Reasons to Smile, Clear Sailing Ahead

Who wants to read depressing crap every day? Not you! Not me! Hell no!

That’s why I’m planning to devote this blog to good news and encouraging thoughts until after the election.

That means I won’t quote from, comment on or link to disheartening articles like these:

“The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump”, by Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker: It’s excellent:

He’s not Hitler, as his wife recently said? Well, of course he isn’t. But then Hitler wasn’t Hitler—until he was. At each step of the way, the shock was tempered by acceptance. It depended on conservatives pretending he wasn’t so bad, compared with the Communists, while at the same time the militant left decided that their real enemies were the moderate leftists, who were really indistinguishable from the Nazis. The radical progressives decided that there was no difference between the democratic left and the totalitarian right and that an explosion of institutions was exactly the most thrilling thing imaginable.

The American Republic stands threatened by the first overtly anti-democratic leader of a large party in its modern history—an authoritarian with no grasp of history, no impulse control, and no apparent barriers on his will to power. The right thing to do, for everyone who believes in liberal democracy, is to gather around and work to defeat him on Election Day. Instead, we seem to be either engaged in parochial feuding or caught by habits of tribal hatred so ingrained that they have become impossible to escape even at moments of maximum danger….

If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over. This is not a hyperbolic prediction; it is not a hysterical prediction; it is simply a candid reading of what history tells us happens in countries with leaders like Trump. Countries don’t really recover from being taken over by unstable authoritarian nationalists of any political bent, left or right—not by Peróns or Castros or Putins or Francos or Lenins or fill in the blanks…. If he can rout the Republican Party in a week by having effectively secured the nomination, ask yourself what Trump could do with the American government if he had a mandate.

Or “Trump Has Taught Me to Fear My Fellow Americans”, by Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. Maybe Mr. Cohen hasn’t been paying close attention in recent years, but now he understands:

Donald Trump has taught me to fear my fellow Americans. I don’t mean the occasional yahoo who turns a Trump rally into a hate fest. I mean the ones who do nothing. Who are silent. Who look the other way. If you had told me a year ago that a hateful brat would be the presidential nominee of a major political party, I would have scoffed….

When I see these Trump supporters on television — the commentators …  — I have to wonder where they would draw the line. The answer seems to be: nowhere. They want to win. They want to beat Hillary Clinton, a calling so imperative that sheer morality must give way. Muslims and Mexicans are merely collateral damage in a war that must be fought. What about blacks or Jews? Not yet.

Maybe the talking heads on TV would draw the line at some mild version of fascism, but would the American people do the same?

And “Trump’s Lies and Authoritarianism Are the Same”, by Jonathan Chait in New York Magazine:

Donald Trump is a wildly promiscuous liar. He also has disturbing authoritarian tendencies. Trump’s many critics have seized upon both traits as his two major disqualifications for the presidency, yet both of them frustratingly defy easy quantification. All politicians lie some, and many of them lie a lot, and most presidents also push the limits of their authority in ways that can frighten their opponents. So what is so uniquely dangerous about Trump? Perhaps the answer is that both of these qualities are, in a sense, the same thing. His contempt for objective truth is the rejection of democratic accountability, an implicit demand that his supporters place undying faith in him. Because the only measure of truth he accepts is what he claims at any given moment, the power his supporters vest in him is unlimited….

Truth and reason are weapons of the powerless against the powerful. There is no external doctrine [Trump] can be measured against, not even conservative dogma, which he embraces or discards at will and with no recognition of having done so. Trump’s version of truth is multiple truths, the only consistent element of which is Trump himself is always, by definition, correct. Trump’s mind is so difficult to grapple with because it is an authoritarian epistemology that lies outside the democratic norms that have shaped all of our collective experiences.

Those are just a few examples of the kind of material I’m going to avoid from now on. After all, our political situation isn’t all bad. Some in the press are waking up to the fact that they can’t cover Trump as if he were a normal candidate. Some Sanders supporters are accepting the fact that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee (and not because the super-delegates are all corrupt). More stories are appearing about Trump’s nefarious past. The businessman’s campaign is running out of money, while Clinton is sharpening her attack and correctly labeling Trump as a fraud and a con man. On top of all that, we’re only a few days away from the end of the primary election season! What’s there to worry about? Life is good!