Fear, Loathing and Donald Trump

Over the next four years, I’m going to make a distinction in my posts between Donald Trump and the people who voted for him.

Donald Trump is a narcissistic, grandstanding blowhard, whose presidency is likely to make the venal, corrupt incompetence of George W. Bush’s administration look like the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

With his self-aggrandizing lies, and his more or less constant taking to Twitter to complain about people who are mean to him, I’ve concluded that his presidency is either Dadaist performance art, or that he literally has the emotional maturity of a spoiled 11-year-old girl – one who has the  launch codes to the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

His cabinet picks are “diverse” in the sense that they are largely composed of two groups:

A. People covered head to toe in Wall Street and plutocrat pocket lint, and
B. The people from whose pockets that lint came.

Surprisingly, one of the administration’s first priorities is the passage of a $10 Trillion tax cut, whose benefits will be heavily tilted toward the Wall-Streeters-and-Plutocrats set.

President Trump spent the transition period flouting every ethics convention followed by virtually all of his predecessors. Contrary to long-standing tradition, he has not put his business assets into a “blind trust”, but instead handed control of his businesses off to his family members, and pinky-swears that he won’t listen when those family members sit in the oval office and discuss “their” business dealings in loud voices right in front of him, honest he won’t.

I expect that we will see grift and corruption on an absolutely heroic scale in the next four years.

Perhaps I should be clearer here: I think it is safe to say I’m not Trump’s biggest fan.

All that said, let me shift gears and discuss the people (not all, but a good fraction) who elected Donald Trump to be our president.

Some of them, of course, are the standard-issue Republican corporate-upper-management types, the grifters and swindlers, the “stockbroker wives lolling obscenely in opera boxes” in Mencken’s memorable phrase.

A great many of them, however, are people who can never dream of seeing an opera.

A lot of his voters are people who live in small towns all across America, red and blue states alike, that have been decimated by the loss of whatever the founding local industry was in that particular place – in coal country by the decline of coal as natural gas and renewables have led to one mine closure after another, in parts of the Southeast by the decimation of the American furniture and apparel industries by ruinously cheap goods from overseas, and the Main Streets whose business districts have surrendered their customers to Walmart, and thus hollowed out the civic and social structures that small businesses provide.

His voters include millions of veterans of our recent wars who have come home to economically decimated towns that have no place for them to work, and beyond the standard “thank you for your service” (which many of the combat vets of my acquaintance are starting to get really annoyed by) seem to have little to offer them.

His voters also include people in big, rich, deep-blue cities – people in the 70 percent of the population who do not have college degrees, and whose job opportunities in a place like San Francisco pay so little that many sleep in their cars, or packed two and three to a bedroom, because they can’t afford the rent, and can’t afford to commute in from some place cheaper either. Their lives are a more or less constant economic emergency, and many of them voted for the guy who seemed to be the only one who promised to relieve their pain. The desperate Trump voter was described 80 years ago by John Steinbeck in “The Grapes of Wrath”:

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

The great coming tragedy of the Trump administration is that he is going to break their hearts. He will accomplish virtually nothing for them of lasting, practical value. To quote the ancient Greek historian Thucydides, the overwhelmingly likely outcome of Trumpian policy is that “the strong (will) do what they will, and the weak (will) suffer as they must.”

History suggests that if he’s lucky, his supporters will merely vote him out of office four or eight years from now; if he’s not, they will come for him in a tidal wave of rage.

I dearly hope it is the former.

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  • Julia Smucker

    Is it wrong of me to hope he gets caught at something so nakedly corrupt as to get himself impeached?

    • http://populisthope.blogspot.com Matt Talbot

      I think it is probable that the Republican Congress will be afraid to move against him, unless his corruption threatened to drag them down as well.

      • Julia Smucker

        I still think that’s entirely possible. Many, perhaps most, congressional Republicans don’t like him either but have made a “Faustian bargain,” as David Brooks called it. In fact I think such a move would have to come from the GOP (or at least be broadly bipartisan), and would have to wait until his erstwhile base has seen how little he actually cares about them, in order to avoid giving any credence to his narcissistic victim narrative.

    • Tatiana Durbak

      A president can be impeached only if there are enough principled people in the President’s party to stand up to the President. In the president case, there seems to be a dearth of Republicans who are willing to voice opposition to any of Trump’s actions — even the one that has resulted in top DHS (and administrative agency, reporting to the president) brass to order that US lawful permanent residents returning to the US from 7 predominantly Muslim countries be detained at airports across toe US. And this is happening despite a judicial order, placing that executive order on hold. So, this means that an administrative agency is defying a court order, and few Republicans seem to care.

  • http://maddygirl.wordpress.com elialuz

    I’m always surprised that when people write about Trump supporters they always refer to them as victims of circumstances, people who had no say in their future or their lives and so they were looking for a savior. No! No, Trump was offering other “golden rings” to some of his followers.
    As Lyndon Johnson said years ago, “If you can convince the lowest white Man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t need you to pick his pockets. Hell, give him someone to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
    Trump may not have been familiar with this quote but he is familiar with people’s base flaws as he has them himself. He realizes that people need permission to express those thoughts and he gave his followers not only permission but encouraged them and made it seem that those who would criticize them for expressing them would be wrong! He has normalized bigotry, racism, bullying, mysogynism and xenophobia. So, no, it’s not just economics that has made so many people vote for Trump. No, It’s Make America 1950s Again! Put women in the kitchen and if they have to work, don’t let them ask for equal pay, or to be up on the altar reading or serving, or asking to be more than teachers and nurses. And what about colored people being called blacks or African-American? What’s that all about? They’re colored or Negroes. Period. And spicks? Next thing you know we’ll be speaking Spanish here!
    That’s what it’s about more than economics. The fear of losing control of the familiar. Diversity doesn’t fit in with the “uneducated” that Trump loves so much. And that Republicans also love because you can easily manipulate the uneducated, those who have forgotten that they are probably only one generation away from being immigrants themselves, from having struggled to achieve the American dream. Again, as Johnson said, Republicans will get people to vote against their own interests as long as they can get them to look down on someone else. Divide and conquer.
    Machiavelli was a Republican.

    • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

      Actually, Machiavelli was a patriot, compared to Trump. He cared about the common people of Florence and wished that all of Italy could become economically strong and united. He’d never have turned his country over to plutocrats who practise Social Darwinism as an economic policy. And he forcefully opposed, in his writings at least, the most corrupt institution of his day and age in Italy: our Roman Catholic Church.

    • David Cruz-Uribe, OFS

      I don’t think this is an either/or situation (with a h/t to Julia Smucker, the anti-dichotomy queen). My wife has become quite friendly with a group of Trump voters (all women) and there has been some very thoughtful reporting on the Guardian and other places by reporters trying to figure out why Trump supporters support him. The reasons are complicated. Some few are openly racist and misogynist: the alt-right is a real thing. But many more are so entwined in white privilege, which is a structure of sin: social structures that cause otherwise good people, who would not do or say racist or offensive things, to either minimize or turn a blind eye to the problems of others or even participate in sinful actions. When they get nostalgic for the 1950s (or more likely, the 60s or 70s now), they are, in the words of a recent report on the Guardian, nostalgic for a time when their small towns were economically successful, main street was busy, and working men and women had a pathway into the (economic) middle-class. If pressed, I suspect that they will admit that things weren’t good for women and minorities back then, but except in special cases this has no immediate reality for them and they will want to talk about how “things have gotten better.” (And they have, though progress has been uneven.)

      Now, are they being exploited and manipulated? Surely. Are they making active choices that contribute to the problem. Also surely.

    • Tatiana Durbak

      Thank you so much for posting this. I find this attempt to exonerate Trump’s voters as victims to be distasteful and wrong-headed. I think that we need to admit to ourselves the degree of racism, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia that exists in our country. If we do not, we will not be able to change this. I think that what David says about white privilege is so very true. Ignoring this is not helpful or healthy for our country.

  • ndarecca

    Well written, with good historical & literary references. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • http://kishankt.wordpress.com love

    It is a good thing for all those anti Trump people a huge sense of uneasiness has fallen on them. Not that I approve some of his ugly remarks but I see a change in our world of “business as usual” mentality. I guess this speaks of their fear, a self preservation mode. Time for change.. I voted for him as a bipartisan.Thanks Mr President Trump for challenging us.

  • Mark VA

    Mr. Talbot:

    I agree with your description of the suffering of many in our country: ruined small towns (of which I see too many), outsourced jobs, outrageous rents. miserable pay, and many of the rich and powerful on the Left and the Right generally screwing the poor. I could also add social ills, such as poor education, lack of family formation, abortion, drug use, crime, etc.

    Since this has been the status quo in America for some time now, my question is: what has the political Left, the self proclaimed champion of the poor, done about this? (Suggested answer: they were inventing new pronouns). Thus, I voted for Trump for the following reasons:

    Pro-life: The expected new appointments to the Supreme Court will maximize the chances of overturning Roe vs. Wade, and returning the abortion issue to the States. Pro-choice forces are less organized at the State level than they are at the Federal level, and vice versa for the pro-life forces.These appointments should offer new opportunities to accelerate the reduction of abortions in the USA;

    The Economy: It is obvious that the model of globalization championed by the Republicans and the Democrats is wrong. In a nutshell, it reduces to “close here, open there”, and take instant advantage of the wage and regulation differences. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans seem to care much about the moral and social consequences of these decisions. This is Capitalism at its worst – my economic interests are paramount, the rest of you go away. Contrast this with the globalization model offered by China, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, and the differences become painfully obvious;

    Education: If “the education of today is the economy of tomorrow”, then we will live in an increasingly distressed country. The latest PISA test results for the USA are pitiful, especially for the all important Mathematics – keep in mind that the global capital pays close attention to this OECD metric. Compare our results with those of Singapore, Shanghai, or South Korea – then take the (on line) test yourself;

    Thus, my choice was between a candidate staunchly devoted to the pitiful status quo, or gamble on an imperfect candidate who seemed willing to challenge it. To me, Trump sounded more clear on the pro-life and the education issues, less so on the economy. Much depends, in my view, on how he will engage with China on OBOR – will he oppose it as Obama did, or will he make a deal that’s beneficial to our economy? The issues of radical Islam and the wall seemed important but transient – besides, this wall will have many legitimate gates;

    To conclude: This past Friday I marched in Washington DC with my fellow pro-lifers – we were massive, young, and enthusiastic. And here is the message from this crowd: if President Trump relieves the suffering in our country even somewhat, we may consider voting for him again.

    • http://populisthope.blogspot.com Matt Talbot

      Thanks for your comments, Mark.

      Since this has been the status quo in America for some time now, my question is: what has the political Left, the self proclaimed champion of the poor, done about this?

      If by “the left” you mean the mainstream of the Democratic Party, I mostly agree with your assessment: they have been nearly as useless as the mainstream of the Republican Party, as you rightly point out.

      That said: You have to go back pretty far in the history of the Republican Party to find a president (Teddy Roosevelt) who could plausibly claim to have the bests interests of working people front and center in his agenda.

      Trump has promised to make the alleviation of the suffering of working class people a priority of his administration, which is a large reason he is the president today. His (and Bannon’s) tendency toward authoritarianism invite obvious comparisons to the way the Nazi Party’s initiatives promised the same thing (in fact, as a practical matter, the Nazis actually did end the Great Depression in Germany by the mid-1930s, far sooner than America did), as long as people went along with their authoritarianism. “Give us power, and we’ll fix things.”

      I do not make that comparison lightly. The right-populism of Trump and Bannon is similar to the right-populism of Hitler’s Nazis: there is the same scapegoating of racial and cultural minorities, the same xenophobia, there is a non-trivial faction of his supporters who are pretty openly anti-Semitic, the same disdain for Democracy.

      But, yes: The Democrats have moved away from being the Party of Labor in the last 2-3 decades, and instead become the Party of the Professional Class – people with Bachelors degrees or above, who work in the sorts of occupations that a degree is essential to even be considered for: Doctors, lawyers, engineers, CPAs, marketing executives and so on. Even when Democrats make proposals regarding working class people, they often do it in such a way that it is clear that they are speaking TO professional-classers ABOUT working classers.

      I’ll have much more to say about that in future posts.

      Pro-life: The expected new appointments to the Supreme Court will maximize the chances of overturning Roe vs. Wade, and returning the abortion issue to the States. Pro-choice forces are less organized at the State level than they are at the Federal level, and vice versa for the pro-life forces.These appointments should offer new opportunities to accelerate the reduction of abortions in the USA

      I have my doubts (to put it mildly) and I think that even if Trump gets enough Supreme Court appointees and Roe is overturned, the result will be massive resistance, and will have a negligible effect on the abortion rate, while there would be a surge in women (especially poor women) dying due to botched underground abortions. This is because abortion is supported (in a sort of mushy-headed, “what-if-our-little-Susie-gets-herself-in-trouble” sort of way) by a large majority of Americans; I don’t see any progress being made on that by suddenly making it against the law. Turn the popular will against abortion, and then outlaw it – in fact, I think a guy like Trump claiming responsibility for making abortion illegal would actually do more to discredit the pro-life cause than practically anything else I can imagine.

      The Economy: It is obvious that the model of globalization championed by the Republicans and the Democrats is wrong. In a nutshell, it reduces to “close here, open there”, and take instant advantage of the wage and regulation differences. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans seem to care much about the moral and social consequences of these decisions. This is Capitalism at its worst – my economic interests are paramount, the rest of you go away.

      I agree with enough of that to make my disagreements not worth mentioning.

      Education: If “the education of today is the economy of tomorrow”, then we will live in an increasingly distressed country. The latest PISA test results for the USA are pitiful, especially for the all important Mathematics – keep in mind that the global capital pays close attention to this OECD metric.

      Good points, but I plan on a post in the next day or two that goes well beyond what you’re saying here, so I’ll leave it at that.

      • http://maddygirl.wordpress.com elialuz

        I’m not going to address all the issues covered in the original post, not because I have nothing to say ( I do, I do! ) but education has become the “black sheep” of the right and even of moderate Republicans.
        I’m a teacher and a parent so I feel that I can speak from two different points of view ( sadly, today, they can’t be the same). Our country is so divided that even Education has become an issue treated differently by each party when both parties should be united to do the very best, to provide the best conditions, opportunities, materials, mentors to OUR children, for they ARE our children, not my children, your children, his children, her children, their children. No, they are our children, our future, they will either lead us or bring us down; they will either succeed because we did our best for them, or they will fail and we will pay for their failures for generations to come. And that success or failure is not measured by all these tests that are so prevalent today. It’s more than that it’s respecting teachers and their commitment to our children, it’s support for public education which is the root of democracy, it’s support for Headstart and Universal pre-K, it’s getting involved in our children’s education by helping them with their school work and reading with them.
        I know this seems like a rant but I sat through the Betsy DeVos confirmation hearing and I was saddened by the divide based strictly on politics and the Republicans not in the least embarrassed by their defense of a person lacking so much educational information, educational experience and sense of humility at being confronted with that truth and not caring. This person did not know the difference between growth and proficiency; did not know that the Disability Act is a federal law; would not answer questions concerning for profit colleges because it turns out she’s invested in them; wanted guns in schools “because of grizzlies.” Yet, cable news shows will go on ad nauseam about overpaid teachers, throwing money at schools, corrupt unions. Again, our children, ours.

        • http://populisthope.blogspot.com Matt Talbot

          Elia –

          I can’t imagine you don’t know this, but for the record I’m not criticizing education or educators. Mark was, but what I was agreeing with was the issues he raises need attention, but that means (I suspect) something different than Mark expects.

      • Mark VA

        Thanks! Amazing how much agreement there is between us on the basic issues. Couple more things:

        When I voted for Trump, I did not feel I was voting for a Republican (I think many others felt the same way). I hope that career Republicans suspect by now that this was the case with many of us, and draw the right conclusions. Ditto for the Democrats;

        In a surreal way, I am disappointed that Bernie Sanders, whose heart is in the right place, is still not part of the Trump administration.

      • Thales

        As I just posted on Jeannine’s post, I didn’t vote for Trump, as I found his character to be entirely unsuitable as President, and I opposed many of the positions he took during the campaign. (Nor did I vote for Hillary, as I found her character to also be entirely unsuitable, for different reasons.) So I understand the concern with Trump and some of his policies. This is a great opportunity for the Democratic party to take in independents and republicans who aren’t comfortable with Trump…. but for some bizarre reason, the Democratic-party/Trump-opposition-on-the-left is just becoming more and more extreme in its leftism, leaving independents and republicans in the middle without a home. The dust-up with pro-life women being excluded from the Women’s March is one example.

        The above thought came to my mind when I read MarkVA and Matt’s discussion about whether Trump is going to be good for abortion issues or bad. Matt believes that Trump’s actions (like judges to overturn Roe v. Wade) would be, on the whole, bad. Fair enough, I can understand the point (though I don’t think I agree.) But set that aside for now. The larger issue that was prompted in my mind was this: it seems to me that Matt is positing two possible policy environments: (1) Trump’s position and (2) a position opposed to Trump’s actions that would rather keep the current Roe v. Wade status quo. However, it seems to me that Matt’s two options aren’t actually what we now see. It seems to me that the people opposed to Trump are not seeking a continuation of the Roe v. Wade status quo —instead, the anti-Trump position is one that also demands public funding for abortion and forcing Catholic hospitals to perform abortions. Why the growing leftist extremism when it comes to abortion?

        • http://populisthope.blogspot.com Matt Talbot

          The thing is, abortion functions in our political system mostly as a shiny thing to dangle in front of the rubes. The power structure of neither party cares about it in and of itself.

          As I will argue in future posts, the cure for Trumpism is a revival of populist-left economic policy.

  • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

    Mark VA apparently doesn’t know much about how the globalized economy works: it is estimated that, even if the off-shored factories WERE brought back to America’s shores, they would never be employing the numbers of workers that they once did, because most of them would be much more highly automated. The key to doing something about America’s economy in the 21st century IS changing education–specifically, secondary education. What he says about education IS correct; the American education system is “education for the 19th century.” However, after almost twenty years of trying to get the kids of the underclass to study and discipline themselves in public schools, and getting no support from parents in my efforts to do so, I have abandoned American education and gone abroad, where children still have a work ethic.
    Also, you can tell how backward MarkVa’s approach to education is when he stresses the importance of mathematics, implying that other disciplines–particularly those having to do with critical reading, information-gathering and verbal communication–rank lower. In fact, much of the reason that citizens make poor political choices has to do with their inability to think critically and express themselves in an international language–as well as with over-reliance on Internets for informing themselves. Except for those actually going into specific professions, most of the higher mathematics disciplines in high schools are unnecessary and a burden on those students who are forced to take them, but are uninterested and won’t use them in their vocational or professional lives. And they certainly don’t teach the kids how to think critically and express themselves fluently, or to develop the “linguistic intelligence” that is tested on one half of the SATs.

    • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben
      • http://maddygirl.wordpress.com elialuz

        Dismas saved me from writing about the importance of developing critical thinking skills in children ( it’s not too late for some adults! ); reading: you can’t even do math if you can’t read or for that matter, cook! And, yes, thank you, Sr. Joan Chittister, for the best definition of what pro-life should really be. And about those factory jobs coming back? Here’s Thomas Friedman of the New York Times describing them, “The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog and the dog will be there to make sure the man doesn’t touch the robots.”
        Make America 1950s Again ain’t bringing back anything but disappointment eventually to Trump supporters who were/are really on his side for other reasons than purely economic ones. That’s why I will Not normalize their behavior, excuse the reasons they voted for him, ( so many Christian leaders who could read the Heart of a man who spoke of the Eucharist as a “cracker,” thrice married, could tell that Hillary was possessed by demons and was anti-Christian, a woman who has been an active member of the Methodist Church all her life) or pretend that they believe that this man has any beliefs other than how well he’s doing in the ratings, were his inaugural crowds bigger than Obama’s or he’s really a billionaire. I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and I’m not keeping quiet the same way these voters allowed the person who started the Birther Movement and all the divisions, hate, bigotry that came with it to grow. Now the reason given for our silence is unity and patriotism. How about when McConnell said in 2009 that Republicans were going to do all in their power to obstruct President Obama’s presidency? I guess that was patriotism a la right? Consistency is a good idea if you don’t want to be called a hypocrite. ( And although I have two Masters and quite a few post graduate courses under my belt, all I remember from my math courses are the words cosine and corollary. They had a nice sound.)

      • brian martin

        In regard to the link…The quote by Sister Joan is wonderful…
        I find it disturbing though, that it is being used..along with her image by pro choice folks on a page asking people to sign a petition for support for Roe v. Wade. I don’t recall her supporting Roe V. Wade. Granted I have not read everything by her…but I believe, as her quote shows..anything that she has said is thought through and nuanced rather than existing in the world of black and white.
        My daughter used this quote in a discussion at her Catholic High School in the very conservative Fargo Diocese. Of course my daughter, because she challenges the idea that Pro-Life is simply about abortion has been called a “Communist” and a “Dirty damn liberal” by some fellow students…to the point where teachers had to intervene.

  • Mark VA

    Elialuz and Dismas: Thank you for your comments.

    Regarding mathematics: It was not my intention to extol mathematics above other fields of knowledge. I simply wanted to point out that the global business uses the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) PISA test (The Program for International Student Assessment) as a metric. Mathematics is favored here because is correlates well with the potential effectiveness of the human capital each country has to offer. I realize such analysis sounds dry and clinical. However, it takes on a new meaning when you find yourself in the position of entrusting sophisticated multi-million dollar machinery operating in hazardous environments to a recent high school graduate;

    Regarding robots: it is true that automation is a growing field. It is also true that automation greatly extends our field of operations (geographically and cognitively), which in turn promotes employment. The obstacles to this extension, in addition to anachronistic thinking and poor imagination, are largely political. This is why I mentioned the One Belt One Road initiative, which, for better or worse, is truly global. How President Trump engages with it, or if he will offer any alternatives, remains to be seen. My point is that I hope we will remain involved with the world, in the best of American tradition.

    I hope you will find the links below enjoyable and informative:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilPSis5qPI0&t=47s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NtprkECCiU
    https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisa-test-questions.htm

    • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

      It seems that the whole purpose of the Wall Street Journal conversation is to blame teachers–to claim that we’re overpaid, unmotivated, not in the least concerned about the prosperity and well-being of our students. That attitude, shared by many right-wing parents, was my chief motivator in leaving American education for good. I have situated myself, now, in societies around the world wherein teachers are respected and supported by most parents and many other “stakeholders” in the schools in which I am employed. However, I also discourage most of my high-achieving and scholarly students from going into teaching, telling them that, in my experience, it has now become a disrespected and thankless profession, one which, for the security of any kind of family I’d have hoped to create, I’d never choose, if I had my life to live over again. Despite the pontifications of these Wall Street highered hands of capitalist enterprises, the rate of pay for educators has NOT kept up with those of other professionals, and the only real rewards we have are intangible ones. They’re enough for those of us with outside income, but the financial burdens on younger, poorer teachers, which I survey almost every day, are grievous.

      • Mark VA

        If Hanushek and Peterson are “… Wall Street highered hands of capitalist enterprises” (sic), what shall we make of this gentleman?:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN9dk8H4u1A&t=2s

        • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

          I don’t disagree with much of this at all, except that I entirely differ (I think) with what are the CAUSES: personally, I think the main cause of it is the watered-down “Reformation theology” of the Protestant heretics, which ENJOINED puritan moralistic and self-exculpating sexual ethics (e.g., divorce, and its concomitant of serial monogamy–which are the KEYS to American sexual immorality–rather than abortion or “gay marriage”) as well as the “abundance theology” that has its actual roots in “salvation by faith alone” soteriology, which PRODUCED the libertarian ethics of capitalist and Enlightenment economic theory. The libertine debauchee whom you voted for MarkVA, perfectly EMBODIES this non-culture much more plainly than the half-Methodist Clinton did.

        • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

          As for the Shakespeare allusion, to support my attribution of blame, I’d remind you that Shakespeare, an at least nominal Catholic, is representing, in the characterization of Polonius, that same Sir Robert Cecil, the Queen’s Privy Councilor, who, with his father, Sir William, engineered the Calvinist takeover of the Church of England and demonized Catholicism in Britain for almost four hundred years. In the person of Polonius, the advocate of “to thine own self be true,” Shakespeare is ridiculing Protestant-Calvinist soteriology.

        • http://digbydolben.wordpress.com dismasdolben

          Oh, and by the way, this guy is an extremist in his criticisms of what “schools” do: I DO teach grammar and the basics of literary criticism to secondary students. He is tarring us all with the same brush, and, in so doing, is attempting to inspirt hatred against ME and other creative and industrious teachers. He’s actually a nasty piece of work.

  • http://Vox%20nova Maurice Abiagom

    Donald Trump is a fearful president most especially with his proposed immigration ba.nd,racisits and anti religion comments he makes over musilms around the world but they might still be some good traits that I specially admire about him..he is a candidate that seems to hate abortions that has cause millions of souls,he also seems to be someone that can make America a dissatisfied nations most especially in foreign relations he seems to be the kind that can destroy many foreign relations with other countries but let hope and pray that God would enlighten him,change his bad policesespecially for immigration and foreign relations and also help the people of USA

    • http://maddygirl.wordpress.com elialuz

      This is the problem with one issue voters – abortion – who will vote for candidates who can create chaos in so many other areas and never practice an iota of social justice. BTW, the idea of being our brothers’ keeper is not a Christian idea, Jesus ( He was not a Christian)gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan, Buddhists and Confucius spoke about it often. But let’s vote for the candidate who’s going to stop abortions. No one, let me say that again, no one is going to stop abortions. The best anyone can hope or expect is to lower the number of abortions and that can only be achieved by good sex education and good distribution of contraceptives ( one of the very positive things that Planned Parenthood does ). Abstinence seldom works and when it doesn’t, oftentimes, the solution is an abortion, very unfortunately.
      There are many studies proving that the more people know about sex and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, the fewer the abortions. Knowledge is wealth as far as I’m concerned.
      And Trump is not a pro life candidate. He is a pro Trump candidate. He is for whatever gets him approval, applause and feeds his ego. He was pro choice most of his adult life until it wasn’t convenient. And now that he is a captive of the extremist,nationalist, racist Steve Bannon, his views will be changing from day to day.
      No candidate is a one issue candidate even if he runs as such. He will need lots of funds to keep his seat and as a result will be reaching out to various groups representing other views as well. Plus as Sr. Joan Chittister has said so eloquently about so called pro life voters who usually, if not always vote against every safety net program, condemn people who are in need as wastrels, leeches, people who must have done something to be in position they’re in. Pro life includes all that Sister mentions and more. It includes affordable housing, medical insurance for all, good public education and a living wage. These are issues anathema to most pro lifers if even considered Empathy and compassion for those in need are considered wasted gestures. That’s Trump’s Bible and most of his supporters, who live in Red States, with the highest teenage pregnancy rates, divorce rates, highest dependence on food stamps and Medicaid, but no mirrors or knowledge of introspection.
      I guess what bothers me most about these one issue voters is their hypocrisy.

      • Mark VA

        I get it. Elialuz, Jesus was “not a Christian”. Heck, I will also admit to hypocrisy and a touch of prudery:

        At the end of the March for Life last week in DC, I had a very nice conversation with one of the participating feminists. At one point she lit up a cigarette, and I confess – I’ve never smoked, and I am against smoking, but I did enjoy the second hand smoke very much;

        By the way, what shall we make of this lady – not exactly pro-life, but? :

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HblodFqenU&t=19s

  • http://www.patheos.com John Vickery

    I think you are more and more like the great man you were named after.