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CSotD: The Inheritance

Proverbs 11:29: He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:
and the fool shall be servant to the wise in heart.

 

There are several cartoons linking Trump’s rhetoric to a bomb, but I like Ed Hall‘s take, because it goes beyond the man’s foolish language and gets into his manipulation of people with all that intemperate talk.

The first thing I did this morning was to check the news to see how Trump comported himself at last night’s rally in Wisconsin, and, apparently, he stayed on the TelePrompter and even called for civility, but it seems the Senate candidate he was stumping for — Leah Vukmir — attacked the media and used the Clintons as bait for the crowd.

And a man is known by the company he keeps, and, in this case, by the allies he inspires.

Jimmy Margulies traces the deliberately constructed hostility, and, like Hall, suggests the insufficiency, if not the downright hypocrisy, of White House condemnations.

As I said the other day, I’m not convinced that Dear Leader plans the things that tumble out of his mouth, that he sits back and concocts the lies, the bullying bravado and the hateful rhetoric. I think he’s simply unglued and has no control over it all.

And recent reports that he continues to use an unsecured cell phone in order to avoid letting his staff know who he’s talking to or what he’s saying suggest not a Machiavellian genius but an untethered six-year-old.

But we know that, and to simply compare his hate speech to bombs is insufficient, because, however undisciplined and possibly mad he is, he has chosen deliberate targets and there are specific results of those choices.

 

Which brings us to Michael de Adder‘s cartoon and a somewhat contrasting idea that, when you sow weeds, you lose control of where they will pop up, but you certainly don’t lose responsibility for having set them free in the wind.

It may be that Trump’s success is a direct motivation for the rise of candidates who, the day of a series of bombing attempts, will continue to stir up the crowd against the media and against Hillary Clinton. And that may profit the GOP; we’ll have to see.

But there are also the unplanned, anonymous respondents, and, while you may not have intended to stir up such-and-such a person for such-and-such a result, blowing dandelion seeds into the wind is a purposeful act that requires you to accept the random effects as well as the intended ones.

 

Meanwhile, Prickly City suggests a pitfall in analyzing our current position and how we got here.

Trump, as others have noted, is only the result of the process. He didn’t cause it, and, in a more decent, less paranoid age, he’d have been laughed out of the marketplace and, in fact, would not have been permitted entry in the first place.

But he did not arise in such an age, and the ground was prepared well in advance for this particular seed.

The demise of the Fairness Doctrine, a move that allowed hateful lunatics like Rush Limbaugh free access to the radio without fear of decent people refuting their inflammatory rhetoric, is only part of what happened.

You can take it back to “Walking Tall” and Dirty Harry, in which violent cops were celebrated for defying a system that assumed innocence and treated suspects with restraint.

And you can add in the fingerprinting programs for children, which never, ever resulted in reuniting a single kidnapped child with its parents but did stoke an atmosphere of panic in which a kid who ducked out of sight for a moment touched off hysterical fears of abduction and murder.

Stir in the ratcheting up of television police dramas such that each villain must be more malevolent, each death more gruesome, such that our only hope of survival is a more powerful police state, along with a skewed idea of how much police can actually accomplish.

The combination of these stranger-danger projects, hyped-up police dramas and hysterical, one-sided talk radio make for a terrified, paranoid atmosphere in which, if there weren’t a Donald Trump, we’d have found one.

So, yes, as Carmen suggests, it’s hard to pin down the person who is specifically responsible, but we’re all to blame.

However, that’s only an observation.

It’s not an excuse, and it doesn’t suggest much of a solution.

The solution may well be to simply “keep on keepin’ on,” and to focus on the whole spectrum, not just its darkest sections.

It’s not hard to list the outbursts of hatred and violence that have racked our country, including a number of bombings and arsons and murders and sell-outs and conspiracies.

But we have never accepted such things passively.

The abolitionists also had their time in the sun, as did the suffragists, as did the Freedom Riders and the thousands of college kids who went South to register voters.

And, when Jacob Riis documented “How The Other Half Lives,” his work stirred real social reform, thanks in part to allies like Jane Addams and Clara Barton and Theodore Roosevelt.

And Rose Schneiderman.

And Josephine Shaw Lowell.

Even now, a core of young people have the absurd notion that children ought not to be slaughtered in their school rooms, and are signing up voters to work the system in favor of decency and honorable behavior.

November 6 will be a test.

Sharpen your pencils and show up on time.

You don’t want to have to repeat the course.

 

“The Lord don’t make no mistakes, and, whenever you hear me discussing whatever, about my little complaints and little ailments and all, y’know, I don’t be complaining, I just be discussing. That’s what I think we all ought to be doing: In place of sitting up complaining, just discuss it.” — Albertina Walker

Community Comments

#1 Paul Berge
October/25/2018
@ 7:18 am

How apt Michael de Adder’s cartoon is! Dandelions spread not just by their airborne seed but also from the root. As anyone with a lawn knows full well, you can’t just pluck up one dandelion and be done with it.

#2 Laurel Strand
October/25/2018
@ 8:42 am

“I’m not convinced that Dear Leader plans the things that tumble out of his mouth, that he sits back and concocts the lies, the bullying bravado and the hateful rhetoric. I think he’s simply unglued and has no control over it all.”

Last night, Husband and I started watching the recent Frontline episode, “Trump’s Showdown.” We are less than halfway through the whole 2 hours, but they have already talked about the influence that Roy Cohn had on Donald.

My takeaway is that Donald does what he does and says what he says because that gets him what he wants. Everything that spews from his mouth may not be premeditated, but it is an intentional strategy.

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