Here’s a question that recently crossed my cranium. After watching the movie Vice for only the second time, I was suddenly, jarringly, stopped in my tracks, with that mental/emotional violence we only experience when our thinking is so jarred by some weird thought(s) we have to stop walking, or listening to music or whatever.
It happened one afternoon as I was walking. It hit so hard I needed to stop to regain my balance and equilibrium. We’re talking about such a monumental head-exploding thought I needed an answer as to how we have come to this place in history, with a horribly twisted and unbalanced U.S. Supreme Court, a major political party that morphed into a cult and, hard to believe, racist organizations have been given the greenlight to take their 18th century ideas — except when it comes to guns — public and into the right wing mainstream.
Let’s not forget a major cable “news” network that has become a full-fledged GOP party propaganda broadcaster at the beck and call of the Trump Cult … maybe you see where this is going.
Now that propaganda machine, at the behest of the Cult, wants us to be afraid of immigrants coming from south of the border, a group that has proven to be, historically, some of the hardest working and honest people in America.
A party — cult — that cultivated and then proceeded to try and pull off a coup d’état on January 6, 2021. And their efforts continue to this day because many so-called battle ground states are controlled by members of the Trump Cult and now have pushed out actual conservatives to put in Trump Cult loyalists who will have little problem overturning actual election results to plant cult loyalists in elected office. Malevolent extremist right wing criminal organizations are attacking our democracy at every turn … and they want us to be afraid of unarmed immigrants.
So, before this goes on any further, I need to make public the question that crossed my cranium when it hit with that violent, jarring thought: How did the hippies of the 60s and early 70s become the effing morons that brought us the Trump Cult-Republican Party — that brought us Donald J. Trump as president.
The Baby Boomers … I’m one. This started in 1980 when old hippies, somehow disillusioned by the left-leaning Democratic Party, helped elect a B movie actor who had once been the governor of the Golden State , into the highest office in the land.
With crazed right wing puppet masters, including the so-called Religious Right, this actor did exactly what his script said, putting out crazy anti-American worker policies and apocalyptic foreign affairs policies that had us, at one time, funding illegal operations in Nicaragua with cocaine trafficking money while going against our stated, public policy of not giving into terrorists when former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane went to Teheran, Iran with a cake holding a key as a signal the Reagan Administration — including Vice President (soon to be president) George H.W. Bush — was ready to make deals for weapons and parts for their American made military equipment if the Iranian government would exert some influence over the extremist groups holding Americans hostage in Lebanon. Some hostages were actually released, but Reagan had given a thumbs up on several actions that were not only illegal, but in some cases, gravely immoral — cocaine profits to fund the far right hit squads known as the Contras.
As long as they were against that Commie-loving Nicaraguan government, the CIA didn’t care how we compromised our national morality.
They just rolled on, through the Bush 41 presidency (when Bush pardoned the hundreds of Reagan Administration officials who were caught up in the Iran-Contra scandal) and the Bill Clinton years, gaining momentum after the U.S. Supreme Court decided the outcome of the 2000 election.
Then we elected a Black man president. All shit broke loose on the right.
Being a racist started to become welcome in “mainstream” GOP circles, because, why not? It built up the GOP’s voting base.
Some GOP politician from California made post cards of the White House Rose Garden turned into a watermelon patch. He claimed he didn’t know that was the least bit racist. Then there was Trump. He took the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not a U.S. born citizen — remember the birth certificate controversy?
How did a generation of people that still listen to Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, etc. — Beatles enthusiasts even — How did they turn into the people that voted into the Oval Office Ronald Reagan and eventually George W. Bush and then Donald J. Trump?
What happened to all the free-flowing love and respect that helped end the Vietnam War, helped pass equal rights and voting rights legislation?
Now three-plus decades later state governments around the country have been greenlit to roll back equal rights and more importantly, voting rights.
The Supremes did it in two lawsuits, one in 2013 and then again in 2021. If voting were actually equal and available to every person of voting age, without heavily gerrymandered districts, the GOP would be out of control of most states and especially the federal government.
Baby Boomers, my generation, have failed America. They have substituted progressive ideals for cheap, nationalistic, feel-good voodoo economics and pop culture horseshit that managed to garner enough votes in a few states to give the Electoral College win to a fool’s gold-encrusted conman, an unindicted co-conspirator that still controls one of the major political parties of this nation.
We should have stopped using hallucinogens and cocaine much sooner than we did. Or maybe continue the hallucinogens, but stop the cocaine and … I don’t know.
What’s clear is this: America took a turn for the worse with the 1980 elections and it only went downhill after that, except for that hiccup known as the Bill Clinton Presidency, the GOP has had its way with the nation, so much so, conservative talking heads claim — with scant proof — the country is really center-right politically.
Not really of course. When polls are taken to judge the popularity of certain policies, like abortion, Medicare, Social Security, education, etc., these Democrat ideals poll very well. The problem is messaging.
Some will point out that we had eight years of Barack Obama as president — and Michelle Obama, who is still one of the most popular people in America — but the Obama Administration gave us the GOP in control … sort of … let’s not forget the crazies known as the Tea Party, of Congress and the advent of the GOP standard, “The Party of No.”
Mitch McConnell liked the nickname “The Grim Reaper,” much more than the more appropriate title, “Moscow Mitch.” Remember all the Republican members of Congress who were rushing over to Moscow to kiss the ring of Vladimir Putin?
Eight years of the Obamas emboldened the racists to become more vocal and visible. “Racism is over, so we can call the Obamas N*****s.” If I can put it indelicately.
The racists became more emboldened when Donald J. Trump kept harping on Obama’s birth certificate, so much so that when he came down that tacky escalator in Trump Tower, with all the blaring horns — as opposed to dog whistles — of racist thought and ideology the racists knew they were finally in the political landscape once again — just like former Klansman David Duke predicted nearly 40 years ago.
Is Duke still a Ku Klux Klan member? Anyway, he was in Charlottesville to march with his racist brethren. Now …
Let’s back up a bit to 2016. No, let’s go back even further, because this is more about how the Democratic Party has screwed up their response to nearly every slight and abrupt and jagged slur-filled appeal to the racists of America.
It started in 1968 when the Richard Nixon Campaign adopted the “Southern Option,” the GOP’s outreach to the Dixiecrats of the South; who were all angry with President Lyndon B. Johnson and the leadership of the Democratic Party for pushing the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Bills. They had no interest in making the Black folks equal. Hell no!
That wasn’t even the worst thing the Nixon Campaign did in ’68. Nixon was caught in a treasonous act when he interfered with the 1968 Paris peace talks between North Vietnam, South Vietnam and the U.S. We were on the verge of ending the Vietnam War when the representatives from South Vietnam walked out of the talks.
Nixon said that if they were to walk out and reject the peace plan Nixon promised the South Vietnamese president Nguyễn Văn Thiệu the Nixon regime would get them a better deal.
Instead of calling out Nixon publicly, or at least forcing him to pull out of the presidential race with the promise of legal action, Johnson just told Nixon to “cut it out.”
The Johnson Administration had Nixon dead to rights with phone recordings of the promise, delivered by Nixon representative Anna Chennault.
Without getting too deep in the weeds with this, LBJ gave Nixon a pass after the president called the candidate to either get confirmation Nixon knew nothing about the treasonous act, or a confession.
The Democrat president didn’t do what needed to be done.
Then in 1972 — the year of the Watergate break-in — after Nixon and his henchmen in CREEP (Committee to RE-Elect the President) used the stolen medical records of George McGovern’s running mate, Thomas Eagleton, to take advantage of the stigma around mental health issues, but there wasn’t a useful and effective response to the Nixon Campaign and its flagrant disregard for decency.
By all accounts Thomas Eagleton was a decent guy, a man committed to the principles of equality and fairness. He was elected to the U.S. Senate two more times, spending another 12 years serving his constituents in Missouri and the nation.
There is no proof the Nixon campaign has anything to do with the anonymous phone calls to the McGovern Campaign and the news outlets . but then there was the proof that agents of CREEP broke into the offices of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist to discredit him after Ellsberg gave the New York Times and Washington Post copies of The Pentagon Papers, the Pentagon report that showed the leaders in the DoD knew the War in Vietnam was unwinnable but they continued escalating and fighting the war for … from November 1, 1955 to April 39, 1975.Nineteen and a half years we fought that war, given lies to justify the escalation. Five presidents — I was about to say only four, but while I was in the Marines President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger tried convincing the U.S. Congress to authorize money to re-escalate the was after North Vietnam broke the 1973 treaty that gave the U.S. the excuse we needed to end our involvement in Southeast Asia — our military involvement. Part of that treaty stated the U.S. would re-enter the war if North Vietnam broke any of the articles in the treaty.
Begs the rhetorical question: Did Nguyễn Văn Thiệu get a better deal with Nixon as president?
At any rate, this isn’t about Nixon and the Vietnam War and our nation’s penchant for breaking treaties that are found to be inconvenient. The point is, Democrats have not been good at messaging and countering the lies the GOP has used to get power and keep it, resulting in a U.S. Supreme Court that is ultra conservative, a gun culture that is out of control and a cult taking over that GOP so badly
We gave Nixon and his party a pass, the Reagan and and his party got a pass for sending troops into Lebanon where nearly 300 were killed in a bomb blast. We gave the Reagan Administration a pass for Iran-Contra — and George H.W. Bush gave a pardon to everyone involved in that crime. We gave the Bush 43 Administratioon a pass when they started a war based on lies. And we let the leaders of the Trump Cult get away with their crimes … at least for now. Let’s see what becomes of that committee and/or subsequent prosecutions of the cult leaders by the DoJ.
Conservative judge Michael Luttig said Donald J. Trump and his allies and supporters (i.e. the GOP) are “a clear and present danger to our democracy.”
If the Democrats can get their messaging right, and there are signs President Biden is saying many of the right things, they can keep control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It sickens me to hear talking heads say there is going to be a bloodbath in the 2022 midterm elections.
One of the messages Democrats need to push: Donald J. Trump is the face of the GOP and he controls it, so a vote for any Republican is a vote for Trump. That must a core message for every Democrat running for office in November. And they should use the information that is coming out of the January 6 Committee to drive the point home as to how and the Republicans — the Trump Cult — are a “clear and present danger” to our Democracy.
Two thousand words just isn’t enough, but it can be tedious reading at that length. So the larger point is: Democrats can’t be timid in these elections. They have to attack their GOP opponents over every issue because, as polls show, the average American voters like the Democratic ideals: low cost health care and medicine, low cost higher education, and lower gas prices, although quite frankly, no government has any kind of control over the price of gasoline. We need to point out the greed that has jacked up the price of just about everything.
Have a plan to help every day, average Americans and attack the GOP for being the Trump Cult. That’s the lesson we need to learn and practice.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.