Trump

Social media is hardly the medium for changing people’s beliefs, though I’m always welcome to conversing so I can understand misunderstood or opposing views better.

But I do know many people who don’t support him, yet I believe grossly underestimate this man’s ability to undermine American democracy and its foundations for the worst. And I’m hoping that these people can be pushed over the edge and have the sudden realization of the magnitude that we’re dealing with.

It’s a character issue, and he has the most depraved character and integrity you could dream up as an American leader of any capacity. We don’t know the extent that he’ll use his power to persecute those who go against him. But I imagine we’ll learn soon enough, and I don’t think it’ll be mild. That’s not what history has shown.

It’s bothersome that people are unable to connect the dots and see what’s coming. Thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, character becomes destiny. Everything out of this guys mouth is inane.

I wish I could believe there was more going on behind the scenes, in his mind, some intellectual strategy, some humanity that isn’t entirely self serving, but after 70 years alive, his track record and recent election year has shown that he’s entirely shallow and unreflective and self serving. He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Posts like this are just a beacon. We’re headed for the rocks in the figurative sense. It’s a crisis involving the moral fabric of society, of right and wrong, truth and false, good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, up and down, humane and inhumane. Whether people care to see that or not isn’t my responsibility. But shining the light for those who don’t seem to be aware of what’s coming feels like it is.

In regards to attacking the publisher of an article rather than the content of the article:

I’m disappointed you decided to criticize the publisher of the post, rather than the content of it. Salon is an otherwise pop tabloid media outlet. But that doesn’t detract from the content of this particular article.

I am not a democrat. I am not a republican.

Regarding the victim mentality of liberals and all that, let me clarify some things. I actively resist the tendency to align with any ideology, liberal or conservative or otherwise. I want my attitudes and convictions to be wholly organic, based solely upon the values and understandings I’ve earned from reflection and experience. I will not let some talking head fill my head with what to believe. I am hyper aware of my influences, and how these influences shape my thinking, create biases and blindnesses, and alter my attitude. I’m not perfect, and I don’t have it all figured out. But most of my values operate from a single principle: treat others how you would want to be treated.

I’m no victim. I’m a man. I’m white. I’m educated. I’m healthy. I will never have a problem making money, getting a job, or achieving pretty much any goal I choose. I wasn’t born into extreme wealth or privilege, just your average white Christian middle class. I started from the bottom as a dysfunctional, high school drop out. I live and die by self-reliance.

However, what I actively advocate for and support is human rights, regardless if I directly benefit by those rights. At the moment, I benefit incredibly from a variety of privileges many people don’t, and not because of anything I’ve done to deserve it. And that should not detract from my hard work and perseverance.

Human rights should be universal, not arbitrarily determined by race or gender or socioeconomic class. There is a level of human rights that should exist in society so that society as a whole can flourish. Inequity and the inequality it creates is one of the greatest threats to our country’s prosperity and flourishing. All it takes is to look at countries lacking human rights to see the importance of fighting for them.

The human rights I support ensure that the society I live in is better off as a whole. Equality makes everyone’s life better. It’s selfish and short sighted and tyrannical to think otherwise.

I find it laughable that there are people who point to minority groups benefiting from government social problems, and complain of the personal taxes they pay, that’s it’s so unfair, that that person is lazy and should work harder, even though there are factual systemic prejudices preventing them from doing so. I want to ask, why don’t you work harder to make more money? I’m happy to pay my taxes if it means that my community is better off. If I want more money, I work harder and smarter.

My problem with taxes is when they go into the pockets of politicians or corporations. Accountability and transparency is crucial. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for a long time. Political parties of both sides have been hijacked by special interests, putting aside human rights in favor of the rights of a few.

The human will is infinitely creative in finding ways to generate opportunity and wealth, so long as they are not oppressed like second class citizens.

I’ve read plenty of Scott Adam’s blog. And he certainly doesn’t think anything good of Trump and the future of this country under his leadership.

I’ve read Hayek and Mises and Keyes and Friedman and Galbraith and Schumpeter etc. I’ve also read Hitler and Marx and Engels. I’ve read plenty of the Frankfurt school. I’ve read plenty of Ayn Rand’s books. I will spend the rest of my life understanding each of their perspectives. I don’t have it figured out. But I always go back to the Golden Rule, and see how these would benefit me, and how they would benefit society. I’m not an island. I depend on the members of my community and my country.

I know most people that lean right have a very different view of the human condition than I do.

That’s probably where the bulk of misunderstanding stems from.

When you read history books and biographies, it becomes clear that there are some fundamental personality and character traits that consistently emerge in fascist, tyrannical, or authoritarian leaders.

Narcissism is one of the most obvious traits, primarily because narcissists lack the ability to empathize or exercise compassion for others. They are entirely self-serving, and align with people solely based on their ability to reinforce their egocentric delusions for accumulating power and control.
Why is empathy or compassion crucial for democratic leadership? Because without it, the Golden Rule doesn’t work. You can’t ask the question if you’re entirely consumed with your self.

Democratic leaders represent citizens that they may not always agree with, but it’s important to acknowledge that they are citizens nonetheless, regardless of whether you can relate to their identity or understand their culture, and consequently should have the same basic human rights as anyone else. And rights do not mean entitlements.
Equity is fairness. Human rights include decency, dignity, equal access to the same tax payer funded programs and subsidies as anyone else, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexuality, socioeconomic class, etc. Contrary to the controversial Citizens United ruling, corporations are not humans, and therefore should not have the same rights. They don’t deserve special subsidies and treatment.

Trump’s character is the threat.
In dictatorships and authoritarian regimes throughout history, very rarely does the oppression of human rights and the atrocities that follow occur overnight. No. It’s a slow erosion. All the history books paint the same picture. Typically some type of national identity crisis, followed by some nationalist populist demagogue pointing out some fictitious enemy, and then a slow oppression of that enemy’s rights, followed by the erosion of society’s rights more broadly. Stigma. Fear. Censorship. Propaganda. Violence. It consistently follows the same progression.

“The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders…tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.” (Hermann Goring, Nazi leader)

It’s concerning people can’t wrap their head around the endless list of reasons why Trump is dangerous. The Salon article highlighted plenty.

I’m not religious, but I can’t help but meditate on the wisdom of this passage, from Luke 6:45: “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Given this, how can we judge Trump’s heart?

Why don’t we hold him to the same standards we hold ourselves, our family, our friends, our educators, our ministers, our politicians? Why would we hold the president to a lower bar?

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” (Malcolm S. Forbes)

I believe we have a personal and social responsibility to respect and support and lift each other up, even if it doesn’t immediately serve us.

Trump respects no one but himself. Any respect he shows is contingent on you agreeing with or assisting him. This is dangerous for human rights, which is dangerous for American freedom and liberty.

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

This is the American pledge. For all.
Equality is being equal in status, rights, and opportunities. It doesn’t guarantee equal outcomes, but guarantees the access to the status and rights and opportunities that make it possible for each member of society to secure the equal outcomes.

“Systemic prejudices” result when groups within social systems become dependent on exploiting certain members of that system for power and gain. But even when those social systems have been legally dismantled, the prejudices and power dynamics still exist within the fabric of society and within culture, even if it’s not explicit. We can see this by looking at Native Americans, African Americans, women, gays, immigrants, etc. Each of these groups have been viewed at various times in recent history as second class citizens.

The oppression of their rights in the past has created a culture that perpetuates their own oppression, and works with the existing prejudices of people to continue to unknowingly (or knowingly) exploit them for gain with little or no recourse.

Think of the caste system in Indian. This system and the discrimination of certain caste members have been abolished on a national level, but the culture of systemic prejudices continues to impact the access of certain opportunities. You may argue that the citizens of the lower caste just aren’t working hard enough, that they lack the will power, but they can’t walk through a closed door.
It’s obvious when looking at India to spot the persistent systemic prejudices preventing equality. It’s not so obvious within our own society, where our pride of freedom prevents us from spotting the unfree.

I support freedom, but freedom begins and ends with equal rights.

The biggest threat to American democracy is inequality.

Placing special interests needs over society’s needs are what leads to inequalities.

It’s an unequal power dynamic, where the wealthy special interests pay off politicians to write laws and policies that benefit their interests at the expense of the publics well being. Rethinking the role of corporate rights and subsidizes which siphon tax payer dollars away from solving real public issues are a major step to correcting many of these ills.
Unfortunately, the left pushed Hillary, one of the worst offenders of establishment corruption plaguing our government.

Even more unfortunate is that we now have Trump who, contrary to his populist message, embodies the absolute worst of ethics and corruption that perpetuates social and economic inequality, as well as the denigration of human rights and dignity and decency.

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