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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/28/18

America's Moral Angst

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From To The Point Analyses


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Part I -- Evidence of Moral Degeneracy For all those who in 2016 closed their eyes, held their noses and took a leap into the unknown by voting for Donald Trump, it is time to pry open those eyelids, gaze upon what they have wrought, and smell the decay pervading the country's public sphere. And indeed, it seems that growing numbers have, rather belatedly, noticed the signs of moral degeneracy coming from the Oval Office. What took them so long?

Actually, the time lapse is not really unusual. These Trump voters, having taken the leap sometimes for no other reason than they disliked Hillary Clinton (and her "politics as usual" ways), returned to their local lives and carried on as before. It was Mrs. Clinton's defeat that satisfied them more than any concern with who had actually been elected. They had not paid attention to Trump's malicious humbug.

These rather absent-minded balloters can be contrasted with another subset of voters, represented by the likes of former Klan leader David Duke, who went into their polling stations with eyes fully open. In February 2016, Duke had informed his white supremacist followers that "not voting for Trump was really treason to your heritage." Later he would declare that "we are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump."

The "we" here are those American whites who feel that social justice and civil rights for anyone but themselves would be an affront to their "heritage." Every nation has its bigots. These are America's.

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And here is at least one big structural problem with U.S. democracy -- it is a winner-take-all system. Thus, the "nose holder" helped the bigot to win. And, there was really no excuse for this result except that millions were not thinking through the consequences of their actions. Could those who were motivated more to vote against Clinton than to vote in favor of Trump have really anticipated the present consequences of their actions? I am afraid the answer is yes.

Even before 8 November 2016, Trump's ethical shortcomings were pretty obvious. All that bullying, slander and racial innuendo at his campaign rallies was spontaneous Trump--the real Trump--and not the product of some miscreant speechwriter or sleazy campaign director. The notion that gaining power would somehow breed a sense of responsibility in such a personality, if this happened to occur to anyone, is just rubbish. We have known this to be so ever since a certain German election in July of 1932.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that a president of Donald Trump's temperament is not new in U.S. history. He is not the first man with anger control problems and a stark disregard for the rule of law to hit the White House. However, he is certainly the most blatant. Not that history is a guide for the average voter -- the majority of Americans are not historically aware.

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The national history they are taught often does not go beyond what is needed to uphold an unquestioning pledge of allegiance. Put that ignorance together with prevailing inattention and you have an explanation of why it took so long for many U.S. citizens to realize that their president is a moral idiot.

From his first day in office Trump has, consistently and without embarrassment, packed the higher offices of government with unqualified fanatics, incompetent ideologues, and people who had as their goal the destruction of the departments they "ran." That is, with reflections of himself. He has also been bombarding us with moronic tweets (which are often indicators of forthcoming moronic policies), and lying like a cheap rug. Indeed, the only time the man is not lying is when he is in the grip of a temper tantrum or identifying with white supremacists, as after the Charlottesville debacle.

Yet, as noted, many Americans are only now shocked at the president's behavior. And what has been the trigger for this belated jolt? Family values -- that is, the disregard of them as applied to those seeking to enter the U.S. in an undocumented fashion.

You see, many of those described by the president as "rapists" and "dope peddlers" seeking to sneak across the nation's southern border are accompanied by their families. Donald Trump has declared this to be an invasion of "criminals," and as a deterrent to the "invaders," he had allowed the nation's border guards to kidnap their children.

By the way, the real scoop is that most of these "illegal aliens" are fleeing Central American violence which, historically, Washington has abetted. Regardless, in Trump's eyes the aliens are less than human. They are not worthy of legal due process or any sort of human rights considerations. The snatching of their children was an expression of this attitude.

And, when the First Lady recently went to inspect the resulting kiddy concentration camps, she let everyone know how she, and no doubt the rest of the Trump tribe, felt about the plight of these stolen children. It was right there on her jacket: "I really don't care." Trump said the sentiment referred to the couple's attitude toward "fake news," but really that was just a fake excuse. It was stupid callousness on Melania's part. It was one of those "how low can you go" situations.

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Lawrence Davidson Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign
Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest
; America's
Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli
Statehood
; and Islamic Fundamentalism. His academic work is focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He also teaches courses in the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

His blog To The Point Analyses now has its own Facebook page. Along with the analyses, the Facebook page will also have reviews, pictures, and other analogous material.

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