November

from Vantage Points by contritions of the phoenix publications

This has been a really hard month, politically speaking.

And I find myself asking, “How could this happen?” I think many people, myself included, did not take a Trump presidency seriously, including the media. Hell, I don’t think that Trump took the idea of a Trump presidency seriously.

Here in Austin, I think the same is true of much of big city America. I find myself surrounded by people, on social media and otherwise, whose worldview is basically the same as myself.

But I caught myself thinking about the rest of America. Driving around Texas, I drive through countless small towns which at one time were thriving. They had some industry, whether it be farming or a processing plant or a boot factory, at which many of the townspeople worked, and around it they were safe and were able to create a livelihood for their families, a future for their way of life.

And now those industries are gone, gone overseas and outsourced and given over to large multinationals and factory farming. And these towns, these people are holding on out of sheer stubbornness to a way of life they’ve always lived in.

And maybe those people have never known a transgender person, or knew that they knew a transgender person, and maybe those people have never known a gay person, or knew that they knew a gay person, and maybe they don’t know any Muslims or POCs.

And by-and-large, those people are afraid. They’re afraid of the modern world which they feel has left them behind, that there might be no place in the world today, for themselves, for their families, for what they’ve always known.

I may not agree with those people, but to a degree I understand their fear. I understand the feeling of isolation that the rest of the world has grown beyond them and left them behind.

Many of these people don’t consider themselves bigots. Many of these people are the people who voted for Trump. Beyond facts, they feel like their livelihoods are under attack. They are afraid of a world in which they no longer fit in. They feel like they need to go back to some fictionalized time when they were safe and comfortable, when their families were safe and comfortable.

Oftentimes, when encountered with a worldview vastly different from my own, I have been as guilty as anyone of shutting people out, of deleting people or blocking people from social media.

And I think this has been the great failure of the left recently: We’ve shut people out as unreachable or not worthy of consideration.

In a way, we’ve marginalized small-town America. We’ve left people marginalized in what we see as antiquated ways of thinking, and feeling marginalized, they’ve struck out in anger and in fear.

Now is the not the time to sit back and wait. The very things I find great about this country, inclusion and diversity, are under attack. We must mobilize and fight the forces that seek to counter that diversity. But, if we’re going to develop, to evolve as humans, as an American people, as a country, we must find a way to listen to people, to converse with people, with some degree of empathy, even when those conversations are uncomfortable or confrontational. This is something I seek to develop in myself.

 

dustin wyatt

 

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Liberty’s Prodigal Children-By SD Westbrook

from Vantage Points contritions of the phoenix publications

President Donald Trump. The words seem surreal, even comical. Though as surely as there are letters on this page, that is our reality. Donald Trump is our first billionaire president. While I can accept that, I cannot pretend he is anything but what he has shown himself to be; rich, privileged and derisive.

Trump was born rich. Went to military school then on to a Prestigious college. Avoided military service during Vietnam and later joined his father’s business. He grew his families business by being a ruthless business man and priding himself on always making the next best deal regardless of who he stepped on. Trump has spent nearly his entire life marketing himself and his business(es) as being the self proclaimed best at everything. Donald Trump is the epitome of the greedy capitalist. At 70 years old he has spent a nearly half of a century swindling anyone he can. He was raised or at least came to embody ruthless capitalism at the expense of ethics and morals. His trample the weak and hurdle the dead business mentality has brought him the power and influence to force his way into the political arena. He is a child of the Era of Jim Crow, he grew up rich in a society that told he and his compatriots that they were the Masters of the Universe. While his peers where in the streets protesting Vietnam, or being drafted, he was in Business school. Trump’s beliefs and actions are Anglo-American Christian centric. His track record and his speeches have shown him to be racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim. But what makes him appeal to anyone, besides bigots…I mean the Alt-Right, is the fact that he campaigned as an Anti-Establishment Nationalist Capitalist. He’s no visionary, or even particularly Charismatic, he’s an opportunist. Trump is capitalizing on our distraction, disenfranchisement, apathy, and fear. The election ( or selection) of President Donald J. Trump is the inception of the overt rule of the American Oligarchs.

Trump is the embodiment of the Rich American Ruling class. He spreads his arms and tells the lie that he is just like you or at least willing to help you. That he is successful because he has worked hard and lived up to his potential…and so can you, if only you’d work harder. Therein lies the con; here is where he pulls the wool over our eyes. He is selling the idea that he’s got your back and those who can’t identify with him are brainwashed by the establishment. The establishment is the problem. The government is perpetuating the problem and only he can fix it. In truth he is doing all he can to entrench himself in wealth and power. Less than a quarter of America bought this lie and less than a quarter of America bought Hillary Clinton’s Lies. About 10 percent found truth in what the third or fourth parties had to say and more than half of America DID NOT VOTE. Half of America is so tired of being lied to that they just don’t care anymore and the other half were given the choice between two very rich lairs. However he was still selected by the Electoral College. The popular vote was subverted by guileful gerrymandering, deep pocketed donors, and a system designed to keep the hands of the wealthy on the steering wheel. That is true subjugation.

What is sad is that some Americans are just now realizing that there are people like Trump who are abusing their power, wealth, and authority. This is not news to some of us. Most people do not know that smiling faces of our rich elite are masks to hide their bigotry, sociopathy, and psychopathy. Donald Trump has just proven that it’s not necessary to hide behind their masks. His closest advisors and his cabinet are made up of Neo-Nazis, cronies, bigots, and billionaires, despite his promises to “Drain the Swamp”. He surrounds himself with yes-men and kleptocrats who reinforces his brazen xenophobic rhetoric. This is dangerous. Normalizing this type of behavior emboldens radical actions from groups on the fringes of the left and right. His nepotism, cronyism, and plutocratic practices will result in a shift from a republic with oligarchic undertones to a complete Oligarchy.

 

What is truly incomprehensible is that despite rich as he is, Trump is not special. We want to make him special so that his deception won’t hurt as much. The hard truth is there are a lot of Trumps in America. They are in control of our businesses, banks, and industry; in control of our country. The fact that this type of rich reprobate can now openly say what was once said behind the closed doors of mansions and board rooms out of fear of reprisal is absurd. What is more mystifying is that he was still elected, which says a lot about how desensitized we are. Trump isn’t special, Trump is just another crass, callous and corrupt capitalist who is too damn old to hide his bigotry with flowered words. I believe that Donald Trump is one of the first of many American Oligarchs who will occupy the White House if we don’t wake up. This will continue to be our reality if we can’t shake this apathetic bystander mentality. We, the American people, must assert ourselves and our right to govern ourselves and direct our own future.