Guest Blog: The Malevolent Character of Donald Trump

I was alerted to the post by a close friend on Facebook and contacted the author for permission to repost it here on Blogging Blue. So here are some thoughts on the malevolent character and antisocial aberration that is Donald Trump from the pen of George Godwyn (adult language included):

I belong to several Trump groups. I watch them, I interact with Trump supporters, there and elsewhere, sometimes arguing, sometimes just observing. These are the hardcore supporters, I’m talking to. Some of them are consciously politicized, some aren’t, but they’re all pretty fanatic. Mostly they just don’t care what critics have to say. They either laugh, or accuse people of being snowflakes. Rarely are real political issues dealt with. Contentious points are just shrugged off, with a few exceptions.

Last February, during a speech, Donald Trump engaged in a series of motions that seemed to be a rude imitation of a disabled reporter with whom Mr. Trump had some disagreement.

This incident comprises one of the exceptions, one of the few topics that always, in my experience, brings real arguments out of his supporters, probably the most common. People who generally spend their time posting memes about “libtards” or college students needing safe spaces will suddenly trot out a nice, uncharacteristically comprehensible explanation of this incident.

These explanations are ultimately ridiculous, of course, because, as anyone who’s seen the video knows, he did it.

Donald Trump stood on a stage and openly, publicly mocked a disabled man. He actually insisted we look at the man, observe his disability, “Now, the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy: ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember,’ he’s going like ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said'”, and then he began to obviously, blatantly, horrifyingly, perform a stomach-turning dramatization of his perception of the disabled reporter, a man he knew, a man with whom he was on a first name basis.

The reason this requires attention on the part of his followers when it comes up is that they saw it, too.

There’s no amount of rationalization that can erase this fact. We all saw it. We all fucking saw it. We knew what it was the minute it happened. We, all of us, went to high school at some point. We knew those kids, the kind of kids who did things like that. We saw them do it. Not the normal bullies, not the jocks who would mess with you once in a while. The real creeps, the nasty fuckers, the ones who truly didn’t care about humiliating people, who liked it. We saw them torment kids, the vulnerable ones, make them feel like shit about themselves. Harm them.

Maybe you tried to stop it, maybe you joined in a couple times until you realized how fucking shitty it felt. Maybe you did it a lot but you grew out of it and you feel like shit about it now, as you should, maybe you were one of the targets. Or maybe you just stayed quiet because, fuck, you were a kid and you were scared and confused. But we all know what we saw, we’ve all seen it before. We all know what he did. All of us. Even his supporters, even the ones who say he didn’t do it. They know he did it. Somewhere, they know.

There’s nothing about the incident that’s out of character for him at all, it’s not incommensurate with what we know of him the least bit. He did it, we all know he did it, and anyone with an ounce of decency or character, supporter or not, somewhere in their soul, feels dirty for having seen it. The mask, torn and insufficient as it is, fell away for a moment and we all saw exactly who Donald Trump is, what he is.

Most of us understand, even at our angriest, that most of the people in high office have, somewhere, some sort of basic human decency, no matter how ambition and the office compromises or fades it. Over the course of my life I’ve chuckled and frowned a whole lot over the way people refer to any politician disagreeing with them, anyone on the other side of the political divide, as Hitler or Stalin or the antichrist. I don’t indict the basic moral character of people I oppose politically lightly. But this is different. Almost all of us know, somewhere, what happened on that stage in February, and almost everyone knows what it means about the man and the nation.

We’ve seen vile men on our national political stage, we’ve read about these men in the past, but nothing like this. Nothing like this. This man is something new, something truly, deeply, unclean. Worse than anyone in our lifetimes, our parents lifetimes, our grandparents, and further, maybe in the history of the Republic. He’s a ravening, bottomless void, a bawling, untethered id, intent on nothing but feeding his sense of self-importance and superiority, devoid of the slightest leavening shame or even simple, momentary embarrassment. The person in charge of this nation does not care one iota, one gold leaf bathroom fixture, about you or your friends or anyone but himself. If you don’t recognize Donald Trump for the singular, unique, malevolent figure he is, you expose your ignorance of history.

I kept stopping myself as I wrote those last lines, wanting to keep myself from hyperbole, but then I read what I’ve written again and I can’t delete it because it’s true. It’s just true.

Our system of government is representative, so ultimately character is what we’re electing, not programs or ideas, character. Without character, the agenda doesn’t matter, and we have elected someone for whom the term just seems like a bad joke. There’s none of it, he simply has none, or what little he has is bad. There’s a fox in the henhouse and the henhouse door is locked for the next four years. If you’ve ever been around a truly bad person before, you just know it. You feel it in your gut. The President of the United States, our President, is a kind of monster.

So far all we’ve seen is the man himself and his little band of third-rate hacks puking vitriol, inanity, and disinformation onto Twitter and cable tv. The real onslaught begins now, and the way it begins will be the constant, torrential streams of deceit piled on deceit, lie on lie, gaslighting so obvious it becomes a joke until, somehow, drowned in the flood of obvious mendacity, we start forgetting where we are and where we used to be. The pot begins to boil and we don’t notice till our flesh is seared away from our bones. Lies so large, so fast, so constant, they can’t be refuted and, anyway, what does refutation do against a man with no conscience? How can it really affect he or his most devoted supporters?

As this progresses, as the press conferences begin, and the Republican congressmen and cronies begin enacting his regime in true ernest (sic), when the other people at work decide maybe the wall isn’t such a bad idea, when your Democrat uncle says he thinks maybe it’s time to start registering Muslims, when everyone around you starts slowly caving in, forgetting, remember what you saw. Look at that video, keep the image in your mind of a 69 year old man who is now the most powerful person on earth standing on a stage in front of thousands of cheering Americans and openly, proudly, trying to humiliate another human being for having the temerity to do his job and the courage to live his life with an obstacle. Like the vilest, shittiest 16 year old punk in your high school, like the lowest form of barroom bully begging for a slap to remind him he’s dogshit. It happened, you saw it, you understood exactly what it meant about him and anyone who truly supports him.

Remember that. Remember that he’s the thing that’s gone wrong, not you, not the rest of us. However distant this day becomes, however normal the abnormal starts to seem, remember the way things are now, today, however imperfect. Remember today and remember that this is what we are, this is who we are, not what they’re going to try to make us. Keep your shit together, know what you believe, and do not allow the people around you to obscure what you’ve seen, what you know to be true. Do not give in.

Do not allow this man, this villain, to exhaust you, to make you into something like him, simply because you’ve forgotten the way things are supposed to be.

And fasten your seatbelts, motherfuckers, it’s going to be a bumpy night.

Far better than I could have said it, thank you Mr. Godwyn!

Christine Welcher: The 2016 election is over – where do we go from here?

The election is over. My mind is slowly coming out of its frozen, numb state. I’m beginning to do some deep soul searching as to what happened on Tuesday. While many are mourning over Trump’s election, my tears have been for the State of Wisconsin. Dems did not pick up any seats, in fact we lost some. Russ, our progressive leader, lost to a do-nothing candidate. I lost to an even worse do-nothing candidate. How could this have happened?

I declared my candidacy for Representative to Wisconsin’s 32nd Assembly District in December of 2015. We knew we needed time to build our reputation and get the word out about our campaign and our message of bi-partisan reform. From the very beginning I found myself fighting with the state party and the local, county party over resources, access to the VAN and training. I finally realized none would be coming and I honestly think that’s what saved my sanity through the next 10 months.

We formed a grassroots movement made up of fabulous letter writers, activists and volunteers willing to knock doors and make phone calls and people willing to make videos for us and design websites, flyers and banners. We held listening sessions starting in February. We attended community events and fundraisers. We knocked doors every weekend and even during the week, all while I worked 40+ hours farming and teaching at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute. During the last 2 months we upped our game. Wednesday and Friday we held signs and waved at busy intersections throughout the district as people were coming home. Thurs, Sat and Sun we knocked doors to build relationships and let our neighbors know we were going to be there, right by their side, until things improved. Whenever I got a few minutes I worked on my call list of targeted possible Trump Supporters. You see, we knew the stats and reality. Dems can’t win in these districts by only getting out the Dem vote. WI isn’t the 5th worst gerrymandered state in history because of unwillingness to vote. It’s the 5th worst because they (the GOP) did a damn fine job making sure they would never lose a seat.

Even with all of this, I lost. The silver lining is we did do better than both Hillary and Russ in our district so we know we are on to something. This year the anti-establishment craze was so strong, no one even remotely connected to it was safe. My sin was I had a “D” behind my name. Hillary Clinton has 30+ years of ties to Washington and government. While in most years that would be seen as an impressive resume, this year it was the cement shoes that sunk us all. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but some of us have been saying this from the beginning.

I know this will ruffle some feathers, but I don’t blame the people who voted for Trump. I blame the DNC and the DPW. I especially blame the DPW because we all knew how much we needed to pick up some seats in both the Assembly and Senate. There was no mention or support for Assembly or Senate races in the Monday Messages, or the weekly Chair’s Report. Nothing! At the county level, things are so disorganized and short staffed the parties just stood back and let the coordinated campaign take over. Somehow with their fancy “science” and numbers they (The Coordinated Campaign – CC) was able to convince local people, who know the breakdown of D vs R, that it’s ok to just target Dems because, “When people turn out, Dems win!” YAY!!!! Except that didn’t happen. Not only did that not happen, but somehow the GOP got the majority of new voters to come out and vote against someone, instead of for someone, for the first time in a long time.

There were not voter registration drives in my area. There were no listening sessions or town halls to try to spread a message of empowerment and togetherness. Hell, we didn’t even try to talk to people on “the other side” because it was seen as “a waste of time.” A waste of time??? A waste of time to try and pitch your side? To try and see where they are coming from and give them a better option? I was pretty much blown over when I got that response from my local CC organizer. That’s the day I stopped coming into the county office and decided I was officially 100% independent of the party and their support.

Where exactly does the blame lie? I don’t know. I’ll be honest; I don’t know how this whole party thing works. I was naive enough to think if you put yourself out there and sacrificed a year of your life Dems would support you as best as they could. Turns out you have to be in the “inner circle” or a “sure thing” in order to get support and that’s really sad. I honestly don’t know what we could have done differently. We worked our butts off and my opponent literally did nothing.

That’s been the hardest pill to swallow. The fact that an incumbent can have a reputation for not attending district meetings, not responding to citizens’ concerns, and then not even attempt to campaign and still be elected by 20+ points. The reputation of the Democratic Party is so tarnished in the rural areas that a good candidate with an amazing team can’t even have a shot at winning. Where do we go from here?

1) Stronger County Parties
In my experience, county party boards last for a few years, get burnt out and then everyone quits. There are so few volunteers or members the same handful of people gets stuck doing everything. When they do quit there’s no records or continuity so the whole county has to start over. This is the same for candidates who try to run. No notes on where to leave signs, who’s willing to organize, make calls, knock doors, etc. Even though I declared in December of last year, it really wasn’t until July/August that we finally got things semi-figured out and organized. That’s a lot of wasted time.

The state party needs to re-allocate their budget. All counties should be able to apply for grants and assistance to keep an office open all year, every year. Parties and party members should get involved in the community on off years by volunteering, helping with community fundraisers or holiday meals, you name it. The more active the party is with their community the more support and resources they get from the state. We need our neighbors to see we value them every day, not just 2 months every 4 years.

2) More resources for training and outreach
We need a new message. We need big ideas and we need the courage to stand behind them. This is going to take a whole new approach to messaging, outreach, and basic community building. We need our neighbors to know we are just like them. We, too, want a brighter future for our kids, roads that don’t send our cars to the shop for alignment problems, better paying jobs.

We need monthly workshops on communicating with other viewpoints, on messaging and organizing. We need committees for aspiring writers who can channel their pain and anger into letters to the editor or opinion pieces. We need small subgroups to keep people involved, engage and active. I don’t know about other areas but we go from 200 members in an election year to 80 members a year later. This has to stop. We have to keep our members and continue to grow our county parties, especially with younger blood! (Sorry, not sorry!)

3) Whole New Approach to Elections
We cannot continue to pander to people for their vote. We need to start building relationships, lasting relationships. Not just to get through the presidential elections. We also need to change our focus from top of the ticket to bottom of the ticket! We need the majority of resources going to local and state races. The presidential candidates can raise their own money and can pay for their own volunteers. We are going to keep ours!

We live in this state. We don’t get to move back to some other area once the election is lost. Start investing in Wisconsin! Start emphasizing the importance of local candidates, assembly candidates, senate candidates. These are the people who are responsible for the majority of legislation that affects our daily lives. Once we turn the focus to local elections and make people understand how important they are, we don’t have to worry about low voter turnout in mid-term years. Every year is important!

This might be a good place to start, but the important thing is we start. If the state party won’t listen, we do it ourselves. What happened on Tuesday can never happen again! Democrats either need to become the Party of We, the People, or we need to replace them with a party who will. I have to say at this point I’m fine with both options. I’m done talking and thinking and “let’s see-ing.” I want change and I want it now.

Christine Welcher
East Troy, WI

Duane Dubey: THE “ROBBER BARONS” HAVE RETURNED

What follows is a guest blog by longtime Blogging Blue commenter Duane Dubey.

THE “ROBBER BARONS” HAVE RETURNED

Early in the 19th Century there were two levels of society in America. One, composed of businessmen, was known as “Robber Barons” and the other was known as the “working class.” There was little or nothing then of what today we call the “middle class.” The “Robber Barons” influenced and corrupted politicians with their great wealth and had total control of the working class. Work conditions were unsafe, with long hours, no overtime, use of child labor, no insurance for accidents or exposure to toxic materials, extremely low or unfair wages, and other abysmal conditions of employment. The “Robber Barons” of that day accumulated their great wealth by what could be called in today’s language as “trickle up economics” by paying workers unfairly for their efforts and depriving them of recourse to justice by corrupting members of Congress.

Alas, the “Robber Barons” of yesteryear have returned to the current scene . Even such as the clergy in the person of Pope Francis has called attention to this modern day exploitation of labor by the rich and powerful businessman of today. In effect, they satisfy their greed by not paying a “living wage” to workers. It could also be called, as the Pope said, a “tyranny” by “unfettered Capitalism.”

Recently, I submitted notice to the Third Congressional District in the form of a Resolution titled, “It is Right and Just” which is taken from an old Latin prayer, “Dignum et justum est” calling upon God for justice. It is as follows:

WHEREAS, Pope Francis has declared that a “tyranny” of labor exists caused by ‘’”unfettered capitalism;” and

WHEREAS, such “tyranny” has caused an unjust income disparity between labor and capital;

WHEREAS, income disparity has resulted in economic hardship of the middle class; and

WHEREAS, “unfettered capitalism” has unjustly retained all the gains of productivity and growth at the expense of labor and their families who constitute the middle class; now therefore be it

RESOLVED, It is right and just that labor as a partner with capital in a joint business venture share in its financial success.”

Guest Blog: give the gift of life

April is known by several titles; Organ Donor month, Donate the Gift of Life month, and several other variations, all of which call attention to the same theme; that is, most if not all can contribute, as our last act, to the continuation of life for others through organ donation.

We are told on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services site, organdonor.gov. that “1 organ donor can save up to 8 lives” as well as enabling a more full life for others with the donation of eye and tissue donation. The simple act of opting for organ donation on our driver’s license or making our wishes known to our next of kin will also accomplish the act to “…love your neighbor as yourself.”

This week I heard indirectly, one could say, from my youngest daughter, Rose, who was an innocent victim as a passenger in an auto accident eleven years ago. It was a message from a lady in West Virginia who is the transplant recipient of Rose’s heart . And so, life goes on in others both by organ donation and our good example.

Sincerely,

Duane Dubey

Guest Blog: Stephanie Findley responds to critics

What follows is a guest blog from Stephanie Findley, candidate for First Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, in response to criticisms that have been leveled against her.

I have been a loyal Democrat since I came out of the womb in 1973. The first campaign I’ve ever worked on was for President Jimmy Carter’s re­election in 1980. I developed my first campaign literature on my own and went door to door in my neighborhood to get out the vote for President Carter. This election was very important to me because I couldn’t believe that people would vote for Ronald Reagan. When President Carter lost his re­election bid, I was devastated. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why Americans didn’t see through Ronald Reagan’s facade. The reason why it hurt so much is because I am the granddaughter of a sharecropper who had 9 children and 6 of his children left the south and migrated to the Midwest to work for GM, Chrysler and Ford. My father, aunts and uncles were members of the United Auto Workers Union which boosted my family into the middle class.

I knew Reagan was going to be America’s demise because he supported the super rich and he didn’t make any bones about it. Here I am 35 years later, I still drive an American car because my parents, aunts and uncles have now retired and I have
second generation family members who are currently employed in the three auto industry plants. I still have pensions and salaries to pay which is why I choose to drive an American car. Does this not make me a loyal Democrat?

Since 1980, I have worked tirelessly to help Democrats win up and down the ticket in Wisconsin. I have spent countless hours campaigning for my party that I have been a loyal member of. It is disheartening to see some people downplay my loyalty to
a party that I have worked hard to deliver votes to win local and statewide elections because I choose to support families. People say that I’m pro voucher, pro charter, but they often forget that I AM PRO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I am a graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools. I graduated from James Madison High School to be exact. I ran for Milwaukee Public School Board in 2007 and had the backing of MTEA. I support teachers. I heart teachers. It is one of the toughest jobs on the planet and I feel they are underpaid, underappreciated, and under attack not just in Wisconsin, but in America as a whole. It is sad for a segment of the population, to continue degrade our teachers, to make others feel better about themselves.

I also live in Urban Milwaukee. The voucher program has existed in Milwaukee since 1990. Way before I arrived on the political scene, there were voucher schools. Urban Milwaukee delivers votes to the Democratic Party every election cycle. Are you telling me that the Latino and Black residents do not matter when it comes to delivering votes to help Democrats win elections up and down the ticket? If you come to Milwaukee, there are huge voting blocs that support voucher schools and, who am I to tell families where to send their children to school? I ran for State Assembly in 2010 but made it clear that I wouldn’t be supportive of any expansion of the voucher program. It has become clear to me that the Republicans have hijacked our tax dollars by expanding vouchers outside of Milwaukee. Republicans are pushing vouchers down the throats of families who can afford their children’s tuition. To expand the voucher program into areas where residents haven’t been given a chance to vote or voice their opinion on the voucher expansion is shameful. Furthermore, to lift the income limits to allow families who are above the poverty guidelines proves that vouchers were never meant for poor people. It has been in the plans for a long time to allow elite residents of our state to send their children to private institutions off the backs of Wisconsin tax payers.

I stand up every day for those who cannot stand up and fight for themselves. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined our state would be in the position we are in today. The discussion people should be having is “how loyal of a party member
have I been?” I have been asked to serve on numerous committees representing the party. I have spent over ten years in a leadership position as the former 4th CD Chair and Black Caucus Chair. I am currently the City of Milwaukee Board of Elections Chair appointed by Mayor Tom Barrett. I am a pro­choice female who continues to give money to Planned Parenthood because I support women’s rights to reproductive justice. I am pro LGBT who have stood in Black churches when it wasn’t popular to advocate for LGBT issues. I support fairness and equality for all. I support economic and social justice for all. I am AFSCME. I am a card carrying member of AFSCME and I remain loyal to my union. I am the most LOYAL CARD CARRYING DEMOCRAT that you will ever meet and for all of the reasons listed above, I ask for your support to become the next 1st Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.