Saturday, March 04, 2017

Trump vs the World

Recently my son and I were discussing Donald Trump. We both detest the man, and cringe if our political opinions align with something Trump says. But my son is young. He's an optimist. When I saw the rally on CNN in 2015, before Trump had even announced his intention to seek the nomination, I told my son I was worried because he would win. My son didn't believe it. And later, when Trump single-handedly decimated the Republican leadership pool for a generation, I told my son I thought he'd win the election. Despite my assertion, we were both astounded when he actually did.
Now, not quite two months in, my son is sure that despite everything, Trump can't ruin America. On most things political, I defer to him. He knows history, the constitution, the actual workings of the political machinery. He loves America. Admires the political system. He's a smart kid. But on Trump, he's wrong.
We all know that Trump is an anomaly. The rules of basic human interaction and decorum don't apply and obviously neither do the political conventions that have helped shape the western world as we know it. Yes, Trump can ruin America. In fact, he has the power to ruin the world.
On one hand, we have the GOP, giddy with power, acquiescing to Trump and (with a few exceptions) falling all over themselves to defend the indefensible. To my mind, Trump is always indefensible. As ad hominem a statement as that might be -- it's my blog and that's how I feel. These Republican politicians seem eager to stand by their leader regardless of how hapless his moves and bizarre his behavior, applauding politely from the sidelines at announcements that should make them pause.
Despite Trump's relatively normal demeanour during a joint address to congress, he is both an enigma and a threat by virtue of his capricious and unstable personality. And let's remember who lurks behind his curtain. While some of the people who Trump has surrounded himself with are not in league with the devil, more are. Those who see themselves as simply serving their country, are not strong enough personalities to challenge the new status quo.
On the other hand, so many political actions are in fact, reactions. Rather than being sound policy, some laws and even entire belief systems are a response to past policy. Germany today, with its open borders and extreme hate laws, is still reacting to Hitler and its Nazi past. One can argue whether the law against Holocaust denial is good for preventing hate or bad for assailing free speech, but it exists because of Germany's history.
Within the confines of law and politics, I don't believe that Trump alone can ruin America. I do believe that because he is extreme in everything he does, reactions to him are also extreme. As time goes on, regardless of his stance on issues, moderate people all over the world, not wanting to be tied to his brand of 'conservatism' will edge further and further away from positions that Trump taints by holding them. People whose vision is already decidedly to the other extreme, will be emboldened, perceiving their views, regardless how extreme the other way, as being the only decent and respectable ones.
To begin, Trump has destroyed the possibility of discussing borders and immigration rationally in the same way Nazism prevents Germans from taking anything less than its polar opposite stance. And with Trump, that was just the campaign. The first week's work solidified it and it only gets weirder from here.
Trump alone can't change America or the world, but strange and extreme alliances are bound to form as part of the 'resistance' to Trump. The societal shift that causes, and the changes it brings, will be no better than the world the resisters fear that Trump will foist upon them, but at least they will be able to feel good about themselves.


Boorshnik Greesh said...

Wow, you sound as pantspissingly hysterical as Schumer or Pelosi.

Canadianna said...

Wow...Boorshnik ... insightful. Love your examples of hysteria from the post.

Perhaps you're right. Maybe considering the repercussions of vile, racist, stupid people leading the free world is silly. I sincerely hope so.

Anonymous said...

Wow.....You need help. You should back up your statements with facts. Don't see realize Liberalism is a mental disorder.....get help.

Anonymous said...

What is not "rational" about Trump's immigration policy? As an immigrant myself, I understand a country's policy of wanting to have a say in who crosses its borders, just as individuals have a right to determine whom they want to allow into their homes. When my parents decided to immigrate they were fully aware that there were quotas, i.e. pre-established numbers of nationals allowed to immigrate -- and those quotas existed at a time when terrorism was not a commonplace event. Trump's limiting the number of nationals from countries rife with terrorism "until we figure out what's going on" is rational, IMO.

Yes, it's true, Donald Trump is not the kind of politician we are accustomed to, the kind who answers questions with platitudes, who professes to have compassion towards children, the elderly, the most vulnerable blah blah blah ... It's true, more polish and humility, less disagreeableness and abrasiveness would perhaps make him seem more "presidential" ... but did Obama's 'presidentialness' make the world a safer place?
-- Gabby

Anonymous said...

WOW...a lot of HATE in your comments. I don't see where your basing your info from? Perhaps from the CBC ,(Trudeau paid them enough ) since your from liberal Toronto. I bet you think Wynne is WONDERFUL. So you prefer crooked, pinocchio Clinton with her pervert husband? And people like you vote...low information, no facts...just HATE.You should head on over to the Red Star. They would love your idiot remarks.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you prefer this to happen in the US

Canadianna said...

Suddenly I've lost my 'conservative creds' because I don't like Trump. I never even said I disagree with any Trump policy. I've said I'm concerned about reaction to Trump, from both left and right. The comment section here is exactly what I mean. Conservative commenters have decided because I'm anti-Trump, I'm anti-conservative instead of understanding that my concern is not actually Trump -- it's the extreme reaction to him. As a conservative, I hate Trump and I still agree with immigration reform. A Liberal who hates Trump does a shout out to the world's refugees "HEY, WELCOME HOME" Don't you see? People like Justin Trudeau are already extreme enough... when they are reacting to Trump, they get to travel an extra mile on their 'kindness' and then we have the current mess that's developing on OUR border.

Anonymous 1 - Liberalism? You realize you came to this blog through a conservative aggregator, right? While his worshippers might see Trump as conservative because that's how he branded himself, he's actually not. Even when his ideas differ from the Democrats, it doesn't make them conservative. He's all over the place. No consistent ideology. Your reaction, where you'd judge a stranger's politics from a single blog post -- it's kinda funny considering you haven't managed to judge a man by a lifetime of his actions.

Anonymous 2 (Gabby)- I didn't say there was nothing rational about Trump's immigration policy. Go back and read again. I said his handling of the file has made rational debate on immigration impossible. Trump's talk of immigration/Islam is racist and awful. It was handled disrespectfully. It was handled in a way that demonized immigrants. Many people who agree with the need for reforms, for better vetting etc. are uncomfortable with Trump's stereotyping and sweeping comments on Islam and Mexicans. I agree with border reforms. I agree with immigration control. Moderate voices are getting lost though. He has both emboldened bigots and those who want no restrictions like our own PMJT -- whose knee-jerk reaction to Trump's travel ban is exactly what I mean about 'reaction' to Trump, rather than sound policy.

As for Obama -- hell no. He was a horrible president. Trump is America's response to him. Perhaps we can call Trump the anti-Obama. That's my point though.... to me, the anti-Trump -- the so-called 'resistance' and its inability to address concerns around immigration because ignorance or fear of being called racist -- THAT is what will ruin the world.

Anonymous 3 - I would not prefer Clinton but I believe if she'd have been president, her term would have gone by without much consequence either way. She is a bad and corrupt politician. Not much different from so many others but not able to do as much damage as her predecessor or her rival.
Why is it that people believe that if you don't support Trump, you must be a liberal. I hate Wynne. I also believe that Trump was only possible because of the bad governing of Obama and the wicked greed of Hillary. Had SHE been sane and allowed someone else to take the Democratic nomination, but she demanded her shot and this is the result.

Anonymous 4 - I doubt you've read any of my posts beyond this one, but I wrote this in 2015 against terrorists keeping their citizenship:

Anonymous said...

So I took your advice and re-read what you wrote. True, you may not have used the exact words “there [is] nothing rational about Trump's immigration policy” but forgive me if my reading of what you did write “Trump has destroyed the possibility of discussing borders and immigration rationally...” led me and possibly other readers to infer that you think Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from specific countries is less than rational.

Like you, I am pro-immigration. How can I be against it when my own family has been a beneficiary of it? But I believe so is Trump, even if his way of addressing the issue has been inelegant when he has spoken off the cuff, without a prepared speech. Why is stating the obvious, i.e. that most current terrorist actions have been perpetrated by extreme Islamists from certain countries, “racist and awful”? BTW, may I remind you that Islam is not a race, it is a religion? Furthermore, if the temporary ban were truly anti-Islam, surely Trump would have included ALL countries with Islamic populations, don’t you think? Why is the part where Trump said "until we figure out what's going on" usually left out when discussing Trump’s immigration policy from Mid-East countries? Isn't admitting "Houston, we have a problem" at least an attempt at finding a solution?

Rather than rely on the commentariat’s interpretation of Trump’s executive order re: certain foreign nationals who are temporarily inadmissible to the US, it would perhaps be wiser to read the executive order itself, which I trust you’ve read … or am I wrong? Funny thing, though. There is no mention of either “Muslim” or “Islam” in the executive order, according to the "find" & "search" functions I used. My quick skim of the executive order found this, however:
Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S.
“In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles. The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including “honor” killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Sounds rational, at least to me.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to sign. Anonymous at 12:05 is my comment
-- Gabby

Canadianna said...

Hi Gabby -- nice to have you back. Again, Trump's inelegance is the issue. Tone is important, particularly on immigration, particularly at a time when sensitivities are piqued. I'm not entirely against the travel ban, although it was poorly executed and left the door open for the hysteria that arose.

I agree that Islam is a religion, not a race, and that people 'read into' the EO exactly what they wanted to. Most conservatives already hold a cautious view of immigration, migration, so dialogues must take place with people who hold opposing views. There can be no dialogue when you create an air of hostility and suspicion. Trump has played into the pre-existing contempt for conservative thought on the matter and made many moderates afraid to speak out for fear of being branded racist. In the absence of the moderate conservative voice, extremism on both sides will rise. There is a vacuum of real legitimate conservative leadership right now. Trump is a vehicle, not the driver. I find that scary.

Ken N said...

I'm just a drive-by progressive...

'What is not "rational" about Trump's immigration policy?'

Happy to answer that. The US is not suffering or damaged because of immigrants, legal or otherwise. It's not their biggest problem, and cutting illegal immigration to zero would make things worse, not better. Ask yourself - why is there no mention of pressing charges and levelling fines against companies and individuals who employ illegals? It's because too many of them benefit from employing illegals - they work for cheap, you don't have to pay benefits, and you can treat them like dirt because they have no recourse. Food would rot in the ground if not for migrant agricultural workers, many of whom are illegal.

It's claimed that illegals are a drain on social services. Easy answer: collect from the companies and people who hire the illegals.

Likewise, there's no proof that banning some or all Muslims will make the US any safer.

So, it is hardly rational to make this a central election issue from an economic/safety standpoint. But from a social standpoint, it makes a handy scapegoat. An "other" in our midst, who can't defend themselves.

But the scapegoating has worked, hasn't it? It will be easy to find one or two bad guys when you arbitrarily round up thousands. These few baddies will be paraded in front of the press in order to justify the policy.

But that's as far as they will go. Some token efforts, some parading of baddies, mission accomplished. They dare not export all 11 million illegals, the US economy couldn't take the hit.


So the only thing rational about a heavy-handed and arbitrary policy on immigration is to appeal to a certain of voter.

Anonymous said...

PS the above link makes it clear that illegal immigration has plateaued and been going down since about 2007. And that it was Obama who stepped up the deportation of illegals who commit crimes.

Fred from BC said...

You're not the only conservative to be alarmed by Donald Trump, but your son is correct on this. The US political system contains more and better 'checks and balances' than our own, and Trump can only go so far before they rein him in. It's already happened with the *temporary* immigration ban from *some* Muslim countries (two important qualifiers often ignored by liberals). So no, he can't end civilization as we know it...he just doesn't have the power.

Ken N said...

...the *temporary* immigration ban from *some* Muslim countries (two important qualifiers often ignored by liberals)

Not at all.

Half of a xenophobic and ineffective act is not much better than going whole hog. There's no evidence or proof that the *temporary* immigration ban from *some* Muslim countries would achieve anything tangible... other than proving that he'd follow through with the stupid proposal. Reports have it that Trump wanted the whole enchilada; his advisors determined that this was the most stringent ban they thought they could legally get away with, and even this was incorrect.

I agree that there are enough checks and balances in their system to prevent catastrophe, but the mere fact that Trump got elected has shaken many Americans' faith in the ability of the current electoral system to select the most suitable candidates.

Anonymous said...

Canadianna at 5 March 2017 at 13:19, once again I agree with you: “tone IS important”. However, no matter how well-reasoned & logical the arguments advanced by conservatives may be, many of those who hold opposing views -- the hard-core self-styled progressives -- will never change their position, no matter how civil the discourse. Dialogue is a two-way street. If your opponent demeans your POV & uses ad hominems rather than logical arguments, that attempted dialogue leads nowhere.

Trump has managed to capitalize on the pent-up anger people have been feeling at being labelled racist, xenophobic etc. etc. for merely holding a world-view that differs from the so-called progressive side of the political spectrum, for wanting that existing laws be respected. Once in office, Trump will have to temper the brash promises he supposedly made, like deporting 11 million illegals. Don’t forget, those were made in the heat of the election campaign.
-- Gabby

Anonymous said...

For Ken N at 5 March 2017 at 13:23
“It's claimed that illegals are a drain on social services. Easy answer: collect from the companies and people who hire the illegals.”
It is my understanding that there are already laws to that effect:
“In 1986, Congress enacted another major law – the Immigration Reform and Control Act [] – that granted legalization to millions of unauthorized immigrants, mainly from Latin America, who met certain conditions. The law also imposed sanctions on employers who hired unauthorized immigrants. Subsequent laws in 1996, 2002 and 2006 were responses to concerns about terrorism and unauthorized immigration. These measures emphasized border control, prioritized enforcement of laws on hiring immigrants and tightened admissions eligibility.”

That was followed by “The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), enacted in 1996 … established by President Clinton and the Congress to examine both legal and illegal immigration issues. …
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave...For the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."
(Barbara Jordan, February 24, 1995 Testimony to House Immigration Subcommittee)”

Despite existing laws, people find ways of avoiding compliance, rationalizing their breaking the law because of what they deem their own special & particular circumstance. That is unfair to those who patiently work their way through the system, no matter how bureaucratically cumbersome it may be. But in the end, if your position is that enforcing existing laws is “heavy-handed and arbitrary”, there is little point in discussing the issue.
-- Gabby

Anonymous said...

old white guy says.............trump will be no worse than the socialist Obama and no worse than Reagan. Socialism is a pox on humanity and those who support it need to dig ditches for a year or two. When anyone has anything to say about illegal aliens, the key word is illegal, end of story. The most dangerous thing facing the U.S. today are the completely insane democrats, most of whom will gladly embrace communism as long as they have the control. We have problems and biggest one is the race to reduce freedom for citizens.