Trump and his family are self described business folks. While their legacy in business is debatable, that they come from the corporate world not political becomes more obvious everyday. We don’t know yet if Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia last year but the Trump family isn’t making it easy for innocence to be considered.
This week Donald Trump Jr. became the center of the Russian storm. After days of having his ever changing story disproven by leaks, he released the emails in question. They did not vindicate him. When asked if he would like information on Clinton gathered by Russia to aid his father, he says he would love it. He brought Kushner and Manafort to the meeting, the Russian lawyer ended up not having anything on Clinton. Leaving us in a situation where we know that the Trump campaign would have colluded but not if they did.
Ignore the discussion of impeachment for a moment. What other implications are there? One is a revelation behind the curtain. Political operators have long been portrayed as ruthless anything goes types in movies but the real political world always had norms and bounds. I’m not saying they are knights of the round table. Yet even the Gore campaign called the FBI when someone leaked Bush’s campaign bible to them. This event shows the business world core of the Trump universe one where damning emails end in a fine and mea culpas but in politics things end differently just ask Abramoff.
The anti-left media keeps yelling Ukraine like its Benghazi (as a waste of time). A low level former staffer is not the same as a high campaign advisor and candidate’s child. Manafort did in fact lobby for pro Russia candidates in Ukraine and was unable to hide it. Whether the decision to remove support for Ukraine in its war against Russian invasion from the GOP platform came from Manafort is unknown. In the end, evidence from a foreign public investigation is not close to the same as a foreign nation stealing documents from a political opponent to aid a candidate. As Watergate taught us having your own countrymen steal documents is damning without foreign involvement.
The emails aren’t a smoking gun for criminal proceedings but they without a doubt bolster Mueller’s investigation. One can only wonder what subpeonas will uncover.
I know many on the left will give this post title an eyeroll but I must speak about the two wars on Christmas: one waged by the secular leftists and the other from Radical Islam. The left has long sought to undermine the separation of church and state by submitting religion to federal control. People must petition Congress for religious exemptions. That is not what this country was founded on. The government does not grant us rights. Our religious institutions Christian or other are not granted passage by Big Government. This is why battles over the building of Mosques disturbs me. It isn’t for the President or the selectmen to decide. We do not have the right to stop peaceful worship if they own the property or at least have legal access. I believe both the the left and the right have assaulted our religious rights.
The war on the Western world from Radical Islam is a clash of civilizations. Christianity and Islam can and do coexist in Western Civilization. Not that there aren’t conflicts between religious groups under liberal order but our values as a society push us towards unity and respect. Radical Islam under its strict literal theology cannot exist within the West. It’s practice goes against all of our values. If the West is defined as uncertain and fluid then Radical Islam is defined by the opposite. The temptation is it promises a known purpose in life. In the West, religion and work (our institutions of purpose) have been under attack by the political elite. The resulting society promotes unlimited freedom by removing dedication and devotion as values. Purpose limits choice. True freedom is being adrift in space without a footing to stand on. People want to have a purpose, at some level we need it. As the work that gave employee’s pride is automated, a pillar of society teeters. We don’t need more stuff to throw away, we need more purpose in our days. I have been told of a notion where freedom from work allows us to achieve higher purposes. I don’t agree with it. An attempt by the left to marginalize people’s lives. Autowork gives more back to the community than art and is no less noble. That’s the problem with the Progressive goal to achieve the end of history. People want to be a part of their lineage, not escape it.
The converts to the radical civilizations (Radical Islam and Neo-Nazis are just the most aggressive) flee the increasingly inhuman West shedding its values without replacing them. Multiculturalism isn’t a value as much as the absence of one. The American Melting Pot wasn’t a place where you kept your way of life as much as subvert your rituals to the American way. You came to America to be American. Immigrants make America great by becoming American. Entangling the threads of their traditions into our quilt. The american ethnicity is multiracial and our DNA is global but at our heart we are all brothers and sisters under and for the Republic and all for which it stands. In reading the Atlantic review of “Silence”, one would assume Art was created outside of religion when until recent history it was a tool of faith. The reviewer believes taking religion seriously is radical. I find that to be belittling to say that the ancient mysteries of religion especially the inevitability of suffering were not a legitimate source of Art. The left has turned tradition radical. Until the liberal order reclaims its history it will be on the losing end of a war they refuse to admit exists.
Identity politics has always existed. White Supremacy is perhaps the oldest modern form. In all forms it relies on tribal dogma to create a world view. This world view does not always conform to the world. In an piece for NPR, Tasneem Raja writes “why it’s never been more important to continue talking — and arguing, and complaining, and venting — about identity in America. To continue interrogating whiteness as a construct, even as we discuss the economic woes of many white Americans. To continue asking why so many of our superheroes are white and male, even as we push to better understand the defeat and humiliation felt by many flesh-and-blood white men in our country.” Superheroes aren’t real. Movies and television aren’t real. The media wastes an incredible amount of time watching other media and reporting on what the media tells them. No wonder we built our own echo chambers, the mirror that was journalism has become a fun house. There are serious deep seated economic ills that affect all Americans that creates a fear of the other. While diverse entertainment options are important. Everyone should be able to share their voice. Art is not as important as economic stability. Few liberals argue that many of the goals of identity politics aren’t noble, but the tactics are ineffective at best. As television moves from viewership numbers to subscriber totals, the actual viewership of any given program matters less. Thus the explosion of perspectives on pay or SVOD entertainment. These shows at their peak with the rare exception have a twentieth of the viewership of the classic model flagship CBS. If content can shape the viewership than the viewership matters. Identity politics by dividing citizens based on birth features encourages white nationalism. If being matters then Whiteness matters. If what was pop culture is white culture then the Whiteness of it matters too. In a country that is still majority white for the next three decades and depending on immigration changes longer, that demographic has power.
The average American white male was the loser of globalism. The Trump supporter is similar to a study on rats as written in the New York Times, “The best verified animal model of depression consists of social defeat. A dominant rat is placed in a cage with a younger, stronger rat from another group. When the dominant rat is defeated, several features emerge. The defeated rat is reclusive, hyper-vigilant, avoidant, and shows an incapacity to experience pleasure.” The Obama coalition was a moment for a future America. A moment of change. The now reviled and then reviled as well white American male was an important piece of the coalition, the Midwestern firewall. The professional class has always been dominant; the working class had their fiefdoms maybe not to the charm of a New Yorker but a loving community home to the residents. That has been stolen and the working class re-dominated. The recession recover deepened the destruction of their middle class world of the last thirty years. Longer than many of the preachers of Identity have been living. 2016 will be remembered as the year that Americans first had the chance to elect a government focused on all citizens but both Trump and Clinton relied on identity. Trump did the math and Clinton expected shame to continue to hold the peace. The basket of deplorables comment probably ended her campaign. Trump did a barebone dog whistle to be sure but Clinton attacked the one group she needed because of identity politics. Being a first isn’t an enough, a campaign is more than a self- esteem booster. That last part is intended to the Trump voters and the chaos they chose as well.
We are a broken people divided. The New York Times has an op-ed about not going easy on the failures of men. Especially taking aim at the concept as men as the breadwinner and that being the sole responsibility. While I agree that men and woman should do portional housework based on earnings level. The problem is not just that men do less housework or are selfish about the tasks. It is that the stay at home dad is an undesired solution. Here is an interesting Dear Sugar on the subject. Women are more likely to cheat and divorce as the breadwinner. This dissonance is tearing apart our families. We cannot just shame a better tomorrow. So much of the strife and divisions center on money and for some luxury. I think if the pay ratio dropped from the average of 204: 1 CEO to worker to 50:1 at every company, we would see an American renaissance. I think that it would aid the race and gender and sexuality pay gap and earnings gap. I think it would ease the financial burden on families and save marriages. It would rise up all peoples and exclude no American from the better tomorrow. New divisions will not heal the old ones. Shame is not persuasion.
Everyone knows the house always wins. The American republic may have an elite, but as this election show, they don’t own the system. Trump showed that for both media output, both left and right publishers endorsed Clinton. They might pay eighteen bucks to see a celebrity, but they won’t let that celebrity decide their fate. There is no house in America, just we the people.
Along with the deaths of culture for amusement and community for cosmopolitanism. Adulthood and responsibility have been ravaged by luxury. The eternal childhood of Brooklyn spreads through the wider millennial generation. People shrugging duty for fun or personal achievement. I believe the rejection of adulthood births the decay of every other institution.
Adulthood is not always or frequently enjoyable but it is necessary. Responsibility probably makes one unhappy without it there is nothing. The modern career as a source of pleasure and fulfillment is a flawed concept that erodes our inner life. God put us on this earth to be more than a collection of likes on instagram. The career choices that grant the idealized happiness all share the notion that people pay attention to them. We care less about civic duties and government than even Gen X and they don’t care about anything. That goes to day needed work perhaps either dull or dirty and considered below a certain class of people. The jobs that keep the lights on. The pursuit of career over community and family is a selfish way of life. Another trendy selfish act is to have children for the luxuries of ease and self pamper. The rise of childless couples among the professional class and elite should shock and upset us. There is no honor in emulating Peter Pan. Avoiding parenthood after all the sacrifices made by every previous generation whose blood flows through you. Their effort cumulated to end as a search result. I do not mean to suggest those without the means or the ability but I speak to those who could invest themselves into a stable job or have wealth as well as change their lifestyle to be a better domestic environment. Those who actively avoid responsibility for responsibilities sake. Not only will we die off if it spread but it shows how uncommitted we have become as a society. If we cannot commit to continuing life itself, why would any lesser institution survive. I often think of Churchill’s quote: “Sometimes it is not enough to do our best; we must do what it required.” I think trophies for all and the need for my generation to have constant positive feedback for completing the work, they are being paid to due even if their wages are stagnant and low. I think we need to be paid for what we generate considered a shareholder in the company with our time and effort. I think career and lack of children can be a retreat from life’s difficulties. I think that posting may not have the change that going into the world does. I don’t know how effective the modern street protest will prove to be but I believe it is more courageous and noteworthy. You must live as you wish the world to be on occasion. Civil disobedience can be the moral choice in a situation. We need more than online petitions and even phone calls, but more phone calls to our representatives. We need to care more about local events and government beyond viral news stories. We cannot just achieve for ourselves but for the future. We cannot throw away the community and institutions that support us in seeking out our personal fantasies. We must go beyond awareness and do what is needed. We cannot become pigs rolling in shit.
Can we all be free? I don’t pose that rhetorically. Can both an evangelical who believes homosexuality is a sin and a gay man both have their own liberty. Yes is the easy answer how is harder. Marriage is both a religious and civic institution. Each equally important to their adherents. On a religious level, it is the opposite sacrament of ordination. It is a sacrament of service and the purpose and cornerstone of life. For that institution in many faiths, it is between a man and a woman to bless procreation. On a civic level, there are massive tax breaks, legal rights, and other financial implications. The right to visit a dying loved one in a hospital is one of the few non blood related paths to visitation. Simplification of Inheritance is another big legal benefit and a big one in avoiding estate disputes with family members who don’t support homosexuality. Marriage as a civic institution that affects all major aspects of life and no citizen should be excluded.
In society, the two marriages meet mostly just once: the ceremony in which both share many of the same rituals. If a person believes marriage as a central part of their religious life, should they be forced to service those who go against their beliefs? It is a tricky question, it is a different comparison then Neo Nazis and Jews or Klansmen and Blacks. Most current scientific evidence points to biology as a major portion of being homosexual. The exact source is unknown. On the Christian end, they have an issue with the sin, not the human. Their issue is what they will be participating in if they provide their services. If we accept that articles of clothing to be untouchable expressions of faith then can we saying participating or rather not participating in a ritual be considered differently.
On the opposite end is the case of Kim Davis. Her job as county clerk came with a job description that included complying with all laws. If her beliefs interfered with fulfilling her job duties then she shouldn’t have been hired. I am a strong supporter of anti discrimination laws based on religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability in the wide and weird array that those categories cover. We all have the God given right to Life, Liberty, and Property. While I believe in the freedom of association, I do not support businesses that receive special tax status to both benefit as an individual and as an institution. I think being open to the public and taxed as such should mean offering your services to all. I think that the solution for the religious/ civic divide may be for the religious business owners to operate by appointment or member only basis without tax exemptions or benefits.
Freedom was never intended to be defined as doing whatever you want when you want to. I think people forget the beauty that our country was founded on. They believed that people would choose the greater good over private passions and interests. Their moral character would temper Capitalism that people would choose to earn less profit and have less luxury for the benefit of their countryman. They correctly feared the path of Rome. The Roman nobles entertained themselves into Tyranny. Entrenched wealth that belonged to citizens of nowhere. It isn’t always flashy like Trump Tower. If you drive through the nooks of Los Angeles, you will hidden many hidden mansions. Sometimes a block over you’ll run into a tent city that may stand for months until the cops are called not that anything changes but the location the city is rebuilt on. When they repeal the estate tax, the only thing missing will be titles before their name. As they fly to their homes in global villages outside of the nation the land is in. People who focus more on the world then the people who live in it. Disruption for convenience. Our decadence is toxic.
Much like the Federalists of 1860, I will not give up on our union and republic. We will heal our divisions. Americans come back together.