Fear And Anger [updated]

Fear And Anger [updated]

It’s been observed by quite a few people that Trump’s appeal to his base is not one of logic -- which can be debated by comparing and contrasting various policy points -- but emotion, in particular fear and anger. The fear is found among poorly educated voters, and by “poorly educated” I do not mean the degree of formal education they may have, but whether they make a consistent attempt to keep themselves informed and up-to-date on what’s happening in the world around them.

A high school drop out who reads extensively and is constantly on the look out for fresh points of view so as to better understand the world around her is far better educated that a think tank policy wonk who studiously avoids anything from outside his own echo chamber.

Many of Trump’s supporters do not understand the way the world is changing around them and because of that are fearful Something Bad will happen to them.

One can argue that Something Bad has already happened to them insofar as they have consistently voted against their own best interests to enable an entrenched system to come about that has no incentive to listen to them...but that topic brushes up against the anger part of the equation so we’ll put it aside for a moment.

They see the world changing rapidly and in ways markedly different from the (supposedly) safe world they think they grew up in during the 1950s (fear of commies and nuclear war), the 1960s (ditto), the 1970s (more ditto), and the 1980s (rise of unrest in the Middle East).

They have been told all their lives that dark skinned people are basically inferior and of a criminal bent, and while some of “them” may be nice and friendly, for the most part they’re rapacious monsters who will kill, torture, and mutilate those of a different color and rob them of their hard earned labor so the criminals can live cushy lives of leisure.

Wait…am I describing minorities today or pre-civil war slave holders?

As I’ve noted about the dear friend who is terrified their neighborhood has become crime ridden (it hasn’t) since it’s become more brown (it has), they are not necessarily hate mongering bigots in sheets, but when you boil their world view down, it ain’t that different from the klan’s.

They fear a brown planet, and that's doubtlessly from the inescapable knowledge that whites have treated non-whites pretty damn shitty in America since the day the first whites arrived here.  As the wheel of justice slowly turns, they fear their turn on the bottom.

So in their fear they choose to remain willfully ignorant of what drives them into the camp of a charlatan who promises to do something about “them” but whose history demonstrates he is more untrustworthy that Richard Nixon or P.T. Barnum.

Think about that for a while. Take all the time you need. We’ll be here when you get back.

The anger, as noted above, is related to the fear.

As their fear of losing status in an increasingly multi-ethnic world drove them to support GOPolicies, so too did their anger rise when the GOP failed to deliver.

Now, the GOP has been pretty slick about blaming their lack of success -- hell, their lack of effort, much less progress -- on the Democrats, but truth be told this country has been run on largely GOP policies since 1980, with their pandering to white supremacists going back to 1968.

They were tragically wrong about supply side economics, and as a result cost working class and middle class Americans -- the bulk of Trump’s base -- one trillion dollars in wealth and real estate and investments that got sucked up into the pockets of the top 1%.

They were tragically wrong about deregulation, which coupled with supply side economics effectively robbed the majority of Americans and put them at greater physical and financial risk.

They were tragically wrong about geopolitics, fueling a radical anti-Western movement in the Middle East that we will be dealing with for literally centuries to come.

These three items alarm and anger many Americans who have been very vocal in their desire to see something done to solve these problems, but because enough white Americans were more obsessed with what they perceived as their superior social status,[1] the GOP was able to convince them to vote against policies that not only would benefit them, but that the white majority clearly stated they wanted.

The wheels of time / history / justice do not stand still, and the world of white privilege is fast disappearing.[2]

Angry at having been promised much but not actually receiving anything, a lot of people who either were or leaned GOP in previous years are angry at the system as it exists now and want to shake things up.[3]

These voters support Trump because he promises to blow things up real good, and not being as fully cognizant of the world around them as they should be, or of the terrible lessons history affords on the topic, fail to realize that not only will they not be immune to said blow up, they are likely to suffer disproportionately because of it.

Fear and anger is going to decide this election, but it will not be the fear and anger of the average Trump voter.

Rather, it will be the fear and anger of rational voters who are cognizant of both the world around them and the history behind them, who have no great love of either Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party, but take one look at the orange turdmonger who has hijacked the GOP and are saying, “Oh,fuck no!”

It’s the fear of what Trump will do and / or allow to happen if he occupies the White House. They see a man unable to discipline himself enough to take his run for the presidency seriously, who allows himself to be easily distracted by picayune matters instead of staying focused on his campaign, a man who can be and often is baited by opponents who read him like a book[4] and know to get Reaction A from him all they have to do is provide Provocation B.

And I’m not even alluding to the absolute worst case scenarios such as those involving nuclear weapons. Trump the primary candidate can say silly things about renegotiating the interest on the US debt (which is remarkably low because we’ve always paid it on time) because nobody takes anything said to party loyalists on the campaign trail seriously; Trump the president can make one intemperate remark that will send markets crashing around the world and set lord knows how many dominoes a’tumbling.

He can alienate long standing allies, irritate adversaries into action, and because of his history of lack of oversight, lack of attention to detail, and boredom, can easily walk away from a serious problem that requires long term supervision and thus allow things to fall apart even more quickly.

Clinton may set very few hearts a’flutter, but she isn’t causing hearts to stop in sheer terror, either.

A year or so back I made the observation that Clinton would start her campaign with the maximum number of voters she could hope to have; it would be her task to keep from losing a significant number of those voters to her GOP rival (Jeb or Ted or Mario or John: One lox, two louts, and an average politician, all of whom are temperamentally better suited for the presidency than Trump).

Trump may have actually made it possible for Clinton to gain voters insofar as people who previously had been disinterested in national politics now recognize it’s not the choice of the lesser of two evils but a choice between a competent middle-of-the-road career politician who has sense enough not to kill the goose laying the golden eggs and an infantile narcissist business failure with no government experience whatsoever who wants a drumstick.

Those voters very logically fear what Trump is capable of, and are angry that the GOP and its voters have served the nation so poorly that it now requires these previously indifferent citizens to cast votes in order to prevent unmitigated disaster.

As Robert A. Heinlein once observed:

“You may never find anybody you want to vote for, but I guarantee you’ll always find somebody you want to vote against.”

Donald Trump is that candidate.


© Buzz Dixon


[1] “We’re all Nixon’s n[egroe]s.” -- George Carlin, circa 1968

[2] Which is not to say whites are going to suffer any sort of loss in the future, merely that non-whites are going to enjoy the same rights as whites do. And that drives a great many white people absolutely apeshit.

[3] There are a lot of Democrats and/or left-leaners who are p.o.ed at their party as well, but one of the big differences between the Democrats and the GOP is that for the most part Democrats see it as a game of inches and are willing to make compromises that move them down the field. The GOP have become all-or-nothing sorts who are rapidly ensuring they will get nothing in the end.

[4] Arealbook, not one of his ghost written self-congratulatory hagiographies.

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