Brain Download-Unconstitutional President, Columbine, Notre Dame, and the 2020 Election – Mid-April 2019
Journalists and authors, both professional and not, have written about the way Trump and the Republicans are crushing the “guardrails” of our documents and our laws (How Democracies Die). In an article on 4/17/2019 the newest incarnation of these columns raised alarms about these threats to our democracy.
The article discusses the ways Trump and the compliant Republicans have actually crossed red lines, or have shown that they are willing to cross certain red lines, especially when it comes to the laws Trump wants to ignore or overturn in order to stop asylum seekers from entering the US, and his desire to ship migrants off to sanctuary cities, actions that would break current laws. He gets mad and he gets even (if he can) and he does not seem to let a little thing like a law stand in his way. None of us, the article says, are any too happy about the way Republicans are stuffing the courts with uncredentialed judges, either.
David Rothkopf, writing in The Daily Beast today, arrives at the same dilemma we all keep facing. What can we do about it? He also feels that an effective response strategy is more necessary than ever after Trump’s willingness to break laws, which escalated once again last week. He doesn’t offer any suggestions we already haven’t thought of and now that we are in the election cycle we are unlikely to heat up the resistance. But he is right, we should, because 6 more years of Trump and the Republicans will most likely make American democracy have a near-death-experience (or die an authoritarian death).
Today – 4/17/2019 is almost exactly a decade (sorry for my math, two decades) after the Columbine shooters shocked our nation (4/20/1999) and today an eighteen year old, who had an unhealthy interest in the Columbine shooters and that whole terrible day, a girl who searched the internet about how to buy a gun in Colorado, made authorities nervous enough to shut down schools near Columbine. Not only did she ask about purchasing a gun, she actually went to Colorado and bought one when she arrived from Miami. She was found dead this morning. Possibly when she realized that everyone was looking for her she may have killed herself, thinking that was the only thing she felt she could do.
It seems that authorities are beginning to get ahead of potential shooters by treating tips and internet posts seriously and being proactive. They have been able to stop several shooters lately before the tragic mass shootings they were planning happened. This is a good thing. Although it may not be enough to stop all mass shootings. We didn’t lose any innocent students today but it is still sad to lose another young person to a mental script that doesn’t offer rewards to anyone, especially any of the rewards that s/he thinks such an act will bring. We need to find out why our culture produces so many young people attracted to such appalling violence.
A friend reminds me that Notre Dame, built in the 12 th century (the 1100’s) was built on the backs of peasants who moved the large stones which were used to construct the great cathedrals. Were they slaves or were they paid? If they were paid, they were most likely not well paid. My friend also reminds me that these cathedrals took decades to build so that parents, and their children, and their children’s children ( and more generations) carried stone to the builders without ever hoping to earn enough for a better life. And these same peasants who performed the most back-breaking labors also knew they would never be allowed to enter the cathedral when it was finished.
Ken Follett in The Pillars of Earth,described (or imagined) the building of one of the great cathedrals in England. If he used more facts than imagination, the building of a cathedral was a huge operation that required many talented builders with a variety of skills. A whole city grew up around the site of a build as there had to be houses for workers, food for workers, drinks and drinking establishments, and eventually even guilds for workers and a town or city government for order. So cathedral building may have offered more advantages than building the pyramids in Egypt seems to have offered.
Still we now have billionaires pitching in to rebuild Notre Dame and we have French people who need to see those billions invested in jobs and better pay for French people. People first, rebuilding second some protestors are saying. This sad loss of a religious and national treasure is teaching us another lesson about what happens when an economy does not equitably distribute money that people need to live. We see that someone can afford to offer their wealth in exchange for their soul when a cathedral is involved, but who seem to misinterpret what their soul really requires. Actually some people have become so rich that they could hedge their bets by doing both.
The 2020 Election -Speaking of Money
The Democrats are happy to have so many candidates running in their primary for the 2020 election. They are also trying to answer charges that Republicans have popularized, arguments which paint Democrats as being more in love with big money than Republicans are. I guess all is fair in love and elections, but we are a capitalist country and Democrats live in the same economy as everyone else. Are we now supposed to have two disparate economies, in addition to two political parties with nothing in common?
We are aware of how the GOP demonizes the Democrats. Why are we having this moment of purity about Wall Street and money? Young people are idealistic and easily persuaded to be critical, and their parents did have their 60’s moment when they learned that economics was not the only basis for a thriving culture. They saw that many cynical leaders thought of war as a way to keep the economy booming, and of course, keep communism from spreading. From what we are seeing of the spread of authoritarianism our leaders were perhaps not totally cynical. And these young people did not come of age in the job market their parents found after they left school.
So we see Democrats trying to promise that they will use only grassroots dollars. This is a political reform that is sorely needed but obviously, at this moment, the opposing party is unlikely to reciprocate. And while Dem leaders may not want to limit the Dem field I am starting to get a bit nervous about how I will offer support to all these primary candidates. My donations are small even when the number of candidates is small. Now I am beginning to worry that I will not be able to be a good Democrat. My pocketbook will not allow it. I suppose I could choose one candidate and concentrate on that one person but there are several people that I like. It seems so overwhelming that sometimes I think about keeping all my dollars for myself. I hope this doesn’t describe too many Democrat supporters and voters. How will Dems successfully compete against Trump with his hand in the deep pockets of the Republican political apparatus?
Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search, Newsweek