Saturday, November 12, 2016

Trump's Reich - Part Two: The Consequences

This is the second part of my post-mortem of Trump’s presidential victory:

 As I concluded my previous article, things are likely to change for the worse, MUCH worse. Over the past couple of days, Donald Trump, the media and even president Obama have begun the obligatory “normalization” process. We already hear the kumbaya clich├ęs, “we are all Americans, we are all on the same team” (Obama), “we owe gratitude and respect to Hillary Clinton, who put up a valiant fight,” (Trump), etc. Don’t be misled by Trump’s new mask. The people now marching in the streets of America are not buying it, and neither should you. The Donald is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

As to those who are reluctant to forget and forgive (like me), they tend to predict a dark future, big fighting ahead, but they are short on specifics.

So let me help out here, and be a bit more PRECISE about the pain to come.

What are some of the likely specific consequences of Trump’s ill-gotten victory?

Nothing happens immediately at the macro level. It will be a while before things start to change. But you are in for some very major changes, changes very much for the worse:

1. Repeal Obamacare: Over twenty million people will lose their health insurance. Pre-existing conditions will once again be a permissible reason for coverage denial. These “conditions” could include pregnancy. How about simply including “being a woman” as a pre-existing condition altogether?

2. Protectionism: Raise tariffs on foreign imports, and insure that our foreign competitors (China, Europe, etc.) raise theirs too, followed by trade wars and worldwide economic depression.

3. A futile attempt to revive obsolete sectors of the economy, such as coal mining and manufacture. This is like reviving the horse buggy industry. Coal mining is over, and so is much of manufacture, which is largely done by robots here, or by Vietnamese people for $1 an hour. It is not possible to rebuild a 1950s-style economy.

4. Stacking of the Supreme Court AND of lower courts. No chance of repealing Citizens United, growing threat to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood, strengthening the 2nd amendment and the proliferation of firearms, growing legalization of voter suppression measures around the country, passage of union-busting legislation, anti-affirmative action legislation and many other reactionary laws.

5. The further dismantlement of public education, starving it at the state and local levels. Further polarization of the country into an elite that enjoys private education or resides in high-rent districts, and the rest of the population relegated to a deteriorating public education system,

6. ...which of course then leads to a two-tiered, third-world-like society where the 1%-ers enjoy the overwhelming majority of wealth, income, good jobs, while the rest of the population joins the ranks of a growing proletariat, which includes most of Trump’s most ardent voters.

7. Enabling the growing number of “extra-judicial homicide,” i.e. people executed by cops, followed by whitewash of cops’ behavior.

8. Further growth of the penal system and of the prison population, which consists overwhelmingly of people of color.

9. Federal deficit goes through the roof, due to run-away military spending combined with huge tax cuts for the rich.

10. More wars, with more young Americans dying overseas. Yet failure in all those wars, as America cannot fight “asymmetric” wars with its $8 billion aircraft carriers and its $3 billion B-2 bombers, a military that just devours trillions of dollars, but has not won a single war since WW II.

11. Yet, the militarization of our culture, with the military held sacrosanct and viewed as heroes by most of the population - the opposite of widespread public attitude during the Vietnam war.

12. Catastrophic foreign relations: The US becomes the world’s pariah, as it was during the George W. Bush years, only worse. Total international isolation. America will no longer be able to claim a role as one of the world’s moral leaders. It will be led by a strongman not unlike Russia’s Putin, the Philippines’ Duterte, Venezuela’s late Chavez and other third-rate dictators. It will have as much moral authority as Hungary and other xenophobic and otherwise insignificant countries. Yes, it will still have a large GDP. But so does China, which shows that GDP does not translate into moral leadership.

13. Increasing tolerance of misogyny and disrespect for women - as when Nazi Germany’s motto for women was “Kinder, Kuche und Kirche.”

14. The eviction from the country, if not of 11 million immigrants, certainly a large number of them, and the break-up of thousands of families.

15. Growing erosion of the First Amendment, as candidate Trump already threatened to sue the “sleazy, disgusting media” during his campaign.

16. Worsening treatment of people of color, foreigners, immigrants, both legal and illegal. Growing acceptability of racism, under the mantle of “white rights” and the rejection of “political correctness.”

17. Continued assault on government and the public sector. Effort to privatize all branches of state and federal governments. Effort to run schools, hospitals, transportation, prisons and all other services - for profit.

17. Attempt to abolish or privatize Social Security and Medicare, threatening the public safety nets which all civilized societies have been providing for their senior citizens for the better part of a century.

18. Accelerating planetary destruction, as the largest economy in the world,  led by a climate change denier, resumes reckless disregard for the environment for the sake of capitalist greed.

19. Generally: A culture of greed, bigotry, bullying, selfishness and falsehood.

These will be some of the consequences of the Trump presidency. Apparently, America must pass through this crucible in order to learn its lesson.

People and societies do stupid things all the time. In 1914, things were hunky-dory in Europe. But for some reason, that continent decided to commit mass suicide, and so it proceeded to murder 75 million of its population during the following generation. Recently, the United Kingdom made another stupid and irreversible error: It voted for Brexit, which it will regret.

In my previous article, I agreed with Frank Rich that the Tea Party, conservatism and the GOP seemed unbeatable. However - in contradiction to that somber prognosis - I am also firmly convinced that the current rise of Trumpism, racism, sexism, hate-mongering, greed, vulgarity and plutocracy is only a short-term phenomenon, a temporary aberration. In the long run, progress is inevitable. Just as fascism, communism and other aberrant mass movements eventually vanished in the ash heap of history, so will Trumpism.

What happened on November 8, 2016 was an accident. It will serve to galvanize the young, the diverse, the vibrant. There is no doubt whatsoever that we shall achieve a just and fair society, a society that binds people together in solidarity, rather than divide them through hatred. A culture that embraces science and facts rather than superstition and lies. It will just take a little bit longer than we naively believed a few days ago.

© Tom Kando 2016;All Rights Reserved

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