Now that some have begun to recover from one of the most contentious elections in our history, I find it interesting that a pattern established during the campaign has begun to "take root" in our national discourse. Yes, I have bashed the media for quite some time now. Why? Because instead of reporting actual news, our media has become nothing more than a conduit for "infotainment" meant to drive audience share more than actual interest in real events occurring in our country and world. What we are now witnessing is nothing short of strategic brilliance implemented by Trump and his strategists. Slam the media as "corrupt" and a "fraud" while embracing purveyors of "fake news" often enough so that the public will dismiss actual media in favor of partisan misdirection found in "fake" media. (See: www.wusa9.com/news/local/web-companies-crack-down-on-fake-news-stories/353646228, also see: nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/10/drudge-hurricane-matthew-might-be-a-liberal-conspiracy.html). Not sure where I'm going with this? Read on.
Throughout Trump's campaign, the President-elect riled up crowd after crowd that the media is "crooked" and cannot be trusted. Also that the "Main Stream Media" ("MSM") is somehow a liberal front designed to manipulate the news against what most Americans view as important. Namely, our nation has fallen apart under Obama and needs to be "great again" - all at the expense of "illegal immigrants", "Elitist Globalists" and corporations happily producing goods overseas rather than here in America using American workers. It seems the only thing the MSM got right according to Trump was the extensive and free coverage afforded to his campaign during his primary fights and the general election. However, what is missing from the equation is the absolute cynical strategy employed by his newly named Senior Counsel and Chief Strategist - namely Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart, the largest of the "Fake News" outlets in existence. (See: mediamatters.org/research/2016/08/17/how-breitbart-news-became-official-propaganda-arm-trump-campaign/212470). What about their strategy gives me concern? A narrative was created that MSM is so corrupt and dishonest that no one will heed anything in the future they broadcast and/or print. That way, when Trump is elected, very few Americans (especially Trump supporters), will believe anything reported that is negative as it relates to Trump. It is a strategy that has begun to produce fruit.
How can I say this? Easy. Take a look at events this past week as they relate to Trump and then check out his supporters' comments. One example: Donald Trump tweets nonsense about convincing Ford to not move a production facility from America to Mexico. The tweet claimed credit for "convincing" Ford to stay in America and in turn, employing "real Americans" instead of Mexicans. Except the plant was never going to be moved to Mexico. The only aspect that was going to be moved was a single production line of automobiles for export - to countries other than the United States. But that did not stop Trump from tweeting his claim - which clearly is a lie. What followed though is a prime example of the misleading strategy created by Bannon and implemented by the Trump folks. As soon as the story was shown to be untruthful, Trump supporters from across the country came to Trump's defense while attacking actual news outlets. Their defensive comments provide a clear indication of how deep and widespread the distrust of media has worked for Trump. Anyone criticizing Trump for perpetuating a lie was immediately called every name in the book while Trump supporters repeated the charade with positive comments like "He's already saving our jobs" and "Trump proves he will make American Great Again!" Except Trump did nothing (except lie). Can we start to see how misinformation can be used, while denigrating actual news sources is taking hold? What is worse is that the comments reflect a certain sense of awe and adoration for a man fraught with serious challenges with dealing with facts or the truth. Yet, these same folks still believe Clinton should go to jail for crimes that she has never been proven to have committed. Why? Trump has encouraged such rants and emotions - all the while, burnishing his own revered status with the ill-informed and intellectual loafers as the only ONE that can save America! Am I saying all Trump supporters are ill-informed? Of course not! But many now, appear to be so. (See: www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/17/trump-just-took-credit-for-stopping-ford-from-moving-a-plant-to-mexico-but-it-was-planning-to/).
Another case in point is the recent news that Trump has opted to settle his Trump University fraud case for $25 Million. Of course true to every legal entanglement that leads to a Trump settlement, no admission of fault or liability is a condition of the settlement. So most folks will accept his argument that he settled the matter not because there was any truth to the fraud allegations, but to eliminate any distractions as he assumes the highest position in the World. Except, Trump would have certainly lost had the litigation gone to trial. What do the MSM outlets say? Before they even could, Trump tweeted that the cast of Hamilton insulted his seemingly vulnerable and insecure Vice-President elect when they pointed out the diversity of America with a plea that the new administration reconcile its rhetoric to the realities found in our society. What do Trump supporters do? They seize the "Trump Tweet" as some sort of "call to arms" by demanding folks boycott the Tony Award winning musical - all stealing the focus of the Trump University settlement so that any negative information relating to Trump is literally pushed off the "main stage" of American discourse. Coincidentally, there is also a lot of concern about Trump's selection of Jeff Sessions to be his Attorney General, Retired General Michael Flynn to serve as his National Security Advisor and Steve Bannon as his Senior Counselor and Strategists (who for the first time in the history of the Executive Branch will have Co-Equal status with his Chief of Staff). It seems Sessions has a previous history of supporting the KKK and promoting racists comments and Flynn has a closet full of reckless pro-neoconservative hawkish Anti-Muslim credentials. Moreover, thus far, all of Trump's transition team is full of establishment figures anyone with half a brain would recognize as residents of the very "swamp" Trump claimed he was going to drain in Washington. Con job #1 in the books for Trump. But what do his supporters now say? "He's the legitimately elected president", "Suck it up buttercup" and "Give him a chance!" Except no one of the Right side of the political spectrum ever gave Obama a chance, from day one strategies were cooked up to de-legitimize Obama from the get go. And Right Wing media outlets under the guise of being "real" news outlets perpetuated that strategy. So much so, they successfully used it against Hillary Clinton.
Oh come on Rubin, she is a known pathological liar and she killed four Americans in Benghazi and then allowed national secrets to be leaked! Just look at Wikileaks! Except none of that sentiment is true - but no need to speculate, the strategy worked. Just yesterday someone asked me if Obama should grant Clinton a pardon. When I said yes (explaining my approval of Ford pardoning Nixon), someone sitting nearby cynically replied with a snicker, "Why, if she didn't commit a crime!" But according to Trump supporters, they still demand Clinton be locked up! And the Chair of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chafetz now says he still wants to continue investigating Clinton for potential crimes. (See: www.newsy.com/videos/rep-jason-chaffetz-to-keep-investigating-clinton-s-emails/). Huh? The icing on the cake? Someone asked when the FBI was going to complete it's investigation of the "Clinton Pay to Play" investigation and they bet "she will go to jail for that!" Except the FBI is not investigating the Clinton Foundation. Why? Because the allegation of wrongdoing came from a book written by Peter Schweizer called "Clinton Cash" that was prominently promoted on Breitbart - one of the FAKE news outlets. When I mentioned there was no FBI investigation of the Clinton Foundation I got the craziest response. "It's amazing how the Clintons can pay everyone off, including the FBI!" Except, how can one pay the FBI to stop investigating something they have never investigated in the first place? Trump supporter's response? "It's all rigged!" Score one more for the Bannon/Trump strategy of marginalizing facts! And this is the problem we will begin to face on a daily basis come January 20, 2017. In the event the Trump Administration engages in wrongful acts, will any of the millions of his supporters actually care? Will their adoration of this man blind them to the reality that he may actually be unfit to be president? That his Administration may have engaged in a pattern to violate individual rights guaranteed under the Constitution? This is something I actually do fear. I fear that Trump knows his followers will support him no matter what he or his administration do, even if unlawful. I mean, they already refuse to heed anything coming from "MSM" why would they "see the light" anytime soon?
So saddle up folks. We may be entering a dangerous era of media manipulation and gamesmanship promoted by Trump and his "lock-step" supporters. Some already seem to believe that Trump alone makes the sun rise every day - and that is certainly not healthy for any democratic-republic. When folks begin to attack those that confront abuses that may come from the Trump Administration, how long will it take for his supporters to demand they be silenced (as seen in the "buttercup" legislation supported by many Trump folks calling to make peaceful protest assembly a FELONY). (See: www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2016/11/14/iowa-lawmakers-suck-up-buttercup-bill-targets-protests/93797142/). Would an ultra-conservative Supreme Court rule in favor of these attempts to stifle free speech or will they move to uphold the First Amendment? We already know how Trump Supporters feel about the Press regardless of their First Amendment protections.
As Founder, Framer and Patriot Alexander Hamilton once wrote; "The inquiry constantly is what will please, not what will benefit the people. In such a government there can be nothing but temporary expedient, fickleness, and folly." Let us heed Hamilton's warning and keep a close eye on those with designs to please their egos and vengeance instead of what will be best for everyone, everywhere! Now the task will be to convince all Americans, no matter who is President, that we are charged with the responsibility and duty to pay attention and not allow us to be either manipulated or misled, no matter the strategy employed by any Administration of government. Have a great week!
Well, the 2016 election season is now over. But are there any real winners or losers from this new reality in presidential politics? Like anything else, time will tell. One thing is for sure, almost half of Americans eligible to vote did not and the majority of those that did vote did not win. According to the U.S. Election Atlas Organization, Clinton won the popular vote by more than 700,000 and after counting absentee and provisional ballots, may have more than a 1,000,000 more votes than Trump. But winning the popular vote does not secure the presidency. Winning the Electoral College does and Trump won at least 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. So where does that leave us? Largely, in a state of massive confusion.
Don't get me wrong, Trump supporters have declared a sort of "personal triumph" by besting Clinton supporters, so much so that it is less a partisan victory and instead a historic rejection of what was sold to them as the "corrupt establishment." People wanted change and Trump sold his entire campaign on bringing that change. Unfortunately, his campaign also embraced notions of fear - that those that don't look, act or pray "like us" are somehow the sole reason we have violence, poverty and job loss. I say this is unfortunate because much of what the people want is not going to be what Trump gives them. Although he never held elected office himself, he admittedly took advantage of spending his money in an effort to influence politicians so that his personal interests would be better served. Nowhere in his campaign rhetoric has anyone actually seen policies that will address the concerns of his supporters. In fact, no one but President-elect Trump knows (if even he does).
So I am personally going to engage in a "wait and see" position to decide if Trump is as clueless as has been projected from his campaign statements and complete lack of preparation during the debates. Like many others, I wonder whether his choice of advisers, inner cabinet and actual cabinet are really agents of change or more of the same residents of the "swamp" Trump claimed needed draining. Thus far, his advisors are the same "Establishment" types who represent flame-throwing partisan views and policies that not everyone supporting Trump would feel comfortable with. But like I have written many times, he will be MY president, but that does not mean I will refrain from evaluating him like any other president. President Trump has a lot to prove. If he succeeds, I will applaud him. If he fails, I will express myself accordingly.
The major problem I am currently seeing on social media is the complete confusion of judgment with emotion. Now we have always had "wing-nuts" on both extreme sides of the political spectrum. However, after this election, I have seen countless Americans criticize other Americans for openly protesting Trump in many of our cities. Why criticize them? It was the "right wing" that made it clear they would be protesting if Trump lost - and in fact, many openly said they would use their "Second Amendment Rights" to keep Clinton from being president. What is worse is the notion that we as Americans should all unite behind Trump because he "won fair and square", was "legitimately and duly elected" and anyone that does not support him should consider leaving the country. One posting on social media labeled California as "Californistan" and should be forced to secede from the Union. What is more disappointing to me are some of my former students claiming that "Libtards" should be punished because they aren't "real Americans." These former students happen to all be White and Christian. Huh? I can only think they are too young to remember all of the efforts engaged in by the Right Wing to delegitimize President Obama as "Foreign born", a "Muslim", "Anti-American" and other nonsense. Where are all of those fools that claimed Obama would use an Executive Order to reject elections and remain President for life? Yes, they are fools and they have suddenly gone "quiet" now. Worse yet, the GOP establishment met on the night of Obama's first inauguration pledging to destroy his presidency by obstructing everything - even if his agenda was helpful for all Americans. They fail to acknowledge all of our local billboards that routinely said "Repeal Obama" or the Lyndon LaRouche folks planting themselves outside the local Publix grocery store near the high school with posters of Obama as Hitler. Selective memory? Perhaps. This call that anyone not supporting Trump's transition to the Presidency is fraught with blatant hypocrisy.
Perhaps the biggest divide currently witnessed in this country is the failure of Trump supporters ability to understand the position of those protesting. From my personal experience, I can tell you that most Trump supporters voted for Trump because they each have some sense of personal angst. They don't like "Intellectuals" looking "down on them" and their notion of "taking their country back" is to take it back from immigrants, gays, lesbians and LIBERALS who have given too much away. They want Jesus back in their classrooms because they believe their religion is superior to any other. It's all about a sense that "something was taken from ME and I demand I get it back!" When I ask a Trump supporter, it typically comes down to a fear of strangers and a loss of what we used to know - a country of average folks that look and pray like us. On the other side, the reason so many are protesting is because those on the Left side of the spectrum do not think everything revolves around themselves. They fear there will be a backlash against all folks that are and may become more vulnerable under Trump. A fundamental difference exists between those that care and worry about everyone else colliding against folks that care only about themselves. "MY JOB, MY WAGES, MY COUNTRY vs. OUR COUNTRY, OUR ECONOMY and OUR SOCIETY!" This unfortunately appears to be the basic differences between the two sides in America. To claim it's all about racism ignores the fact that so many of Trump's supporters are actually not racists. They are just tired of what the media has told them to be tired of. It's the perception that we must protect everyone at the expense of the American middle class that caused this "movement." And this election made it real!
The dog whistles from the Trump campaign actually scare people, while it empowers others. We fear Blacks living on "Hell Street" in urban centers. We fear immigrants that "take MY job", we fear "Globalists" and "Elites" - code word for Jews. We fear ISIS because they can corrupt the minds of all Muslims - even though that alone is illogical. Instead of voting for what IS great in America, we voted with emotion and vitriol towards our fellow humans. Just look at Climate Change. Although some dispute its existence, anyone with more than a couple of brain cells can see that it is REAL. The cause for it may be in dispute, but efforts to protect the planet should not be a partisan issue. So why do we allow both parties to exploit it?
As I have said. Americans have a right to protest. Anyone telling them they can't are the ones in denial about what is happening in America. Hypocrisy reigns as does ignorance and apathy. For my friends that supported Trump I warned "Be careful what you wish for". I can only hope his rhetoric will not find a way into his actual policy positions. For those applauding him for pushing jobs bills and infrastructure spending - you got conned. Obama had sought these for years only to be blocked by an obstructionist GOP Congress. Expect the same from the Democrats in Senate - unless McConnell and his "swamp dwellers" change the filibuster rules to eliminate the minority from blocking appointments and laws. And if they do - watch this country swing back like a snapping rubber band in 2020. Yes, our country needs to heal and I congratulate all those that feel their support for Trump is somehow legitimized by his victory. But rubbing the noses of those that "lost" the Electoral College into the mud reflects much worse than the protesting currently underway. The childish glee of victory always proves in the long-run to be the result of poor sportsmanship devoid of any actual patriotism or love of country (no matter what party you vote for). To those actively engaged in such efforts to blast Clinton supporters, I say this - "back off!" Anyone that actually knows me, understands I would be writing the very same words had Clinton won and Trump supporters were taking to the streets. We need to heal our nation - and that cannot happen if some gloat and boast and engage in blatant hypocrisy. To the losers AND to those claiming some personal victory - work harder, gain more political support, educate the ignorant, empower the apathetic and work towards making America better than the divisive rhetoric so many seem to be embracing.
As President Thomas Jefferson once wrote; "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government." We must care for one another, worry for one another and work for one another. It's high time this country appreciate this need and engage in it, no matter who is residing in the White House. Have a great week!
After many months, many days, and so many hours, I think everyone has had more than a fair dose of Election Fatigue. The cure? Part 'rest' (just go vote and like the theme from Frozen, "Let It Go!"), part 'forgive' those friends that claim to "be informed" only to be proven time and time again they actually have no clue, part 'deep breathing and meditation' chanting that "America IS Already Great, America Is Already Great" and part "What country could I obtain dual citizenship in?". As one who has studied American History on an on-going academic basis since 1975, I know we have weathered a lot of divisive times, but this election "feels" a little different. How different we won't know until November 9. Allow me to explain.
Part of my fatigue is from attempting to deal with lies and misinformation so prevalent in our Media. We already know the Conservative Right claims the Main Stream Media ("MSM") is "Liberal" and "Biased" so they should be ignored. But Trump takes it to a whole new level by sending out "dog whistle" attacks for his supporters to believe and repeat- “Another important issue for Americans is integrity in journalism,” Trump said. “These people are among the most dishonest people I have ever met, spoken to, done business with. These are the most dishonest people. There has never been dishonesty – there has never been dishonesty like we have seen in this election. There has never been anywhere near the media dishonesty like we have seen in this election." But Breitbart and other Alt-Right outlets routinely create lies and distortions to sway the gullible, but that's okay to Trump - it's HIS media and that's seemingly the only one that actually should count. (See: www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/11/02/trump-slams-media-miami-crowd-chants-cnn-sucks/ and "I'll support the results of the election if I win" www.politico.com/story/2016/10/donald-trump-accept-election-230098).
But who really IS the MSM anyway? I mean, Fox News claims it has the largest audience (radio and television). That actually means something right? If more Americans tune into Fox News, wouldn't that make THEM part of the MSM? Of course it does. But to those ranting about "Liberals" they can't see the trees from the forest! What about the print media? The New York Times and Washington Post are so "Leftist" and they lead the MSM in their "shady reporting." Except the Times and Post routinely win a lion's share of Pulitzer Awards for Journalistic Excellence. Many Conservative pundits, adored by the Conservatives actual syndicate their work through the Times and the Washington Post. So what gives? To be frank, I routinely take exception to many Times articles that have a "liberal" slant when it comes to their reporting on Israel. But I certainly do not dismiss everything they report - because much of it turns out to be legitimate. But to Conservatives reacting to rhetoric, the Times and the Post have no redeeming values. Another MSM publication? The Wall Street Journal ("WSJ") of course. As a subscriber, I find the WSJ to be a great source for world and economic news. What I find on their opinion pages though clearly reflects an adherence to Conservative viewpoints. But the WSJ makes no excuses for their opinions - they are what they are - a large member of the MSM. Who owns the WSJ? Dow Jones - owned by News Corp. - in turn owned by Rupert Murdoch (who also owns Fox News). Do Americans know that the WSJ is a publisher of Conservative positions? How can Conservatives claim America is wrongfully controlled by MSM when two of the top players are Conservative outlets? Because facts no longer matter to many Americans - it is far too easy repeating rhetoric in the form of partisan talking points and narratives. Now I'm not saying only Conservatives play this game. The Left has MSNBC - but can anyone honestly say that other than that outlet, there are clearly biased outlets in the Media favoring Liberals? Can you name a SINGLE Liberal talk show host with any sort of major following? I can't. But I can name Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and their ilk smeared all across the right with large audiences. But the MSM? These Conservative talking heads ARE members of the MSM. So why the bitch? Because folks have been TOLD to bitch - and they cannot honestly tell you anything about the MSM except to repeat the narratives they prefer to hear.
Another part of my fatigue is the outright ignorance of Americans when it comes to knowing the Law and Common Sense. I can't tell you how many times I have been told by Conservatives that the WikiLeaks are proof Clinton allowed secrets to be leaked on her illegal "unsecured" private server. Except according to FBI Director James Comey, there is NO evidence that any emails from her server were hacked - NONE. As I mentioned last week - Trump and his supporters have routinely conflated the WikiLeaks with Clinton's server in order to confuse voters. And it has worked! Folks are complaining about Clinton's alleged comments about Catholics - even though that statement was attributable to others, not her! Those comments did not come from Clinton but from a couple of people before they became members of her campaign staff in 2012. Facts again - who needs them when it comes to Clinton?
This week we learned of two very troubling events that should give Americans great pause. We learned that the FBI has been purposely leaking stories about criminal investigations into the Clinton foundation in an effort to get Media outlets to jump all over them. And it worked. Bret Baier of Fox News wrongfully reported the "leak" as fact and once again, Trump produced an Ad claiming she is under "Criminal Investigation" and his surrogates asserted "Why vote for Clinton, she will be indicted shortly after the election for her crimes" followed by Trump rally chants of "Lock her up, Lock her up!" Except the leak was a hoax. But ask yourself this. Since when does the FBI allow leaks about anything? Since when does the FBI engage in leaking fake stories about political candidates? Where in the FBI's mission statement does it say they are to engage in misleading the American public about criminal investigations? (See: www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/fox-news-apologizes-for-falsely-reporting-that-clinton-faces-indictment/2016/11/04/8fd56f20-a2b7-11e6-8d63-3e0a660f1f04_story.html). And the Trump campaign? They essentially say, "oops", but the damage has been done!" Sounds a lot like a response from someone that was involved in having the fake story revealed to the public. Do it and ask for forgiveness later? A big "Oh well.. it happens!" Even though Fox News and others have apologized for publishing the fake story, Trump continues to cite it in his stump speeches as if it is true. So for those ill-informed Americans, the "paste is already out of the tube!" And this is exactly what Trump's Campaign spokeswoman KellyAnn Conway claimed in a recent interview. "Asked whether Trump would “amend his stump speech to walk back the same thing,” Conway replied: “Well, the damage is done to Hillary Clinton, that no matter how it’s being termed, the voters are hearing it for what it is, a culture of corruption.” Although it is a LIE, no apologies are forthcoming from the Trump camp for misleading Americans at Trump's rallies, no remorse at all. It appears lying and deceiving are acceptable to Trump - as long as folks believe every LIE promoted when it comes to Clinton. (See:
www.yahoo.com/news/kellyanne-conway-clinton-indictment-claims-may-be-inaccurate-but-the-damage-is-done-193249003.html). I can think of one reason why the Trump folks would wrap themselves around such a lie. Because perhaps they were in on the lie with the FBI all along!? How can I say this!? Because we learned something more dangerous than anything previously revealed.
We learned that the FBI's New York Field Office has been routinely engaged with former Federal Prosecutor Rudy Giuliani and the Trump Campaign in coordinating false attacks against Clinton. What? We all know about the now famous "Comey Letter" sent 12 days before the election to Congress saying new emails had been discovered and will be reviewed by the FBI for potential "criminal" evidence against Clinton (we have since learned that when the Comey Letter was sent, he has NO idea what was in the emails. Moreover, there have been NO new emails recently discovered that would indicate criminal wrongdoing). But what we did not know was that Rudy Giuliani boasted two days BEFORE the letter was sent to Congress that it was coming. How does someone outside the FBI KNOW in advance they are releasing ANYTHING relating to investigations? Giuliani, smirking like the "cat that caught the canary" couldn't hold back. He asserted he KNEW a bombshell that would negatively affect the Clinton Campaign was coming in two days. How did he know this? When did he know this? Who else knew this? The mere impression that a political campaign could be in collusion with the criminal investigative agency of the United States government should give Americans a helluva lot more pause than any damn emails! My Conservative friends? They refuse to accept this FACT. "Clinton is a a crook and a liar and put killed 43 people including 4 Americans in Benghazi" they say. But it's NOT true (according to countless GOP Reports from their own Congressional investigations). Take a look at the video and tell me Giuliani really was "just having fun with the Democrats" as subsequently explained by Trump surrogates. That dog won't hunt. He KNEW, and therefore he is in collusion with the FBI's New York Field Office which has become the politicized investigative arm of the GOP. (See: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmqJVEvzROQ). No need to add the "Lock her up" chants were initially started by Chris Christie - who has a whole other problem heading his way from Bridgegate (See: www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bridgegate-two-former-aides-chris-christie-convicted-lane-closure-scandal-n678016).
So Clinton's use of a private server was wrong. She has admitted to it. But what do we do with the powerful FBI that has become a bed partner with the Trump campaign and possibly the GOP? Why is it so difficult for Americans to understand such an arrangement is a very dangerous one - especially if Trump wins the White House and uses the FBI to destroy his enemies - real or perceived. Anyone remember the last president caught using the FBI as their personal vendetta machine? That would be none other than Richard Nixon.
Last night a protester wearing a "Never Trump" shirt was accosted at a Trump rally in Reno. While under physical attack, someone yelled "GUN!" and the Secret Service whisked Trump from the stage. Immediately hereafter, law enforcement officials and the Secret Service determined the only ones committing violence were the Trump supporters against the protester who did nothing except reveal his t-shirt's message. He did not vocally disrupt Trump or engage in anything disruptive -except wear his Anti-Trump shirt. Amazingly, the Trump campaign (and his son), began tweeting that Trump survived an "Assassination attempt!" Huh? And then they went on to blame the media for the violence - which video shows the crowd physically assaulting a press cameraman. Is this the America we want to have if Trump wins? Intimidate and attack anyone they disagree with? (See: twitter.com/IceManNYR/status/795077481309016064 and twitter.com/samsteinhp/status/795082554923712512 and pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/11/06/no-gun-trump-rally-commotion/). False Flag to excite Trump's base? It appears to be working on some levels as social media contains many postings "Stop Democrat Violence!" (a seed planted by the multi-discredited James O'Keefe and his suspect Project Veritas machine). Except what evidence is there that Democrats are behind any violence? We all have seen how protesters and hecklers are treated at Trump rallies. But how did President Obama deal with a Trump supporting heckler? A lot different than Trump has. I'll leave the evidence for you to decide. (See: time.com/4559072/barack-obama-north-carolina-rally-heckler-video/).
So where are we? Are we mired in a divisive campaign that seems like it will never end? Perhaps - especially when the GOP leadership now says they will obstruct everything Clinton does as president. They will initiate impeachment actions as soon as she is sworn in. How they will never allow a single appointment to the Supreme Court until a Republican wins the White House. And you think this is what the Framers planned when creating our form of democracy? One side, losing an election refusing to allow the winners to enjoy the fruits of their victory? This may be acceptable to partisans, but it is not to those that actually love our country. So to those who refuse to accept losses at the ballot box, perhaps it is time for you to seek dual citizenship somewhere else where the losers can rule over the people - like North Korea or Russia.
I am tired. I am tired of being called every name in the book for pointing out the obvious to folks that have no more knowledge of our great history or system we call government than third graders (apologies to third graders, they might actually be better behaved). I am tired of being told "that's your opinion and this is mine!" I'm tired because I spend no less than 7 hours a day reading over 1,000 articles relating to our politics from every available media outlet from across the political spectrum. And for those that think I am lying - please note that I score up to 600 College Board handwritten essays a DAY at the AP Gov. reading in Utah. Although to some I may be full of crap, I know I am filled with information instead. Yet, I know my words will fall on many deaf ears - but I still feel I have an obligation to state them. And with America on the threshold of another serious election, I cannot remain silent and sit idly by and allow the easily manipulated to determine the fate of our great nation without pointing out who the real liars are and who is taking advantage of them.
As I wind this last blog down before the election, I must point out how stupid Americans have actually become. This week it was revealed that folks were promoting on social media that voters should "text" their votes instead of going to the polls. Except there is no such thing as "texting in votes." They don't count. This is a subtle form of voter suppression. When I pointed this out, many responded with an incredible view that "if someone is too stupid to fall for that, they shouldn't be allowed to vote anyway!" No matter they are being conned - it's somehow okay because they "deserved it!" So let me get this straight - victims of scams are the ones to be blamed and the perpetrators are not (one commentator told me it was not any different that political ads and caveat emptor). Until I raised this analogy. If they believe this to be true, then what about the elderly couple scammed by someone coming to their front door telling them he noticed their roof needed emergency repair conning them to pay the guy $20,000.00 to repair the roof, only for the scammer to walk off and steal their cash. Are we to blame the elderly couple for being so gullible (and therefore deserving) or are we going to go after the thief before he defrauds another unsuspecting innocent couple? Of course we will not hold the vulnerable couple responsible. How is this any different when efforts are made to defraud the vulnerable of their rights to vote? Of all the folks that proudly defended the scammers on the voting issue - only ONE apologized and admitted they didn't realize the vulnerable innocent should never be blamed if victimized by a thief. But it was only one out of the many to acknowledge their erroneous beliefs. And this is what ails our nation. Opinions so blinded by partisan rhetoric they can't even see the common sense basis for the flaws in their positions. And try to have them see the errors in their thinking? Attack, attack and attack. As I've been writing for years - it is intellectual laziness to resort to labels and name calling instead of responding with actual thought and evidence.
Which gets me to my final thoughts. This election should prove once and for all that the broadcast media must cease using campaign surrogates as "balancing" political reporting. Each network has used campaign surrogates to present their views as valid sources of news. They are not! We all know campaigns utilize surrogates to promote talking points and narratives in spin rooms - where the press can meet them and listen to their rhetoric. But in this election, actual broadcast journalists are being supplanted by campaign talking heads. The result - viewers come away with the the mistaken impression that the nonsense spouted by the surrogates is news! And it is NOT! It is rhetoric only - except under the moniker of Fox News and CNN they are hoodwinked into thinking what is claimed is real news. If we have learned anything from this election, broadcast news must stick to actual journalists and stop giving campaign surrogates a news platform to spew their narratives and nonsense as far too many folks are too weak to appreciate the difference between rhetoric and fact.
As Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower once wrote; "This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect." So may we all pledge after this election to be proud again, trust each other and respect what is real instead of what is not. We as a nation ARE great, but it takes work to stay that way. Demand our politicians WORK and not obstruct. Demand rhetoric of dishonesty is vetted before shared. Demand a Special Prosecutor be appointed to "Clean the Swamp" that has become the FBI and all those conspiring to use it for their own political gain at OUR expense. And please in this election, don't toss out the baby with the bath water. Have a great week and let us all get to November 9 in peace.
Daniel R. Rubin is an Attorney, Educator, Lecturer and National Award Winning Author. He is a recently retired adjunct professor of American History who also taught Advanced Placement United States Government and American Politics in Venice, Florida.