone to account, or to be charged with any crime. And yet, the absence of such indictments is fodder for conspiracy theorists, and other loony-tunes, tinfoil-hat-wearing, mad-hatterly preposterous partisans.

Sadly, such behavior has become par for the course in American politics, especially by the Republican party. But, as is often said, “What goes around, comes around,” and that, “Paybacks are hell,” which also means that this time, the impeachment rules written by Republicans during the Clinton White House era are coming back to bite them not only in the hinder parts, but all over. The shoe doesn’t fit so well on the other foot. Yet, what’s fair for the goose, is fair for the gander.

But again, the matters of the current impeachment are strictly, if not exclusively political in nature, and that is precisely the acknowledgement in our Constitution, which does NOT require any criminal behavior to initiate impeachment proceedings. The threshold is indeed small, and the bar very low — “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” — which is also sufficiently ambiguous enough to leave open the door for removal from office for practically any undesirable behavior by an elected official, which in this case, is the President.

House Republican sycophantic spin-doctors have repeatedly tried to pull out all the stops to stop or hinder every aspect of the Impeachment Investigation. And yet, despite the seemingly countless invitations to participate throughout the entire process, the White House and President have steadfastly refused to provide any exculpatory evidence, refused to cooperate in any manner, and frequently and openly flouted a critical law – Obstruction of Congress – by forbidding numerous White House and administration officials from testifying, and has even intimidated them to keep from testifying, including an episode of open witness intimidation given upon worldwide public social media, and made during a hearing about the same being given under oath by a highly-regarded ambassador so affected.

Again, none of this behavior is surprising to anyone who had any inkling of an idea about the very character (or lack thereof) or nature of the man known as Donald J. Trump. That under his corrupt guiding hand, White Supremacists and racist nationalists were lauded as “very fine people” after murderous marches, that his grotesque speech on the world stage as the so-called ‘leader’ of the free world has been countlessly replayed, that as a leader, he continues to inveterately display such disrespect for other nation’s leaders, and has cozied up to tyrants and despots like North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and the man who for years was the head of the Communist Party’s secret police – the KGB and Vladimir Putin – as friends, while simultaneously and openly disrespecting our allies is simply unimaginable, and inexcusable.

But, like a leopard, Putin and Kim can’t change their spots, try as much as Trump would like others to believe they have, and have never shown any signs of any positive democratic reform.

No, we can’t elect a perfect human being, for there is no such thing, we can’t elect a god (unless you happen to believe that we all are gods — and that topic is for another, later discussion), and no, we’re not capable of being independently “managed by self-rule” as Ronald Reagan claimed in his first inaugural address. Fact is, we never have been. But we CAN change, and change we must.

Another fact that few think of is this:

The reason folks voted for Trump is,
that they too, wanted change.
They just weren’t aware of what he was,
and apparently,
thought he wasn’t a leopard.

So, in a very real way, Trump supporters and never-Trumpers both want the same thing — change for the better. And, they’re not afraid to shake things up a little bit, or, even a lot. But neither are Democrats afraid to change the status quo.

So, on the thought of giving closer scrutiny to candidates, one must consider an old Native American Indian proverb, which is as follows:

There was once young brave, who was trekking across the snow-covered plains of his tribal territory, and came across a nearly-frozen rattlesnake.

He would have given the rattlesnake great berth, but it spoke to him and said, “Please pick me up and place me inside your coat. I’m SOOO very cold, and almost frozen to death.”

The young brave quickly replied and said, “No! You’re a rattlesnake — you’re dangerous, and will bite me.”

“No, I won’t,” replied the rattlesnake. “I just need a few minutes inside your warm coat against your body to warm up so that I won’t die. Please… let me in for just a few minutes.”

Contrary to his better judgment, the young brave picked up the rattlesnake, placed it in his inside coat pocket against his breast, and continued his journey.

After a short distance, the young brave thought that the rattlesnake had surely warmed up enough, and reached inside his coat pocket to pull it out and set it on its way.

Just as he had placed his hand around the rattlesnake and began to pull it out, the rattlesnake promptly and viciously bit him.

The young brave violently threw down the rattlesnake and loudly exclaimed, “You bit me!”

“You promised me that you wouldn’t!,” he declared.

The young brave continued by saying, “I was kind to you, and saved your life by warming you up inside my coat!” Why did you ever bite me?”

“No,” replied the rattlesnake, “I never promised that I wouldn’t bite you.”

The rattlesnake then added with a flicker of his forked tongue, “And besides… long before you picked me up, you knew what I was.”

FDR famously said in his first inaugural address March 4, 1933, that, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” and enumerated several problems which plague us still today.

The remarks he made then were remarkably prescient for our time now.

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.”

“Recognition of the falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.”

Today, our nation is plagued with the wholesale abandonment of rural towns and farms, where multi-national corporations are driving our farmers out of business with unconscionable practices, including ownership of the rights of reproduction by seeds, and are buying up land at alarming rates.

He said that, “We must frankly recognize the overbalance of population in our industrial centers and, by engaging on a national scale in a redistribution, endeavor to provide a better use of the land for those best fitted for the land. The task can be helped by definite efforts to raise the values of agricultural products and with this the power to purchase the output of our cities. It can be helped by preventing realistically the tragedy of the growing loss through foreclosure of our small homes and our farms. It can be helped by insistence that the Federal, State, and local governments act forthwith on the demand that their cost be drastically reduced. It can be helped by the unifying of relief activities which today are often scattered, uneconomical, and unequal. It can be helped by national planning for and supervision of all forms of transportation and of communications and other utilities which have a definitely public character. There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.”

On banking and financial regulations, he said in part that, “…we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order; there must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments; there must be an end to speculation with other people’s money, and there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency.”

He recognized that no man is an island, and promised to “…dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor–the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, respects the rights of others — the neighbor who respects his obligations and respects the sanctity of his agreements in and with a world of neighbors.”

He continued by adding that, “We now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other; that we can not merely take but we must give as well; that if we are to go forward, we must move as a trained and loyal army willing to sacrifice for the good of a common discipline, because without such discipline no progress is made, no leadership becomes effective.”

Some years later, in his State of the Union address on January 11, 1944, he wisely, and prophetically acknowledged that “true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. ‘Necessitous men are not free men,’” and proposed a Second Bill of Rights which included:

“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

“The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

“The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

“The right of every family to a decent home;

“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

“The right to a good education.”

Now, 75 years later, FDR’s dream has still not yet been fully realized.

That should change, and we can, and must, do it now.

FDR’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933.

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