News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear Barack, Hillary, and Donald: Please do not play us for fools.

After a year and a half of assailing the American people with insult, abuse,  juvenile bullying, and accruing an astounding, documented record* of spewing the most lies ever uttered by one  person in an election campaign,  Donald Trump was chosen as president by half of the American voters.  That election signals what kind of nation America has become.  All sorts of apologists have come up with analyses that liberal Americans failed to listen to their fellows and understand their feelings about a lack of jobs and being subjected to liberal snobbery and that attributing Trump's success to an endemic racism is a glib dismissal of reality.

The reality is that Trump began his crusade to the presidency with the racist charge that Obama was not an American citizen,  and he added a long, long list of racist, misogynist, ethnic, religious, and political defamations to that premise.  For a year and a half,  Trump used the media to spread all the claptrap of Nazidom.  His supporters said he spoke to them and their feelings as no one else had.  And that speech was predominantly racist, sexist, hateful insult, abuse, and defamation.  He gave Americans a clear and indisputable choice of oppressive malice,  and they chose it.  

The so-called conservatives like to prattle about people being responsible for their actions and held accountable.  Well,  they are responsible for a rejection of liberty,  equality, and justice and they will damned well be held accountable for it.  And that accounting includes the fact that America has lost its standing as a democratic beacon of light that has guided the rest of the world.  While racism is not the only issue that motivates the Trump people,  it was a most obvious one put forth by Trump and the GOP during the campaign.  

So after all the relentless Nazi-like propaganda of denouncing people for any differences they have from white supremacist America,  Trump gets up in front of the country and asks us to forget it.  He said:

"Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people."
Those wounds are ones he so deliberately, maliciously, and joyously inflicted with his message of charity toward none and malice toward all.  He was diligent in dividing people with every demonstration of human meanness and depravity.  He divided the nation and developed and exposed a faction that endorses  racial, ethnic and cultural intolerance and the forces of fear and division that the Republican Party has been exploiting for decades.  So now, he says we should come together as a united people.  We are not a united nation.  We are two nations divided by morally irreconcilable differences.  He represents an America that people of true decency want no part of.  As a CEO he expects that the people who opposed him will now, in the name of national unity, stand before him in suppliance.  But as Keith Oberman has tweeted,  "You can lie there and complain and accept fascism in America, or you can fight."

As members of the outgoing regime,  Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have a duty to make a transition in harmony with the Constitution.  They are sworn to uphold it in their official capacities.  Hillary has said,  "
Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”  President Obama has said,  "“The day after we have to remember we are all on one team.  We are not Republicans first. We are not Democrats first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.”

Obama and Clinton are obliged to make these statements for a peaceful transition.  They must cling to the idea of democratic processes over open rebellion.  But to do so,  they must ignore everything Trump has said and done.  While their statements fall short of advocating total submission to Trump,  neither do they acknowledge all the things that Trump has said about them and the things he has threatened to do.  They seem to be playing Trump's opposition for fools.

Obama's words leave a bit of an opening for active opposition.  When he  says "we are  Americans first,"  he opens up a fact of Trump's campaign that is expressed in this tweet:

These protests can't b dismissed as anger over a candidate losing. We're protesting a loss of all that makes America great 

The biggest insult to intelligence is the Trump campaign advisors on cable news who are claiming that a campaign is not related to what a candidate will do when elected  They see a campaign as an all-out battle in which all the tactics of playground bullying and insult and abuse are fair,  but as soon as the election is over, the candidate becomes "presidential."  Just because Trump has said a few seemingly respectful about Clinton and Obama after the election,  we are to forget all that has gone before and make nice.  That is the most insidious kind of duplicity.

I put this in the context of how I came to be an American.  All of my grandparents were immigrants.  They left the Old World not only for better economic opportunity,  but to escape the system of vassalage that regarded them as inferiors to be ruled by superiors.  Just as Trump did during the campaign,  that system denied the human worth of many people.  While the America my ancestors came to was by no means a paragon of liberty, equality, and justice,  it ws free of the Old World systems that bound them to a condition of subservience.  They felt their old countries betrayed,  and so they left.  And they set about the business of building America.

When half the people voted for a man who represents the antithesis of those qualities that enabled our ancestors to make America,  the other half saw a serous betrayal of human worth.  To them,  Trump's election is a denial of America.  If they are Americans first,  they have no choice but to deny Trump and to resist.  Michael Moore, among others,  is calling for the organization of a massive resistance:  Must quickly and decisively form an opposition movement, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1960s.

I compare the need for a resistance movement more to what was needed in Germany when people realize their neighbors were betraying the Jews to the Nazis.  Trump is not the biggest danger America faces.  The people who elected him are.  Trying to reconcile the principles of decency with the people  who reject them and want only the power to suppress and eliminate the people they hate is absurdity.  It would be  like joining the KKK in order to stop lynching.  I want nothing to do with those who have chosen the values of Trump.  I will strenuously take measures to avoid them from having any contact with my grandchildren.  And that includes the schools which the GOP has undermined over the years with their anti-science anti-tolerance doctrines.  

The GOP has adopted and promoted an official propaganda philosophy that has made the  election of Donald Trump possible.  It is the philosophy of defamation and personal destruction.   Tump pulled out all the stops in shouting falsehoods and defaming his opponents.  In South Dakota,  the GOP has successfully used lies and defamatory falsehoods in not only winning elections but in building and expanding a base out of people who get great pleasure from hatred.  It has been used in campaigns by John Thune and Kristi Noem.  In the last election, it was a major feature in South Dakota District 3 in the campaign for state senator when Al Novstrup used it against Cory Heidelberger.  Novstrup launched a series of postcard and newspaper ads against Heidelberger that fall into the half true, mostly false, and false categories in the representations made.  The tactics used in misrepresenting the truth are the same ones the Nazi regime used in fomenting the hatred against the Jews that fueled the Holocaust.  The moral and intellectual corruption that made Trump possible is fully operative right here at the neighborhood level.

Before Trump can  assume the role of president,  he must account for the things he has said and done.  And that includes prosecuting the trial on the fraud of Trump University.  The resistance movement must maintain a record of his statements and his deeds and require that a resolution of them be made.  If it takes street riots to produce that resolution,  so be it.  The same goes for Al Novstrup.  He must be made to confront his statements and his actions every day of his life from now on.  Resistance must be built on a foundation of hard, documented, and verifiable facts,  not the flaccid claims that characterize the internet media.  However, the internet can provide a convenient and effective repository for such facts.  

As a transition is in operation in accordance with the customs and requisites of our government,  the salient fact before us is that our government is in the hands of those who have rejected the principles of American democracy.  The many statements of Trump and the postcards and newspaper ads of Al Novstrup attest to that fact.  They have openly declared themselves as enemies of honesty and decency.  Good people have not only the right but the obligation to resist them.

The resources for mounting an effective resistance are in place.  The question is whether the resistance has the courage and the persistence to prevail.  If it doesn't,  America has failed.  The America of Donald Trump will be like the Old World our ancestors left:  not worthy of respect or loyalty.  Just a good place to leave behind.

14 (4%)
Mostly True
37 (11%)
Half True
49 (15%)
Mostly False
63 (19%)
111 (34%)

Pants on Fire
57 (17%)


Roger Cornelius said...

That is an excellent summary of Donald Trump's America.

I would like your opinion on what Hillary and President Obama's role might be in this resistance.

It is unimaginable to me that they will sit back and let Trump run rampant over our Constitution.

David Newquist said...

As a professor who taught rhetorical theory and practice, I have been pondering the stances and words of President Obama and Hillary Clinton in response to Trump’s election. I note that they very carefully have put themselves in the role of gracious, cool-headed leaders of knowledge and experience, who are schooling Trump in how mature and conscientious people behave. That is the image of them they will leave at the White House, and it conveys the information that the White House was cared for with dignified and thoughtful hands. Their words are to transfer the White House to Trump in accordance with Constitutional process, and their words carefully state that they will not obstruct Trump in any way but will help him make a cordial and efficient transition. He has already refuted some of the promises he made to undo the work that Obama accomplished.

What puzzles most people, including me, is how the political and social atrocities committed by Trump during the campaign can be ignored and dismissed. Trump’s defamations of Obama and Clinton plunged American politics into a state of derangement and degradation that may well still destroy the country. No matter how hard Trump tries to be presidential, hundreds of hours of videos and stacks of papers that have recorded his campaign will always be there to show an unfit and dangerous man. Obama and Clinton are careful not to provoke him into a juvenile rage at this time.

But as a Princeton professor of religion stated on CNN recently, before Trump can assume any presidential leadership, he will have to account to the majority of the people for every word uttered by him and every action he took during the campaign. And as protestors and political opponents call for him to do so, Obama and Clinton will step aside and let his own words and actions speak for him. When his appointments and actions take on ominous aspects, I think Obama and Clinton will point them out, but try to avoid engaging Trump on the low and depraved level on which he operates. They will keep the better angels of human nature in view for the people to see.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States