How Can We Ever Hope To Bring Americans Together?

Regardless of which candidate wins this year’s presidential election, it’s all but certain that Americans will be more divided than ever. We’re divided by far more than politics. We’re divided by ideology; by media choices; by attitudes toward guns and violence; by attitudes toward the environment; by a woman’s right to decide what is right for her own body; by energy policy; by foreign policy and military intervention; by acceptance and tolerance for those who are different than ourselves; by faith.

As the US, like many other nations, lurches farther to the right, it seems that we cannot agree on anything. One side accepts science while the other relies almost exclusively on faith. One side believes in evolution while the other side believes in creationism. One side works to abate climate change while the other side calls it a hoax. One side embraces other cultures and ethnic groups while the other side chooses to discriminate against them. One side accepts authority and bullying while the other fights against it. One side supports corporatism (aka fascism) while the other supports individuals. One side celebrates wealth and power while the other side celebrates the working class. One side worships individualism while the other side worships community and collectivism. One side demands status quo while the other side demands expanded civil rights.

No matter which candidate wins in November, roughly half of the population will vehemently oppose the winner’s policies.

It would seem that the only thing that can possibly pull our nation together is a disaster – a military or terrorist strike against our nation or a financial calamity on the order of the Great Depression. Ironically, the burst of the housing bubble and the ensuing Great Recession were not enough to create unanimity. Ignoring the facts, each side simply blamed the other for their hardships.

In order to seek more palatable solutions, we must first look at how we arrived at this point. It began with the Nixon-Agnew strategy of divide and conquer. It continued with the GOP’s embrace of southern bigots and evangelicals along with Paul Wyerich’s strategy of voter suppression. It accelerated with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine which allowed electronic media to choose up sides and lie at will. And it was cemented by Newt Gingrich’s embrace of parliamentary-style politics which disdained any form of compromise.

So what can we do?

1. To begin, we should all demand more of our media by reinstating a Fairness Doctrine that would require all media, both electronic and print, to operate in the public interest. That means to tell the truth and hold politicians accountable.
2. We should overturn voter suppression laws and make voting easy, maybe even mandatory, for all American citizens.
3. We should bring transparency to campaign finance and overturn Citizens United.
4. We should, once again, make it illegal for corporations to contribute to political campaigns.
5. We should break the lobbyists’ hold on Congress by passing laws to end the revolving door from Congress to lobbying groups, and to limit lobbyist access to Congress.
6. We should end all forms of gerrymandering by passing laws to put control of congressional redistricting into the hands of independent commissions.
7. We should demand that the IRS reinstate restrictions that prevent non-profits from disguising their political focus, thus doing away with PACs and Super PACs.
8. We should institute term limits on all Senators and Congressional Representatives. If it makes sense to limit the president to two terms, it should make sense to do the same for Congress.
9. We should hold the individuals who manage political campaigns liable for lies and disinformation. That would prevent them from avoiding election fraud by simply dissolving the campaign entities following an election,
10. We should demand more of ourselves. We should each seek to inform ourselves about the candidates and the issues in order to meet the expectations of our Founding Fathers by becoming an enlightened and informed voting public.

Even if you don’t agree with these proposals, we must do something. And we must do it now. It may be our only hope for unifying our nation and moving it forward. Indeed, at the risk of being seen as hyperbolic, it may be the only way to avoid another Civil War.

Il Douchie.

For some time, I’ve been trying to figure out who Donald Trump reminds me of. He seems all too familiar…the bullying attitude, the pouty lips, the chin thrust forward in defiance, the arrogant posture, the unbridled narcissism, the sense of privilege, the ridicule of others, the refusal to apologize for anything, the “trust me I’ll make it great” assurances, the fascist ideas. I had seen it all somewhere before.

Finally, it came to me. Donald Trump is Benito Mussolini reincarnated!

Don’t believe me? Then look up Mussolini on-line. Check out his pictures and films of his speeches. I think you’ll be amazed at the similarities. Mussolini was the founder of fascism – defined by Mussolini himself as the marriage of corporations and government. Named Italy’s Prime Minister in 1922, in 1925 Mussolini assumed the role of dictator or, as he preferred, Il Duce (the leader). And though, Trump is running for president, he talks like a dictator. And like another, more famous fascist leader, Trump attempts to vilify and marginalize segments of our population.

Other similarities include the use of media and propaganda. Like Trump, Mussolini was an expert at using the media for self-promotion. And, like Trump, Mussolini created a cult of personality. Even their statements are creepily similar. For example, see if you can match the following quotes with Trump or Mussolini:

“Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.”

“State ownership! It leads only to absurd and monstrous conclusions; state ownership means state monopoly, concentrated in the hands of one party and its adherents, and that state brings only ruin and bankruptcy to all.”

“Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.”

“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.”

“It is not simply and solely an accumulation of wealth, it is an elaboration, a selection, a co-ordination of values which is the work of centuries.”

“What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.”

“Many think, and I myself am one of them, that capitalism is scarcely at the beginning of its story.”

“We become strongest, I feel, when we have no friends upon whom to lean, or to look for moral guidance.”

“You have to think anyway, so why not think big?”

“Fascism should rightly be called corporatism, as it is the merger of corporate and government power.”

“Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hand, and an infinite scorn in our hearts.”

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well been documented, are various other parts of my body.”

“The history of saints is mainly the history of insane people.”

“Socialism is a fraud, a comedy, a phantom, a blackmail.”

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”

“You must always be doing things and obviously succeeding. The hard part is to keep people always at the window because of the spectacle you put on for them. And you must do this for years.”

“Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy.”

Despite all the similarities, there are significant differences between the two. Unlike Trump, Mussolini was a self-made man. Mussolini served in the military while Trump did not. And Mussolini was far more thoughtful and intellectual than Trump. There is one other, more glaring difference. Mussolini promoted an inclusive society while Trump attempts to divide us by turning Americans against Mexicans; Christians against Muslims.

Given all of this, I hereby name Donald Trump “Il Douchie,” the leader of right wing douche bags.