Monday, January 9, 2017

Hot Topics

I try to stay away from hot topics on this blog, because I figure the back-and-forth over whatever Twitter outrage has erupted in the moment will be covered to death elsewhere.  However, today I'm going dip my toe in those waters for a minute.

First of all, many Trump supporters understandably don't care much about Russia's involvement in our election and think, in fact, the crying about it may be sour grapes.

"BernieBros" and Clinton people (did they ever acquire a dismissive name like "BernieBros"?) meanwhile continue to battle it out over Russia, rather than banding together to face the presumed opponent.

I'm going to suggest that the following two propositions can both be correct at the same time!  

1.) Russia definitely interfered in our election with the intent of getting Donald J. Trump elected President; their interference is a sovereign attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power and should be responded to in kind.

2.) Russia's interference did not decisively lead to the defeat of Hillary Clinton, or even play a very substantial role therein.

There's no need to fight over these two propositions - they're both correct.  Continuing to deny that Clinton ran a Dewey-like campaign with a terrible ground game and instead blaming everything on the Russians is just reveling in the Denial stage of grief.  On the other side of the ledger, being so gung-ho about saying "neener neener neener" to Clinton supporters, to the extent that you overlook the fact that a homophobic dictator who has his enemies imprisoned and assassinated ----ed around in our election, is similarly delusional.

If progressives are serious about stepping up to Donald Trump, they will not split hairs over Russia for the next four to eight years.  Now, will progressives/liberals be able to leave their egos at the door in this regard?  I'm not optimistic, honestly.

Whatever they do, Russia, as an issue, is unlikely to trouble Trump supporters for now.  Emphases added mine:

The Russians may have very well gotten involved, several people said. They added that kind of interference should be combated. But many assumed that foreign actors had long tried to play favorites in American elections, and that the United States had done the same in other countries’ elections. Even if the Russians did do it — which some were more willing to concede than others — what difference did it make? People did not need the Russians to make up their minds about Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump’s election opponent. Blaming her loss on the Russians was, as one Trump supporter here said, “just being sore losers.”

“I don’t think the Russians posed as big a problem to the Clintons as the Clintons posed to themselves,” said Paul Emenes, 49, while he sold ribs, shoulders and chops at a frigid outdoor farmers’ market in Covington. Russian hacking was concerning, sure, Mr. Emenes said. He added that, as long as Mr. Trump was not involved himself, “it doesn’t change the way I view him.”

My two cents: don't blame Clinton's loss on Russia; at the same time, ---- Russia and the horse they rode in on.  America has enemies that are weak, powerless, and preyed upon by America wrongly: innocent victims.  Then America has enemies like Russia

In other hullabaloo news, let's address Meryl Streep's speech.

My Facebook feed is a little liberal bubble for the most part, and I see all my friends tripping over themselves to salute Ms. Streep's speech as well as her bravery.

I agree with much of her speech - which was fine, not as revolutionary as it is made out to be, but a fine speech on the whole.  However, it flatly does not take bravery to denounce Donald Trump in front of a bunch of Hollywood types.  All it does is elicit this sort of reaction:

Later Monday morning, Mr. Trump, in a series of tweets, called Ms. Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood,” and “a Hillary flunky who lost big.” He also reiterated his argument that he had not mocked the reporter [with disabilities] “but simply showed him ‘groveling.’”

Now, it goes without saying (to me at least) that the President of the United States should not bother getting into Twitter wars with actors.  Surely the President-elect has bigger fish to fry.  And it is frankly rather troubling that Mr. Trump feels the need to respond to every critic on Twitter.  Shouldn't he be reading intelligence briefings?

That said, I have ask those who are actively opposed to Donald Trump: has a speech by an actor or actress ever moved the dial politically, except in a negative way, when it came to a right-wing figure in power?  Has it not always generally empowered figures on the populist right?  Outspoken Hollywood liberals are the populist Republican's best friend.  Dick Nixon understood this well
Meryl Streep is a fine actress and she can say what she wants, but as a rallying cry for Trump's opponents, I cannot think of much worse.

Tomorrow I'll return to more substantive issues.

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