Sunday, July 9, 2017

What Makes DJT Dangerous

After what the president NOW claims is their first meeting (see early campaign boasts), a lot of commentators spent a lot of time comparing how much Vladimir Putin & Donald Trump had in common ~ they came into power promising to make sweeping reforms; in every arena, they strive to have total control of the reins; and they are both famous for being rule breakers.  In this last, they seem similar, with one huge & all-important different, which POTUS revealed for all the world to see at this week's G20.  Putin knows the rules; DJT doesn't.

The current Dalai Lama observed, "Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."  And when it comes to business, no one can beat Donald John Trump at skating close to the edge of rules without - usually - going over.  When he's gotten into trouble seems to have been when he played a l  little too fast & loose.  

But he is clueless in the rules, written & unwritten, of governance, foreign affairs & diplomacy.  Putin breaks them with impugnity;  President Trump breaks them from ignorance.  As witnessed by him having Ivanka sit in for him at a round table of world leaders.  It would have been a slap in the face - like the story of FDR sending his mistress to welcome the recalled Ambassador Joseph Kennedy back from England after Joe embarrassed the USA at the Court of St James - if the powerful men & women around it hadn't known that it wasn't political gamesmanship, just an example that father & daughter are well versed in properties, not political proprieties. 

For weeks, I've been trying to think of why I keep feeling that Donald Trump is a mere faint copy of his mentor, the brilliantly obstructive Roy Cohn.  Having his daughter, who has maybe slightly more inkling about non-business world affairs than her Dad, sit in for him was a light dawning. 

No one knew the rules of law & business & human nature better than Roy Cohn, which left him able to break them with deep cunning & sure knowledge of what he was doing, what the outcome would most likely be, where his rule breaking would take him even if it flubbed.  Like DJT, he took like huge risks, but with full awareness of the dangers being courting, the benefits if it went his way (which it typically did), how to make it work if things went bad.

Donald John Trump became a political phenomenon because he didn't simply break the rules - he didn't know them. That made him an irresistible magnet to the disgusted & disenfranchised.  For as long as there's been politics, politicians have been promising to toss out the bums in power, to bring down the Establishment.  Donald Trump was the first person running for president that they could seriously believe would trash the Beltway Establishment & not replace it with a similar version of the same.  He talks exclusively in terms of detailed destruction & vague replacement because it is easy to destroy but takes knowledge will ability to replace.

Putin knows the rules, breaks them with devastating effectiveness.  President Trump doesn't know the rules, doesn't show any sign of any interest in getting to know them, breaks them from ignorance.  When it comes to governance, foreign affairs & diplomacy, he's not skating close to a verboten edge - he doesn't know where they are.  Nor does he care, as long as he's taking his way.

And that makes DJT very very very dangerous.  Even Roy Cohn would be scared.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Understanding DJT

It just hit me this a.m. that I understand what makes POTUS 45 run.  He's like someone close to my heart.  On their own, immense wealth, power, celebrity mean nothing to him.  He craves the feeling of wholeness he gets when others consider him #1.  His campaign slogan should have been “Make Donald Feel Great. Again. And Again. And Again…”  

From what I’ve seen & heard, DJT feels locked into second place to his father, Fred.  He feels whole when he feels super-sized – then, he is bigger than his pater. 
Therein lies the irresistible allure of Vladimir Putin.  Every inch former KGB, Putin knows just what to say to make DJT feel pretty darn wonderful.  He is a master of finding common ground & using it to bond the other to him. Look at them at the G20 - two guys against the anti-Russian American Establishment, against the worldwide Establishment!  I dare say Putin has more clout with the American president than even Ivanka.  

No one can make Donald feel the way Putin does & that will be as powerful as any drug.  The only way to get & stay in supply is via the Kremlin.  And that ain't good for anyone.

Monday, July 3, 2017

A House Divided -~ ~ early morning meander

These days, each morning finds me rolling out of bed by 5:15 a.m., greeting the beautiful world, having a glass of water with my blood pressure pill, doing my 5-fold Namastes, dressing & heading out on a walk around the block.  Haven't done my journaling yet, so thoughts flit through the old noggin more than if I had.  So, welcome to my return to radical centristing, putting down mental meanders that joined me on my ramble.

Listening to Krista Tippett's Udemy class on The Art of Conversation, realize how much we have lost the grace of sharing opinions without coming to verbal blows.  Especially when it comes to politics.  While conservatives have, over the past 30+ years, consistently polled as wanting elected officials to stand true to their ideology, whatever the fall-out, ~and~ liberals/independents incline toward wanting theirs to practice the fine art of compromise essential to effective governance, the differences between the ideologies have become more pronounced over the past eight years.  The liberal proclivity for conversation, debate & reasonable compromise took a major hit, as they faced an opposition that saw 11/04/08 - for whatever reason - as a call to combat the likes of which we haven't seen in my lifetime.  That pissed off a lot of Dems, who then dug in their own heels leaving us with less-likely-to-listen-to-different-sides liberals.

The greatest danger, to me, falls on the right, on its utter devotion to THEIR beliefs, while shrouding different points of views & faiths in suspect creepy dangerous otherness.

On my walk, it hit me why a young friend insists most of her liberal friends openly don't believe in God.  Thinking back to what she said, realized that she would consider ME among them, because I do not believe that Christians have a monopoly on faith.  What did she think when I said that God is like a great ocean that laps up on many shores but is still One. 

Years ago, a nephew & I shared our ideas of God  - he insisted that people who did not hold the ONE true image of God (the one he held) were damned by their lack of true faith.  To him, I did not believe in God. 

The same might be true with my young friend - liberals don't hold faith in God because they don't hold faith in HER god.  The GOP doesn't consider liberals to be patriotic because they don't hold THEIR point of view.  

This core difference between the two parties - the one honoring diversity & the other sensing it as a direct threat to all they hold dear - became of fresh interest to me this weekend, viewing with horror the 2017 NRA "freedom's safest place" ad, which builds on last year's.  In 2016, it warned the world's bad guys not to mess with real Americans; in 2017, they swapped in liberals as the bad guys out to destroy America, who would have to face the "clenched fist of truth."

Pardon me while I stop roaring with bitter laughter. The NRA stands 4-square with a president who doesn't know the difference between the truth & a self-serving falsehood.  He says what to others would be considered a flagrant, flaming lie - he says it, then it's reported, he reads the report of his lie & believes it because it was on the news.  And he isn't trying to jerk our chain - he really does believe whatever comes out of his mouth.  He hasn't presented himself as any different. The first person the NRA should come after with its clenched fist of truth is POTUS!

"The clenched fist of truth" - reality check.  Ideology, not truth, has a clenched fist.  The NRA posted a picture of Rosie the Riveter as an example of their imagery - how pitiful.  Clenched fist brings one thing to mind - anger, barely able to keep control, a desire to come out swinging.  To a reasoned mind, it was not a call to arms; to an unreasonable one, whatever their personal ideology - YOUCH!  

That openly-condemning-liberals NRA ad twinned with the president's "playful" video showing him body slamming CNN broadcasts a scary vibe across the land.  Forget "stirring the pot" - the ad & the video set the burner on HIGH.  

We cannot survive long as a country that cannot find common ground.  Conservatives expect the Supreme Court to root out past rulings that opened the way to gay marriage, to increased suffrage across age gender race, what they consider licentious life styles.  Everything liberals spent the past 50 years building, conservatives look forward to tearing down - in their mind, restoring a proper order to our nation.  We are increasingly a house divided.

Today marks the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg, a timely reminder of what happens when the chasm between ideologies gets so great, the ability to have a helpful conversation becomes too mangled, the willingness to listen consider compromise disappears.