Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Same Coin, Opposite Sides

My friends and I thought it was a joke when Trump announced he was running for president. There’s nothing presidential about him. Who would vote for this hot-tempered, braggadocios, misogynistic, bad hair, reality television star. Incredulously I learned lots of people. His messages, I’ll make America great again … make Mexicans pay for a wall to keep out their illegals … stop allowing Muslims into the country and monitor those that are here, resonated. Trump hurled insults, his approval numbers soared. I’d thought we hit bottom when we elected Bush, Jr., a “C” student who’d never been successful, but this was much worse. Things that would have ruined campaigns in earlier years energized his. Establishment candidates floundered. Trump supporters want radical change.

I realized, as Bernier Sanders’ pole numbers, lots of Democrats did too, A Jewish socialist started nipping at Hillary’s heels, changing the dialogue, shifting the focus to income inequality. Like the right, they want an outsider, are asking for radical change, pissed off for more or less the same reason as the far right; the American dream no longer seems possible. Manufacturing jobs, which made the middle class, had been leaving the US for a couple of decades. Both Bernie and Donald say bad trade deals had something to do with this. I don’t know enough to evaluate but I’m sure a major contributor was capitalism—why pay Americans when they can hire outside the US and pay workers less in a week than Americans make in a day. The financial meltdown following the housing scandal brought everything to a halt in 2008 and the recovery was one-sided—the rich got richer and the middle class disappeared. If you peel past the rhetoric, the far left and right want the same thing—a chance.

The possibility of a president Trump horrifies me but neither Cruz nor Rubio want the kind of America I want—the Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, American. And I hear Bernie when he says American should provide what the rest of the civilized world provides, free education and free health care. But European countries are small, most no larger than Texas, and nothing’s free. Who pays for it is the first question we want answered in capitalistic America. Will Democrats in Congress support Bernie’s ideas? Raising taxes in America is always a fight.

We’ve been stalled. It’s time for movement.