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Resist!!! Fight back against the tyranny!!! To arms! To arms!

Ryan-McConnell-Pence Administration: The Real Threat—Tom Hall

Ryan-McConnell-Pence Administration: The Real Threat—Tom Hall

What? What tyranny? Resist what? Take up arms against whom?

Before the election, even the LA Progressive wasn’t endorsing Clinton. I was at a music event three weeks ago when another audience member came up and told me that her brother in Texas reads my writings and was disappointed that I had not written during the recent campaign. The LA Progressive has become a national voice, not just a regional one. Its ambivalence about our choices reflects the lack of vision in the Democratic Party – NOT just the leadership, but the membership as well. The loud bleatings about resistance and tyranny reflect this situation.

In contrast, the Republican Party continues to play extremely effectively against glaucomitic Democrats. While Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence plot the dismantling of programs going back to FDR’s New Deal, their orange messiah figurehead keeps Democrats’ attention focused on his offensive tweets and repeated suggestions of McCarthy-esque witch hunts.

What should be resisted? How? How about starting by resisting the impulse to blame everything on the Donald? For months people who understand reality have pointed to his ignorance, his lack of political experience, his utter lack of impulse control, his casual racism, and his pride in each of these things. Yet suddenly as he becomes the figurehead, Democrats everywhere focus on his tweets, and “his” cabinet nominees, as if he is running a sentient administration-building operation.

In the real world, the Donald has said clearly that his plan is to allow Mike Pence do the day-to-day work of being president, while the Donald focuses on image building and helping his Wall Street cronies loot the treasury. Pence is a close ally of Paul Ryan, and will commit the Executive branch to Ryan’s long-stated dream of not merely repealing ObamaCare, with no meaningful replacement, but also of eliminating Johnson’s Great Society Program of Medicare, and FDR’s New Deal triumph – Social Security.

The Donald’s victory meant that Paul Ryan’s religious devotion to Ayn Rand’s economic nuttiness was going to lead to Medicare and Social Security facing the real prospect of being dismantled before 2018.

I certainly didn’t expect the Donald to win. But on the night of the election, I said that all the handwringing about ObamaCare being repealed missed the point. The Donald’s victory meant that Paul Ryan’s religious devotion to Ayn Rand’s economic nuttiness was going to lead to Medicare and Social Security facing the real prospect of being dismantled before 2018. Then shortly after the election, the Republicans confirmed their desire to destroy Medicare. It took a few weeks more before Ryan assigned one of the Texas Oil Republicans to step up to front his effort to destroy Social Security.

This isn’t entirely partisan. One Democratic program that won’t be reversed is Bill Clinton’s savaging of welfare.

What may emerge, particularly if Democrats, or their replacement, make the effort to actually communicate with the middle and working class voters, is a rift between the Republican Party business establishment and the Donald’s new kleptocracy. The traditional Republicans want to destroy every social safety net program, including workers’ rights and safety laws, environmental protections as well as the previously mentioned healthcare and retirement schemes.

The Donald actually campaigned for, and continues to talk about, shoring up safety net programs. The Donald’s cabinet and executive branch nominees reveal the goal of increasing corporate welfare and outright corruption on a scale never imagined, even during The Gilded Age. Maintaining safety net programs will contribute to keeping attention focused away from the kleptocratic activity.

So there is a natural divergence of interests between the Donald and the traditional corporate Republican Party controllers. Focusing on the Donald and his antics risks giving free rein to the corporatists. Focusing on the Donald and his antics may lead us to ignore important opportunities.

The popular vote clearly indicated a mass rejection of the Republican Party policies. Among those policies has long been strident anti-socialism and anti-communism. But the Donald promises intimately close relations with Russian Czar Putin. His nominated National Security Advisor has a history of selling classified data to hostile foreign governments. And the Donald recently called for the Pentagon to start freely giving the most classified navy technology to the Chinese military.

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All the “progressives” and “leftists” who’ve long felt that we should reduce the hostility in our relations with Russia and China should be praising the Donald and holding back judgment on what a tyrant he’s going to be.

Similarly, the Donald has been perhaps the most effective person in recent history in pushing back against the corporatization of religion. After observing the success of the church-based Civil Rights Movement, in the 50s and 60s, corporate America created its own movement of broadcasting-based churches, to spread a new style of for-profit churches. The recruitment of Jerry Falwell to this effort is perhaps the best documented, particularly the overt demand that he change his ‘theology’ from segregation-based to business-apology-based.

The rise of corporate indoctrination tools, presented as “churches” redefined religion in the U.S., and gave corporate America a huge (“YUGE”?) tool for running sub rosa political campaigns against efforts to regulate tobacco, against environmental and workplace safety regulation. And all sorts of other corporate, short term policies.

But the Donald threatens to upset this decades-long corporate-preacher alliance. He mocked the corporate church crowd with a speech calling the Bible his favorite book. Then he demanded that the leading corporate church luminaries all bow down and bless his marital infidelities, his misogyny and racism, and to praise greed, and deny all of Jesus’ teachings on social justice and economics.

The Donald’s supporters say that he just speaks “over-the-top” without meaning all that he says. But that misses the point that for-profit church leaders are eager to embrace every one of those “over-the-top” statements, so long as they perceive a financial advantage for themselves. And now he’s going to demand that these leaders bless his kleptocrat, lily white, male cabinet and executive appointments. While the corporate Party wants their churches for business indoctrination, the Donald is setting those churches up for ridicule and collapse by focusing on and publicizing their hypocrisy.

President Obama has been doing “exit interviews”. He talks about his view of the plight of the Democratic Party. One thing he stresses is the Party’s failure to reach out to certain voters. Particularly poor, white, displaced/unemployed workers with inadequate education to thrive in a new mechanized, high tech environment, and fear as their dominant emotion.

The Donald reached out to those people, just as Richard Nixon reached out to Democratic racists with his “Southern strategy”. The Republican message has been consistent. This is all the fault of [the uppity coloreds; the riotous college students; the gay agenda; the terrorist Moslems]. Always some “other” – not “you”, who is responsible for the decline of “your” working and middle America. Never corporate policies.

Resist? What? Should we resist the Donald cozying up to Russia, China and Israel? Each of those nations has universal health care. Do we want to resist that? Resist the Donald making a mockery of the for-profit church movement which has done so much harm to so many? Do we want to resist a process that may help bring that aging, white cadre of bigots down? Resist the Donald disagreeing with the Republican Party’s corporate plans to destroy and end Medicare, ObamaCare and Social Security?

How about resisting the impulse to keep doing what led us here? We have just lived through eight years where the Republican Party blocked almost every progressive proposal of President Obama, and did that blocking with significant Democratic help.

How about resisting by taking the focus off the top of the ticket, and trying to build a Democratic Party that starts by caring what the rank and file care about, rather than what party bosses tell them they should care about?

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The Republican Party’s sycophancy to corporate masters and interests is not popular with most people. Polls and elections tell us that (Clinton WON, if you haven’t heard). But the Democrats who opposed Republicanism, to get us Social Security, the minimum wage and so many other New Deal and Great Society programs, have long since merged into the Republican model of dependence on corporate dollars and Beltway Bubble elitism.

How about resisting the siren call to move further toward corporate cooperation, image, and compromise of values? Resist by getting back to the people, away from the glamour of TV coverage. Gotta look right to play as a candidate? What reached people better: Hillary’s designer suits and perfect coiffure; or Bernie’s rumpled duds and wispy exploded-Q-tip top?

Bernie Sanders spoke from the heart about substantive issues that affect real people. Those same real people, and others, are going to be savaged by the Ryan-McConnell-Pence regime. Those same people need new “Bernies” at every level, not just the top of the ticket, to address the issues and propose the programs that can actually help us recover from what we are about to endure for the next four years.

Tom Hall

Tom Hall