“You see parallels that you don’t want to see but that we have to start talking about.” – American writer and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal, a group dedicated to promoting leadership that is “more just and compassionate.”
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted April 25th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Most of the political pundits and reporters I see on American cable networks look like they are lapping up Donald Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency like ice cream.
They play clips from Trump rallies over and over again of the Donald ordering his goons to throw any protesters out or pledging to “bomb the shit” out of American enemies, and they sit there in the studio grinning and chuckling over it all – even when Trump does his usual schtick, pointing at reporters at the back of the hall and calling them “scum”, “crooks” and “liars” while thousands of his supporters or fans or whatever they are cheer on.
Turn on CNN or any other 24-hour news channel in the States, any time of the day or night, and the coverage is all about Trump, Trump, Trump. If there is a choice between cutting in live to a Trump rally, or one featuring Hillary Clinton or any of the other candidates, even if Bernie Sanders is holding one that has drawn record numbers of supporters, the networks will tune into the Trump rally almost every time.
It may not be good for America,” said CBS television’s CEO Leslie Moonives earlier this year of all of Trumps bluster about bringing back water boarding and banning the entry of Muslims to the country, and the like, “but it’s damn good for CBS” – meaning its damn good for ratings and ad sales.
But at what cost to the future of the country and the rest of the world if Donald Trump, with no little help from all the free media coverage he is getting to prop up Mr. Moonives’ ratings and those of Fox, MSNBC and other networks, actually becomes the next president of the United States?
What began a year ago this June, when the Donald descended the escalators at his Trump Tower like Moses coming down from the Mount after announcing his candidacy, as what the pundits predicted would amount to no more than a brief, clownish ‘reality show’ to pick up a slow summer season, has taken on a nightmarish life of its own that, despite all the Mitt Romneys, Bushes and other establishment Repubicans’ efforts to put speed bumps in the way, now seems unstoppable.
So much so that more and more of my American friends, and many Americans I cross paths with across the border are now thinking the unthinkable. “This is scary,” they say. “If he wins, we’re moving to Canada.”
They can move to Canada but I don’t think that is going to provide very much protection if something this wack job says or does sends the whole global economy into a tail spin or triggers a third world war.
I always had this feeling that when the curtain closed on the so-called “American Century” and all that stuff Americans have been fed since birth about the American dream gave way to massive losses of good paying jobs and crumbling infrastructure, things could turn ugly.
Even more so if some demagogue comes along to tap into all the fear and rage with all kinds of toxic bunk about who is to blame and about how he or she can make everything great again.
This April 24th, I had a CBC Radio program called Tapestry on it and an American writer named Parker Palmer summed up all of the scary business now happening in the United States better than I ever could.
I’m comparing the current situation in America to the pre-Nazi Germany Weimar Republic situation where people felt the great loss of tradition,” said Palmer during an interview with Tapestry host Mary Hynes.
“They felt humiliated on the world stage as many Americans feel today. They felt the loss of jobs and the radically decreased purchasing power of their money. And they were looking for a strong man to take care of it all,” Palmer added. “And up comes a guy who, when you watch his public self-presentation, is -in the most horrific way imaginable – as much of a clown as Mr. Trump is with just as contorted a face. And you see parallels that you don’t want to see but that we have to start talking about.”
Palmer’s observations remind me of a few lines I read when I was majoring in social psychology and studying auhtoritarian personalities. The lines are from the introduction of a memior titled; ‘The Nightmare Years – 1930 – 1940’, by one of America’s great 20th Century journalists and historians, the late William Shirer, whose book ‘The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich’ remains one of the definitive single volumes on one of the darkest chapters in human history.
In that introduction Shirer wrote; “With increasing fascination and horror I watched Hitler crush freedome and the human spirit in Germany, the country of Luther, Kant, Beethoven, Goethe and Schiller, persecute the Jews and prepare to massacre them, destroy all who opposed him, and drag this great nation toward water, conquest and destruction. To my consternation most Germans joined joyously in this Nazi barbarism.”
I have seen the odd brave columnist from The Washington Post or some other mainstream media organization mention fascism with reference to Trump but they hardly ever seem to be invited back on the cable news networks for further comment again.
Not good for network ratings I guess.
If you want to hear the entire interview on CBC’s Tapestry with Parker Palmer click on – Listen 27:53
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