Category Archives: Politics

Donald Trump – A Sad Commentary on American Politics

anti donald trumpNearly one week after the cataclysmic upset of Hillary Clinton by Donald Trump in the national election, my stomach is still churning. I can’t look at photos of her without breaking into tears. I feel the earth shaking under my feet and the sky feels like it’s tumbling down. Oh Carol King would you have been a better candidate?

I know it’s fruitless to waste time worrying about what is to befall our country and ourselves. It is what it is. Nothing is going to change — unless, of course, the electors of the Electoral College decide to cast their ballots for Hillary on December 19th. I can only pray for a miracle, but I won’t be holding my breath. In the meantime, I just hope I’m not developing an ulcer.

We did not need Donald Trump as President at such a fragile time in our history. It seems the entire world is being upended beginning with the Brexit vote as a major protectionist movement and followed by the current upheaval on the French political scene. With Germany taking in over 1 million refugees, is Angela Merkel’s chancellery in jeopardy? Trump’s chuminess with Vladimir Putin has emboldened Russia to send a flotilla of warships to the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria. I doubt this would have happened if Hillary had been our President-elect.

And this is just the beginning. We now have a self-proclaimed racist, Stephen Bannon,  as Trump’s chief strategist sanctioning bigotry, hatred and dangerously widening the racial  and social divide.  Black Lives Matter may well become the calling card for more than just blacks as all but white, Christian conservatives are fair game for attack. Could we be on the verge of civil war? It will be interesting to see if gun sales begin to increase dramatically in the next number of months.

I sincerely hope my fears are unfounded, but six nights of demonstrations across the country don’t give me a lot of hope. I can fully understand the disappointment of all those middle-class Americans that voted for Trump. Their voices have been drowned out for too long. Good-paying jobs have disappeared. Their quality of life has diminished. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. Our unemployment rate may be at a record low level, but a great many of those that are employed are, in fact, under employed.  It is not their fault that they have been left in the dust of a changing world. Government has done little to alleviate their woes rolling merrily along with the tides of change.

Sadly, government didn’t even hear or recognize their plight, and I am as guilty as government. Ensconced in my own little world with very little rocking my boat, I go from day to day disturbed most by a serious homeless problem in Portland, OR and surrounds and not realizing that many more millions of people are also hurting. Out of sight, out of earshot, out of mind.

Yet, I take issue with those 50 or so million people that voted for Donald Trump. Government did not take their jobs away. Many of the high-paying middle-class jobs have been in decline for decades. Jobs did not go overseas. Production went overseas because companies had to find a way to manufacture their products cheaper than they could do at home so the Americans could afford to buy them. Many items that we take for granted today would be unaffordable if they were still manufactured in the U.S.A. If migrant workers from south of the border weren’t being used to build houses, home ownership would be unattainable for a majority of households.

Many if not all of the jobs that no longer exist are never coming back, but other jobs have grown to take their place. The problem is a lack of training for the new economy. It is government and industry to see that training is provided. This is where government fell down, and the tidal wave of votes for a man that should never have gotten past the Republican primaries now sits at the doorstep of the most powerful position in the world.

Do I trust him? Absolutely not. I see doom and gloom and so do millions of others. I hope we are wrong and that we can survive four years of a Trump presidency. Actually, I hope we can survive the first 100 days.

And the winner is…………

trumpWho would have guessed almost one year ago that, above all odds, Donald Trump would come out on top of the heap of Republican presidential hopefuls.  I can’t say I was surprised. If you stayed on top of the news (and I don’t mean campaign news, but news in general), it wasn’t difficult to correlate Trump’s rhetoric with many of the national headlines. As bombastic as he was, he spoke to a largely disenfranchised middle and lower middle class –  those that have lost jobs to technology, failed to save for retirement, failed to see that the world was changing faster than they were, and blamed their demise on anybody but themselves.

Illegal immigrants got much of the blame. It’s unfortunate that it’s the same 20% of illegals that spoil it for the rest, because it’s just about that many that are criminals and drug dealers. The other 80% are simply trying to achieve a better life fleeing abject poverty, war and persecution.  They do not live off of government handouts. They work harder than most Americans can even imagine. Without them, there are many things that would quickly become unaffordable like housing. If builders had to pay union carpenters to frame homes at roughly $36/hr. instead of the $15-17/hr. they pay an illegal immigrant worker,  only the well-off could buy a home.

Why do you think so many things are made in foreign countries, not just China? It’s so Americans can afford to buy them. Many things that take manual labor to construct – shoes, clothing, electronics, and much of which you have in your home – is just too expensive to be “made in America.” And it won’t be until technology figures out how to automate those kinds of jobs that apparel manufacturing and the like will return to our shores.

And let’s not overlook retirement savings. For years, people have been told they should save for retirement. For those that worked for an organization that offered a good pension plan, you probably fared much better than those that didn’t. Of course, if you weren’t blessed with a company pension plan, you may have had a 401K plan available to you, and IRA’s have been around for many years now. And, of course, there’s the old bank savings account. But somehow a larger and larger TV set was more important, or that SUV with its $400/mo. payment was a necessity. Self-gratification was always more important than saving for a rainy day.

Trump speaks to his minions from perhaps the lowest level we have ever seen in a presidential candidate. He has captured the minds of those that have a very hard time thinking for themselves.  If he told them what to eat for dinner tonight, no doubt they would oblige him.

Not I. Eight years ago, I wanted Hillary to win the nomination. This year I will get my with, and I can’t wait to have the first woman president, something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. But then I never thought I’d see a black president either. Glory be!!