‘Tween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

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This is my third fourth attempt to write a blog post about Donald Trump.  I scrapped previous versions because they sounded either defensive of his potential nomination, or were too critical of a phenomena many suggest has been long overdue in American politics.

Trump was not my first pick (Jeb Bush), second (John Kasich), third (Chris Christie), fourth (Scott Walker … I obviously have a thing for Governors for The Oval Office.) , or fifth pick (Marco Rubio).  Yet here he sits, presumptive favorite to win the Crown as the GOP’s nomination for President.

As a Pennsylvanian, I haven’t yet been given the opportunity to express my views via the ballot box, which is one reason I tend to be stand-offish when it comes to getting emotionally invested in my presidential hopefuls.  In 2012 my early favorite was Jon Huntsman, which kinda provides my audience with an additional measure of my American political astuteness.

Stop laughing!

Ronald Reagan was another. But this is definitely NOT a comparison of Reagan v. Trump!

360_reagan_lede_0204I can remember shaking my head and wondering aloud – during one of Reagan’s primary debates – how we could possibly end up with a former actor as our President.  Two or three years into Reagan’s  first-term, I was a full-fledged Reagan devotee!

My lesson in all of this is when it comes to Presidential politics, my finger is not exactly on the Pulse of the American voter.   Which brings me back to Donald Trump …

I can no longer avoid the very real prospect that Mr. Trump will be the GOP candidate.  At this point, I do not believe the Party has a choice.  For whatever reason – and there are many – Donald has tapped into a  broad and deep vein of American political frustration.  And if anecdotal information is accurate, Trump’s appeal goes beyond Republicans to include Independents – many of them recent former Republicans, who felt the GOP had pushed them away – and even moderate Democrats.

My gut feeling is that any Party move to deny Trump the nomination will cost the GOP dearly, affecting even those “down-ticket” Republican candidates for the Senate, House, and Governor races!

latestAs for my feelings about The Don, I fancy myself an amateur student of Presidential history … more so the behavior and performance in office as opposed to the politicking beforehand.  From everything I have read or studied, Donald Trump is simply the least presidential candidate I can remember.

Trump’s pronouncements on issues like immigration, terrorism, opposing candidates, party leaders, etc.  set him apart from all known successful POTUS candidates from our recent past at least.  The difference is that on some visceral level, Trump has become a conduit for every frustrating political development over the past two decades.

For the GOP at the National level, they only have themselves to blame.  The failure to develop well-grounded, exciting candidates for President.  The tendency to make “the tent” smaller, as opposed to broadening it.  The inability to act prudently and unselfishly as an opposing party.  Disappointment after disappointment has given rise to Donald Trump.

That and a healthy dose of eight years with President Barack Obama!

I really thought we had seen the last of Trump in 2012, when he bowed out fairly early in the process, citing television contractual requirements connected to his show The Apprentice.

Silly me …

A sizable portion of the Electorate is angry at all things political, particularly when it comes to Washington, D.C.  They are very clearly ready for a candidate that might just burn it down.  Which reminds me of Thomas Jefferson‘s quote …

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

MTE5NDg0MDU1MDEwMjQ4MjA3If one recognizes “the blood of patriots and tyrants” as purely metaphor, representing the kind of political upheaval not seen since Chicago in 1968, you can better appreciate where Donald gets his trump.  The People are ready to clean out the outhouse.

The political class should be very grateful that The People have not – as yet – dragged out the guillotine!

The Democrats do not get a free pass when it comes to this either.  The best they could muster for 2016 is a has-been from the 1980s, who firmly believes it is “her turn” and an old hippie from the 1970s.  When you have the younger Democrats flocking to the 1970s hippie, many vowing not to vote for another Clinton no matter what, you know you have a problem too!

If there’s anything worse than a bombastic blowhard for President, it’s the person who spent four years hiding what they were doing in a Cabinet-level job from Public scrutiny and official oversight … while their former-President husband racked up millions in fees speaking to a host of entities with interest conflicting with his spouse’s official duties … and while their “charitable organization” pulled in millions from similarly conflicted sources …

That would be Hillary Clinton, just in case my references are too obscure.

ap_hillary_clinton_tsu_02_jc_150604_16x9_992So for me, the question comes down to the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.  Who would be the Devil?  Who the Sea?

The Devil I know wants to be President because she’s a woman.  Hillary wants our vote because she served as First Lady, then as an unremarkable U.S. Senator and an openly duplicitous Secretary of State.

Donald Trump is my deep blue sea, full of dangers, mysteries, and the potential for political upheaval many of us might welcome in an age when Politics is an eight-letter, four-letter word.

 

If it comes down to the two of them, I hope the water isn’t Titanic-ly cold!

As for you, my reluctant reader … Feel free to define who be the Devil and who be the Sea.  Just remember …

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Here there may be Monsters!

Trump Is Wrong On Muslims … Kinda

Donald Trump made a rather bold and infuriating statement the other day. He also told the Truth … at least in part.  And what he said was what a lot of people wanted to hear.  Of course a lot of people didn’t want to hear it too.

Both groups were right.


Trump told us that Americans do not want and that America should block all Muslims from immigrating to the United States from Syria.

He was right and he was wrong.

As a country, we have grown past religious tests.  We are not perfect.  We have had them.  We have learned, sometimes the very, very hard way.  We have – collectively – moved on.

JFK was too Catholic for some people, who feared the Pope would be running the country.  Of course the earliest settlers came here to flee British religious oppression, only to set up their own style of religious repression here.  And there were flirtations with Nazi extremism in the late 1930’s, and then that very uncomfortable World War II prelude in the voyage of the St. Louis, loaded with Jews to be denied entry to the US though they could view the lights of Miami from on-deck.

But we’ve grown past all that. Or so we thought.

No, Donald … We do not exclude people from our country just for religious reasons. It’s the lowest form of exclusion, right next to race.

But you can’t really blame the approach to a problem that – in the wake of Paris and San Bernardino – has a lot of people avoiding crowded spaces, high-value locations, and mass public events.  The demographics drive you to the Conclusion … almost.

Personally, I don’t think you target all Muslims.  You can whittle down the high-risk pool by narrowing the focus to the true demographic … the demographic prized and targeted by the extremist political factions we worry about most … young, unattached to family, disenfranchised Muslims.

Trump is partially right, but importantly wrong.

Then there’s the other lessons from our History, that give you a look at how Presidents in the past have over-reacted when you have the luxury of 20-20 hindsight.

Jimmy Carter cancelled the visas of Iranian nationals who might visit the US during the Iranian hostage crisis.  But this was not a “national security measure” as much as it was a pressure point to force Iran to comply with demands to release the hostages.

And it wasn’t based on religion.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt – on the other hand – went a bridge-too-far in interning 120,000 Japanese nationals during World War II.  He indeed did this for National Security, but on purely racial terms, which is horrendous even if you can dismiss the fact that few Germans or Italians were similarly interned.

Were his actions contrary to American ideals?  Definitely.  Were they productive?  Hard to tell from the existence of a negative (the absence of wartime sabotage).

Were the actions reasonable, given the events of the time?  Certainly, they provided a sense of greater security at a dangerous time in what was seen as vulnerable areas.  Remember, Japanese forces invaded and created a tenuous foothold in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.

Looking back, were the measures excessive?  Certainly … But you do have the Luxury of Hindsight!

Let’s look at the official release from the Trump campaign.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on .”

Now I’m willing to bet dollars-to-doughnuts that not too many sources condemning the Trump issue provided those last 11 words.  And if you really think about it, it’s not far off the same reasoning FDR used.  Securing what was perceived as the riskiest elements of the country’s western population until they could figure out what was going on.

Frankly, given all we know the reaction makes perfect sense.  After all, there are no Uruguayan basketball players heading to America with the intent of shooting up the infidels.

But it goes too far.  It’s far to broad and is based purely on religious belief.  It reeks of prejudice and violates American ideals.

So let’s take the most reasonable, sensible, and fair approach.

Ban all young, unattached, disenfranchised Muslims until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.