Saturday, June 18, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 77

I was feeling somewhat gloomy about the state of the world and of American politics when I wrote the entry last Saturday afternoon. The news that people woke up to on Sunday morning definitely only furthered that sadness and much of the events and rhetoric of the past weeks has me shaking my head even more. These are difficult times, but I believe there are still a lot of good people in this country, and that has been seen in the humanitarian efforts and righteous grief, from across the country, in the wake of the shooting in Orlando, Florida which targeted a heavily populated gay bar. The innocent victims were nearly all members of the LGBT community, and it is necessary to realize they were targeted for that aspect, but this was a jihadi inspired terrorist attack that had its true aim at all Americans, who wish to live in freedom and liberty.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the country came together, and even for a while, our political leaders all seemed to be on the same page as well,. Now, after the second worst terrorist attack in our country's history, we are quite divided, both in how Democrats and Republicans view the attack, and especially in the rhetoric of the leading political names in both parties. To say the least, I miss the leadership of President George W. Bush.  While I believe President Barack Obama and his would be successor Hillary Clinton are genuinely aggrieved by this horror, they have rushed to play politics with this tragedy for their own domestic agenda. The reaction of the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has been even worse though. Almost immediately after the attack, he went on Twitter to say that people were congratulating him for being right about it being terrorism. One would not really have to be a Wharton Business School graduate to realize that this was likely an ISIS-like attack. I am just sickened by the thought that while dozens of parents were literally waiting hour after hour on a Sunday to find out if their kids were lying dead within in the club, or merely badly wounded at some hospital, Donald Trump was accepting congratulations online and talking about himself. The man is a horrible individual. It is mind-boggling that any person sees a potential President in him. They ought to be ashamed.

I could go on at great length over this whole episode. Republicans realize this is about terrorism, rightfully, but misfire in a huge way by playing along with Trump's un-American calls to ban Muslims or halt immigration. Things like that would only make the problem of homegrown, radicalized terrorists even worse. Democrats, want to make this all about guns, as their base demands. To the extent that legislation could be passed to prevent people who should not have guns from getting them, I would be in favor of that, but I fail to see how anyone could believe that gun control might remotely come close to stopping these problems of terrorism or mass shootings in general. On the issue of guns, Trump takes the right position (though he seems to be alluding that he can push the NRA towards increased gun control), but he lacks the moral authority to speak on the issue, based on everything else he says and does.

Was this an act of terror or an act of hate? That seems to matter to many people. Of course, it is both, as Democrats have tried to diplomatically say, but all acts of terrorism are acts of hate. The fact that the LGBT community was specifically targeted here, and the possibility that the killer himself may have had homosexual tendencies are fairly irrelevant. Would things have been better if he was an openly gay Jihadi who targeted Jews instead? To say the least, homosexuality is very much at odds with the extremist interpretations of Islam as understood by ISIS and the rest. Their views on the matter go far, far beyond anything believed by almost any Evangelical Christian in America, and this terrorist acted like it. So many on the left are saying this was purely an anti-gay hate crime and there was no Islamic terrorist tie-in. That is ridiculous. The killer pledged his allegiance to ISIS and other Islamic fighters throughout the account. I think he ought to have been taken at his word. He was not pretending to be a terrorist. He was a terrorist.

So, July 12 is a day that will forever live in infamy for gay and lesbian Americans, and all Americans of all political stripes should grieve with them, but this was an attack on America itself. Barack Obama was not responsible, (as John McCain clumsily said in a statement he would later go out of his way to clarify), but terrorist attacks on American soil are obviously on the rise and we all remain very much at risk. Donald Trump is correct when he says that Obama acts like he is more upset at Trump and right-wingers in America than he is at terrorists, but again, Obama loses any sort of moral authority when he makes remarks that seem to subtly hint that Obama might have been involved in the attacks. Barack Obama is a horrible President in my view, but he is not a terrorist or terrorist sympathizer, and G-d help the Republican Party, if that is what people are buying into.

Three weeks ago, there was talk that Trump was consolidating the GOP and would be able to "act more Presidential." Since then, things have gone downhill rapidly, and that is being seen in the polls. Republican officials and leaders continue to be locked in a very tough spot. I maintain the only morally correct position is a full and complete break and rebuke with Trump. Damn the politics.

Republican discord has been very much in the news this past week, as it even seems like the RNC was leaking anti-Trump stories to the media, but the Chairman denies any issue. Trump is telling GOP leaders to shut up and be quiet or he will do it all by himself. The panic continues though. Is he a plant after all? Hell, I was saying that a year ago when he first got in.

A month from now, the GOP Convention will get underway in Cleveland. Watching Republican Conventions used to be the highlight of my year (seriously). I anticipate this time will be a dreary disaster. However, the talk is starting once again that something might happen, on the floor, to stop Trump. Again, Donald Trump ought to be thrown out of this race, by the Republican Party, by any legal means necessary. Somebody even suggested this week that he might quit the race for $150 million dollars.

Let's pass the collection plate and do it quickly.


At 11:05 AM, Blogger Steve Boudreaux said...

BREAKING: United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) announcing he's seeking reelection!


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