Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Things I’ve Learned in the Era of Trump

 

I’ve lived in tumultuous times before…

“Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids have you killed today?”

Chicago, Miami, Memphis, and LA — the whole inglorious summer of ’68.

In 1970 the Kent State “incident” was a mere 33 miles away from me.

Then came “I am not a crook.” Followed by two different assassination attempts on Jerry Ford.

On we go to Jimmy Carter, 444 days of “America Held Hostage” and “malaise.”

And here we are again. Only this feels different.

Why does it feel different? Well, I am willing to accept that I have been thoroughly stripped of the optimism that comes with youth. It could also be that my mother was an excellent parent. The stories of deprivation I saw on the news were accompanied by tales of the Great Depression. Scenes of riots evoked stories of the “Bonus Marchers.” The war in Vietnam was recast through the eyes of someone who knew someone who came home from Bataan. There was always perspective. I knew history did not start the day I was born and that, for the most part, life is a struggle. Always has been, always will be.

Still, there have been some fundamental changes in my outlook since “The Donald” descended the escalator in Trump Tower and rode it all the way to the Oval Office. Here is what I have learned:

The Losers Hold the Key. 

Winners of democratically held elections control policy but it’s the losers that hold the key to a civilized society. Non-acceptance of election results, an attitude legitimized by a petulant media, is perhaps the biggest threat. Trump’s enemies (and believe me, they are enemies, not a loyal opposition) within and without the government, like to style themselves as “The Resistance.” Of course, they want to romanticize themselves as some sort of underground struggle fighting in France between 1940 and 1944. But they’re not fighting a foreign occupier. They are more akin to the Confederacy who could not abide the election of Abraham Lincoln. As abhorrent as their views on race and slavery were, they would have been more than happy to go their merry way alone. Not this group. The Resistance is at war with America and they won’t rest until she’s subjugated to their will.

Cognitive Dissonance Is Integral to Politics.

Every one of us is capable of holding views that contradict one another. The real problem is that these internal contradictions are always easy to spot in your opponents but carry a certain vampire quality as they aren’t quite as visible in a mirror.

When it came to the destruction of Civil War Memorials, especially those that glorified the military of the Confederacy, I was among the first to point out that history is never ancient in America. Many of these memorials, as the left argues, were built far beyond the era we were all taught as being the “Reconstruction” period. That is true. But the wounds of the war were not healed in 20 years of activity with bricks and lumber. It was a multiple generation effort. When the last reunion of the survivors of Gettysburg met they were only 15 months away from Hitler and Stalin invading Poland and starting the Second World War.

So, if I want them to accept that the wounds of the Civil War are barely healed, then I must also accept that the wounds of slavery are as equally as fresh. The problem is, of course, is that the rioting, the looting, the arson and the actions of mob hysteria make that acceptance difficult. There is no constructive dialogue among destructive actions. Again, civil advancement doesn’t come through anger but through the mutual acceptance and respect of competing interests.

The Political Class Is Obsessed with Theater.

For the first 144 years of American history, the political class toiled away in relative obscurity. Oh, their names were known and their words were read, but few Americans ever heard the voices of our leaders. The presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and the growth or radio changed that. Then came television and Jack Kennedy. And at its zenith, we elected an actor.

Since then we have made more and more political judgments based on theatrical performance and presentation than policy. Teleprompter skills have become confused with intelligence. We worry about and mock the costumes (The crease in the pants, the tan suit, the pants suit, etc.) We comment on weight or muscle tone (Mr. William Howard Taft, please pick up the white courtesy phone…). We care more about tone than substance or ability.

We worry more about the President saying something about an issue than doing something about it. “Please, Mr. President, say something strong about Hong Kong. Or the Uighurs. Or the Turks. Or the Russians. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.” They don’t care if the trade or foreign policy positions they championed for over 40 years neutered our government’s ability to actually do anything about those problems. They just want the heroin-like high of the statement. To them, to “condemn in the strongest terms possible” is leadership.

Their definitions of leadership and my definitions are different. When it comes to foreign policy I wouldn’t call $125,000 in Facebook ads “an act of war” nor would I sell our nation’s debt or otherwise place my country’s economy or safety in the hands of my Communist enemies. And if push really came to shove and it meant a real shooting war I wouldn’t go unless the nation understood the terms, i.e., this is what victory looks like or admit that it really has no end.

The problem with this theatrical notion of politics is how easy it is to get sucked into it. Like the words of the old song, “it’s only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea – a canvas sky hanging over a muslin tree.” I enjoy the make-believe and the magic of the theater as much as the next guy. But keep that thinking out of our politics. Shoving the next actor onto the stage willing to perpetuate your West Wing fantasies is not the answer to our problems.

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  1. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill: When the last reunion of the survivors of Gettysburg met they were only 15 months away from Hitler and Stalin invading Poland and starting the Second World War.

    Wow! Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    I once met an older man who as a child had met John Mosby (the Gray Ghost) at a barber shop.

    • #1
    • July 5, 2020, at 12:42 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring: Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    For the handful that remained, they were all in their 90s, the events of June 1938 were well documented in the press, radio and newsreels. It was the 75th anniversary of that momentous time in the farmland of Pennsylvania. We think of all things Civil War as being associated with nothing more than paintings or old Matthew Brady photos. But it’s not necessarily true. 

    • #2
    • July 5, 2020, at 12:57 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    EJHill (View Comment):

    WillowSpring: Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    For the handful that remained, they were all in their 90s, the events of June 1938 were well documented in the press, radio and newsreels. It was the 75th anniversary of that momentous time in the farmland of Pennsylvania. We think of all things Civil War as being associated with nothing more than paintings or old Matthew Brady photos. But it’s not necessarily true.

    And don’t forget that the grandson of our 10th President is still alive (at least he was in 2017); https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2017-02-20/president-john-tyler-born-in-1790-still-has-2-living-grandsons

    • #3
    • July 5, 2020, at 1:38 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  4. Columbo Member

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    • #4
    • July 5, 2020, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 17 likes
  5. PHCheese Member

    My grandfather was born 5 years after the civil war. He died when I was 21

    • #5
    • July 5, 2020, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  6. The Reticulator Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    WillowSpring: Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    For the handful that remained, they were all in their 90s, the events of June 1938 were well documented in the press, radio and newsreels. It was the 75th anniversary of that momentous time in the farmland of Pennsylvania. We think of all things Civil War as being associated with nothing more than paintings or old Matthew Brady photos. But it’s not necessarily true.

    When I was 10-12 years old, I saw a live TV interview of a man who had been a drummer boy in the Civil War. He was pretty old by then, and his voice didn’t come through well, but as a youngster I enjoyed time spent with old people and was fascinated by their stories. That interview may be on YouTube somewhere. 

    • #6
    • July 5, 2020, at 1:55 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I believe a witness to Lincoln’s assassination was on “What’s My Line” in the original network run.

    • #7
    • July 5, 2020, at 3:15 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  8. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    EJHill: When the last reunion of the survivors of Gettysburg met they were only 15 months away from Hitler and Stalin invading Poland and starting the Second World War.

    Wow! Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    I once met an older man who as a child had met John Mosby (the Gray Ghost) at a barber shop.

    I’m 82, and was recently shocked to realize that I have been alive for 1/3 of our country’s history. We’ve come a long way in a short time, but I’m deeply concerned for the direction we seem to be headed recently.

    • #8
    • July 5, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  9. Stina Member

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    EJHill: When the last reunion of the survivors of Gettysburg met they were only 15 months away from Hitler and Stalin invading Poland and starting the Second World War.

    Wow! Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    I once met an older man who as a child had met John Mosby (the Gray Ghost) at a barber shop.

    Yeah, no kidding. Study the great civilizations of history and the length of time of their existence is something to behold. Of course, they weren’t steady states for that entire time, but saw shifts and changes in forms and styles of governance and social change.

    But Rome’s founding myth dates from the 8th Century BC to about 400 AD… that’s 1200 years. If you start our founding with the first English settlements (since our founding heritage is borne of the British legacy, not the French or Spanish), then we are at 400 years.

    • #9
    • July 5, 2020, at 4:06 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  10. Bishop Wash Member

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    EJHill: When the last reunion of the survivors of Gettysburg met they were only 15 months away from Hitler and Stalin invading Poland and starting the Second World War.

    Wow! Every now and then, I am reminded how young we are as a country.

    I once met an older man who as a child had met John Mosby (the Gray Ghost) at a barber shop.

    I’m 82, and was recently shocked to realize that I have been alive for 1/3 of our country’s history. We’ve come a long way in a short time, but I’m deeply concerned for the direction we seem to be headed recently.

    It was either Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams years ago who mentioned he’d been around for a third of the country’s history. When I calculated it for me, I’d been around for one sixth. 

    • #10
    • July 5, 2020, at 5:45 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  11. Flicker Coolidge

    EJHill: Shoving the next actor onto the stage willing to perpetuate your West Wing fantasies is not the answer to our problems.

    Kanye isn’t an actor, though.

    • #11
    • July 5, 2020, at 6:19 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  12. Samuel Block Support

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts. 

    • #12
    • July 5, 2020, at 7:01 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. RandR (RdnaR) Member

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    • #13
    • July 5, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Flicker Coolidge

    RandR (RdnaR) (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    I’m not going to say that all thing will go swimmingly, but cities are expendable compared to the country side.

    On the other hand (dagnabitol) in Venezuela gangs of bandits and bands of military would routinely range the countryside, stealing all the produce so that the chicken farmer didn’t have eggs to sell for grain to feed his hens, and the grain farmer wouldn’t have grain to replant with.

    • #14
    • July 5, 2020, at 8:58 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Samuel Block Support

    Flicker (View Comment):

    RandR (RdnaR) (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    I’m not going to say that all thing will go swimmingly, but cities are expendable compared to the country side.

    On the other hand (dagnabitol) in Venezuela gangs of bandits and bands of military would routinely range the countryside, stealing all the produce so that the chicken farmer didn’t have eggs to sell for grain to feed his hens, and the grain farmer wouldn’t have grain to replant with.

    Thank goodness our countryside packs heat.

    • #15
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:02 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  16. Flicker Coolidge

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    RandR (RdnaR) (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    I’m not going to say that all thing will go swimmingly, but cities are expendable compared to the country side.

    On the other hand (dagnabitol) in Venezuela gangs of bandits and bands of military would routinely range the countryside, stealing all the produce so that the chicken farmer didn’t have eggs to sell for grain to feed his hens, and the grain farmer wouldn’t have grain to replant with.

    Thank goodness our countryside packs heat.

    Yes, that’s a fact. But I still wonder how those roving bands of Zimbabweans were able to take the large old family farms from the white farmers. It seems to be the logical extension of the the irrationality of the anti-fa and BLM movements which are willing to burn down the country and use the magic creativity of black brains to built and new and equitable future. (Not thaat I’m being racist; I’m just repeating what one of the CHAZ/CHOP/CHAOZ organizers said in a street interview.

    Let me be exact.

    Jayden Grayson, one of the leaders of this movement:

    “You cannot rebuild until you break it all down.”

    And then what?

    “The unraveling that happens to that system is also exactly what will fuel the black minds in the black bodies that will recreate a new world.”

    • #16
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. Samuel Block Support

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    RandR (RdnaR) (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    I’m not going to say that all thing will go swimmingly, but cities are expendable compared to the country side.

    On the other hand (dagnabitol) in Venezuela gangs of bandits and bands of military would routinely range the countryside, stealing all the produce so that the chicken farmer didn’t have eggs to sell for grain to feed his hens, and the grain farmer wouldn’t have grain to replant with.

    Thank goodness our countryside packs heat.

    Yes, that’s a fact. But I still wonder how those roving bands of Zimbabweans were able to take the large old family farms from the white farmers. It seems to be the logical extension of the the irrationality of the anti-fa and BLM movements which are willing to burn down the country and use the magic creativity of black brains to built and new and equitable future. (Not thaat I’m being racist; I’m just repeating what one of the CHAZ/CHOP/CHAOZ organizers said in a street interview.

    Big time users, our enemies. Thankfully black people aren’t as dumb as they think. The biggest reason so many liberal Americans are convinced of rampant racism is that they hang out with one another. 

    • #17
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:30 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Flicker Coolidge

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    RandR (RdnaR) (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    I am reading Grant, and there is much to compare in his life story that this Union, the greatest social contract ever devised by man, will in fact succeed and prevail over its enemies. We have faced and defeated many stronger ones than this latest crop of disenchanted losers.

    My thoughts exactly. If they want this country, they’ll have to take it. I don’t really like seeing statues being ripped down or graffiti, but these are squealers and they’ll run when the fighting starts.

    My fear is the fighting will never start, but we will go “Not with a bang but a whimper.” There has been some resistance in smaller communities, but our major cities have simply surrendered.

    I’m not going to say that all thing will go swimmingly, but cities are expendable compared to the country side.

    On the other hand (dagnabitol) in Venezuela gangs of bandits and bands of military would routinely range the countryside, stealing all the produce so that the chicken farmer didn’t have eggs to sell for grain to feed his hens, and the grain farmer wouldn’t have grain to replant with.

    Thank goodness our countryside packs heat.

    Yes, that’s a fact. But I still wonder how those roving bands of Zimbabweans were able to take the large old family farms from the white farmers. It seems to be the logical extension of the the irrationality of the anti-fa and BLM movements which are willing to burn down the country and use the magic creativity of black brains to built and new and equitable future. (Not thaat I’m being racist; I’m just repeating what one of the CHAZ/CHOP/CHAOZ organizers said in a street interview.

    Big time users, our enemies. Thankfully black people aren’t as dumb as they think. The biggest reason so many liberal Americans are convinced of rampant racism is that they hang out with one another.

    Yeah. If you watch the video, you’ll see the older guy standing behind her has a shoulder harness with the handle of the pistol deliberately exposed. When she talks about the certainty of destruction, she means it, and he as well I’m sure. It takes only 10% of a population to ignite a revolution.

    I don’t think it will happen, But then again there’s this. They must be hundreds strong and they are all armed and marching.

    • #18
    • July 5, 2020, at 9:38 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. Flicker Coolidge

    And this is a brief statement by the organizer of the NFAC (Not F**king Around Coalition).

    • #19
    • July 5, 2020, at 10:04 PM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  20. Jon1979 Lincoln

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I believe a witness to Lincoln’s assassination was on “What’s My Line” in the original network run.

    It was another Goodson-Todman show “I’ve Got a Secret” from 1956. Six years later, the show would do an episode featuring Neil Armstrong’s parents, seven years before he set foot on the moon, so three degrees of separation via one TV show from Lincoln’s assassination to the first lunar landing:

    • #20
    • July 6, 2020, at 4:47 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Samuel Block Support

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Let me be exact.

    Jayden Grayson, one of the leaders of this movement:

    “You cannot rebuild until you break it all down.”

    And then what?

    “The unraveling that happens to that system is also exactly what will fuel the black minds in the black bodies that will recreate a new world.”

    That’s sad. Smart young lady, so bitter. Clearly the spoiled white kids around her find it sagacious, but I really don’t see her managing any lasting following outside of her cult.

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Yeah. If you watch the video, you’ll see the older guy standing behind her has a shoulder harness with the handle of the pistol deliberately exposed. When she talks about the certainty of destruction, she means it, and he as well I’m sure. It takes only 10% of a population to ignite a revolution.

    I don’t think it will happen, But then again there’s this. They must be hundreds strong and they are all armed and marching.

    That’s a little disconcerting, but it could be that they’re doing what Michiganders were doing when they brought rifles to their protest. The girl in the first video is wrong: it’s still violence even if you are responding to violence – it just may be justified. These protestors are probably hoping to draw out white supremacists, I don’t think any will come. And if this protest above gets hairy, even CNN and the New York Times won’t be able to cover it up.

    As for black ethnostate man, he’ll probably get hushed up by his sympathizers in the media. Way too on the nose. Democrats prefer “nuance.” (Dang! No YouTube vid. There should definitely be a compilation video of progressives saying the word nuance.)

    Also, no. No you will not take Texas.

    • #21
    • July 6, 2020, at 8:12 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I believe a witness to Lincoln’s assassination was on “What’s My Line” in the original network run.

    Lileks?

    • #22
    • July 6, 2020, at 11:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. The Reticulator Member

    Cal Lawton (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):

    I believe a witness to Lincoln’s assassination was on “What’s My Line” in the original network run.

    Lileks?

    I used to tease my mother about her having sat on Lincoln’s lap. Actually, it was a woman who had sat on his lap who visited her school and told about it, but close enough. 

    • #23
    • July 6, 2020, at 10:37 PM PDT
    • 5 likes