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That Is the Q (6)

July 24, 2016

Me: A lot of water has flowed over the bridge since last we talked. What are you thinking now about whether to vote for Clinton and whether to stay in the Dem party?

Author: No kidding. Let’s start with something we totally agree on: As a person, Donald Trump is a case. He’s a functioning Dysfuntional. In Big Real Estate that seems to be a wash; but buyer, be very aware. If his attention span is really as short as some are reporting, I think he has done remarkably well. But I take it that now he gets a lot of help from his adult kids.

More important, as a politician and your character, Drumpf, as you call him, is maniacally dangerous. That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s not.

Yet Drumpf is no more dangerous than the Republican Party that has enabled him—whether it’s the Trump wing, the Koch wing, the Bush wing, the Tea Party voters, or the Evangelicals (now a wing of their own, thanks to Pence, but empowered by a combination of Koch money and Tea Party voters).

So we agree: Trump/Pence and the Republicans must be resoundingly repudiated.

Me: Right. And much thanks to the brilliantly wickedly funny John Oliver, who nailed it, btw.

I had a single-image dream last night in which I was a member of an infantry unit that had to hold our position in the face of assault by a potentially overwhelming enemy force. Judging from our rifles, it was sometime in the early 1800s. We were well-organized in our firing, and when the dream ended we were still holding out.

So what about Hillary at this point? I’m sure you’re disappointed that she didn’t pick a progressive for VP, but Kaine seems a good strategic pick for defeating the Drumpf. I think he’ll bring in PA—maybe picking up that Senate seat too.

Author: Okay. Look. I don’t trust anyone—anyone—who has amassed and is hording more than $100,000,000 in assets (and that’s a high bar to squeeze under), in the world as it is suffering today. Especially politicians. They’re compromised.

There’s something missing in their view of life. That something is what would make them trustworthy.

There’s also something present that makes them unable to scale down, to give it up, to re-imagine the way. And that, too, makes them untrustworthy.

It changes their perspective to that of their neighbors in the global community of extreme wealth. They don’t have to think twice, about the kinds of things that working people have to think about over and over and over (such as whether they can buy their child another tricycle if hers breaks), and that the very poor never get to think about at all.

Hell, buy her a whole fleet of them, and she and her friends can ride around on the deck of the yacht. Keep them busy.

If you have to think about that kind of thing, your membership in the Club for Wealth automatically expires. And if you say, “you know what, maybe this much wealth isn’t necessary, maybe it isn’t so good, maybe it’s not right,” just imagine what your neighbors will think of you, what they’ll say about you to each other. “No deal.”

Can good works substitute for that something missing. Nope. They just make a convenient grounds for denial. Better good works than bad, but they don’t make you someone whose word I can trust, especially your word in politics.

That doesn’t mean that I trust every politician who has less money than that. Maybe they just don’t have the right connections. But Fitzgerald put it so well, in his footnote to “The Rich Boy”: “The rich are different from you and me.” And of course he characterizes the worst with Nick Carraway’s description of Tom and Daisy, about to get away from it all, “They were very careless people. . . .They smashed up things and creatures, and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. . . .”

When Tom tells the story in a way that excuses himself, Nick tells us: “There was nothing I could say except the one unutterable fact that it wasn’t true.”

My point is that we have democracy because we believe that people, including, and especially, the not-so-rich and the poor, best know their own best interests. I doubt that the very wealthy really know the interests of the rest of us, not to mention sacrificing their own interests to represent ours.

Me: So you won’t vote for a multi-millionaire or more?

Author: I’m biased against them. But you don’t go to vote with the candidates you wish you had, you go with the candidates you have. I haven’t decided.

But specifically with the Clintons, it’s about their sense of how to get things done, and therefore what things get done, including coddling the wealthy with whom they make deals and who donate to the Dem party. The wealthy don’t just buy yachts, they buy influence, directly and indirectly. It’s about monopolizing power.

Right now, one of the most important things that must be done is to take money away from highly monied people. Lots of it. Take power away. Take world-scale privilege away. The Dem party has to do that. A President Clinton has to do that. Lots of luck.

But I know that, as I’ve said before, we must, above all, prevent a Trump/Republican presidency.

Me: Hmmm. I better go type your rants before I forget what you said. Let’s talk about the Dem Party soon. Probably after their convention.

Author: Looking forward to it.

[Previous page of this episode. Page one.]

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