Musings from George

Reaching across the aisle, but the aisle is too wide
October 23, 2017, 11:21 am
Filed under: Politics

We had a civil conversation with Republican friends over dinner about the challenge of discussing politics in the current climate of tribalism. Last week was remarkable for a couple of things — a draft-dodger President asking his big strong general to go face the bullies, and making a liar out of him in the process (aside, it is notable that neither #DodgerDonald nor Kelly speaks the name of this Gold Star hero), and a number of prominent heroes denounced Trump’s actions (another aside, denouncing his actions — not the size of his hands or his bizarre orange skin).

We all agreed that the hard part of any discussion is listening to statements we disagree with, which we believe are provably false. When one side declaims anything they don’t want to hear as “Fake News”, it is very hard to see any way to have an informed discussion. An informed electorate is the backbone of representative democracy, so we are essentially ceding our governance to allow our leader to say anything and do anything without consequences (and yes, that defines his life. Lost a billion dollars, and borrowed more; cheated wives and small businesses, and never looked back. Lies repeatedly, but pays hush money whenever he is caught in a bad one).

I was encouraged to hear that they too recognize that #DisasterDonald has made some mis-steps, and that he is divisive. I was stunned to hear that they feel he has done a lot better the last six months, but knew better than to ask for examples (when pulling out of a pact to improve the environment is an accomplishment, you are at Alice’s Tea Party and the only thing you can do is stop drinking). When I said that I was personally disturbed by the egregious lies #LyinDonny tells, the response was a dismissive “you only read the Times?” That was to me a summary of what is wrong with the divide. Those who want to see #DopeyDonald as an outsider taking a wrecking ball to the Establishment are willing to blame the chaos on the establishment, not on the leader of the free world. Trump defenders blame congress for not passing legislation — but here’s a news flash, in *real* governments the president writes the legislation and sells it to anyone in congress who might vote for it (see Hillary’s failed effort, and Obama’s successful work to pass universal health care). Trump has not written anything, and has forced his party to vote on bills they have not read knowing they contain toxic waste (McCain refused to vote for one because no one could promise him it would not become law). Trump’s tax plan is a bullet list of non-specific suggestions, that they defend as being unable to be scored because they have not specified which deductions they will eliminate … which is such tortured logic that it should actually PREVENT a vote from being held.

Sorry, this started out as a short note that we have met the 30% who are going to defend #DiaperedDonald, and nothing we say or he does is going to change their minds. The good news is that an energized electorate is paying more attention now than they have in years, and only good things can come from more civic involvement. If you are NOT outraged, you are not paying attention.