The Smoke and Mirrors of Brexit

There’s little to add to Brexit beyond this engaging interview with Fintan O’Toole in October, who expertly draws on the ignored rise of English nationalism post-2008 to his knowledge of Irish issues – how many of us know that all Northern Irish citizens have the right to EU citizenship regardless of Brexit?

Of course that won’t stop me with a few additional points from the general Brexit narrative that have bugged me for month; two acts of cowardice and an ugly boil of a truth no one wants unmasked.

Cowardice Part One

  • The Tory extreme Brexiters lead by the right honourable member of the 18th Century

Their No Deal is a sham. They will back down. They have neither clout or clue how to manage this outcome and they know it, but it makes for great political grandstanding. These are people who need something to run against, otherwise they will fade into oblivion. Without the EU to rail against they have nothing and don’t have the wherewithal to lead Britain through a No Deal scenario.

Faced between Theresa May’s Deal and the chance of another referendum they will back down and likely abstain. It’s manna from heaven to them. As Britain struggles with the reset of May’s deal they’ll be able to continue their narrative of the deal not being good enough, no deal would have been better, we told you so blah. You can see this coming from a mile away – I saw it an aged cheddar ago. The strongest recent hint is Nigel Farage creating a new anti-EU party, because, surprise, his original UKIP have become a bunch of racists.

Cowardice Part Two

The unchallenged narrative of another referendum being anti-democratic that even Remainers buy the argument you can’t keep having referendums until you get the result you want. 

Wrong. Let me break this into bite-size pieces:

  • The referendum was held in an absence of truth rendering it the most undemocratic act in modern political British history.

  • Referendums on the same issue are often held again.  

  • If the Brexit vote had been reversed in 2016…

Do you think Brexit leaders for one minute would have said the country had decided once and for all, that’s it, bye, I’m off to my holiday home in the Cayman Islands! Think about it, because I could gush on forever. We know they would be spluttering on about how the vote was non-binding, and how it showed a clear appetite to leave the EU.

One of the most dangerous acts toward British democracy was the narrative of Britain has decided.

Nearly half of those who participated were silenced and ridiculed as remoaners and even worse, traitors.

  • The absence of the Official Opposition

Yep gone with the wind. The lack of political leadership to argue the case for another referendum on May’s deal is astonishing. The silencing and lack of opposition leadership has led to a situation where 42% of Brits are okay with a No Deal Brexit.  

The Ugly Boil of a Truth

It’s actually quite easy to debunk, okay, argue effectively against almost all the reasons to leave the EU.

  • Sovereignty - the UK parliament has sovereignty over Britain. Can I stop there? 

  •  The EU has never stopped a law being passed in Britain. Can I stop there?

  •  As a member of the EU, Britain has exchanged control of standards for products made in the UK for influence in setting standards across the EU which allows manufacturers to sell across the single market. It’s also known as common sense.

  • When the UK leaves the EU and the single market, it still has to obey these rules if it wants to sell to the EU, but without having any say. That’s a dramatic loss of power.

Brexit leaders tend to operate in a vacuum of reality and a swamp of hubris. They’ll give us (Canada) a better trade deal than we have with EU. 

Too fucking right (and not just because I can wave a blue passport in your face).

We’re going to get a better deal from the UK outside of the EU, because they’re in a weaker position, but will Britain?

  •  If Britain was unhappy with any of the 60 trade deals negotiated by the EU, it could have vetoed them

  •  Why would you want to renegotiate with sixty countries from a weaker position?

And on it goes, you can take down one key argument after another with simple logic, until you’re left with one emotive issue, the most tangible visual change, one that triggers fear, loss of a culture.

Immigration 

Leaving aside Britain could have had more control over immigration, but decided against it, there’s an uncomfortable ugly boil of a truth. A nation of well meaning, reasonable people cannot see themselves as intolerant, xenophobic, and racist.

The rest is smoke and mirrors

Waiting for the dust to settle

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During the first intifada I had an epiphany. Having grown up in a moderate pro-Israel culture where Palestinians were reduced to the role of terrorists, news was supplied through traditional media of television, radio and newspapers. If the Internet was around, I doubt there would’ve been any realization. Social media, too often a poison on our humanity, doesn’t allow for reflection.

We were taught one of the clues indicating Palestinians still wanted to destroy Israel; the map of Palestine used in demonstrations. It was a map that included all of Israel. We equated it as wanting Israel to be wiped off the map, and it was usually prefaced with an, “Aha, you see!” because hey, it wasn’t there anymore.

The map of Israel I grew up with was identical.

There was no recognition of occupied Palestinian territories. If we thought they wanted to destroy us, they must think we want to destroy them. 

Of course this could stem from the innocuous — it’s easier to draw a map of the whole than a map of the divided, which once done, frankly is an unappealing jagged mess.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is drowned in propaganda designed to get you caught in the weeds, but there are moments of clarity. Even as the events of Monday are analyzed and you decide which truth to believe (wait for it, the weeds are coming), an action took place that was undeniable.

A decision was made to shoot live rounds at demonstrators who were separated from soldiers by a fence (and not your common garden variety). It is a decision that was approved by Cabinet. A hardline, right wing Israeli Cabinet with a take no prisoners approach. An approach that doesn’t give a shit about lives lost because they can dismiss and objectify protestors as terrorists. It was simple for them. They had a prebuilt narrative.

And what of the live narratives? If you glance at headlines, a few sentences, let your ears pop at newscasts of traditional media or the web of mainstream and indie news, you’d draw a picture of unarmed civilians peacefully protesting being shot by IDF snipers in cold blood — and at one big protest. 

A cursory glance at photos shows burning tyres, Molotov cocktails, and slingshots. They (Israelis) shot first are the claims, then the violence occurred. Who do you believe? What is appropriate force and where does peaceful cross the line? What level of violent protest is acceptable for a population trapped in an enclave such as Gaza, must they all be Gandhi before we make peace? The blockade of Gaza has driven Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, expecting them to vote for anyone "moderate" is fantasy (not that Gazan's can vote). Are you going to put Netenyahu on the ballot, do you want them to vote for him, because, essentially that’s what you’re saying if you do want them to change leadership.

Then it’s children. How can you shoot children, kill a baby, although it wasn’t shot. And what the hell was a baby doing there in the first place? It turns out the baby passed away because of a pre-existing condition. Was it dead before? Hamas admits to fifty of their members being killed, proof enough of terrorist activity claim Israel, but surely there’s a difference between a member protesting and a member engaged in terrorist activity (planting bombs, suicide bombs, launching rockets and opening fire on civilians)? There are reasons beyond the destruction of Israel to join Hamas. And how did the IDF know who were Hamas members when their snipers picked them off? 

And on and on it goes. The questions. The theoretical. What is reasonable self-defence for Israel? Was this the best way, the only way?

Why not let them march to the fence? What’s the worst that could happen? Take them down then? Are the optics worse to have Palestinians lining up against the fence for miles rather than the melee which unfolded? Can we see them with the wire cutters and explosives as claimed — and not old or photoshopped pictures.

Has Hamas, with their we’re peaceful, no we’re not peaceful couched in anti-semitism bollocks just won a massive propaganda battle because of a blinkered Israeli government? Are Hamas on the precipice of losing this battle, a massive reverse, because most of the dead are their members? And Palestinians wonder why the world doesn’t give a shit. 

And Israelis think the world cares more than it does. 

All this now because the idiot president, a clueless goofball, decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with all the sensitivity he’s shown to women, migrants, and minorities. He did it slap bang between Israeli Independence Day and the Naqba. And hey, I’m someone who believes it’s ludicrous to think anywhere but Jerusalem could be the spiritual home and capital of the one Jewish state on this planet. But equally, I recognize that official recognition and subsequent move of all embassies must be tied to a peace solution with East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. If you think anything different you are part of the problem (Jared Kushner). But hey, carry on if you do, because there are only two alternatives, a bi-national state or ethnically cleanse Palestinians from towns, villages and fields. Make life so difficult for them they’ll leave. Oh wait, that’s happening now. 

And through all this hogwash, the sense that this was premeditated, another we all knew moment, I remind myself, on Monday people were unnecessarily shot, killed, or maimed because two nations are intent on destroying each other while being aided and abetted by a man who almost daily disgraces the Office of the President of the United States.

xx

P.S. Consider yourself fortunate this a 900 word blog and not 9,000.

 

Jog when you see a Photographer

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The phone buzzed.

I think I’ll be at the Vancouver marathon. Want to walk a half with me?

If you walk slow.

Seriously?

I’m jet lagged, but yes.

My problem with commitment is when I say yes, I’m all in, so I’ve cultivated a lifestyle of avoiding the affirmative — those “maybe” buttons on Facebook are a godsend. But know; there’s really a binary person with a ton of judgment behind all those woolly maybes.

Without a maybe I caught up in person with Esther after three and half years. We had first met at the Austin Film Festival (the Driskill Bar, naturally) in 2011. She was a force of nature then and remains so. 

The last time we crossed paths she gave me a swim routine (how to swim a mile faster) helping me negotiate the gloom of winter. Prior to I was only a fair weather pool fiend. Esther btw would have been a contender for Olympic gold if the 10km outdoor was available in her heyday — her 10km indoor being eight minutes faster than the current outdoor world record — and all the more remarkable because of a serious heart condition. 

She’s young enough to go back, but both her shoulders are blown, and frankly, she’s moved on, she’ll be on the Hill shortly helping shape tax policy.

Early in the half marathon I noticed the pace. It was faster than my imagined slow. I made one quip and zipped it. The course took care of concerns. Knowing a course is a huge advantage; to me it was series of shorter walks, the vistas ever changing of glass, concrete, trees, and sea. Blue skies and cool morning air allied with jazz performers in pyjamas, official support and impromptu unofficial support eased the way. 

I smiled and wondered if I was as old and lame as I appeared to the young bystanders. Jesus, we’re only walking! Maybe it’s the act of walking and bringing up the rear in a race that makes the lameness a fair assumption. Not to be blasé — and it’s not the same — but I walk everywhere, and if I’m not walking, I’m cycling, and hey, I swim. Perhaps my three-week regime of eating every non-meat product in sight (a special nod to chocolate zuchinni muffins and chips) was telling. My runners were ten years old, my shorts twelve, both good enough for a 21.1km stroll and a little bit of air guitar. A pair of feet, what more do you need. 

Esther isn’t blasé. I had the privilege of offering notes on her memoir last year. It’s the #MeToo movement in book form. It’s a candid, heartbreaking and uplifting account of the three lifetimes she’s lived through domestic abuse, PTSD, and becoming the unlikeliest ultra runner ever, through which the memoir is framed. It’s extraordinary. I learned I could never truly understand what it’s like to have PTSD, and I’m okay with that because PTSD never goes away, its venom hovers around every corner ready to swipe your life away. To witness a force of nature, a life being destroyed through one cruel event after another, then rebuild, patchwork, to the realization of knowing she’ll be okay will never leave.

We met at Austin because she’s a talented writer, a semi-finalist (in the Nicholl’s too) at the time. She would win another competition and be recognized by the top rung of NBC. All these years I wouldn’t know the hell she went through, and to a degree nor would Esther with her memories suppressed. And here she was in Vancouver, this expert on US tax code, motivational speaker, and mother, advising when to take electrolytes, to jog a little bit every mile to help the muscles, and decreeing the most important rule of all, jog when you see a photographer. 

Before the run, her partner asked me not to let her do anything stupid. As if I could. Bring on the Cheshire cat. After 21km I had to stretch the limbs and run. I assured her we’d cross the line together. I galloped away, plenty left in the tank (I swim, remember) and when I was done turned back expecting to see Esther a good distance away. Not a chance. We ran the last 50m together. Esther said I finished just ahead of her, the video disagrees. 

*Thank you to all the volunteers and the people of Vancouver for your support adding to the experience and notion of running the whole course next year.

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Glass Houses, The First Step

In late January my face was planted on asphalt, warm blood spreading on the cold surface. In March my old yellow cycling jacket said au revoir, safety pins would hold it together for another four weeks before a new one arrived.

Blue stitches and safety pins, holding a life together — at least the image of a one.

Way back in September I knew this was going to happen. I couldn’t articulate — emotions and thoughts the stickiest of cinnamon buns — but a storm was coming, After eighteen years in Vancouver I made a commitment to waterproof, I would ride the rain through fall and winter. Something had to give, to break, to snap.

An apocalyptic piss fest followed.

I applied to the Sundance International Writers Lab in early spring, piss fest still going, acknowledging my chances of acceptance as a non-director and a Canadian were slim, then the twig snapped.

The application process made me think like a director; it was natural to express my artistic vision, even if it came off as pretentious, because, well, I’m not a director.

I’m not a director — a check box I had ticked over and over again.

After pressing submit, it was as if months of sodden bike riding had worn down the fibres of the box I had put myself in, it no longer held. My hunched shoulders were exposed, an epiphany sprung.

In Glass Houses young Cathy too has an epiphany, when magic hits. Like myself she has put herself in a box.

I’ve loved Glass Houses since I first read it. Nuanced and thematically resonant, Jenni Prange Boran’s script leapt to mind when epiphany struck. I know what to do with it.  I want to make a great film. I want to make this film.

Thoughts sprung to making a feature, Glass Houses is the first step.

VISIT THE GLASS HOUSES INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN

Follow Glass Houses on Twitter and Facebook @glasshouses69, and Indiegogo

Attack on Sweden

Again, I wake up to hysterics, a laughable comment either by President Trump or Sean Spicer. Again, it is deflected. Again, we’re sucked down a tube of misinformation, this time about rape levels in Sweden.

The graph is shocking on its own. And we should be shocked, because Sweden IS ALONE.

Sweden has the widest definition of rape. They record each incidence of sexual violence in a case separately. Digital penetration of the vagina on a woman who is sleeping or intoxicated has been considered rape since 2008.

Compare that to the Canadian judge who couldn’t understand why a victim didn’t keep her knees together, or a US judge who thought (and said) if the victim didn’t want sex her body would shut down.

Sweden ranks #1 in the world for gender equality, women are more willing to report incidents rape, and there’s a higher level of trust in the police and judiciary.

Sweden is indeed alone in this 2012 table and if other countries followed their lead and the standards they have set, incidents of reported rape would sky rocket around the world and then we (men) would see an uncomfortable truth.

The information on Sweden's rape data has been reported widely and explained. It's easy to find, but we live in a world where we are choosing not to find.

I’m sorry people have been whipped up to live a state of fear they think refugees and migrants will step off the plane and rape women.

Maybe they’re right, after all they’re landing in a country whose President who has actively engaged in sexual harassment and perhaps they see the US as a bounty, a free for all, where rape is underreported, the law inadequate, where attitudes towards women around sexual harassment and their bodies may not be so different to their countries of origin.

It is with great irony those who fight against progressive values, such as those found in Sweden, are fighting against what will protect them. If they're so anti-progressive, they may want to take a moment and think: the people they want to ban are more likely to hold their socially conservative values, and in fact are their natural allies who want to participate in the American dream.

 

Orange is the New Black: The Loss of Decency

A few weeks ago I sprung off my couch and bellowed, convinced a pundit had got it wrong about Trump. “No he isn’t aiming for the middle of the bell curve, he’s targeting the edge of the bell curve. Hasn’t anyone on this panel read Spin!”

Clive Owen’s Gladwell-esque take on politics and marketing identifies how successful campaigns target the edge of the bell curve, where the most passionate constituents exist, the one’s who shout the loudest, the one’s who influence the middle of the bell curve.

Trump yanked the chain at one end, which in turn yanked the other end, which again fuelled his targeted end. That’s how he grossed $2bn of free advertising over the course of his campaign. Trump was a natural for the edge of the bell curve, Hillary Clinton wasn’t.

Who knows what Trump believes other than winning, in this case no matter the cost to America’s social fabric. Racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and Islamophobia didn’t matter as long as it worked.

If what he unleashed gave legitimacy to misogyny, the KKK and every white supremacist thug to bully and intimidate America’s women and diverse population, it was irrelevant. He won, mission accomplished.

He just forgot the bit where he has to be President.

In the early post-election days Trump seemed like he was back-pedalling and watering down key promises to his electors, presumably on the evidence of actual facts and not baseless facts. Next to Obama he was little boy lost.

If he wants to change his climate policy, I’ve written the speech only he can deliver to his supporters — hint — something along the lines of how great the people at NASA are, they're the smartest people, so smart I thought they were Chinese... Do I think Trump will change? Sure, he will change colour and become the second black president of the United States. Orange is the new black he’ll tell supporters.

We should not be fooled at any time Trump is America’s kindly, paternal grandfather. His chosen chief advisor has cultivated the intolerance, ignorance, and anger present in the U.S., another man who plays the edges of the bell curve for his own gain. Trump’s subsequent appointments indicate a man who will choke the life from those who oppose his rule.

Trump and the Republicans have set the bar so low, logical changes to policy seem at once conciliatory and a blatant U-turn.

Questions abound for Trump, but they also do for his voters, not just the white supremacists who don’t number enough elect a chicken for a senate dinner, but those who saw themselves as good people, decent, well-meaning people, who don’t identify being racist or misogynistic, even those belonging to minorities. How were they able to overlook, ignore, deny, block, and excuse?

What happened to their values of decency?

Why did they allow anger to override human decency?

BAITING

It’s actually hard to be angry all the time. It needs fire, grooming. Direction. It pointed at Hillary Clinton. She symbolized every grievance. She was the focal point of false accusations and dubious facts. Reason became subservient to anger.

People have to be kept angry. Fox News is an agent of anger. Breitbart takes it to the next level. Column inches, radio, and the Sunday TV Talk Shows skew to the right. People had been primed. It’s not a mystery, and it’s not because of Trump. People didn’t have a voice? They’ve been encouraged every inch of the way. Dialogue a victim, social media a conduit.

It’s the age of binary; win/lose, them/us, me/elites, black/white, college educated/non-college educated. The college educated voted for Trump in great numbers, while non-college educated voters are dismissed as simpletons with no expectations of understanding the issues. All I see is worthless education.

Society is cloaked in fear. If you don’t win, you’ve lost, and no one has time for losers. It’s reactive. Shut down. How can you have a conversation when you can’t listen? All that the Black Lives Matter movement asked white people to do (even those of us belonging to minorities) was to listen, and we couldn’t even do that.

Political correctness is attacked. Sure, everyone can find an example of where it’s gone too far, but political correctness represents human decency, when you free yourself from political correctness, you free yourself from being decent to other human beings.

Those who remained calm, and reasoned — even if with falsities — still have to answer the same question as the anger mob. What happened to their values of human decency?

The elites who complain about the elites had a choice to engage in constructive conversation. They are leaders too. They had a choice how to approach people’s fears and grievances, cultivate for their own gain, or address them.

Globalization, is the bugbear, and a label not unpacked. You can swing in any direction on this topic and select how much to emphasize trade over technology, or vice versa. Economists aren’t certain, politicians are.

Thirty years ago, in high school geography, we studied how Volkswagen shipped vehicle parts to Brasil, built the cars, then shipped the finished product back to Europe where they could sell them for 6% less and still make the same profit if the whole process had remained in Europe. It stuck. This was the future, tariffs or not.

The rising skill level in developed countries is consistently ignored. There might be large pools of unskilled labour around the world, but there are also large pools of skilled labour to be exploited.

I drilled down (one layer), and looked at the automotive industry, because it’s considered the heart of US manufacturing, and without it manufacturing in the US would be considered dead.

Complexities and paradoxes are aplenty. 2015 saw record sales of cars and trucks, usually a sign of a healthy US economy. Only one of the three NAFTA countries has seen a reduction in car production in the last four years, and it’s not America. It’s Canada. US production has doubled since 2009’s low. Canada is the biggest market for US made vehicles. China is second, Mexico fifth.

Over the last 20 years, Kia, Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, and Volkswagen opened and expanded facilities in the US, but critically not in Michigan, Ohio, or Indiana. They created jobs in the red states of Alabama, Georgia Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. Between 2009 and 2013 the US exported $227.7 billion worth of passenger vehicles. In the same period the US saw a 683% increase in vehicle exports to China.

Watch out trade wars.

The industry has collectively spent $46bn in expanding and retooling U.S. facilities since 2010.

The question turns to other manufacturing industries, what happened to them, why aren’t they doing as well?

And there’s a further question, what if the malaise, the discontent at politicians and elites is rooted elsewhere, but the source becomes hard to trace as it’s overgrown with other weeds of discontent, or should I say “cultivated”?

Anger at changing societal values, anger at taxation, anger at government, just angry people, the people who have spun a negative story on the state of America, the exponents of indecency, the group of elites who rage at elites, who rage at doing anything for a greater good for fear of losing, whether it be their wealth or ideology.

Forgotten in the mix is the erosion of the social safety net.  

I say pick any two of the following:

·      Disconnection from nature,

·      Disconnection from each other, and

·      The devaluation of creativity.

Driving from mall to mall, big box to big box, life-sucking florescent lighting, fast food, trained to consume (I see this in myself), buy, buy, buy, until there is nothing more to buy, or you’re excluded because your wages are suppressed – or don’t exist.

Who wouldn’t be disgruntled at the lack of the promised life? The jobs are shitty, the wages low, and your only power comes from the vitriol you can spread through social media. The positive facts of America’s automotive industry don’t help if you’re excluded.

We’re baited by this global phenomenon (social media), and we use it like the two year old who’s discovered they can shout.

Then there’s the pace of change, the over arching story.

Maybe trade and automation isn’t the problem, but where the money is funnelled. Income tax is the fairest way of redistributing wealth, but you can’t redistribute wealth when the prevailing narrative of your society hangs a devil and a pitchfork over the word tax.

John Steinbeck said socialism never took hold in America because the poor see themselves as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Maybe the poor now see themselves as permanently poor and are embarrassed by it, angered by it — even if they’re not as poor as their fellow citizens, the one’s who don’t vote because their situation is so bad, they don’t think casting a ballot will make a difference.

There is no flip of the globalization coin. No space to do so. I’ve been waiting since the Seattle anti-WTO protests in 1999. I had sympathy for the concerns of protestors, but anti-globalization troubled me for what it missed in opportunity toward pro-globalization: global healthcare, global education, global (standard) corporate tax rates (so jurisdictions aren’t played off each other).

This seemed to be worth fighting for, as well as making sure global CO2 reductions were met. Kyoto had no teeth — and nor does Paris — but the idea of what we can achieve globally, that aspiration, soared. Take the economic slogan/buzzword and turn it on its head. If global trade is good, so are all these other “Globals,” but I too, had no teeth.

The rage against globalization was chosen as an explanation, but this wasn’t a massive vote for an American Brexit. Even Brexit was a wafer-thin victory, despite what Britain’s gutter press and pro-leave politicians would have you believe. And if you oppose that narrative you are destroyed

Brexit was a simple Yes or No vote, with a majority to win. If the US presidency was decided the same way, Hillary would have won, and there would be no Amexit.

If Hillary Clinton had garnered 120,000 more votes in Florida and 15,000 more in Michigan, it would have been game over for Trump under the EC system, and a different narrative spun.

Trump had a smorgasbord of buttons to press on the political right, and he pressed them all.

Literalists told us not to take Trump literally, social conservatives turned a blind eye to social indecency, fiscal conservatives embraced (and let me tell you) huge deficit spending, folks claimed Trump didn’t mean what he said yet the other candidate couldn’t be trusted, Main Street chose Wall Street, those crying to drain the swamp elected the same Senate and House, anti-Semites chose a Jewish son-in-law, and the list goes on. Either Trump’s campaign was genius, or this is one confused electorate.

Or, America must have hated Hillary. I imagine Chris Rock hosting the Oscars again (please), "Man, I knew America hated black people, but geez, they really hated Hillary."

I can’t imagine the response if she had refused to release her taxes, or say she was smart not to pay them because she had run up a debt of one billion dollars. Trump pushed every button of hate and sixty million Americans said it was okay to do.

If Hillary had won, we’d all be gasping relief that racism and misogyny didn’t win, it would have been a victory for human decency. We’d move on, perhaps not taking the concerns of those who had lost seriously. Yet the same questions we ask now of that part of the electorate would still have been relevant had they lost.

Trump needed to be thumped, humiliated, for America to confirm it repudiated human indecency. In that sense the vote wasn’t even close, and therein lies what’s so troubling, how could so many people deny the obvious.

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DENIAL

Several years ago I read a memoir by Israeli human rights activist Daphna Golan-Agnon. In it she references the work of Dr. Stanley Cohen’s States of Denial, how people are in denial about racial oppression, slavery and other suffering, how we can exist knowing, but not-knowing. It was so to the point (even beyond the political) that I kept it bookmarked.

The first stage of denial is not-knowing. It’s not true that Trump used racist language.

The second stage of denial is we say that the situation is not quite as it seems, and even if it is, there must be no other choice. It’s true that Donald Trump may have used racist language, but he doesn’t mean it, he has to do it because the media won’t give him fair coverage.

At the third stage of denial the situation is bad, (real bad), hopeless, but I can’t do anything about it, there’s no point in voting. 

Trump didn’t mean those things and almost everything else he said, so go the apologists, maybe he didn’t mean to run for President.

It’s absurd. On this basis, when Trump says he wants everyone to love each other, or if he ever gets to it, call for racists to stop attacking their fellow citizens, the KKK and their affiliates will turn around and say “He doesn’t mean it”, it’s just to placate those liberals.

If all groups who fell under the Republican tent have their own interpretation of what Trump means, then he has leeway to do whatever he wants among his voter groups, as long as he makes sure to press their buttons at the appropriate time.

As Obama said, sound bites do not always make good policy. As Trump backs away –

·      There will be no prosecution of Hillary Clinton (costly and not guilty).

·      There will be no wall (I could’ve told you that, because you’d sound like a right dipstick shouting “build the fence”), and Mexico won’t pay — at least directly.

·      He’ll do what Hillary would have done with Obama Care, amend it, and find a way to control costs, give it a name change, and shout from the rooftops it’s truly affordable.

·      He’ll symbolically rip up NAFTA, but essentially it will remain the same as he risks putting millions of American jobs on the line,

·      There won’t be mass deportations because there will be no one to do the jobs white Americans don’t want to do.

·      His infrastructure program may be reduced to putting up signs “Making America Great Again,” because Republicans after eight years of political haymaking on Obama’s deficit cannot possibly add billions to the deficit and look at themselves — or their voters — in the mirror, and the deficit is going to be huge with all those tax cuts. Seriously, become a signmaker.

·      The Iran deal will remain in place.

·      NATO will be unharmed – someone has to protect his European properties and destabilizing Europe will affect those American car exports (Germany is 4th on that list).

·      Helping people in inner cities. Yup.

He’ll find a way to sell this to his voters, because Trump excels at that, and he’ll declare himself the greatest president ever for keeping his word. You will see clips of Mexicans being deported and he’ll say we are deporting the rapists and criminals. He only has to make a few changes to NAFTA and he’ll sell it as a great deal.

He’ll sow confusion and uncertainty, only to emerge as the guy who can solve it.

In the end, there isn’t much left of Trump’s policies that aren’t up for grabs. So what did people vote for, what did they vote on?

Across the board whether people actively engaged or denied, it was hatred, anger, misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia, a hollow set of values.

They voted for change?

No, this is what Trump voters did:

Baiting, the binary aspect of society, the denial, Trump needed another factor to bind the indecency, the one thing he’s good at, and something he will continue to do as President, put on a good show.

SPECTACLE

Trump tapped into America’s love of spectacle. Without spectacle Trump doesn’t win. Whipping up crowds, inciting violence, triggering innate racism, entertaining punch lines, grabbing headlines, and providing a great act where straight shooting was equated with honesty.

I saw Donald Trump being honest twice, or should I say authentic, the rare times it wasn’t an act. One was at the end of the debate when he was asked for a positive characteristic of Hillary Clinton. The other was early in the primaries, when walls were being called for on both of America’s land borders.

Trump was walking through a melee (in Central Park) when a Canadian reporter asked if he was going to build a wall on the Canadian border. He was bombarded with questions from others as well, so the question had to be repeated. He wasn’t able to face the camera, but there was enough of a turn to see a smirk, a smile at the absurdity of that question. He had let his guard down.

Everything else was an act. No he wasn’t going to build a wall on the Canadian border. He said he loved Canada, the same way movie stars say it when they’re on the red carpet at the Oscars.

I’m sorry Americans didn’t get to see the 50% of the time when Trump was authentic.

He was playing a role, it was a ruse, and in the end he knew his audience better than most. They had seen him make decisions on television and identified him as a leader.

Sixty million people bought the act, or suppressed the fact it was an act, denied what the hatred implied, the indecency, the consequences, indulging Donald Trump.

They chanted, creating the sense they were part of something bigger than themselves, unable to realize they were part of the hallmarks of fascism.

On Tuesday November 8th 2016, I was on the Millennium Falcon, hanging out with Chewie, R2, Obi Wan, and that annoying Luke kid. We had almost reached America.

Then I felt a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.

My heart dropped. America was gone.

Gone.

And I was left wondering…

Didn’t Trump voters get Star Wars? Is the only thing they got from it, “Fuck, yeah, we blew up the Death Star?”

Maybe that’s why (spoiler alert) they keep blowing up Death Stars in Star Wars films — and in too many films since.

One Trump policy plank will make it through intact — unless he reads my speech to his supporters. It’s tearing up the Paris Accords. Congratulations Trump voters, you’ve blown up the Death Star, it’s called Earth.

Oh, and by the way, I don’t mean any of this, of course.