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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

So, what are your plans after the election?

If Hillary wins,  some militia-type folks have vowed to activate their troops.  Some GOP congress people have vowed to extend and intensify the kind of obstruction they carried out against Obama.  On the violent side,  we may have armed idiots roaming the streets.  On the congressional side, we may have total gridlock in which nothing gets done.  

After the Trump effect, who wants to reconcile or look for compromise?  Most people I know are looking for the campaign and its constant stream of insult and abuse to end.  Then they can go about their business as best they can,  avoiding any contact with their obstreperous neighbors.  One thing Trump has done for us is to identify those people we want to avoid and keep our children away from.  Who knows what they might try to grab or grope?  And we might want to exercise our Second Amendment rights to defend ourselves against the idiots roaming the streets.  

If Trump wins, we get a strong signal about what America has become.  It means the people will have chosen to end the quest for freedom, equality, and justice.  Just as the Nazi adherents turned against the Jews and others in Germany in the 1930s,  we will know our fellow Americans have turned against minorities,  liberals, and women.  Who will pledge allegiance or stand for a flag that represents the Trumpian nation?  The 99 percenters will not rise and put their hands over their hearts,  but will exercise the extended middle finger to a country that has betrayed them.  They will not be proud to be Americans.

Donald Trump is not the cause of the polarization of America.  He is merely a symptom.  The divide has been widening over the last few decades.  He did not invent insult and abuse as a standard campaign tactic.  The GOP did.  The Republican Party has adopted malice as its guiding principle.  In South Dakota,  it has worked.  And a majority of voters like it.  False accusations driven by malice was the successful ingredient used by the John Thune campaign 12 years ago in defeating Tom Daschle.  We do not like speak ill of our neighbors,  but we should not ignore the fact that some of them are hateful bigots.  The election will not change them.  Nor should we adopt a tolerance for their attitudes if they are the reigning majority.  

NYT columnist David Brooks noted that Trump taught us "that millions of Americans are incapable of being morally offended, or of putting virtue above partisanship."  There is a parallel moral numbness in South Dakota.  State government has been involved two major scandals that have revealed an endemic corruption.  The GOP claims that charges of corruption are merely the political stance of the Democrats.  One legislator,  a former judge, dismisses it as a matter of employee theft.  However, the legislature finally became convinced that corruption was a serious problem and established an anti-corruption board to monitor state government.  Their problem is that they don't know how to go about recognizing corruption and are asking for help from outside consultants.  

The obvious answer to all this is to vote the protectors and endorsers of corruption out of office and elect people of intelligence and integrity in their place.  That is not likely to happen in South Dakota.  But the opposition party and some of its allies have made enough noise about corruption to get some people to take it seriously.  To this end,  we have to give great credit to Cory Heidelberger's Dakota Free Press.  Unlike the bloggers from his opposition,  

Cory, as David Brooks puts it, shows  "the normal respect for facts and truth that makes conversation possible."  But if decency is ever to prevail over the lust for power and opportunities to steal that defines the GOP in South Dakota,  citizens who value honesty, integrity, and competence will have to be more assertive in advocating for those moral qualities.  That means exposing the corruption and those who protect and condone it,  and not be afraid to show disapproval of their neighbors who are in complicity with the corruption.

The Democrats and their allies for decency need to understand how the social media can subverted and establish forums with stringent rules about checking and verifying facts and providing forums for exposing fake news,  false statements, and misrepresentations of the facts.  

If the nation is not to be submerged in falsehoods, bound by obstruction, and devastated by bigotry,  it must face the fact that some of our neighbors are not honest, intelligent,  benign people. The nation needs more assertive outlets for decency.  And whatever happens with the election,  creating those outlets is something we can do no matter who holds office.  

1 comment:

larry kurtz said...

It's important to remember that Democratic Party registration in my home state has done a steep nosedive since Cory began blogging. It's doubtful his blog has done anything to raise consciousness about issues most South Dakotans care about. Some data might have been helpful in your post, Professor Newquist.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States