Letter 2 America for December 3, 2022

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Dear America,

I am pessimistic about our future as a democracy.  I am also pessimistic about the prospect for domestic tranquility in America.  The worst aspect of my pessimism is that I cannot see any way to avert what seems to me to be an imminent armed conflict within our nation, such that I am pondering getting a fire arm myself.  I am a pacifist of over fifty years, but I am still contemplating arming myself so as to protect my household against the advent of what I can see no way to avert.  I refuse to allow our political right wing to dictate to me what I have to believe by ceding to them the right to define American patriotism and freedom.  Even though they have arrogated to themselves the exclusive right to the use of such words and phrases, they have no idea what they mean, nor do they understand what they originally meant to our founding fathers.  What started out as the Trump cult of personality has now become a leaderless mob, and they will run rampant before we can come to some kind of consensus on what to do about them.  And what began as a Trump bestowed license for certain Americans to lapse into being their worst selves has become a kind of sanctimony that looks a lot like the German ethos of the 1920's and 1930's.  We are on the edge of an abyss, and a significant segment of our polity is peering over the edge and preparing to jump in.

I should concede that the 2022 mid-terms were a ray of hope in that many of the Trumpers who ran for office under the Trump aegis lost, and the Arizona election deniers who had who-knows-what in mind as they supervised the vote count in Cochise County are on the brink of indictment for their pretextual effort to squelch the vote in their jurisdiction.  Of course the rhetoric continues unabated, but the results seem to now be cast in stone.  While the Republicans did win the few representatives they needed to resume control of the House of Representatives, they didn't gain any senators, and may in fact lose one seat in that body.  We'll see tomorrow when the runoff between incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and his unqualified opponent, Hershel Walker, takes place.  That may be another ray of hope.  But even with these glints of the endurance of our democracy, there is reason for despair.  I'm talking about the persistence of a kind of ipse dixit conservative narrative opining that only conservatism is valid.  Maureen Dowd runs a column written by her rabid conservative brother every year, apparently assuaging some kind of self-doubt about her intellectual honesty.  He, like other conservatives including Ross Douthat, who's regular column often appears on the same page as Dowd's in the opinion section of the New York Times, this year posited some Trump favored positions as if they were axiomatic.  For example, he attributed inflation to the Democrats and President Joe Biden, ignoring the fact that our inflation is abating while it continues to be rampant in Great Britain and the Euro Zone, which I don't need to tell you neither Biden nor the Democrats have any control.  He pilloried Biden for his economic policies, including the legislation that funded the living expenses and rent of millions of unemployed Americans during the pandemic, keeping roofs over their heads and food on their tables because that is the party line.  Douthat tends to quote progressive commentators and attribute their ideas to the entirety of the progressive movement as if it is univocal when all one has to do is listen to Bernie Sanders once to know that we don't all think alike, and Dowd's brother's polemics are cut from the same cloth.

At any rate, the next hurtle is the 2024 Republican primary season in which Trump will try to resurrect his now faltering popularity in opposition to saner voices, even among the Republicans.  It is true that the poltroons in the Republican leadership are still kowtowing at Trump's erstwhile throne, but we can hope that two years of other candidates deprecating the former miscreant-in-chief and gaining the credence and moral fealty of the Republicans of an earlier time will be enough to thwart Trump.  He will have a tough time proving that the Republican primaries are rigged and simultaneously garnering the support of a plurality of the party's voters.  And besides, Trump lost two popular elections, the second by three times what he lost the first one by.  If he gets the party nod, it will probably be worse next time, which can only redound to the benefit of Democrats and independent thinkers everywhere.

In the final analysis, there is actually light at the end of the tunnel.  Trump's peccancy and amorality are clearly defined in the light of the past two elections and the legal woes that we can only hope hoist him by his own petard.  We could get lucky and see him in prison by 2024, rendering all my hand wringing moot.  But I'm not counting on it.  Even though the judges he appointed seem to have the integrity that Trump lacks, I won't breathe a sigh of relief until he is wearing stripes, and I don't mean pin stripes.

Your friend,


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Wolf published on December 5, 2022 12:43 PM.

Letter 2 America for November 2, 2022 was the previous entry in this blog.

Letter 2 America for December 22, 2022 is the next entry in this blog.

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