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The morning after

I imagine that the GOP collectively woke up to the worse hangover of its life. And also that finally daring to open its eyes after hoping the bad dream is over, that party let out a yelp upon finding itself in bed with a repugnant mound of flab, pretension and nastiness topped by a god-awful blondish something that in all decency cannot be called hair. “We did what last night? Can you just leave now and we’ll pretend nothing happened? That we don’t even know you?”CoverStory_Blitt_Presidents_Trump-879x1200-1453499457

Well, something has happened, has been happening for years. Like most reasonable Americans, which still means half the country and more, I dread the grotesque idea of a Trump presidency, yet can’t help but think of what we humans know but will never ever learn: We reap what we sow. Our actions have consequences. The Republican party—the party of Lincoln, for crying out loud, it bears repeating—lost its soul the day it became the party of NO. No to everything. Common good does not matter any longer, neither does any of that so last-century vocabulary, obsolete concepts such as the greater good, vision, public service, decency etc. Not that these words were ever sacred or always respected, but they were at least acknowledged, on occasion sincerely. A moral compass, even when not used well, still gives a sense of direction. Not that the Bush mafia, with ghoul-in-chief Cheney and all other assorted egregious liars, didn’t trample upon the very idea of moral compass by having the Republic tear apart countries which, though far from perfect, at least somewhat existed. Which they no longer do—ask the hundreds of thousands of migrants clinging to sinking rafts near the shores of Europe. That brutal administration was fodder to people worldwide who thought that America, for all its talk of democracy, diplomacy and respect was at heart the imperialist power that didn’t consider anything but its own interest. The tumble toward unimaginable lows had started. Or was that before, when Newt Gingrich, snubbed by President Clinton on Air Force One, unbelievably retaliated by orchestrating a government shutdown? Or was that when John McCain, racing for the White House, dredged Sarah Palin out of her primeval bog and put her on the Republican ticket?

We managed to ignore the ominous slide. We elected Obama who was not only our first black President, a matter of immense pride, but demonstrated that persistence, reason, and a firm belief in dialogue, even when nothing goes as expected, could work to a certain extent. His refusal to give in to bickering, to tit-for-tat, to pettiness, drove Republicans to fury. How dare he, this black guy, this crypto-communist not even born in the USA, this closet Muslim, proclaim himself the President of all Americans, calmly go about establishing universal healthcare, try to close Guantanamo, take measures about global warming (which all know to be a myth anyway)? What was he thinking when, provoked to tears by the mass murders of Americans by gun control freaks, he kept insisting on new laws for gun ownership? To top it all, didn’t he have the nerve to start thinking about nominating a Supreme Court justice to a recently vacated seat?

The Republican Party in both houses, its governors, its wealthy donors, its hierarchy, its media, was having none of that. Throughout Obama’s almost eight years, it has become more absurdly conservative and given less credit to science, to the common good, to politics as an delicate art. It has sputtered and ranted and raged and thwarted the President at every step, wanting nothing so much as to tar and feather him and, if at all possible, hoist him up the nearest tree on the White House lawn.

Well done, GOP. Now, America is in bed with Trump and the world stares in awe at the spectacle. To explain the unexplainable, some optimists may believe one theory that has been floated around: Trump, previously a friend of the Clintons, has promised them that he will behave so atrociously that Americans will vote en masse for Hillary as the only alternative. That sounds far-fetched. He’s self-obsessed enough to be in the running for himself.

It’s too late for the GOP to rethink strategy even if it wanted to but we should all be very careful how we vote in November. Let a dangerous megalomaniac loose and the world cries. Ask history.

Categories: Daily life
  1. Sue Ellen Hearn
    March 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    You are spot on as usual and I love you! I shall share this with many!


    Sent from my iPad



    • March 2, 2016 at 11:37 pm

      Thanks. Great to hear from you, as always.


  2. Jonathan Agronsky
    March 3, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Thank you, Saideh, for so powerfully and economically putting into words what I believe many of us also think about the unsettling phenomenon of Trump, and the Republican Frankenstein that created him.


  3. manoutchehr ardalan
    March 3, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Fortunately the world is not in awe but in disbelief about the phenomena of Trump. In describing the historical personal and ideological conflict between Gingrich and Pres Clinton, it is also worthwhile remembering that the economic compact proposed by Speaker Gingrich was overwhelmingly adopted by the Clinton administration, resulting in America’s spectacular economic growth and balance of payment dividends. This point underscores the imperative of a constructive dialogue between the leaders of the two parties.


    • March 3, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Nothing but dialogue can ever work, nothing is becoming rarer.


    • March 6, 2016 at 3:30 am

      Awe of course meaning fear.


  4. Melinda Barnhardt
    March 3, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    The last sentence of this blog post says it all.


  5. lewisjperelman
    March 3, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Saideh, you are right to note “We reap what we sow.” More to the point, from the ancient prophet Hosea: “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

    But this does not apply only to the GOP. The two party system itself — an accidental artifact external to the Constitution, and one which the framers did not favor — may now be on its last legs.

    Both of the two current major political parties have gone through different phases in their long histories. The so-called party of Lincoln did not much follow his example after an assassin’s bullet cut his tenure short. It veered into progressivism with the accidental ascendance of Theodore Roosevelt to the White House. The Democratic Party meanwhile was the party of slavery, the Civil War, and Jim Crow until events began to drag it to address civil rights starting with Harry Truman.

    To the extent the GOP “lost its soul,” many would say that turning point came in 1968 with Richard Nixon’s expedient “Southern strategy” — a successful ploy to recruit disaffected Dixiecrats into the Republican fold.

    Now the GOP is acutely divided and fractious. But the media spotlight on the Republicans’ internecine conflict has distracted attention from the steady necrosis of the Democratic Party that has been festering since Hillary Clinton’s disastrous healthcare reform plan restored the GOP to power in 1994. Since then, Republican power and influence has grown to dominate state and local government and the Congress, despite the anomalous election of Barach Obama in 2008.

    In 2009, the Democrats — with control of the White House and both houses of Congress — embraced a policy agenda so partisan and so disconnected from most of the public’s sentiments that it inflamed the alienation Clinton fomented 15 years earlier. It also sparked the “tea party” rebellion that has not only vexed the GOP but has formed a growing sinkhole under the whole two party system.

    In a recent column (http://j.mp/1OUuSYp) explaining how deadly the candidacy of Bernie Sanders could be for the Democratic Party, Dana Milbank reviewed how parlous the Democrats’ position has become:

    “The consequences of the Democrats’ atrophy at the state level are potentially catastrophic for progressives. If the party doesn’t make major gains in the next couple of election cycles, Republican majorities in state legislatures will control redistricting after the 2020 Census, virtually guaranteeing that the party retains control of the House for another decade…. The collapse in state legislatures for Democrats has also left the party with few prospects for statewide and congressional offices.”

    The public is in a mood of deep cynicism about the legitimacy and competence of The Establishment. That is worldwide and not just in the US. And it applies to just about every “establishment.” Surveys show that public trust in government and an array of other institutions is at rock bottom. That disillusion has been largely earned. The web of social media has exposed institutional deceit, failure, and corruption to public view as never before.

    The crucial problem is that institutions require establishment. And without institutions there is anarchy or tyranny or both.

    Old institutions are obsolete, decrepit. New institutions are needed for a technologically and socially changed world. But that requires trust. And trust must be earned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. bobbietroy
    March 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Wow, Saideh, how true. Eloquent and to the point as usual. I envy your ability to write so poignantly.


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