Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's not the so-called President - it's us, stupid!

To put it succinctly; the problem is not that the so-called President is a serial liar and seemingly has little ability to discern fact from fantasy and seems to believe his own lies; or that he has bragged about sexually assaulting women and indeed that a number of women have accused him of doing what he has bragged about; or he is the most conflicted President ever elected with business interests that could directly profit based on the decisions he makes in office;  or that he has promoted false racist memes; or has promoted religious bigotry in the name of national security or some kind of religious entitlement; or has been willing to make health care unaffordable for tens of millions of Americans for the sake of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans; or seems to embrace or admire murderous autocrats around the world while criticizing and insulting trusted allies; or displays little intention of studying the important policy issues of the day or being informed of the real state of the world and how his own government works; and has an over-sized ego that has become the textbook definition of a kind of pathological egomania.  No, the real problem is that he was elected President, albeit via an election game that makes no logical sense and only superficially resembles a democratic process.

No, the real problem is that as many people voted for him as they did.  The fact that he received around 46% of the popular vote is the problem.  And that is the problem that needs solving.

Without the ability to read people's minds, as if the minds of many persons were actually coherent and readable, we can at best only speculate as to the reasons why a person would vote for someone like the so-called President.

If you were to ask someone of they would willingly and happily vote for a sexual assaulter, most would say "no."

If you asked a voter if they would vote for someone who repeatedly lied, had numerous conflicts of interest, would threaten the existence of their own health care, promoted racist ideas, targeted religious minorities, and did not want to do the difficult policy work of being President, an overwhelming majority would say "hell, no!"  But as it turned out, 46.1% of those who voted did vote for someone as just described.  How come?

My educated guess is that there are four overriding reasons:

1) Some people actually are OK with lying, sexism, racism, etc.  These are good attributes for them.  This is what a real leader is expected to do for some people.

2) Some people willing to overlook these obvious contemptible attributes in the hopes of some policy action that would personally benefit them, such as a tax cut for the wealthy.  This is selfishness in my book.

3) Others are simply incoherent.  They have drunk the Kool-Aid and are fans of the so-called President and can either rationalize away his incontestable faults or choose to not believe they are real.  As the so-called President has said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."  Well, he might lose some voters, but definitely he would not lose all of them.  Go to http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/23/politics/donald-trump-shoot-somebody-support/  .

4) Some actually thought that the alternative choice for President was worse.  Some people actually believed that Secretary Clinton had conspired to kill various persons, see http://www.snopes.com/politics/clintons/bodycount.asp .  Some truly believed that she lied about Benghazi. Go see the Snopes web site:  http://www.snopes.com/?s=benghazi for objective info. Some people believed that the conflicts of interest due to the Clinton foundation were worse than the conflicts of the eventual so-called President despite the Clintons releasing numerous past tax returns and the so-called President releasing none.  Go to https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=16680 and https://www.charitywatch.org/ratings-and-metrics/bill-hillary-chelsea-clinton-foundation/478 and https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=16764 .  The Clintons made no money via their charity, did much good work and no evidence of policy influence has ever been evidenced.  Most of the bad things people believe about the Clintons can be classified as fake news, spin and mammoth exaggeration.  This is not a 100% right wing fringe problem - it turns out that many Bernie Sanders supporters were targeted by a disinformation campaign designed to discourage them for voting for Secretary Clinton. It worked.  Go see:  http://www.salon.com/2017/03/31/fake-news-websites-targeted-trump-bernie-sanders-supporters-to-spread-conspiracy-theories/  .

It is the last category where the most possible work needs to be done.  I am not talking about rehabilitating the image of the Clintons - I am talking about combating fake news and the inability of too many persons - enough to swing elections - to be influenced by fake news and their inability to discern between fact and obvious lies.

The work begins with promoting reason, evidence and skepticism while exposing irrationality, blind faith and  cynicism.  That is a topic for another day.