Friday, February 16, 2018

Literal or Serious? (1)- An Excuse?

One of the comments I heard during the last Presidential campaign and in the first year of the Trump Presidency was that

Trump's critics take him literally while his supporters take him seriously.
The obvious inference is that when Trump speaks, don't take him literally- but take him seriously?

Seriously? But I do understand.

When he said that Mexico sends us the bad people (and maybe a few good ones), I knew what he meant and I took him seriously. He was playing to the crowd who didn't like Hispanics! I didn't think that was a good thing- but I took him very seriously!

When he said that we need to prevent immigrants from Muslim-majority countries entering the United States, I knew what he meant and I took him seriously. He was playing to Islamophobia and the fear of terrorist attacks, which there have been very few of. I disagreed with his presumptions and prejudice- but I took him seriously.

When he said he was elected to be President of Pittsburgh and not Paris and that we need to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreements, I knew what he meant and I took him seriously. He does not believe that global climate change is real (or of human causation) and we should not burden our country with trying to do anything about it. I disagreed with him- but I took him seriously.

It is clear that he is good at hyperbole and speaking to a clear constituency. It is clear that he may say things that sound over-the-top, but that he is clearly telling his supporters and all of us what he means. The news media in general loves sound bites and he is an expert at giving them what they want. Twitter is the new headline maker. But they get hung up on the ridiculous, self-serving ways he says it and the real meaning does get lost.

Through it all, he is serious. I take him seriously. Some feel he is a sloppy communicator. I don't think so. He really does know what he is doing and is enjoying every minute of the spotlight and attention.

Which is why I don't like what he wants to do. He makes it clear in many ways.
  • Cut Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Huge tax cuts that in the long run will help the top 1% and hurt the rest of us.
  • Huge budget deficits. I know, people talk about the "Tax and Spend" Democrats. The Republicans are, for sure, different than that. They just Spend without adding to the taxes, lining pockets until we are bankrupt as a nation.
  • Talking about "due process" when he has been known to make statements undermining such due process.
  • Increase the "nanny state" the GOP has hated for years by taking choice of food purchases out of the hands of SNAP recipients, replacing it with this year's idea of a "Harvest Box."
  • He plays a game of nuclear chicken with North Korea and wants to increase nuclear arms when we don't need any more. We still live in an era of "mutually assured destruction" if they start flying.
Don't take him literally? Take him seriously? I am not sure he is able to tell the difference himself. If he says it, I am afraid he believes it. Many of his supporters outside of D.C. do often take him literally. That's why they voted for him remember? "He speaks his mind. He let's us know what he's thinking."

In the midst of all that, then, we are being given a bunch of bullshit to hide the depth of what is happening. So I for one am willing to not take the specifics of what he says literally.

But I do take him seriously. He is deadly serious! Which is why I am scared to death.

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