Who knew? Who knew Presidents can behave – and act – as Dictators?

Most of us grew up with certain working assumptions about Presidents. Regardless of which Party they belonged to there were certain conventional wisdom perceptions that generally held. Once in a while a President would break with tradition, shatter conventional wisdom, or simple screw up pretty bad. But these were the exceptions, not the rule.

But things are different with Trump.

Trump’s consistent, daily barrage of words and actions affronting working assumptions and conventional wisdom about what a President is can be simply head twisting and jarring. And the vast majority of the times he does this it is to assert his power, divide the nation, and expand his control.

Who knew a President could just violate the standard practice of executing power within a legislatively mandated budget? Want money to build a wall even though it is not in the budget? No problema! Take it from the Military’s budget. Why should that matter anyway? Presidents should be able to do that! Except. Except that is a slap in the face of good government accepted practice. Except that gives the President yet one more tool to do as he pleases without consulting Congress.

Who knew a President could govern with many Departments and other critical positions in the bureaucracy with either no Directors or acting Directors? Want a Department to do something? No problema! Just tell them directly! i.e.: No research on global warming and such. What’s wrong with a shaking up the bureaucracy a little bit and instilling a sense of ‘just get it done (or don’t do it) because the President wants it’? What is wrong with this approach is that it makes a mockery of well established governance practices that have been effective for decades. What is wrong with this approach is that it is yet another example of Presidential power grab.

Who knew a President did not have to be what most people would say decent or empathetic? Who knew a President’s insults and brawl-like behavior would be if not welcomed, tolerated by ½ of Americans? Want to rile your base? No problema! Just insult the opposition with mockery and worse. What’s wrong with having a President that tells it like it is and doesn’t hold back? What is wrong with this is that it shatters centuries of decorum. What is wrong with this is that it makes it challenging if not impossible to share the President’s speeches with the youth of America because these no longer are aspirational, try to unite the Nation, or take the higher ground. Rather they are insulting, divisive, and gutter-talk.

Who knew a President did not need a Press Department, Press briefing, or Press conferences? Who knew that a President would just relate to the common citizenry by simply expressing his thoughts on a whim via social media? Want to tell the world what you think about that Fox News report? No problema! Just Tweet it. What’s wrong with a little candor? What’s wrong with directly connecting with your constituent? There is nothing wrong with this – except. Except if this ‘direct-connect’ is abused to the extent that his constituency relies exclusively on the President’s Tweets and his preferred news media outlets for their information. This is a Dictator’s dream. Trump has his base in the palm of his hands. And – even though they technically have the freedom to walk away and seek other news sources – they stay with him, adhering to his every word, and never ever criticizing him. It is governing through personality cult. It is governing by creating ‘fear of the other’. Oh, how the strong man of the past would applaud him!

And now what? What can we who see these trends towards totalitarianism and a Presidency that is closer to a Dictator than even before do? No problema! Get your friend to register to vote and to get his cousin to register to vote and then go vote vote vote November of 2020 to finally end this grueling nightmare. That is, assuming he will not create a crisis that somehow either de-legitimizes the election – or the election is not held at all.

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Republican and Democratic Party position: Can we talk?

It is too bad that we can’t discuss the difference in policy positions of the two major political parties in the U.S. This President has made it impossible to do so. Instead his hyperbolic language – including lies and insults – degrade any conversation to a screaming match of bumper-sticker, simplistic and charged accusations.

Here are the top ten ways this is happening today:

ISSUE
Republican Policy / How Democrats distort it
Democratic Policy / How Republicans distort it

ABORTION
Anti-abortion / Women hater
Pro-choice / Baby killer

GUNS
Pro-gun / NRA lovers
Gun-control / Communist

IMMIGRATION
Anti-immigration / Inhumane
Pro-immigration / Anti-American

THE BORDER
Secure borders / America First fanatics
Controlled borders / Open borders fanatics

DEFENSE
Strong defense / Militaristic
Measured defense / Soft on defense

TRADE
Anti-trade deals / Illogical economics
Pro-diplomatic deals / Giving away the store

BUSINESS
Pro-business / Insensitive capitalists
Pro-consumer / Socialist and communist

MEDIA
Skeptic of media / Propagandist
Pro-1st Amendment / Naive

JUDGES
Conservative judges / Stacking courts with fundamentalists
Liberal judges / Would stack courts with socialists

TAX CUTS
Tax cut for the wealthy / Pandering to the rich
Tax cut for the middle class / Income redistribution and reparations

HEALTH INSURANCE
Prefer Private health insurance / Sold out to big farma
Prefer Obamacare / Socialized medicine

Too bad. Simply too bad that we can not argue sensibly as to the merits of the different positions. And maybe – just maybe – find common ground and/or places where we intersect and could pursue legislation.

Too late. That time is gone.

We have to change the man in the White House and reclaim a sense of civility; reclaim our capacity to disagree without being disagreeable; and, respect – and dare I say trust? – each other. Dreaming? Possibly. But, rather that than despair.

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Every day it is more difficult to control the rage. Yet we must.

Every day it is more difficult to control the rage. Yet we must.

I am trying really – really – hard to understand and not think evil of Trump supporters. Yet if you support Trump’s policies and choose to remain silent regarding his behavior then you have a character flaw that needs addressing.

There is no comparison to this situation. Any attempt to create a comparison with any other situation is false equivalency.

Why are there no Republicans coming out and clarifying – and being up front – that the end point of many of trump’s policies may indeed be legitimate defensible; but his behavior and many of his tactics are simply despicable.

To remain silent regarding Trump’s despicable comments and tactics is to be complicit with an immoral approach to governance. Fear mongering, dividing people, and flaring up hatred is not a way to govern a country.

Why for crying out loud must this man disparage, demean, and insult four young women that have the fortitude of having ran for office and gotten duly elected? What other leader in the world in recent history has ever so insulted members of their own country’s governing bodies? What does he stand to gain from this other than to spike the hatred of people that voted for him?

I can hear his supporters saying YES! “This man speaks for us! You tell them Trump!”

I can see his supporters laughing with delight on hearing Trump say these things. I have seen Trump supporters laugh with delight in hearing him say such things. The ugly underbelly of racism, the ugly underbelly of hatred of immigrants, and the ugly underbelly of total lack of respect for women in many Trump supporters comes through loud and clear. I know. The people that say these things and laugh at Trump’s “frankness” are my own family members, they are my friends, and they are people that are not so quiet in certain circles about such things.

I usually bite my tongue or quietly turn around or simply walk away when I hear these things. I am so tired of doing that! It has become increasingly difficult to be in the same space as these individuals who many profess to be faith centered yet ally with these vile comments from the President. Demonstrating charity and love to these individuals, engaging them in conversations about sports or other supposedly less volatile topics, has become a draining chore.

Yet if I do not engage them; or yet if I fight them then Trump wins. Because he IS trying to divide us and ensure that his people hear and listen to only the channels of information that he controls. He is trying relentlessly to see to it that his truth becomes their truth – and that his message is the only message they voluntarily listen to.

When will people that have supported Trump in the past realize that they have been conned? When will these people realize that the man is a con man! When will these people wake up and see that the destructive nature of this warped personality has sickened them like a cancer?

Could it be that increasingly so a large number of people that have supported Trump in the past are literally embarrassed to admit they have been conned? Could it be that a large number of Trump’s supporters are simply too embarrassed to admit that they have been the victim of one of history’s most livid and vile attempts at creating mass hysteria through fear, lies, and manipulation of social media?

Is it too late for these folks to wake up? Is it too late for them to detox? Is it too late for them – like ex addicts –  admit they have been conned by a psychological affront more powerful than any chemical dependency?

… Maybe I should just pray for them and keeping them in my thoughts …

Lest I lose these in the virtual world:

THREE RECENT FACEBOOK POSTINGS WORTH MEMORIALIZING

[1] Frankly, f*ck you Trump! Our apology to our familia and friends if this is too crass. Sorry if we sound mad. We are… Governing through fear is so Castro-like. It is these very people – the Salvadorans, Cubans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, Ethiopians, and other immigrants – that indeed make America great. THEY do not need be to be round up like common criminals. Maybe it is the Trump crew that needs to be round up this week and sent back to wherever their grandparents came from. This Administration’s terror tactics are despicable, inhumane, and right down cruel. This is simply not our America. This is not the America that welcomed us over 50 years ago. This is not the America that embraced diversity. This is not the America we love… Thank God we live in this little enclave we call Silver Spring / Takoma Park where we still welcome all and we have local elected officials and activists that have the fortitude to stand up for what is morally right. GRACIAS Marc Elrich Nancy Navarro Gabriel Acevero Gabe Albornoz William JawandoEvan Glass Jamie Raskin Jheanelle K. Wilkins Nestor Alvarenga Mayra Bayonet Carmen Camacho Ada Villatoro Carmen M. Villafañe Hans RiemerFran Rothstein Kathy Stevens Manny Hidalgo Kate Stewart Kim PropeackJayne Park Fausto Bayonet Marla Bilonick Kathy Stevens Lino Rodriguez Jr.Celestino Rodriguez Alma Flor Ada Sara Mussie Tom Hucker … Do we sound pissed? We are! And we vote. #RESISTtheRaids

[2] Pathetic. This charade of a President can’t even get history right…. Can you imagine summer camps not being able to share with children the President’s Fourth of July speech because of its countless historical inaccuracies? Simply pathetic. …. Trump’s Fourth of July history speech: Turns out there weren’t airports back then

[3] Two stanzas “conveniently” left out when we sing THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND, eerily meaningful today 》

As I went walking I saw a sign there 
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.” 
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, 
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, 
By the relief office I seen my people; 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking:
Is this land made for you and me?

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