Scared to death

TO THE EDITOR:

I'm scared to death for the future of this country.

You could go back to the foundations of our republic and our semi-reluctant embrace of slavery and centuries long struggle to deal with it, but let's just focus on our comparatively recent history. Due to failures on the part of both of our political parties, our middle class, the core of our democracy, has been atrophying for 40 plus years. I would argue that that failure is largely due to the growing influence of big money in politics. The wealthy naturally want their taxes lowered, wages kept down, unions destroyed and laws enacted which increase their influence and wealth. They have what they want, and they want more of it! 

The Republican Party, after the voting rights act and other legislation was pushed through in 1965, found it more and more to their political advantage to "reach out" to "conservative" whites in the south (read explicit or implicit racists) to gain and hold power. And, since 1968, when Nixon first used it, they found it to their advantage to fold in the "law and order" message. What a 2-for-1 shot! They could feed the fears of suburban whites and rural southerners.

With the growing popularity of Reagan in the 1980s, Republicans went from being a minority — a "socially conservative" party — to being perceived as strong activists on both foreign policy and increasingly on fiscal conservatism.

However, while Nixon, Reagan and Bush were influenced by centrist Republicans and Democrats and took their views into consideration, by 1994 Newt Gingrich and the "young Turks" elected primarily as a result of those increasing "implicitly" racist appeals in southern states, decided that, instead of working within the national political system to achieve their ends, they'd use the tools of all-out political "war" and increasingly and ever more explicitly label Democrats and even moderate Republicans as anti-Christian, anti-gun, soft on crime, "big spenders," etc. As might be expected, with every successful use of this appeal to fear, misogyny and racism, its use, intensity, and virulence increased.

While they were spreading this nastiness to get votes, they were taking money — and proportionally more of it than their opponents — from big business and the wealthy.

So, having created and carefully nourished this growing cesspool of misogyny, misinformation, dishonesty and racist dog whistles, what should come crawling out of its bubbling stench but one Donald John Trump — constantly sued, furtively adept at skirting tax and other laws, a serial failed entrepreneur, a patent narcissist, an avowed misogynist and a racial conspiracy theory spreader. In other words, someone who had a "doctorate" in openly feeding the exact kind of fear-mongering drivel they'd only been skirting the edges of for decades. 

The party's ostensible "leadership" who'd grown this creature were alternately "aghast", "offended", nonplussed and horrified. But, when the size of his shovel, coupled with our increasingly dysfunctional electoral system garnered improbable victory, they — almost to a man — have embraced his increasingly authoritarian, nepotistic, and narcissistic rule. 

Sure, we'll probably lose 200,000 to 300,000 or more of our fellow citizens to the virus. Maybe 30 million of our fellow citizens are out of work. Ok, he's finished destroying whatever faith we had left in science, fact and our system of obtaining fact... and our diminishing faith in our systems of government: laws, law enforcement, jurisprudence, justice. Sure, he's turned us against each other to the point where he's encouraging people to get out on the streets of our cities as vigilantes with semi-automatic weapons, not only to posture, but to actually shoot our fellow citizens!

But, I'm doing OK, aren't I?  Nobody's shooting at me, my wife or my kids — yet. I'm not sick — yet. I'm not unemployed — yet. Nobody's hauled me or my family in for threatening authority — yet.

Other than that, it's just another election.

JIM MARTIN
Perryville

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