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New Times / Commentary

The following article was posted on March 15th, 2017, in the New Times - Volume 31, Issue 34 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 31, Issue 34

Assigning blame

Don't blame the decay of our social fabric on the liberals

By KATHY RIEDMAN

In Al Fonzi’s opinion piece, “Inflammatory rhetoric versus reason,” (March 2) he writes that he is concerned that “the current rhetoric surrounding the Trump presidency is “systematically ripping apart the social fabric of the nation.” He then writes that he faults “President Trump to some extent” by his “undisciplined public persona” during his campaign and them goes on to blame those opposing Trump for their “rhetoric.”

What else may be contributing to this destruction of our social fabric? … Let me think for a second … Oh yes! Let’s look back a bit. How about those birthers? How about the obstructionist Tea Party movement? How about all those gerrymandered districts and attempts at voter suppression? How about the content of the Trump campaign? What about the years of unwarranted vilification of Hillary Clinton by the Republican Party or the appalling chanting, “Lock her up!” at the convention, led by Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn? What about the continuous stream of gross exaggerations (lies) told by Trump regarding the economy, the unemployment rate, the crime rate, and the immigration problem? What about the unrealistic, simplistic solutions he proposed for these exaggerated problems? What about all the voters who believed this? What about the voters who when asked, “Is there anything Trump could do or say to make you not vote for him?” replied, “No,” and then remained true to their word.

How about the fact that Trump’s campaign was first run by Paul Manafort, a supporter of world dictators and campaign manager of the pro-Putin leader of Ukraine who now hides in exile, facing charges of high treason against his county? How about Trump’s praise for Putin, a murdering, manipulating dictator? What about Trump’s shady financial dealings with Russian oligarchs who have looted billions of dollars from the Russian people?

How about Steve Bannon, Trump’s right-hand man, a self-proclaimed Leninist, who wants to dismantle the government? Bannon is also a racist (sorry, but he is who he is) and a believer in an apocalyptical vision, which in his words, “we are in the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict” of Christians against Muslims. He is a social extremist, but then likens himself to Satan. Might this be a problem?

What about Trump’s cabinet appointees? What about the fact that many of them have close Russian ties, lack experience, and/or totally are unfit for the positions they were nominated for?

What about the outrageous Muslim ban and the extremely inhumane treatment of immigrants and refugees? What about Trump wanting to waste an exorbitant about of money on building a wall along the Mexican border, which will only symbolizes fear and hate? What about the resurgence of white racists and the increase in hate crimes throughout the U.S.? What about the refusal of some Republicans to give American citizens—regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion—their basic human rights?

What about the people who do not understand that defunding Planned Parenthood will only increase unwanted teen pregnancy and abortion rates? What about the people who just cannot grasp the concept of separation of church and state? What about people who will not support reasonable gun control laws, even after the shooting rampages of innocent children? What about the climate change deniers and the desire of Trump for continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels? What about the threat to people’s health care?

What about Trump’s push to build up the military and to weaken ties with our democratic allies? What about his promotion of dangerous isolationism and regressive nationalism? What about the people who don’t realize that what happens in other countries will ultimately affect us too? 

What about Trump and his inner circle declaring that our free press is “an enemy of the people?” What about his disregard for our judicial branch of government?

What about the evidence that Putin interfered with our election and that maybe, just maybe, there are some in the Trump campaign who participated with this interference?

You see, there are many, many more reasons why our social fabric is ripping apart than first pointed out!

From Trump’s display of his detachment from reality (continuous lies, untruths, alternative facts, etc.), delusions of grandeur (crowd sizes), paranoia (rigged elections, banning Muslims), and severe lack of impulse control (crazy tweets), I think discussing his impeachment based on his mental health status is one of the most rational things I have heard since he’s been elected. I do not think he is not fit to (nor deserves to) hold the torch of truth, liberty, and justice for our country.

As I have read others state in a similar way, since the election, I have had the continuous feeling of being a hostage in the back of a bus, headed down a mountain with a drunk driver behind the wheel. I am sick and terrified! The threat of this presidency to our country has shown itself to be very real and very large. My only feeling of calm comes from the sense that there may be some check points up ahead. I view the current dissenting voices of millions of ordinary citizens, writers, protesters, elected representatives, reporters, and journalists as extremely necessary. Given these extraordinary circumstances, I view the “leakers” as exceptionally brave and heroic. We are not just trying to keep the social fabric of our nation together, we are all fighting to preserve our democracy. I just hope the damage will not be vast and that our social fabric will be much stronger once this national nightmare is over.

Kathy Riedman is a proud, socially liberal Democrat. Send comments to clanham@newtimesslo.com or be proud enough of your opinions to write a letter to editor and send it to letters@newtimesslo.com.