Tag Archives: US politics

Bloody Charmer

JFK would have been 100 tomorrow. Here’s a clip of him dealing with the press. At about the 55 second mark, May Craig — a great journalist and one of the few women at White House press conferences 50 and 60 years ago — asks him a question about equal rights for women. His reply is terribly charming and witty and were any president today to try it they’d get blasted by the angry mob. The whole clip is full of gems, so watch and remember — this man would NEVER be selected as presidential candidate for the Democratic Party today. You can also get a sense of why, as my father once told me, more people were weeping on the street when JFK died than on VJ-Day.

Rejoice!

Rejoice, for there is Nikki Haley. Whatever concerns I have about President Trump – and there are many – I am thrilled with his selection of Haley as UN Ambassador. Listen to her here – such moral clarity, such good sense. Almost Moynihan-esque. Wish my brother were here, for many reasons, but in part because he would so love to hear these words.

Puzzling Times

This is not, by any stretch, a defence of President Trump. In fact, I find his recent comments about Putin de facto, making moral equivalence between the United States and Russia — profoundly offensive, wrong and troubling. But what I also find wrong is some of the silliness of the anti-Trump fanatics. I know people, for example, who say they will never go to the United States while he is president, and yet these same people are planning trips to Cuba.

Um, what? In other words, they are boycotting a free country which democratically elects its leader — because they do not like that leader — and they are not boycotting a dictatorship, an island prison, where gays, Christians and virtually all political dissidents are abused (and worse).  Very strange, and indicative of people who know nothing of history or current affairs and likely lack a moral compass.

Puzzling times.

Barron Trump

I feel for the kid. He is obviously an introvert stuck in a family of extroverts – this was my situation as a child and teen, and it was very difficult. It was made worse by the fact that I was viciously bullied by a family member (who frequently got other family members to join in). I hope poor Barron at least gets support at home – I sense he does. His mother seems very good as do his sibs. But he is now being bullied from the outside. Very unfair. He did not ask for this. I hope people will leave him be, as Chelsea Clinton requested.

Identity Politics

I mentioned — in my post about Trump (“Curb your Hysteria” – see below) — that I know some real chattering-class types who are convinced his victory was not only something maleficent — a rejection of their brilliant, tolerant ideas —  but the “last gasp” of the bad people among us (i.e., people who don’t think like them), to boot. Further, they seem convinced that it’s only a question of a generation passing before they will be in power again. They are, I think, projecting their own rigidity and lack of self-awareness onto everyone else. They assume that, because their world view has never changed, no one else’s will either. (Some of us do learn and grow in this life, however slowly and painfully.) This is where they are insanely, embarrassingly wrong.

They ought to read this terrific Mark Lilla piece from the NYTimes. Money quote here:

A convenient liberal interpretation of the recent presidential election would have it that Mr. Trump won in large part because he managed to transform economic disadvantage into racial rage — the “whitelash” thesis. This is convenient because it sanctions a conviction of moral superiority and allows liberals to ignore what those voters said were their overriding concerns. It also encourages the fantasy that the Republican right is doomed to demographic extinction in the long run — which means liberals have only to wait for the country to fall into their laps. The surprisingly high percentage of the Latino vote that went to Mr. Trump should remind us that the longer ethnic groups are here in this country, the more politically diverse they become.

Emphasis mine. Spot-on. Fyi, Mark Lilla writes brilliantly about France a good deal, as well.

Curb Your Hysteria

In regards President-Elect Trump, I think everyone needs to calm down. I say this as someone who likely would – were she American – have voted for Hillary Clinton. Or not voted at all.

And yet, the week after the U.S. election I was concerned for the future not because of Trump’s victory – but because of the reaction to his victory. Such histrionics. Such hysteria. It makes me fear for the next generation and wonder about the Millennials. It seems they really are that fragile.

For example, a friend of mine’s daughter wrote that – due to Trump’s victory – she felt “triggered and unsafe” and needed to seek professional help! Seriously? This is an adult woman – albeit a young one, but an adult nonetheless. If I reacted that way each time someone I didn’t like won an election, I’d be in a straight-jacket in a padded room by now. For heaven’s sake! Calm down.

I think that Trump will probably disappoint some of his supporters and will very likely surprise (pleasantly) some of his detractors. As I said to my grammar prof in Italy – non potrebbe essere peggio di Obama. He couldn’t be worse than Obama (see: Syria). I also think he will have a hard time being more divisive than Obama (see: America).

It’s worth contemplating this: he won with pretty much all of the mainstream media against him, and while spending about 10% of what the Clinton campaign spent. This is extraordinary, as big “f**k yous” to the status quo generally are.  Without California, he would have won the popular vote – if you need any stronger reason why the electoral college system is a good one, look no more. I also think it’s worth remembering that the American system is a great one, with a set of checks and balances that have long worked well. And Trump will have a cabinet that, from the looks of how it is shaping up, will be diverse. And when I say “diverse” I do not refer only to gender, colour, and creed (what the left generally mean when they refer to diversity), but to ideology, world views, concerns, convictions and experience (something totally lacking at universities, just for starters). The latter type of diversity is much richer and offers more, I believe.

This could be good nor not. But let’s give him a chance and let’s curb our hysteria. And in the meantime, let’s enjoy watching the impotent rage of the elites and of the left (but I repeat myself) – it is a delightful thing to behold. What really gets me is their tremendous condescension, and how even Trump’s victory has not taught them that perhaps that condescension is the problem. Elitists and leftists (but again, I repeat myself) have never been long on self-awareness. In fact, I still hear many of them dismissing the election as the work of angry, racist, stupid “deplorables,” – their last gasp, so to speak. When I read/hear such “analysis,” I want to scream, “This is why he won!”

And win he did, so again, curb your hysteria and we’ll see how things roll.

Niall Ferguson: Ingredients for Populist Backlash

The brilliant historian explains that: 1) Trump is not Hitler (of course he isn’t!), and 2) Trump is not new. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is nothing new under the sun. In fact, I vaguely remember learning about Denis Kearney when I was in high school and university, and also William Jennings Bryan (the latter far better known today than the former).

At any rate, very important to not conflate fascism with populism.

September 11

There is a lot I could write about this day and what it means to me — and in coming posts I will — but right now I will leave you with a link to a column that was written only a few days after the attacks, a column that still holds up. Not surprisingly, it was written by Christopher Hitchens. How we miss him.

The link to the whole column is here — money quote below.

But the bombers of Manhattan represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there’s no point in any euphemism about it. What they abominate about “the West,” to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don’t like and can’t defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state. Loose talk about chickens coming home to roost is the moral equivalent of the hateful garbage emitted by Falwell and Robertson, and exhibits about the same intellectual content. Indiscriminate murder is not a judgment, even obliquely, on the victims or their way of life, or ours. Any decent and concerned reader of this magazine could have been on one of those planes, or in one of those buildings–yes, even in the Pentagon.