Trump’s Steadfast Base

This letter offers an additional level of explanation for Bob Burnett’s take on Trump’s support base [“Explaining Trump’s Base Support,” 6/15/17 TPP]. I was inspired by an encounter with an air conditioning repairman who proclaimed himself a fervent Baptist Christian and an unshakeable devotee of Trump. My theoretical model is recent research findings in behavioral psychology explaining our practices as strongly influenced by non-rational motives, emotional triggers, unconscious bias toward what we already know, and intuitive non-logical analyses of probable outcomes.

The fact that Trump fans accept his words on faith, despite reasonable arguments to the contrary, reflects a Christian model of epistemology, with its exclusive reliance on revealed, God-given truth, where the human messenger must be credited without question. In Baptist protocol in particular, the utterances of the preacher are sacrosanct. Oppositional voices are labeled “false prophets,” who use fair speech “to deceive the hearts of the simple.” Whence an intuitive, faith based acquiescence in the Trump camp’s idea of “fake news” spread by critics from the evil, mainstream media. Moreover, Jesus had presented himself as an outsider on a mission to free the world of sin and corruption: “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.” And “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,” hypocrites, full of iniquity. Warnings of this sort set the stage for Trump’s monomania: “only I can fix it,” i.e. “drain the swamp in Washington.”

As in Trump’s case, many of Christ’s disciples were from the laboring class, fishermen, to whom he twice promised job opportunities: “Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And [as if by magic] ... they enclosed a great multitude of fishes.” The Gospel of John predicted the decline of the Old Covenant: “that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Such an occult harbinger renders palatable to believers the Trumpism that the old system is broken and needs to be replaced: “Make America great again.” White Christian?

This is not to say Trump has consciously resorted to Christological hints in order to gain favor for his political agenda. Such would have been beyond his intellectual grasp or interest. It is interesting to note, however, that the Donald’s friend and ‘spiritual’ advisor is none other than the fire-breathing former TV evangelist Paula White (another of his bevy of blonde gal pals). The point is that the man’s authoritarian talk works to his advantage among conservative Christians used to dogmatic preaching against the status quo and messianic revolution to simplify an untidy and misguided past. Trumpism casts an unlikely spell on a segment of the population as an unconscious parody of old-time religion once practiced in tents.

David R Wright, Tampa Fla.

We’ll Never Win in Afghanistan

Re:  “US Will Never Win War in Afghanistan,” by Katrina Vanden Heuvel [6/15/17 TPP] nnIt has long been obvious to me, and to many others I’m sure, that our government’s intention has never been to win or end the war in Afghanistan.  How do we know this?  Well, it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that war is immensely profitable for the military-industrial complex.

After all, more bombs don’t bring more peace, but they surely do bring more money to the merchants of death.

Thus, while hundreds of thousands of Afghanistan civilians, and thousands of our young non-aristocratic American soldiers die or are injured in that never-ending war, we can be sure that the CEOs of the armament corporations are busy sorting their piles of cash — along with their lackey legislators as they savor the political contributions pouring into their reelection campaigns.

David Quintero, Monrovia, Calif.

Extremism in Defense of Liberty is OK

Bob Burnett (“Berkeley Gets Trolled,” 6/1/17 TPP) would have us sit down and ponder the pros and cons of the “Final Solution” with Hitler, Goebbels, et al., or, like Trump, find a way to “negotiate” an end to slavery. No way!

As Malcolm X constantly stressed, white supremacy must be countered “by any means necessary.”

Robert McAllister, Lantana, Fla.

Don’t Confuse Anarchists with Vandals

As a denizen of Berkeley, Bob Burnett has a far better day-to-day perspective of the speech cancellations and so-called “riots” than most of us, and I appreciate his opinions and details. However, I wish that he, and so many other astute writers would stop the willy-nilly and inaccurate use of the word anarchist. The behavior of a few, such as Antifa, a handful of provocateurs trying to besmirch “Occupy Wall Street” or the windowbreakers at the Seattle/WTO meetings continually give anarchism an undeserved bad name.

Anarchism is an ethical political stance, one that considers all forms of government oppressive, immoral and unacceptable. Even brief readings of some of the best-known anarchist writers, such as Emma Goldman, William Godwin, Alexander Berkman or even Percy B. Shelley would rapidly demonstrate this, and it has nothing to do with the knot-headed antics that let Fox “news” and the Republican Party tar all of these movements with such a broad brush.

Simply put, people who wear masks to throw rocks at people aren’t anarchists, they are cowards. People who smash windows and wreck storefronts aren’t anarchists, they are vandals. People who rationalize arrogant, rule-or-ruin behavior with the phrase “by any means necessary” aren’t anarchists, they are spoiled narcissists. And most importantly, people who believe they can tell you what thoughts and ideas you are permitted to read or hear aren’t anarchists, they are Republican politicians.

Brian Hetzel, Buffalo, N.Y.

It’s Our Constitution

Thanks for a wonderful 6/1/17 TPP. Lots of food for thought, plus Garrison Keillor’s irrepressible humor. nnI was glad to see that Jill Richardson [in “Running the country not like running a business”] zeroed in on Trump’s treasonous statement that the Constitution is bad for the country. Bad for whose country? This is the document he swore on a Bible to uphold. It must have been an alternative oath on an alternative Bible.

I agree that Trump ought to read the Constitution, but he probably wouldn’t understand it. After all, some of the language is “archaic” — kind of like a business contract or a lawsuit — and it does’t contain the words “tremendous” or “amazing.”

Betty Crowder, Honeydew, Calif.

Real Labor

President Trump is a real whiz. He got his fascist health bill passed [in the House]. I want him to let the public know how many millions of us oldsters will expire with no health care since he put the enormous cost on our health care. Has he notified all of his billionaire buddies to begin investing in mortuaries and crematories to increase their already giant wealth achieved by taking or staking our natural resources or by their hundreds of 25 cents an hour slave work factories!

The Nazis targeted the Jews and now our fascist leader has targeted all of us elders who can not afford his evil-constructed health-killing bill. Also, by raising our killing weapons and war that is coming next. A sensible lid should be also installed on all individuals’ amount of wealth. No one on this tiny planet is worth billions of dollars. Tax them out of it or put them to work in one of their former slave factories-for 25 cents an hour.

Let them find out what real labor is about!

Alice Keiser Greth, Bend, Ore.

Rall Has Nothing to Fear

Ted Rall claims that “Despite everything, I’m happy Hillary lost” (6/1/17 TPP). Of course Ted is happy – because her loss has no repercussions for him! Due to his ethnic background and citizenship status, he does not have to worry about being deported. Due to his race, he does not have to worry about being profiled by the police. Due to his sex, he never has to worry about his reproductive rights being taken away. Due to his age, he won’t have to worry about being drafted, when Trump starts World War 3. How convenient for Ted! For the rest of us non-purists who are NOT happy that Hillary lost, we DO have to worry about Trump’s toxic executive orders banning Muslims and defunding Planned Parenthood, or his budget that cuts Meals on Wheels and SSI, or his legislative priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act and kick people with pre-existing conditions off health insurance – all things that I know Hillary NEVER would have done, had she been elected President. So keep on smiling Ted. When one of Trump’s executive orders, budget cuts, or horrible pieces of legislation finally affects you, then maybe you won’t be so happy Hillary lost anymore.

Cynthia Curry, Plymouth, Mass.

Coming to Terms with Climate Change

Donald Trump’s June 1 Rose Garden address regarding global climate change promises to be a watershed event in human history. Trump’s commentary should have citizens’ jaws at the level of their shoelaces given the reasoning and commentary. Trump stated that the climate change agreement would “undermine our economy” and somehow put the US at a “permanent disadvantage” to other nation states. It is difficult to find words that can describe or outline the enormity of the betrayal to both humanity and the planet showcased by Donald Trump here.

Americans need to, with urgency and an immediacy, come to terms quickly with the catastrophic impact of climate change. Left unchecked, we are at the dawn of an age of climate refugees and disaster that makes the Syrian refugee crisis look like a rambunctious kindergarten recess drill. And that is only the beginning. How serious is this situation? Every American nearing retirement age needs to throw out and toss aside any and all traditional retirement plans. That is, if the welfare of your children and grandchildren and the planet are of any consequence or import. Instead of looking at retirement homes and such we collectively and with purpose need to focus all our energies on preventing environmental Armageddon — an outcome Donald Trump is fervently working to expedite.

This is neither hyperbole or hysteria or propaganda. Science matters, the truth matters-and the citizenry needs to send a clear message to Trump and his billionaire cabinet of climate change deniers: that we, the human race, do not enjoy or have the option of Planet B. The Earth is our home. Allowing fossil fuel corporations to take the broad swath of humanity over the cliff into extinction like lemmings  for the sake and goal of short term and immediate profit defines evil in this modern age.

We have to embrace and believe in the old adage that has served and in fact saved democracy time and again — the only thing that can defeat organized money is organized people. The stakes — the survival of human civilization and preserving our eco system — are what we are fighting for.

Jim Sawyer, Edmonds, Wash.

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2017


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