Small World: Liberals have their say
By Henry Precht
We were a gathering of five certified liberals at dinner in Washington, D.C. Not an unusual assembly, given that only four percent of voters in the District cast ballots for Mr. Trump. And perhaps typical in another way: none of our antecedents were liberal Democrats — they were Irish Democrats, southern Republicans, and apolitical. Most significant for our present purposes, these two men and three women expressed the views that Mr. Trump must deal with in turning around American politics.
First and heaviest for the new president was the scorn that was either taken for granted — assumed as universal — or expressed as bitter reproaches for his massive faults. Among them were his ego, disregard for simple truth and historical facts, and lack of respect for basic cultural norms. Not only he, the election winner, came in for abuse, but, perhaps suffering even heavier blame, his supporters, the voters, were condemned as ill-informed, misguided and destructive of national values.
“Have you ever met anyone who is a convinced true believer anti-abortionist? How’d they get that way?”
“Sure” a guest responded, “they had it drilled into them by the Church. But I never met one who was taught to respect human life enough to criticize Arkansas’ spate of executions. It seems that life is really worthy only when it is completely innocent.”
“What about the shapes and values of human life? Ever hear any regard for gays or lesbians? For the poor, or on the other hand, the corrupt or autocratic?”
“Not much toleration available for the sexually deviant. (Note that in our host’s D.C. neighborhood several hundred gay/lesbian flags were flown when Vice President Pence moved in while his residence was being gussied up for him). Little toleration for lawbreakers or for freeloading poor. We should all make our own way without government’s mothering.”
“What bothers me most is the sorry bunch of advisors and influencers Trump has surrounded himself with. They’re a bunch of ideologues, living in a world they treat as if they inhabit it alone. Don’t worry about the poor or immigrants; they’ll take care of themselves. ‘They’ve always done so,’ Mr. Bannon and his bunch tell us.”
“The military generals — who, after all, pretty much acquiesce in Trump’s policies — surely they know what is going on. Their feet are on the ground. Else they would never have been promoted to such exalted ranks.”
“That is until someone offers them a sack of slightly tainted rubles. Thirty pieces of silver could lead the most clear-thinking and loyal follower astray.”
“My favorite among the favorites is Ivanka, the first daughter. She’s the only one who seems to have a sense of what ordinary people want and what might save the popularity of her father. Her future is assured, thanks to her loving father. She’ll never have to claw her way to the top. She seems to know how pick a smart and polished husband as well — at least as far as anyone can tell.”
“He’s the guy who’s going to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, don’t they tell us? Or is the deal-maker going to be one of those ex-Trump lawyers or accountants who happen to be Jewish and settlement fans, but whose name you can never remember?”
“Who knows? None of them is likely to cut any deals in the Middle East or anywhere. These people have taken on so many impossible problems around the globe that they are sure to leave a mess behind. Everywhere from Mexico to Germany to North Korea to you name it. Where we got along before easily enough, we now spend effort trying to correct the president’s mistakes one after another.”
“So who’s going to keep him from capturing another four years in 2020?”
“If the Democrats nominate Elizabeth Warren, Trump’s reelection is assured. Another ‘non drama.’ Maybe the same thing for Bernie. He looks older and older — yesterday’s tired candidate.”
“There’s still Biden waiting in the wings. People trust him, like him. He’s not Hillary. He’ll seem really someone out of the Trump populist base — especially after four years of Trump, billionaires, and Mar-a-Lago. Especially if the economy slumps and people seem worse off than before his time.”
“You mean we have to wish for a Depression, or at least a Recession, to get rid of him?”
“Come to the table, you all,” the hostess directed. “Duck breast ready, cooked as you ordered.”
Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.