Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Dream of the Godfather's Hyman Roth has come True

“Michael, if I could only live to see it, to be there with you. What I wouldn't give for twenty more years! Here we are, protected, free to make our profits without... the goddamn Justice Department and the F.B.I. ninety miles away, in partnership with a friendly government. Ninety miles! It's nothing! Just one small step, looking for a man who wants to be President of the United States, and having the cash to make it possible. Michael, we're bigger than U.S. Steel.”

 (Hyman Roth, The Godfather II)

 After having written dozens of articles about Trump, Hillary Clinton and the presidential campaign during the year leading up to the election, I was hoping to get away from that tedious topic. And I have.

However, the media have not. The problem remains, and it is the media’s responsibility to keep reminding us daily that we live in an unacceptable situation: We have a president who should not be president. It’s that simple. The Trump presidency is upon us, but it is unacceptable.

Despite the terrible damage this presidency is causing, it continues, because the Republican Party has lost its mind and believes that the Party is more important that the country.

Trump’s firing of Comey is compared to Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox in 1973. The investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia goes on, but if the Republicans continue to block an independent investigation, the Trump administration may well be able to weather the storm and, unlike Richard Nixon, survive the scandal.

At the risk of being called a Jeremiah, here is what I think:

We are in a tough situation: The Republicans control all branches of the federal government as well as a majority of state governments. They are clever tricksters who have worked long and hard at rigging our electoral process: Gerrymandering, voter suppression measures, Citizens United, the electoral college, a judicial and criminal justice system that disenfranchises millions, not to mention the fake news and hateful propaganda spewed on conservative and evangelical radio and television. 

There is no question that the country has to get rid of this President. The difficulty lies in HOW. His election was an accident, an error, an anomaly, a coup d’etat. It was not supposed to happen. It only happened because of the unfathomable stupidity and complacency of millions of Americans. Too many people failed to inform and educate themselves, failed to take voting seriously, approached the process as a party and as a joke. Now the joke is on them, and it is a very bad joke.

Right now, the resistance doesn’t have many options. Understandably, the media and the Democrats keep up the “collusion with Russia” drumbeat. But how effective is this going to be? The topic leaves many people indifferent, thinking, “oh it’s them Ruskies again? So what else is new? We have been there before.”

Repealing Obamacare, now that may do wonders for the resistance. People seem to be able to understand that legislation which dooms thousands of them to a premature death is a big deal.

I see the outraged Wolf Blitzers, Anderson Coopers, Chris Matthews, Don Lemons and their guest panelists. Nice, intelligent people, making correct arguments about the duplicity, incompetence and sleaziness of the Trump administration. And I’m thinking: Okay, and what’s next? How do you propose to expel this Mafia from the White House and from Congress?

Hyman Roth’s dream has come true. They found their man. They found the man who wanted to be President of the United States. They won.

So far, the country’s reaction consists of an immense amount of media chatter, Trump jokes on late-night shows, moral outrage, some good marches and some political activism. It is my fervent hope that these things will grow into a powerful wave that restores democracy in America. But for this to happen, the sine qua non is taking back control of institutions.

Politics is all about institutional power. Face it, folks: Nothing good is going to happen until and unless we win the next election. Until then, the Trump-GOP alliance has all the cards. The only way to end their monopoly of power is to dislodge them. This begins with retaking the congressional majority. But we are a fickle people. Anger today does not necessarily translate into disciplined resistance and voting behavior a year and a half from now.

There is an amorphous Democratic Party, but where are the charismatic leaders - apart from nice old Bernie Sanders and fiery Elizabeth Warren? Where is the disciplined organization? Where are the coherent progressive plans of action, policy proposals, campaign strategies and propaganda?

There is near-unanimous agreement that the government sucks. But this is meaningless, since it is exactly what BOTH the Trumpites and the Left are saying. So this is definitely not the route to take. 

When will a majority of Americans understand that only BAD government sucks. That is, a government in the hands of a corrupt and reactionary Republican plutocracy, a government that wants to increase inequality and the plight of the lower class, repeal women’s rights, lock up and deport more people, exploit and devastate the environment, spread ownership of lethal weapons, a government that is punitive, elitist and only represents the interests of the rich.

A vast majority of the populace also agrees that the media are mendacious. Millions disbelieve the New York Times and believe Fox News, when they should do exactly the opposite.

The American people desperately need to learn that, even though the “mainstream media” may be slightly biased, the best sources of truthful information by far are: (1) the mainstream media, (2) the universities and (3) the government. The best sources of fake news by far are Radio talk shows, the Internet and the social media. So things are upside down.

The next election is crucial. There is a good chance that the country will remain mired in the current morass, that the courts, the state governments and the other political institutions will remain under the control of the Republican Mafia, enabling the GOP to continue to dismantle the Great Society. Will we be stupid and lazy enough for this to happen?
© Tom Kando 2017;All Rights Reserved
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