Toxic Politics

Yesterday I thought the nightmare was going to be over with the confirmation of Biden’s victory. I wrote a post lamenting that it appeared Donald Trump would get out of the office without ever being repudiated or convicted of any of the crimes we have been witnessing for four years.

I posted it before the insurrection began.

I know some of my friends and relatives get their political fixes by mainlining Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. Some of them even believe that Mark Levin is an honorable and intelligent human being. I was disappointed to see how some of them have concluded that the insurrection was justified. Or blame it on Antifa.

I don’t give up on them. I don’t hate them. But they are wrong.

The best way to explain all of this is to review what made my politics what they are.

I was born in 1956, during the Eisenhower Administration. Quite naturally, I was part of a family that identified as Eisenhower Republicans. I learned to believe that the hero of WWII was what a president should be.

About Labor he said in 1956, “Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country—they are America.”

About Business he said, “Beginning with our creation of the very successful Small Business Administration, and continuing through the recently completed studies and recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Small Business, which we strongly endorse, we have focused our attention on positive measures to help small businesses get started and grow.”

These are statements from the Republican Party platform.

President John F. Kennedy took over as President in 1956. He was far from a perfect man. But he was an idealist, and had the potential to be one of our best Presidents ever. He stared down Soviet leaders during the Cuban Missile Crisis and peacefully resolved what had the potential to be the beginning of a thermonuclear war. He took on the issue of racial inequality when the Emmit Till murder opened the eyes of both him and his younger brother Robert.

He took on Jimmy Hoffa and organized crime, and that was probably one of the most important factors in getting him assassinated. His potential greatness was cut off at the pass.

My political awareness really began with the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration and the Viet Nam War. My father voted for a Democrat the very first time because Kennedy won him over and he feared the outcome of a radical like Barry Goldwater becoming President.

Here is where you are most welome to debate me.

LBJ was an evil man, whom I believe had a hand in the assassination of JFK. I also believe he was a very effective President, but mostly because he felt guilty and instituted the Great Society reforms JFK had planned, as well as the Civil Rights Act. Much of the good he did meshed well with the goals of the Eisenhower Republicans.

But his Achilles Heel was the Viet Nam War.

Richard Nixon took advantage of the chaos in the Democratic party caused by LBJ’s resignation from the campaign and RFK’s assassination. He was almost as evil as LBJ (not quite as guilty of ordering murders as LBJ.) He undid the gains in Civil Rights with the toxic “Southern Strategy” by using dog-whistles like “bussing” and “law and order” to lure racists like Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond into leaving the Democratic Party and becoming Republicans. And he tried to cheat in the 1972 election even though he didn’t need that to beat the excessively liberal George McGovern. He did do one good thing, he founded the EPA.

My father voted for him, but regretted doing so for the rest of his life.

I am skipping over President Gerald R. Ford because he was never elected. So, we as voters, bear no responsibility for any evil he may have done.

Jimmy Carter was the first President I ever voted for. He is the second to last moral man we ever elected President. Although he was a very good man, he was not an effective President.

He did broker a historic deal between Egypt and Israel for Middle East peace that lasted at least until President Sadat of Egypt was assassinated.

And this is where the really toxic problems began. You are certainly welcome to call me out for my opinions here.

President Ronnie “Dutch” Reagan, cowboy and movie star, was not an evil man. But he was not a good man either. He was wealthy, entitled, and basically willing to continue Nixon’s worst practices for the benefit of rich guys, and the disadvantage of poor people, especially poor people of color.

He began rolling back environmental regulations and the rights of unions to bargain for the betterment of workers. Here is where Reagan Republicans became a completely different thing than Eisenhower Republicans.

Then the George HW Bush years began. Bush who may have participated in the CIA’s part in the JFK assassination. Who definitely had a part in the Iran Contra Affair. He was more evil than Reagan, though still less so than Nixon or LBJ.

He flubbed up the “Read my lips, NO NEW TAXES!” thing that lost him the backing of the wealthy elite.

That, of course, leads us to this toxic and evil man. Seriously, he styled himself as the New JFK, but he had more in common with the old LBJ.

His Presidency is the start of the Neo-Liberal Toxicity. What is a neo-liberal, you ask? A Republican in a Democrat suit… or a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He turned on the Democratic agenda, making the policy goals all about business and money. He cracked down on minorities with crime bills, and sent jobs overseas with free trade policies. He might be a pedophile (though he deserves to be presumed innocent until someone actually releases the Epstein records.) He was not a good husband, a good role model, or even a good man. But he was a good President, and brought the economy back for at least the wealthy and the middle class. He is also a good speaker and can explain really well as he tells you how his administration is going to screw you.

And as the backlash to Bill Clinton being too nice to the middle class, we got Lonesome George W. Bush, the rodeo-clown President. His grin and flubs and political oopsies were all good cover for the evil he did. Again, after the Democratic administration made the economy better, he thoroughly broke it again. Bank deregulation became the new way to become an infamous pirate (like Carl Icahn, T, Boone Pickens, and numerous other big-bucks buccaneers.) Remember Enron?

And you can certainly argue this too, but somebody made an awful lot of money during 9-11. And where were the anti-hijack aircraft from the forces that normally protect the airways?

And they then needed a black man to clean up the mess.

They chose a very well-spoken man. They picked a very good man. A good husband. A good family man. A man who could do for the Presidency what Jackie Robinson did for baseball, break the color barrier and endure a lot of horse poop for his trouble.

He improbably brought the economy back to life. He conducted eight years of leadership without significant scandal. And he was a very good man.

Although it would’ve been good if he had not used drones to kill children, and if he had pardoned Edward Snowden.

And in the end, we were left with a government that fosters the worst income inequality the world has ever seen. The environment has been abused for profit at levels that none of us will survive. And the backlash for eight relatively good years with Obama was four years of… yeah, that. We saw it in action yesterday. I am ashamed to be an American. I have hope for the future, but also a lot of anxiety to temper it with. And my confidence in good government is at all-time low.


Filed under politics

4 responses to “Toxic Politics

  1. Thanks go to Wikipedia for all the Presidential portraits.

  2. bairskyn

    While I wouldn’t agree or support a number of your conspiratorial allegations or implications, your composition is certainly thought-provoking and well worth reading. Just one significant point of disagreement: there is no need to feel ashamed at being an American. Dismayed at how many citizens have been radicalized, and angry at DJT and the sycophants and opportunists who supported and advanced his most poisonous lies? — Sure. But the majority are revulsed by the insurrection and recognize that the mayhem was weeks in the making. From this, healing will begin and the damage — physical, emotional and political — will eventually be repaired.

    • I have to confess I don’t seriously believe all the conspiracies I mention in this post. They are definitely a part of the toxicity that I am trying to explain. My big political change was going from a moderate Republican like my father to a moderate Democrat. I agree with you that those of us who usually repair the fabric of our society will successfully deploy the knitting needles of sanity and democracy once again. But the fabric-rippers have to be stopped as well. Trump is not innocent. Ted Cruz is not either. And Guiliani? Do you have any idea if there is cure for what’s wrong with him? I sure don’t. And on that note, I should also confess I am a humor blogger. When I get mad, I exaggerate and satirize to make my points. Of the alleged crimes I talk about with these criminals, Nixon is the only other one that I really think deserved jail for what is provably true. And I would give him a pass sooner than the current criminal. Thank you for the timely and well-considered comment.

  3. People like Maxine Waters would be a reason for politics being toxic.

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