|Jim Carrey's masterful portrayal of Donald Trump|
The Forum newspaper chain has a long background of supporting Republicans. They'd probably claim they make occasional exceptions to that. Those stuffed shirts endorsed Amy Klobuchar when she first ran. I'd cynically (but accurately) point out that the Klobuchar endorsement was "convenient" because the company had nothing to lose. Polls showed clearly she was going to win. She was generally well-liked. She was certainly well received here in Morris for the recent UMM graduation.
The Forum endorsements are worth examining because all the papers in their system must echo from the top. It almost seems quaint thinking of newspaper political endorsements. Seems out of another age. Newspapers were not exactly lined up to endorse Donald Trump. Why not? The electorate eventually chose the man, albeit with a little help from scheming Russians.
So beaten down is the Mueller probe from the likes of Fox News and Devin Nunes, we must wonder if we can adequately grapple with the Russian threat. We hold our breath each day as Mueller keeps crawling toward the finish line, amidst a cacophony of hostile and disrespectful voices from the likes of Fox and Nunes. We'd like to see the dam break and for the forces of objectivity and fairness break through, those voices who feel it's important we retain a strong and independent law enforcement apparatus. The problem appears to be, increasingly, the cult of personality surrounding Donald Trump. Here's a man with no previous experience in government or the military, a man with a sheer gift for powerful if misleading oratory.
I sensed that "gift" and the threat it represented during the campaign. He's like the salesman who looks you in the eye and can convince you he really can connect with you and care about you. There were 17 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump had the gift of making himself stand out, no doubt about it. He clearly knew how to navigate today's crowded media waters.
How different is the media landscape today? I remember well the 1968 and 1972 election seasons when there were no presidential debates. Not even in the primaries. Nixon vs. Humphrey? Nixon vs. McGovern? It didn't happen. Nixon did show savvy with those carefully orchestrated "infomercials" (in the days before that term was coined) that included Bud Wilkinson (the fawning football coach). So Nixon was media savvy for his times. But those times did not include the kind of debates that go on absolutely ad nauseum today. The cable TV news networks are complicit. My, how the debates dragged on and on. The cable networks liked these, I'm sure, because they got higher ratings than anything else they could put on.
The candidates? Did all 17 GOP candidates really think they had a legitimate shot? Oh I don't think so. Whenever I see Ted Cruz, I imagine him masturbating in his college dorm room. Many of these candidates knew they could parlay their high profile as "candidates" into productive gigs down the road. They could churn out books and go on the lecture circuit. Meanwhile us Americans watched in rather a groggy state of mind, as surely there was nothing new to be learned after the first couple of debates. Hell, after the first debate. Panels got assembled on cable news, day after day to hash through the redundant rhetoric.
It all made the election process seem so weighty. In a sense it is, if you consider how politics can affect our day-to-day lives. So we should be concerned now if inflation is on the horizon as a result of Trump's tariffs and the impending trade war. Trade wars can turn into shooting wars. We hear the tariffs are needed to ensure a solid steel industry in case we get into a war. Only male candidates would speak in these terms. Men get mad and seek to intimidate others as with the Trump aide's comment about how "there's a special place in hell" for the Canadian prime minister. I just think Trump is jealous of the Canadian guy's youthful handsomeness. Stormy Daniels said she did not look forward to having sex with Donald Trump.
Men inflame conflict. Could you imagine World War II happening if women were in place as leaders around the world? The danger signs are now getting so apparent with Trump, none other than George Will, once the consummate conservative intellectual, is recommending voting against the GOP. He actually advises - gasp! - to vote Democrat. That's how loud the alarm bells are ringing.
Trump with his policies have hurt many of his very supporters. He tried convincing everyone he'd "make America great again." His rhetoric on the surface was impressive. He had the salesman's touch, or shall I saw reality TV star touch, to stand out from among the crowded field of GOP candidates. Chris Christie? You've got to be kidding. I never ruled out Trump winning. He didn't truly win in the sense he lost the popular vote. A vote cast in Wyoming has eleven times the impact of a vote in California. That's our electoral college system.
Shall we be whistling past the graveyard? The demonizing of Hillary Clinton was a subtle and devious process. Clinton would clearly be governing from the middle today. She no doubt would have many "quiet" days in which she'd feel no need to be at the top of the news cycle. Wouldn't we all breathe a sigh of relief about that? About a president who could quietly go about her business without an air of sensation? Without trying to poke in the eye all real and imagined adversaries, the way Trump insulted mark Sanford after Sanford's loss. So, Trump lodged that insult with an eye toward Sanford's marital infidelity? As if Trump were pure as the driven snow. Obviously Trump is the polar opposite of pure as the driven snow. And yet the more we learn about the lecherous nature of this man, the more we see "evangelicals" stick with him.
What kind of world have we now entered? Can we overcome this without some sort of cataclysmic disaster? Maybe we can, as we all scrutinize our lives to see if we're "really better off" which is the measuring stick for politicians. It's analysis at the micro level. Unless we stand idly by as a narcissistic and overreaching president plunges forward.
Forum Communications of Fargo did not actually endorse Trump for president. Maybe all of
Trump's mesmerized backers should now cease purchasing Forum products. Why was the Forum averse to Trump? Wasn't he the Republican nominee? And the Forum couldn't bring itself to endorse Clinton either. They let us decide on our own, I guess. Not a shining example of leadership.
We wait day by day to see if there will be a mass exodus away from Trump's circle. We have been through various stages where this could have happened, like after Charlottesville. Each time the concern fades, for some reason. Should we be surprised there is a new chapter of outrage with the migrant kids? I shudder as I suspect that this, too, will fade. Unless I'm suddenly pleasantly surprised.
I don't think even Bud Wilkinson would be interested in going on TV with Trump. Seriously, if we detach from the current mess, shrugging as it were, and allow a whole class of people to be dehumanized, what might happen next? Were it not for Godwin's Law, I could offer a chilling analogy. That law might have to be suspended.
Might we see Forum Communications follow the example of George Will?
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org