The Great Recession Blog
by David Haggith
Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked.” What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. –Michael Moore on the failure of both political parties in America
This week, as I put together my coverage of Hell Week, I read how some liberals are creating petitions for the west coast to secede from the union. I read about the Canada immigrations web site being overwhelmed after the US election with visitors looking for an escape route. I read about high-school kids who once sat peaceably next to each other in class rising up in class to beat up their classmates who voted for Trump. Prior to the election, I heard my own liberal friends say how they’d have to leave the country if Trump won.
Why? The country isn’t any different the day after Trump won than it was the day before … except that perception has changed dramatically everywhere because of one man who deliberately spoke as far outside of political correctness as he could … and won the highest post in the land.
Liberals are afraid of their own shadows right now. That’s because they’ve created anti-matter, Mr. Hyde caricatures of the Trumpettes — the average little people who follow Trump. These shadows that liberals have cast by their own self-deceit now surround them, and they believe the grotesquely exaggerated images they have created. This false belief like any phobia is taking on its own life by creating mass hysteria in the streets of America. By that step, belief becomes reality. While the initial belief is false, the hysteria is real, and it causes people to react with violence against whatever they fear. Those violent reactions divide the nation deeper, creating fears that are now based on real horrible events that came about due to the original false beliefs. It’s like a panic attack that feeds on itself.
Liberals have for months been retelling each other that Trump supporters are all bigots, homophobes, xenophobes and misogynists. They painted Trump supporters with a broad crimson-stained brush as being entirely motivated by hatred. On one level, I’m sure they created this image of the Trumpettes in order to win the election — by making making them look like the KKK fan club, which no decent person would want to belong to. There is, however, a deadly downside to this kind of demonization: you cannot do it unless you also convince yourself that the stereotype you are creating is true — otherwise you’d live in the knowledge that you are a liar. Nobody wants to live in the knowledge that he or she is a liar.
As a result, liberals were shocked, while I was not, that Trump won. They were shocked to discover that they lived in a nation filled with haters. (They don’t, of course; but they believe they do, which explains their sudden horror that wasn’t there a week ago. A week ago, they believed Hillary would win by a landslide because they thought (as liberals tend to do) that the majority felt like they did.
I suspected Trump would win, as I’ve said here, because he was far more likely to have a horde of closet supporters than Hillary was. Why? Because not everyone in this world is brave or politically inclined, even though they vote. And when liberals demand political correctness by demonizing others, they drive people underground.
When politically correct speech rules the day, those who do not think in politically correct ways and who are not politically inclined decide they’re just not going to talk about who they vote for because they don’t want have arguments with friends or even lose friends. When pollsters call them, they say they are undecided when, in fact, they have already decided to vote for Trump. They may do that because they are afraid someone will overhear, and they don’t want to be tarred and feathered. They know they will be reviled as being racists by some of their own friends, even though they know they are not. Because they don’t want to deal with being perceived as being something they are not, they decide they will vote how they’re going to vote and say not a word about it.
That is exactly why America has always supported the ideal of anonymous voting. It’s the only way you can be sure all people will vote for what they believe is right and not simply cast the vote they think will create the least trouble for themselves. Not everyone is brave, and political correctness causes those who are not as brazen as Trump to hide their views. So, I was pretty sure we’d discover Trump had a large number of closet voters that the pollsters can’t sniff out because they don’t trust or like pollsters anyway. Trump’s campaign didn’t know he had those voters either; they just hoped they did.
That is how liberals created their own blindness and their own shock and awe as to how this election turned out. It’s really nothing more than a panic attack. I wasn’t surprised by a Trump victory (though the sea of red counties across the nation was more amazing than I thought it might be) because I am quite certain that most Trump supporters are not bigots. So, for me, the sea of red doesn’t mean to me that I suddenly live in a nation filled with bigots. As a result, I’m not shocked by the election results nor afraid, even though I didn’t vote for Trump (or Hillary). Nor am I afraid to say that, as I’m not afraid the Trump supporters will beat me up for that. Most Trumpettes don’t hate people because of the color of their skin or want to keep them out of the country simply because they’re the wrong religion.
Sure there are some of those, and Trump attracts them like a light in the night attracts most bugs. Maybe they make up as much as 10% of Trump supporters, though I doubt it; but because liberals have convinced themselves that all Trump supporters must be that kind of person, liberals are now scared to death by their own manufactured belief. In their perception, they have discovered overnight that they live in nation half full of people whose thrive on hatred. It must feel like waking up on the Night of the Living Dead in a world where everyone around you might be a zombie.
Trump is his own self-made caricature
Trump is a master at playing the media because the media wants to be played, and Trump knows it wants to be played. Trump deliberately avoids all politically correct speech and belts out the most provocative statements he can make because he knows the media will love a story about a celebrity who is peeling the skin off of people’s ears by saying things that are politically incorrect in a world where political correctness has become a virtue. Controversy sells. There is a reason to be provocative if you want your message to be heard. (There is a cost, too, because being so provocative makes it very hard for many people to trust or respect you.) Trump by nature doesn’t care, so he’s the perfect candidate for that role.
The media knows they’re being played. You hear them mentioning it from time to time as if they are speaking about “the other guys” in the media, but notice they are covering the same story the other media guys are about the latest ostentatious thing Trump said while they make the statement that he is playing the media. Why? Because they don’t care either. It makes a hot story that sells. By talking about how Trump is playing the media, they can rise above being played themselves while selling the same blisteringly hot story.
So, Trump says things like “we need to keep out Mexicans who are rapists,” and the media and liberals start chattering among themselves about how Trump believes all Mexicans are rapists. I note, as the chatter takes off, that he didn’t actually say “Mexicans are rapists.” He said we need to keep out any that are. (And why wouldn’t we want to keep out convicted rapists, whether they are Mexican or any other nationality.) Trump lets the story play the way the media casts it because it gets coverage all over the nation for days on end.
Nor did Trump ever say he has grabbed a woman by the crotch. In fact, he actually said he struck out with seducing the one woman he was talking about. He said celebrities can get away with that kind of stuff. He did not say it is good behavior or that he has ever done it. (Notice, he switched from saying “I” to saying “you” at that part of the conversation.)
I’m sure plenty of celebrities do get away with it. It’s still deplorable talk that goes beyond anything I’ve ever heard in locker rooms; but we’ve all heard stories about how mobs of women throw themselves at rock stars and say, “Take me!” They rip off their own blouses at concerts and get on people’s backs to make sure the celebrity can see their bare breasts. There are some who, if a rock star grabbed them the way Trump described, probably would jump up and wrap their legs around him and say, “Bring it on, Big Boy!”
So, we know it happens. (Not most women, for sure, but enough to keep the limited number of rock stars happily busy.) And that is PROBABLY all Trump was really saying: “Since celebrates can often get away with the worst imaginable things, I was surprised I couldn’t even seduce this woman by offering her a shopping spree to furnish her apartment. She was having none of it.” That doesn’t leave him as a good guy, but it probably wasn’t as horrible as the story was made out to be by those who wanted to use it to defeat Trump.
Trump routinely says things in reckless ways, and while that works great for publicity, it may prove damaging as a president. It certainly grabs the press by the crotch, which the press seems to like. They say, “Take us! We want to go for the ride,” and Trump obliges. Trump’s provocative speech gets endless replay by the press, so he doesn’t immediately correct himself because that would defeat the purpose in being provocative. (It’s also against his nature to correct himself.) I’m sure a lot of it is because he’s careless, but it works for him.
Is there anyone in this country that really wants to import rapists from Mexico … or from Russia … or from Canada or any other country. Of course not. So, why be upset that Trump says we need to stop importing racists from Mexico … unless you deliberately misread that statement to mean he thinks we need to stop importing all Mexicans because they are all rapists. Liberals jumped to that conclusion because it fit their political aims to believe it.
Trump was speaking about an incident where some actual criminals who were illegal aliens raped someone after they were known to be both criminal and illegal aliens. He was saying that we should never allow known criminals into our country from other countries (Mexico or otherwise), and we should always deport aliens if we find out they are rapists. What do we need them for? Who wants them? What’s wrong with that? He was pointing out that it is ludicrous that those particular aliens are still in the country.
Since conviction of a felony should be immediate cause for deportation if you are not a citizen, Trump was showing how deliberately naive our nation is regarding such people. He knew it would resonate with a large group that is fed up with such blatant stupidity. Most people understood what Trump was saying, so he didn’t bother to clarify it because the provacative way he said it gave it endless replays, and he knew that his supporters would be glad to see the controversy didn’t cause him to waver and that they’d be smart enough to know what he meant (and that the few who really are racist and took it as affirming their racist views would vote for him because of it, too, while those who mischaracterized it as being about all Mexicans would never vote for him anyway). Apparently, a fair number of Latinos understood all of that, too, because he got twice as large of a Latino vote as Romney, and Romney courted Latinos.
It served liberals well to paint the story in blood by making it sound like Trump believes all Mexicans are rapists. And that is where the real evil begins because people start to believe this demonization. As a result, perfectly wonderful Mexicans who live in this country start to fear that everyone who supports Trump is one of those kinds of people who believe Mexicans are all rapists. So, they see a Trump bumper sticker and think, “That guy hates Mexicans.” The tragic part of demonization is not even how it hurts Trump or his supporters; it’s that many people are now afraid that all Trump supporters are racists.
They live in a fear that they don’t even need to experience. As the fear grows, it spreads like a dark fog over the landscape, and when the fog lifts, the ground is sometimes stained crimson as in this story about Black people dragging a White guy out of his car and beating him and dragging him down the road with his car while the whole crowd laughs … just because he had a Trump bumper sticker or in some way identified himself as a Trump voter.
That’s what demonization does. It creates, in this case, a narrative that all Trump supporters (or whatever group is being demonized during that particular season) are evil and hate-filled. Therefore, it is OK to drag them down the street with their own cars after beating them up over and over while laughing about it and taking a video. It doesn’t matter what you do to these individuals because they are demons. They are not people. They are caricatures. And that excuses your own hatred when you act in rebellion against them. (We do the same thing in war to make it easier to shoot the enemy. If we thought of that soldier in the opposite trench as a mother with children, we might be slow to pull the trigger and, thus, die, ourselves.)
Trump helps create this problem by constantly speaking in language that is easily interpreted in outlandish ways, and he doesn’t clarify what he means because the provocative way he says it is the very thing that gives it air time over and over. Thus, he gets the lion’s share of media attention without paying for any of it. He makes himself a spectacle on their dollar (and makes a lot of money for them by giving them a story, so they don’t care). That’s how it works.
Is Trump’s immigration concern racism or just uncommon sense?
Most Trump supporters voted for him because he is the only voice against the establishment that speaks in the visceral way that resonates with their own concerns. They don’t hate Mexicans, but they hate an America establishment that imports as many people as it can from areas where labor is the cheapest in order to do what I call “insourcing their outsourcing.” It doesn’t make a dime’s worth of difference what country is involved. It’s just that Mexico shares a border with the US so it happens most from there because Canadians don’t need economic opportunity at any cost.
Not all jobs can be outsourced overseas. Many jobs by their nature have to be done right here, such as cleaning hotels in Vegas that are where they are because people want to travel to Vegas. These corporations clamor with politicians for the same kind of cheap labor that they can get overseas, and both Republicans and Democrats provide that for them by making some aliens illegal and then turning a blind eye to their presence here for decades, knowing that will encourage even more of them to come. They want them to come as illegal aliens because no labor is cheaper than peasant labor.
Illegal aliens will work even cheaper than legal immigrants because they have to keep their heads low to fly under the radar. They won’t complain about working conditions because their boss could have them deported. They don’t seek benefits as just getting a monthly check is all the security they can hope for. They have no vote and cannot speak out for their rights. So, they are a true peasant class in America … by design.
This is fantastic for the corporatocracy — that group of major stockholders, CEOs and politicians (both Republican and Democrat) who work together for their own financial gain. And it is easy for them to feel good about it as “just providing jobs for the underprivileged people of this world” and easy to sell as being benevolent toward unfortunate people in other countries. So, they can readily gain liberal support; but it’s all about money … cheap labor.
While it is great for the rich, it has destroyed the middle class. There is no mystery as to where the middle class has gone. The only way you can compete with immigrants who come from areas where 79 cents an hour is a working wage is to be willing to live in a tin shack yourself.
The middle-class workers in America who are not willing to do that have simply walked away from the job force, either going on welfare, retiring early or becoming entrepreneurs in their own businesses. The argument is that they are not willing to do those jobs; the truth is that wages have been suppressed in those jobs for so many decades due to government deliberately turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants (with a few arrests along the way to look like they’re trying) that Americans won’t take those jobs because the pay is terrible.
It’s just a lot easier to dissolve that whole problem away by calling “racism.”
We let millions of people like that into the country, so it is not a small number, and neither Republicans nor Democrats care. So, Trump acted as magnet to draw the people of Flint, Michigan, and other such newly impoverished areas to him because no one else was left in the race to speak for them, Bernie having been cheated out of his chance to speak for them in a liberal fashion by the shenanigans of the DNC in marginalizing him. And why did Democrats marginalize Bernie? Because most politicians in the DNC are part of the corporatocracy, just as much as Republicans.
That’s primarily what free trade is about. Corporations were not half as interested in developing a new market in Mexico as in being able to get rid of tariffs so they could move their manufacturing plants to a cheap labor area and still sell their cars to Americans without being penalized. But that greed eventually destroys itself because the very thing that made America a thriving economy was a vast, well-paid middle class that could afford new cars every couple of years.
As the middle class disappears, that market is shrinking, and the shrinkage for now has been made up for by ridiculously low interest rates, incredibly lax loan terms, and leasing cars, instead of selling them. That is not a long-term game. Because it is not a sustainable economic plan, it eventually ends in economic collapse. But those who make decisions this way don’t care because they reap huge rewards now and can retire anywhere in the world.
We let in 1.5 million immigrants every year, and about a third of them are illegal. Building a wall is and always has been a smoke screen for solving the problem. We don’t need to round up the 500,000 per year that are illegal. We just need to imprison the 500 people who knowingly employ them. The hiring will end overnight, the jobs will dry up overnight, and those who are here illegally as economic immigrants will go away voluntarily within a month so long as you don’t provide them with any welfare to live off of. If you want to provide them with welfare, then you can support them forever since they cannot be legally employed.
You see, 100% of those 1.5 million people we let in each year, either take jobs away from Americans or they go on welfare. That just math. It’s not something you can argue against politically. They are surviving; they are eating; they have shelter. Therefore, with the exception of the rare few rich people who migrate here with their own money supply, these are people who either got jobs here or got welfare. There is no other way for them to stay alive if they are not independently wealthy.
So, you have to own up to that reality and say, “Are we going to keep doing that to our own middle class — keep forcing our neighbors to compete with that?”
That is a vast number of jobs going to people who are willing to work incredibly cheap because it sure beats the total unemployment they had in their own country or harvesting rice in the mud for 79 cents an hour. You cannot import 1.5 million people like that every year and not create a huge impact on Americans. That is almost as many people are there are new jobs each year, so it has to have a huge impact. And that reality needs to admitted, and Trump is the one squaring off with it, shoving it out there and saying, “DEAL WITH IT!”
What does a true Trump supporter look like?
The fact also is that most of these Trump supporters who were reviled are not vile at all. They are just baking apple pies and setting them on the window sill, chatting about Kim Kardashian, and putting Halloween costumes on their children. And they are not racists for one second of their lives. They are not afraid of other cultures. They don’t hate people who are homosexual, even though they might feel uncomfortable around them because that isn’t their norm. They’re just living, and they don’t happen to be as political as liberals, so many of those who voted secretly for Trump don’t talk about politics. They are more interested in turning the garden under for winter.
You don’t have to hate Mexicans or anyone else to decide that you liked life better when you could afford to buy a house (which most Americans cannot any more) and could afford to buy a new car every four years, even while paying much higher interest than you do today. Because liberal Democrats have tried to paint these immigration concerns as racism or xenophobia for years, the middle class rebelled; and Donald Trump was the only person speaking for those who have been shut out of good-paying jobs with great benefits slowly but continually from Reagan on by both Democrats and Republicans.
While seeing their own lifestyle slowly diminish, they watched banksters get fabulously wealthier, and Obama did nothing about it. No one was brought to justice. Republicans supported bailing them out because they were too big to fail but never did a damn thing to make them smaller afterward so that we wouldn’t face that threat again. Thus, they needed the anti-Establishment hero because the corporate establishment owns both parties.
If you hate everyone who simply wants to gain back the middle-class life that their parents once enjoyed or that THEY once enjoyed, then you are going to have a lot of people to hate. Since you don’t want to be a “hater,” you will paint all of them with a broad brush as being the haters, themselves, while you are just defending the defenseless against them. That way you can nobly hate half of America, and write their concerns off with one word — racism.
Problems doesn’t go away because you deny them. Denial actually creates new problems or makes old ones worse. Trump’s supporters have revolted now because no one was listening to them, and they’re not going away now that they have finally awakened and started fighting for themselves. They chose Donald Trump as their strongman leader because he was brazen enough that he didn’t care what the entire world said about him. He has many characteristics that most Trumpettes don’t like either, but he is still the only person who stood up for them and was willing to bear the millions of slings and arrows that aimed in his direction.
If you’re a liberal, you can jump in your yacht and try to find an uninhabited shore in Canada to land on, or you can scare yourself to death with the notion that 50% of America is a bunch of violent, xeno-homo-phobic, redneck bigoted haters -or- you can throw away the stereotypes and start dealing with reality, which is that the middle class will now fight you tooth and claw in order to gain back the jobs and benefits and lifestyle that eroded out from under them for thirty years.
That involves tough decisions about immigration. Are you really willing to see your fellow Americans all move into tin shacks in order to compete against an endlessly enormous annual supply of cheap labor? It means stopping the demonization that says immigration concerns are about racial hatred or xenophobia. Sure, there is a small coterie of people for whom it is all about hatred; but they don’t explain the massive sea of red counties that spread across the political map on the second Tuesday of November. You shouldn’t let that sea hate you because they are not all the bunch of haters that you think they are.
Trying to caricature the masses into a comically grotesque bunch of “Deplorables” is only going to flood your own world with true hatred and violence because people believe that caricature and strike out against the “Deplorables” who then strike back. A part of racism is in perception. Perception becomes reality because we respond to the world with an intensity that is based on our perception, and that response becomes the reality of this world and becomes self-inflating.
If, for example, we perceive people as being racist who are really just sick and tired of becoming poorer, then we’ll interpret their actions, such as their Trump bumpersticker as being racist. We’ll feel insulted by what we interpret as their display racism. We’ll see their statements that they want less immigration as being all about race, even if it truly is all about jobs or about their fear that the borders are not being watched carefully enough to keep out the few people who genuinely want to bury us in mass graves. And, when you start seeing people in that crimson hue, you’ll start to fear them more; and they’ll perceive that you act differently toward them because of your fear, and they’ll start to fear you more, too, and act differently toward you because of their fear. Very quickly we wind up with mass hysteria because of false, demonizing beliefs.
Perhaps the worst kind of Xenophobia there is is the kind that fears half of our neighbors as being from another planet, not just another land, to where people start to want to carve the west coast off of the rest of the country, showing that they are truly just as deeply isolationist as the people they angry at for being so isolationist!
How do we bring a divided America together again?
If we can take the demonization back out of politics now and deal with the real concerns that are eating our society — the concern about lower-paying jobs and fewer jobs because jobs are being deported, drastically reduced benefits, the end of the middle class to the benefit of the top 1%, justice against those who truly did rape society — then maybe we can get through this. We need to stop thinking about whether something is Republican or Democrat but about how we can serve and protect the middle class or we’ll simply have more underprivileged people all around us. The rich will always have enough.
The elephant in the room is awake now. So, either deal with it, or live in fear of it because it is definitely not going away. The one thing Donald Trump has done for all of us is become a lightning rod that woke the sleeping giant. In the end, going back to policies that build the middle class can be good for all of America, and the rich will still be rich at the end of the day.
The Trumpettes need to start with making it clear immediately that the Donald’s trumped-up, trickle-down tax plan is over before it even begins. Use the advantage of your numbers to make sure ALL of the tax breaks go directly to the middle class and the poor. Stop believing the nightmarishly repeated lie that money will ever trickle down or that all jobs are created by the rich.
It’s time for the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. Don’t believe the Republican establishment lie that the rich pay more than their fair share already. They don’t. Yes, the wealthiest 20% of the people pay 75% of the taxes, which sounds like they are doing far more than their share. However, that is only because they make more than 80% of all the wealth in the country — a number so obscene it is hard to comprehend. Therefore, they should be paying 80% of the taxes. Moreover, the 1% make about 60% of all that wealth and pay a smaller percentage in taxes than the middle class! So, don’t fall for a third round of trickle-down economics.
You won’t get what you need if you don’t fight for it, and Trump has already started to make the mistake of surrounding himself with establishment advisors. Maybe he knows what needs to happen but doesn’t know how to do it and is looking for advice from the wrong people, or maybe he was the establishment’s Trojan horse in the first place — someone to take the heat of imminent economic failure while still being certain to support the rich. Either way, don’t let it happen. Force him into being the hero he has set himself up to be. Don’t think your job is done just because you voted. The job has only now begun. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to look out for the underprivileged. Their needs don’t end just because we are finally going to start making the great middle class great again.
Let me close with a comment by Chris MacIntosh when he predicted Donald Trump’s election because he believed the left is blinded by their own political correctness:
When only right-wing demagogues are prepared to say what a politically correct establishment is unwilling to say, then it will be right-wing demagogues that are elected to power. (Capitalist Exploits)