Ah, America. We Have A Problem…

Ah, America. We Have A Problem…

Okay. It’s Official. Donald Trump and his Banana Republicans have rhetorically incited their base to outright hate their Democratic opponents. Whether he acknowledges it or not, his preposterous radical lies are strategically intended to demonize his political rivals and to “stir up his base.” Now some of them are a serious threat to the heart of Democracy in America.

Trump may or may not have specifically intended to prod one or more of his “base” to terrorize the nation via package bombs addressed to his detractors, but in reality that is exactly what he did.  Like the leaders of Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc., he refuses to accept that he has any responsiblity for his actions, in this case his irresponsible acid rhetoric.   It is very important to point out that well into the second day of this continuing saga, his condemnation of these heinous acts has been perfunctory at best.  His immediate instincts are not to bring folks together under the banner of Democracy, but to find a way to be able to blame someone else.  Not at all surprisingly, if it’s not his fault (it never is), the “media” must be to blame.

His strategy is reprehensible, but not new. History tends to repeat itself.

“Baby Boomers” like me, were fathered by American soldiers after they returned from their triumphs over Germany, Italy and Japan in World War II.  Those with first-hand memories of that war and what America and our Allies fought for, are mostly gone by now.  Those who remain are few in number, long in years, and honored, but have little voice left.

We Baby Boomers by default have become the most heavily invested keepers of the lessons taught by those who survived the effort to put down the aggression of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany and Italy. It’s up to us to remember what was learned in the single largest global event in the lives of our parents.  Their generation paid a heavy price to defeat narcissistic, autocratic bullies, drunk with power and ideas that their supposed superiority gave them a mandate, not to govern, but to rule.  (Sound familiar?) It now falls to us and our progeny to preserve American Democracy’s dedication to the ideals of truth, mutual respect, civil discourse, and to the notion that we are a nation of diverse people who share in equal rights to life, freedom and opportunities for happiness and prosperity.

Unfortunately, that is a very tall order in the context of the polarized politics in America today. The middle ground between the two major parties is now a wide no-man’s land in the middle of an intensely hateful battleground.  Personalities and personal agendas now “trump” fundamental Democratic Ideals of respect for contrary opinions, empathy, and (God forbid) compromise.

In less than two years since taking office, a blustering, malignantly egomaniacal, pathological liar of the highest order has driven a stake into nearly all that Democracy stands for, and opened a huge chasm in American politics.  He clearly incites “his base” to deeply hate Americans who oppose him.  He lies prolifically all the while charging professional journalists, who take great pains to verify all that they report, with creating fake news.  He occasionally admits his lies (Surprise, he finally fessed-up that Middle Eastern terrorists are NOT among the Hondurans’ caravan of would-be immigrants in Mexico. April fools.  Note, however, he has not yet conceded that his ridiculous claim that the caravan was funded by a wealthy Democratic fundraiser was another lie, just a part his harmless little “game.” No harm, no foul. So what.. the fundraiser was sent a pipe bomb.. big deal.

And can you believe it, two weeks before the mid-term election he announces he’s about to roll out an additional 10% tax break for middle class Americans.  Seriously now, can you believe it?   

Yeah.. yeah.. a middle class tax break.. that’s the ticket!

Evidently, no one in Congress or any other corner of the government is aware of this beneficent plan.  His own party, (having further bloated the national debt by enriching corporations and the financial elite with this year’s tax reform) is in the midst of fleecing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay for the emoluments they made to their masters.  And now Trump is dangling another tax break instead.

But they’re not really worried.  We and they know the whole middle class tax cut idea will whither away after the Mid-Term elections are done.  Bring on the April fools again.

Trump figuratively slaps the nation across the face when he boldly justifies his lies by saying, “hey, they worked” (e.g., fooled you suckers again). When anything goes seriously wrong in his administration, which is most of the time, he always, without fail, finds someone else, preferably an enemy, to blame.  He calls this “counter-punching.”  I call it the automatic reaction of a bully when he’s caught out.

The “unbelievable,” has become the norm.  Even when he admits his lies to his base, they love him for it and ask for more.

The snake is selling snake oil and the swamp has fast become a cesspool.

Mockery, mimicry and parody, being the most offensive types of personal bully humor, are top among Trump’s favorite tools in the stand up comedy shows he calls “political rallies.” Trump rallies are where his base comes to re-confirm their baseness.  Members of his own party who he demeaned with derogatory nicknames and relentless ridicule have figuratively crawled on their knees to surrender all semblances of their pride, honor and patriotism before Trump’s Throne.  This is what he thrives on. He wants blind loyalty far more than real integrity from his sycophants.

Wow, what a leader: heartless, cruel, arrogant, degrading, disgraceful, lecherous, amoral and uncivilized.  Is this what defines American Democracy at its best?  Or is this what my father’s generation went to war to defeat?

This last full week of October 2018, in an ugly turn of events, America heard the news that a terrorist or terrorists sent bombs to prominent leaders of the Democratic Party. Coincidentally, all of the bombs’ targets had been specifically named by Trump as his enemies at his hate rallies.  In that event at least one sicko crossed a line that may shift our president from despicable to fatally dangerous.  The escalation of the animosity encouraged by Trump was only a matter of time.  A bunch of lies, innuendo, and grade-school comedy was bound to light a fuse like this.

The survival of our Democracy from enemies from within has been laid on the table.

A certifiably deranged egotist is in the White House.  Now that John McCain is no longer with us, who among Mitch McConnell’s merry band of spineless racists in the Banana Republican Party will step up for Democracy, real Democracy?  Don’t count on many Repugnican legislators, administrators, or judicial officials to step out of line and fight for the rights of all.

Apparently, true Democracy is just not in their DNA.

 

James C, Ash – October 26, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Need a Citizen Army

Why We Need a Citizen Army

Note:  

This is a reprint of an article written by a colleague and friend, John Delach, for his blog On the Outside Looking In.  He has graciously given me permission to reprint Why We Need a Citizen Army here.  John’s blogs reflect his no nonsense/great-common-sense nature and his unbiased wisdom.  I sincerely thank him for his strong insights, good humor, friendship and for his permission to present this piece here.  

Jim Ash

Why We Need a Citizen Army

by John Delach

Not too long ago, my grandson, Matthew asked my assistance with a report he had to submit for a high school class. The subject was should we have a military draft? “What do you think, Grandpa?”

Matt knows I’m an old Goldwater conservative, so he did not expect my response: “Absolutely! Citizen-soldiers protect the armed forces from being over used.”

Today we have professional, all-volunteer armed forces including the reserves. The patriotic men and women who choose to join the service want to be there and they bring a degree of commitment and professionalism to all the branches that would be watered down by draftees.

Draftees just want to do their time and get out. Army Reserve and National Guard units would revert to the days when individuals opted for six months of active duty and a six-year reserve commitment to fulfill their required service.

I accept that the commitment and dedication of our professional armed service would surely suffer, especially the Army, but I believe that such a downgrading is a price worth paying to offset the downside of an all-volunteer Army.

Our all-volunteer service has created a new form of separation, not by race, religion, background, education or nationality, but one that basically divides America. We have the few who serve while the rest of us go on with our lives completely removed from their sacrifices as if our endless wars don’t even exist.

Of course, there is public recognition of those who serve. Cosmetic recognition in the form of staged events such as honoring service members at sports events, football and baseball games, the Super Bowl and the World Series. We honor them during Fourth of July patriotic concerts and with pre-planned scripted TV moments showing returning troops surprising spouses and kids (usually at school.) We are conditioned to thank troops for their service and object to any behavior that could disrespect these men and women. They fight while we sprout feel good platitudes.

Meanwhile, we live our lives, attend births, holidays, graduations, marriages and funerals. Life goes on while far in the background, mostly soldiers and Marines suffer and die in lonely places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and hot spots in other Middle Eastern and African locations. We have been engaged in “War Without End” since the attacks of September 11, 2001 and nobody screams, “Isn’t enough, enough?”

We protest if someone slights the flag or football players kneel at the playing of our National Anthem, but our leaders don’t seem too give a damn that we are engaged in two wars, both longer than the sum of all the wars we fought in our nation’s history.

The clock on the Afghan War will tick over to 17 years this October. Iraq, in all its gestations, is right behind it. To date: “More than three million Americans have served in uniform in these wars. Nearly, 7,000 of them have died. Tens of thousands more have been wounded.”

Where is the outrage? Where are the protesters? I find it strangely sad that the old Viet Nam War protesters who I watched fill the green at the top of Main Street in Keene NH, to protest W’s war against Saddam don’t bother to picket any longer. They gave up during Obama’s reign or just became too old.

Instead of outrage over the death and maiming of our greatest national treasure, our young patriots, the protesters march against ICE, the World Trade Organization, Civil War Statues and other causes too stupid to mention.

Meanwhile, soldiers and Marines continue to give their lives for real estate that their bosses abandon in six months. Sadly, they are called on to do this repeatedly. Six month or one-year tours in “the sand box” until they get out, break down, or return maimed or in flag draped coffins.

How many times can the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe they can send these brave men and women into harm’s way repeatedly before they break down? Enough is enough! Stop the madness!

The draft would re-establish a basic tenet of our Republic. Historically, a citizen army fights our wars and we need a citizen army to end this abuse of power.

No president since FDR has asked Congress for a Declaration of War. Our Constitution mandates that only Congress can declare that we are at war. Congress, long ago abdicated their authority and signed off on various Executive Orders taking us to war. Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and whatever heroic name we use for that Afghan mess were all mandated using smoke and mirrors.

Presidents and the Congress realize that we, the American public, are content with our all-volunteer armed forces as we abhor the thought of little Johnny or Suzie being drafted and being killed in a war. Those we can’t trust exploit the volunteer army. So long as patriotic men and women volunteer to serve, the beat goes on

During the eight years when Dwight David Eisenhower was president, we had the draft and we didn’t lose one service man in combat. Ike detested putting his soldiers in harm’s way.

Today, we allow our leaders to thoughtlessly discard our sons and daughters, our greatest generation, because we don’t hold these leaders accountable. Shame on us! A draft would re-establish an army of citizen soldiers like our Republic meant it to be.

With a draft, if a future president attempted to dispatch Johnny or Suzie to China or Lower Nowhere without cause, we’d take to the streets for the real deal: “Hell no, we won’t go!.”