Washington. Adams. Jefferson.
Bush. Obama. Trump.
The 21st century has not been kind to the United States of America.
The U.S. has endured arguably the two worst presidents in history, and is getting ready for the third. Had Mrs. Clinton won (Can she still pull it off when the Electoral College meets?) hers would likely have been a different kind of failed presidency. More traditionally corrupt. In the end, that was all she offered: old-style limousine liberal corruption plus a few wonky ideas and her own rampaging sense of entitlement. Bereft of leadership, she ran as the “Hold Your Nose and Vote for Me‘ Cause I Ain’t Him” platform. Pity it didn’t work out, according to the rules established so long ago.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump offers something called “Greatness.”
So what exactly is this “Greatness”? How do you measure it? And once you (re)gain it, what do you do with it?
In the rapidly emerging lexicon of Trumperei, whatever Greatness will prove to mean abroad, at home it constitutes the continuation of class war: in this case, the war of the One Percent and their enablers, servitors and partisans against most of the rest of America.
For this is, quite literally, a war to the death. American life expectancy is starting to drop. Once it was, “My children won’t do as well as me.” Now it’s “My children won’t live as long as me.” For the moment, the decline (as computed the federal Centers for Disease Control and Princeton University, among others) centers on the very elderly white and the less-educated middle-aged white. (Blacks and other minorities, sadly, have never enjoyed white life expectancies.)
Here’s your choice on the old folks. Either care is being withheld by corporate or other providers, or the seniors are opting to check out while they still have two nickels to rub together, and maybe a little something to leave the kids. Among the young, less-educated, again, take your choice. Long-term unemployment and under-employment. The dreary grind to less and less to final destitution. Alcoholism. Drug abuse. Obesity. The effects of violence, especially chronic low-level violence. Despair.
Take your choice. Or take them all and add your own. You won’t be wrong.
Now let’s assume that Mr. Trump and the Republican Party are serious about what they’ve been shouting for years and decades. They will:
Abolish ObamaCare and maybe replace it with “medical savings accounts.” (When you can’t afford food and heat, how you gonna put away a thousand or so a year for medical care? And how long will that thousand last, once you hit the hospital?)
Cut Social Security and maybe privatize it.
Cut and/or abolish other items, such as Food Stamps, welfare, and the rest of the “safety net.”
Is this the America that Mr. Trump, the Congress and most of the governors and state legislatures want? A nation heading into die-off? And if so, why?
Maybe you know.
Of course, it may not happen. The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate face election every two years, plus endless state and local elections, referenda, etc. People may indeed vote for those who’ve offered to help them die early in the name of right-wing ideology and “Greatness.” It’s different when the dying hits home and the “Greatness” ceases to matter. So, unless the Republican Party does a quick wave-off, the death it seeks may begin with the 2018 elections.
But even that would only come after weeks and months of chaos and violence, in which some percentage of those half-billion privately-held firearms get used; in which official law enforcement (and the military?) refuses to act; and in which all those crazy private militias we used to chuckle over, take to the streets.
A chaos of chronic violence characterized, also, by rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment, fueled by “breathless revelations” of decades of “scandal.”
Can you imagine what might happen if a twitch in Mr. Trump’s brain cells prompts him to scream at Israel, “You’re Fired!”
To repeat from the last post: Israel, this is not the America you’re used to dealing with. America’s hurting and hating, hurting and hating bad, and it’s not going to get any better. The American people are different now, and that difference reaches even unto Capitol Hill subcommittees. Time to abandon the whole Israeli/Zionist So what? shtick. Time to understand that the “Shut up and just give me the money and all those other goodies” approach bespeaks the mindset of the spoiled brat, not the friend.
Time for Israel to become America’s friend, as a model of grace under pressure now and, perhaps, when a bit of sanity returns to American politics.
For starters, drop the whole “We’re defending you!” spiel that Mr. Netanyahu tried at his most recent UN speech. Israel defends Israel. And time to cease and desist with all those invocations that “things are going on we can’t talk about.” Of course, they are. Some might even be beneficial to the United States. But the can’t-talk-about-it world contains more, far more, than glorious successes. And its secrets are also vulnerable to penetration by those would love to haul out a lot of dirty laundry, not for the purpose of washing.
This blog has argued in the past for more U.S.-Israeli small-business co-operation and joint ventures. Bottom line business, not “people-to-people” fluff. Beyond that, Mr. Trump is correct to call for a more vigorous war against global violent Islamism, and it might not hurt to trumpet a few joint initiatives. Beyond that . . .
It has become apparent that the only way the Middle East can secure lasting peace and a chance to rebuild Arab civilization (including the Palestinian) is on a regional basis. Mr. Netanyahu usually has more up his sleeves than arms. He may well be working on just that. If so, then yasher koyach, Bibi. Succeed.
And beyond that – and here Mr. Trump is right, again – the United States needs a fundamentally new relationship with Russia. Whether he’s the man to do it may be debated, but the need remains. I wonder what such a relationship might look like in the context of far more open and close Russo-American-Israeli co-operation and . . . dare one say it? . . . alliance?
The civil liberties purists won’t like it, of course. Neither will a lot of other well-publicized, well-funded people, from anti-Putin oligarchs to traditional Russophobes. But these are three countries facing common perils and groping toward new ways of living in the 21st century. Over the long run, it might not be such a bad idea.
What do you think?
Next Thursday: Quickie Ripostes Guaranteed to Infuriate Israel’s Critics