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Awakening Courage in the Era of Trumpism


#1

Awakening Courage in the Era of Trumpism

Nozomi Hayase

American democracy is in deep crisis. As with every election cycle, electoral politics this year failed to provide true therapy for the pathology of the corporate state. There is no diagnosis of unfettered profit-driven capitalism or treatment for the heart failure of the ruling class, which has no ability to feel for the poor and working people. Whether it is Trump or Clinton, candidates are presented as symbols, as a prescribed choice of red or blue, manufactured to keep all addicted to the elite’s power grab contest and blind to the real cause of the illness of our society.


#4

Yes, and it's good that you pointed out that this has been ongoing for years. I would only point out that we're actually middle class vs. the poor, workers vs. the jobless. The US today is more like a pack of wolves tearing at the remains of the carcass, keeping the less powerful wolves from obtaining a single morsel.


#5

I think the broader picture is that the rich are now moving forward to do to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. Big fish eats little fish, only to be eaten by bigger fish.


#7

What seems to be mainly overlooked in the discussions of the meaning of the selection of Trump as president is that fewer than 25% of the possible electorate voted for him. Clinton received 2 million more votes but the Electoral College system set up to ensure power for the slave owning South did the job that it was designed and since manipulated to do: Make sure that democracy does not flourish in the US.
Perhaps the blatantly psychopathic behavior of Trump and his cronies will awaken enough of the 99% that they will organize and oppose and not cooperate with the corporatocracy. The 1% has always managed to maintain its dominance by dividing the 99% against itself. There are some good signs that this may be happening. Bernie, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, 350, Code Pink and many more are enraged and motivated. It should be interesting. I have long said that all the world should be allowed to vote in US presidential elections. All the world is affected much by the results.
Meanwhile look to your own, Trudeau like Trump is proposing building and repairing infrastructure through privatization.
Luv from Ecuador


#9

While I like this article generally, I got stuck at the part about Wikileaks. They seemed inordinately concerned with taking down Clinton, leaving Trump alone. Why was this? Or am I wrong about it?


#12

That's really insulting to wolves


#13

No, Sunday, you're not wrong. Wikileaks did all they could to help Trump, and now their spokeswoman is telling us to have courage. Hypocrisy doesn't get any more blatant.


#16

I used this in another article recently, but I think it may well fit here as well. I originally posted it in my blog in February of 2010.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Whatever Happened to Empathy?
I wrote this several years ago, but the situation seems to have gone downhill ever since. Empathy and compassion are now weaknesses, to be treated with contempt.

Years ago, empathy used to be imbibed with mother’s milk. If you did something thoughtless or inconsiderate, mom or dad said, “How do you think that made them feel?” or “How would you feel if someone said (or did) that to you?”

Eventually, you learned to reflect upon the beliefs, customs and feelings of other people, not only in foreign countries, but in other areas of your own. If you were really lucky, your folks or your buddy’s folks subscribed to National Geographic magazine. After you got over your pre-adolescent sniggering over the occasional naked breast, you began to realize how diverse and rich in customs our beautiful world was. Now, with the advent of home entertainment centers and global satellite links, the world has shrunk to the size of our livingroom. With this benefit, we should be far beyond provincialism and jingoism, but unfortunately our current obsession with the “bottom line” seems to have blunted many of our human sensibilities. Empathy seems to have faded. The ability to put yourself in another’s place is now looked upon as a weakness. This extends not just to foreign nations and customs, but to our own.

The jobless and homeless in this nation, whose numbers are legion, are not freeloading parasites. They are, for the most part, people whose living has vanished as company after company has closed plants and “outsourced” the work to countries where people work for a few dollars per day, then move them even further when they find a place that accepts pennies per day, or perhaps just a bowl of rice. These companies, or their managing staff, look upon every dollar spent on employee retirement funding, medical plans, or workplace safety, as money wasted; money which could go into their pockets or into the acquisition of yet another company which can be raided and dismantled for profit.

To these people, the workers they displace are not people, they are merely ciphers. There is no empathy, they do not put themselves in the place of those desperate men and women trying to feed, clothe and house their families.

Albert Pike, writing for Freemasons in the nineteenth century said, “Teach the employed to be honest, punctual and faithful as well as respectful and obedient to all proper orders: but also teach the employer that every man or woman who desires to work, has a right to have work to do; and that they, and those who from sickness or feebleness, loss of limb or bodily vigor, old age or infancy, are not able to work, have a right to be fed, clothed, and sheltered from the inclement elements: that he commits an awful sin against Masonry and in the sight of God, if he closes his workshops or factories, or ceases to work his mines, when they do not yield him what he regards as sufficient profit, and so dismisses his workmen and workwomen to starve; or when he reduces the wages of man or woman to so low a standard that they and their families cannot be clothed and fed and comfortably housed; or by overwork must give him their blood and life in exchange for the pittance of their wages: and that his duty as a Mason and Brother peremptorily requires him to continue to employ those who else will be pinched with hunger and cold, or resort to theft and vice: and to pay them fair wages, though it may reduce or annul his profits or even eat into his capital; for God hath but loaned him this wealth and made him His almoner and agent to invest it.”

When Pike wrote this, the industry of the United States, and that of other industrialized nations, was controlled by the robber barons, or “Captains of Industry,” as they preferred to be called. To get an idea of the condition of the working class, one should read some of Dickens’ novels, set in the slums of industrialized England.

Many writers, including Dickens, brought enlightened views as to the dignity of man, as our Constitution had put forth the rights of man. The great depression of the 1930's brought forth Franklin D. Roosevelt, who instituted programs to provide jobs, and to see that none should be left to starve after their working years had ended. World War II left the world with hope, as the United States set out to help rebuild a ravaged planet. The United Nations was established so that all nations, all peoples, would have a forum to solve disputes without resort to war and violence; to promote programs to end famine, ignorance and poverty. To a degree, this worked. It was not perfect, but at least it provided a forum for understanding. People had empathy. They could put themselves in other’s places and understand and feel their problems. Slowly, we were taking steps forward.

Suddenly, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which should have been a time of hope, we suddenly reverted to the days of the robber barons. Greed and expediency outweighed every other value. Laws and treaties which had given hope to the world were unilaterally discarded. The wealthy were given breaks beyond their wildest dreams. We suddenly became the power which, with overwhelming military force, could stand astride the globe, dictating what other nations must do, making war upon those that did not kowtow to the new power.

Whatever happened to empathy? How did the world suddenly become inhabited by good, red-blooded Americans and a bunch of gooks, slopes, ragheads, hadjis and any other pejorative which makes them seem less than human? How did the world suddenly become us and them? How is it that no one’s beliefs and concerns have validity except ours? How has it come about that the world is now divided between us, our few allies, and a world of terrorists?

Islam is not a religion of terror. It is a kind and loving religion, drawing its influence and origin from the time of Abraham. It regards the religions of Israel and Christianity as also being, “People of the Book.” Unfortunately, it has its fanatical adherents, just as we do, but in the main, the Muslim peoples are no different than us. All they ask of us, of the world, is the chance to live in peace, to raise their families and provide food, clothing and shelter for them. To educate them and teach them to live in peace when their generation matures. These are hard lessons to teach in the midst of death, starvation, war and killing. When this is all you know, you lose your ability to have empathy and put yourself in another’s place. You then grow to learn that there is you and the enemy, and you kill the enemy. If you have no hope, then life becomes cheap and it is easy to sacrifice it; to strap a bomb on your body and walk into a building full of humans, who are no longer humans, but the enemy, and push the button.

Somehow, we must take hold of our destiny and our lives and return to a path of peace and construction. War, greed and destruction is not working. A good start would be to once again learn the skill of empathy, and learn again to put ourselves in another’s place. As we would not be treated, so should we not treat others. Come to think of it, isn’t that covered in the Golden Rule?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
;-})


#17

I like your essay a lot.

Re : the Dickens reference

I've noticed that the presence of "A Christmas Carol", with its very message of empathy, has become increasingly scarce on the annual Holiday Media Rotation.

It was only a few years ago when the first Right Wing Jerks started Reframing it with their "Scrooge Got Bad Press because he actually was a 'Job Creator'.", baloney.


#18

Right, the Oilagarchy spends a lot of money and time in programing and conditioning us, don't they.
* Read Jack London's People of the Abyss, and The Iron Heel. Sometimes I wonder if the Powers That Be don't use some of these dystopian stories as training manuals.
;-})


#19

Noam Chomsky, considered the Einstein of our times, in many intelligent circles
supported Sen. Bernard Sanders, rather than Trump or Clinton. Chomsky made it
clear to all Bernie Sanders was by far the best person for the Presidency.

But there were those that were bigots who believed that a person with socialist ideas
would not make an appropriate President. How stupid they were.

Then, when Sen Sanders saw there was no chance for a third candidate to even come
close to winning, he picked the less evil, which was Clinton, and he knew that, just as
Chomsky knew. And Sen. Sanders told the World. He even prepared Clinton for the
task of being President by traveling around the country and telling our citizens that she
had the best credentials for the job. But he was laughed at. But Bernie proposed HIS
platform to the crowd, time and again and those who followed Bernie knew his speeches
and his platform by heart.

Well, no one is laughing at him now. You could have had a brilliant man as President,
an honest man, who was so selfless that he actually drew up and set down in print
Hillary's platform for her Presidency of cleaning up our environment, $15 per hour minimum
wage, fixing our infrastructure, a one payer health plan, keeping jobs here in the U.S., FREE
education for all of our college students, and so much more. These were his ideas through
the primary, and they still continue, and we, who are "Our Revolution" are still working on those
ideas with Bernie. Four states this past election won ballot questions in raising the minimum
wage with Bernie's efforts. This will almost double people's wages and enable them to spend
money for their necessities which will be in turn, passed on to our economy, all the way down
the line . Between ballot initiatives and elected officials, Bernie changed the landscape of over
30 states, for a more progressive future IN THIS LAST ELECTION.. and he's just starting.
There's a lot of work to be done.

You don't have to be a President to fight for these things. And you don't have to be as
intelligent as Bernard Sanders or Chomsky. We can still all work together on all of Bernie's
plans for a better society and Country. You notice he never complains or holds a grudge, he
does his work as a Senator not just for his state but for this country. IS HE PERFECT, NO,
BUT he IS THE PERSON THAT HAS ACCOMPLISHED THE MOST FOR THE PEOPLE IN
SO MANY DIVERSIFIED AREAS. And in-between supporting Ellison for the new Progressive
DNC, and getting rid of some of the stagnant trash in the DNC he even wrote a book, visited the
Sioux to give them support and let them know he was with them, he visited the people in Flint
Mich. with poisoned water, and travelled to Calif. to support Proposition 61; and promoted the
ColordoCare Health plan that appeared on the ballot. That's who Bernie Sanders is.

Bernie expects you to have courage; you must have courage. Part of courage is realizing
some of us made the wrong decision, but we are only human, so let's stop blaming and start
sticking together .. there is enough blame to go around.. Now we need to have courage.

The most important thing is our environment, as Bernie has clearly stated because without
clean air and water we have nothing.. we can't exist. Animals are showing us ...fish beached
up on our shores, dead, and we ask why. Why, indeed .. our oceans and lakes are filled with
contamination. We are a lazy society and use plastic for everything .. have you noticed
the most liquids you drink that used to be glass are now plastic and we buy canned vegetables
instead of fresh or frozen. Vegetables sitting in metal cans lose all their vitamins.
In approximately 10 to 20 yrs. our Statue of Liberty will be covered by water. I need not
explain that to you. Our seals will be dead, as well as our polar bears, with no ice to
sit on, they are now drowning. Yes, Bernard Sanders was correct in so many ways,
but we didn't listen.. not all of us anyway.

It's not too late, let's work together, and when Bernie says he will hold Trump's feet to the
fire, believe him, support him, Chomsky believed IN BERNIE and still does. Trump is not
our President yet. Bernie is working on getting many of the Repub. delegates to change
their votes on Dec. 19. Remember, Bernie is an Independent who has reached across the
aisle to work with many people of like minds on CERTAIN BILLS that profit all of us. He
has Republicans who support him on some issues and this issue of Trump will be dis-
cussed at length with people who have worked with him before. iT'S NOT OVER TIL THE
FAT LADY SINGS. PEACE AND SOLIDARITY.


#20

Read " Sailor on Horseback" by Irving Wallace.


#21

Talented young writer but she got caught up in the blather of the day, trying to analyze why people voted for Trump. Passe'. It's been done, I don't honestly care. Stick to your message, Naomi, which is important and somehow got lost. Conjoining 1984 and Brave New World left me puzzled, since the premises of these novels is completely different...it's as though you remembered the curriculum for 11th grade English and thought you would toss those in. Things like that weakened a basically decent essay, IHMO.
I'm sorry, being a critic this morning over coffee.
I'll say this: the last section was great. vague, but great. Yes, we do need to rally and remember that love is the one force that can unite us. Old idea, should be dusted off and re-examined often. Make it so.


#22

It's good article, Nozomi. You remind Americans and acolytes across the world that there are dangerous contradictions in America that need to be addressed.
Clinton was just a continuation of this dangerous dysfunction, a continuation of the US colonialism and hegemonic belief in its power and ability to be destructive to any nation that refuses to bow down
and accept the rape of its natural wealth. Too many citizens could see this and offered an alternative, as happened with Brexit, the voters took it. Trump has outsmarted everyone who stood opposed to him. He defeated the Republican Party, The Democrat party, all the billionaires, Soros etc, all the media, 100% ranged against him, the Hollywood celebrities, All the international criticism etc. The Clinton and Bush dynasties, the Corporations. Silicon Valley all defeated. All stood for the same old same old. All deserved to be defeated. So now we leap into the unknown. It's going to be "interesting"!


#23

Ah yes, the old Chinese curse.
* "May you live in interesting times."
;-})


#24

America may have been founded by protest—and little of value by way of civil and human rights has ever been achieved but through protest–but protesters are now the ungrateful bastards of the republic, loudmouth pussies who don’t have the grace to shut up and be glad they have the protection of the military, or the decency to take cops’ beatings and killings politely, without talking back


#25

Well I am not singing yet that is for sure. I am stunned however, that all anyone ( dems) talks about are the immigrants, and bathroom rights Sorry, but what about the CITIZENS and workers who lost their jobs, Why does not the population talk about the Wall Street collapse of the economy,. . Shame on any kind of greed and bankers who lobbied for no regulation and got it! Plus a system that is unstable at most.


#26

The US is collapsing into itself that is for sure. Why does a billionaire need to work for pay ? if I had that I would just continue to volunteer especially for those who do not have a voice the animals. Also, why is everyone so afraid of talking about how Wall Street and corruption crashed the economy - that is why people are angry. Instead we change the dialogue to something else, and we bury the madness. This is what happens.


#27

all legislation is calculated to protect those that possess property against those who do not"
Engles


#28

There are plenty who possess property who were hurt by this crash. People who did nothing wrong lost their jobs, homes and even their lives ( millions of them). We don't want to talk about that -too fixated on the Kardashians.