America Is Already Great: From Morning Again In America To A Darkness At Noon

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03I am deeply troubled by the continued popularity of Donald Trump. Each time I feel like we’ve reached a critical mass in regards to how profoundly unqualified he is to be president, we zoom right past it to the next crisis. We’ve had eight years of No Drama Obama and now we risk lurching dramatically to Idiocracy.

I have begun to feel a little helpless. Right thinking people stare in amazement at Trump’s statements, expecting him to finally implode, and it never happens. The more erratic and scary Trump becomes — and the more of a kiss-ass to Russia’s Putin he is — the more I have to take a deep breath whenever I contemplate the notion of him as president. But I check the polls every day and they don’t look good. He is essentially tied with Hillary Clinton right now. Think about that for a moment. Donald Trump who says such outrageous things is essentially tied with a season pol like Hillary Clinton.

What does that mean about what is going on in America right now? How is it that roughly 30% of the population can look you in the eye and say they want to vote for someone like Donald Trump. He wants to make America great again, but when was it never great? What exact period in time does he want us to go back to, and why?

The great irony of this election is the part of Reagan, the party that in 1984 told us is was morning again in America, now wants us to be scared. Trump wants us to not see the sun shining on a city on the hill, but rather a darkness at noon on a ghetto. He wants us to wallow in our own filth of dispair and anger. Trump wants us, in a sense, to embrace the Dark Side of the American experience.

This doesn’t even begin to address Trump’s completely bonkers policies when it comes to foreign relations. He openly kowtows to Russia’s Putin, almost inviting him to invade the weaker members of the NATO alliance. And he does this all in the open. He’s not hiding this. And none of this seems to get any traction. It boggles my mind.

I struggle to figure out what the appeal of Trump’s message is. The only thing I can come up with is a lot of center-right people feel disenfranchised and they want radical change. In any other country, we would risk a civil war. But the United States expresses it in a political counter revolution. An element of the electorate wants to turn back the clock to some fuzzy point in the past when everything was apparently better.

They want to do this because of fear. A lot of that fear comes from the right wing echo chamber that will brook no dissent when it comes to issues like gun advocacy, or their concept of the traditional marriage or whatever. Trump taps into that fear and compounds it, exacerbates it in an opportunistic fashion.

Thus, whenever I try to use the typical tools of friendly political debate with a Trump supporter it turns ugly, quickly. It turns ugly in a manner that is troubling, to say the least. I hate to keep bringing this up in my writing, but the similarities between this election cycle and that of Germany in 1933 are spooky. But what’s worse, is all of this is happening in broad daylight. With Germany, there was violence and no social media. With Trump in 2016, he is using social media to further his agenda. As I keep saying, do we really want to elect a Twitter troll president?

And, yet, we really risk, at this point, that happening. There is a real chance that Trump will be the next president of the United States despite all the verbiage, all the hand wringing, and all the eye rolling. Trump could be the most powerful elected official on earth and yet have the temperament of a teenage girl. (With very big fingers, mind you.)

Again, as I have stated before, I don’t pin my hopes on impeaching Trump. If Trump wins, we’re going to have to work on the assumption that he’s in it for the whole four years. Apparently about 30% of the population really wants chaos. They want bloodsport in their politics.

Not to belabor a point, but this brings me, yet again, to what the reaction to a Trump victory would be. After the shock and awe wore off, the center-Left in the United States would probably be galvanized. Maybe. I’d like to think so, at least. I’d like to think that the progressive movement in the United States would suddenly have a lot more guts than it has in recent years.

These are things we have to think about. We can no longer laugh off the possibility of a Trump presidency. It could really happen, folks. May God have mercy on our souls.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Dear Lord, What If It’s An Electoral Tie & Trump V. Clinton Goes To Congress?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03If you don’t want to go to sleep, ever, reflect on this scenario — Trump somehow manages to win Florida despite everything and there is an electoral tie. The gears of the Constitution would turn and Congress would meet to decide who gets to be president and vice president.

The House would pick the president, while the Senate would pick the vice president. But here is where things get a little weird. Each state’s delegation would vote collectively. So, there would be 51 votes (I think) given that D.C. votes for the president. Given the stakes of this election, it isn’t too difficult to imagine a scenario where there is a huge amount of wheeling and dealing and Trump gets the presidency while Kane gets the veep slot.

Given how bizzaro Trump is, this arrangement would complicate any later efforts to get rid of Trump through impeachment because he would claim it was some sort of legal coup.

I simply can’t imagine Republicans, after having come so close to winning the presidency, would not bow down to Trump supporters and use their clout in the House to elect him president. A lot would have to do, I suppose with what the popular vote was.

If You Continue To Support Donald Trump, You’re Being Intellectually Dishonest

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03You can send me all the links you like, I think all reasonable people can come to some agreement now — if you continue to support Donald Trump, you’re being intellectually dishonest to yourself and the world. Things move fast in this social media driven world and it is pretty obvious that Trump doesn’t intend to change one lick once he becomes president.

He is too driven by ego, too driven by the need for attention, be it negative or good — or in his case, especially negative — that he will continue to be an ass no matter what. As I have mentioned before, it is something of a relief one several different levels that I have come to this conclusion.

It’s a relief on one level because I don’t have to worry about debating his supporters anymore. They will say the same old things, long after it is apparent to everyone else that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Period. Of anyone or anything.

And, yet, I am concerned about the consquences of his election. Because Trump is a cancer, maybe a really bad melanoma to be exact. He’s that dark spot on your back that you ignore until it’s way, way, way too late. You think it’s nothing. You think it’ll go away. And the next thing you know, you’re in the hospital and someone is giving you last rights.

But I have finally even come to acceptance of that. If Trump wins, I have to accept that. If Brexit can win a popular vote, then Donald Trump can win a popular vote. Him winning the electoral vote is a different matter altogether.But such nightmarish scenarios aside, it does seem as though things are going to cut his way and he will squeak through a victory.

I have finally come to accept that. His supporters are simply way too motivated and beyond the grasp of logic and reality for them not to get their way at this point. The only thing I can find comfort in now is the notion that maybe, just maybe, America will bounce back stronger than ever when Trump leaves office and a normal person takes over again.

Yet, let’s go back to the point at hand. On a purely intellectual level, if you’re actually paying attention to what is going on, we’ve reached the point where you feel as though things are critical enough that you can put party differences aside for the sake of the Republic. If you aren’t a racist, bigoted, misogynist neo-fascist or don’t think of yourself as a sympathiser of such individuals, then the choice is clear, regardless of your party affiliation.

Hillary Clinton has many, many, many flaws. Some of them are deep. And, yet, her flaws are those of your typical 21st Century pol. She’s canned and robotic, but you don’t get the sense she might start WWIII simply through ineptitude. If you have any sense about you, if you see yourself as thinking, self-away individual, you have no choice at this point but to vote for Hillary Clinton.

What worries me most of all is this sense of impending doom that hovers over the United States. This sense that no matter what we do or say, Trump will become president. I say this only because he’s currently essentially tied with Hillary Clinton despite the many, many, many horrendous things he’s said. And his supporters are so absolute in their admiration for him. They seem to have lost their senses. They’ve taken leave of normal political thought and now inhabit some weird dark realm where their hatred of Ms. Clinton has reached such a level that all they care about is her defeat. They’ve reached the point where they are blinded to all rational political debate and all they care about is seeing Trump take the oath of office.

As I keep saying, what happens then? Running for president and being president are too different things. Being president is hard work. And Trump is so extreme in his lack of temperament for the office, so obvious in his lack of the emotional and intellectual framework needed to be the Leader of the Free World that the idea of him continuing along the path he’s been going on only with all the vestiges of the presidential seal is really quite frightening.

But I am resigned to him winning. I am finally resigned to Trump being president and four years of extreme, excruciating political theatre that will leave us all scratching our heads for years to come. Trump’s Revolution hopefully will be like a child’s case of chickenpox. It will hurt like hell, but won’t last too long. I have to rationalize this somehow, otherwise I won’t be able to sleep at night.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer, photographer, publisher, lyricist, poet and political observer living in Richmond, Va. You can reach him at migukin (at) gmail.com.

Of Trump & Ukraine — Wake Up, People, He’s A Russian Patsy!

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03I am old enough to remember how in the late 1980s, people thought Mikhail Gorbachev was a CIA plant. Well, maybe the Russians finally got their chance to get it back to us, because Donald Trump’s statements on Ukraine indicate he’s a Russian apologist at best and a patsy at worst.

And, to top it off, no matter what, Trump comes off as kind of clueless, not knowing that Russia is already in Crimea.

It is astonishing at this point that the party of Reagan, much less the party of Lincoln, would have as its standard bearer a clueless, foreign policy addled nincompoop like Donald J. Trump. It just doesn’t make any sense. The Republicans are supposed to always maintain the hard line when it comes to foreign policy, leaving those hippie Democrats in the dust.

But in this post-information world we live in, all of that is gone. The next thing you know, Trump will be handing out pamphlets in Dallas, demanding “fair play” for Cuba. There is definitely something screwy going on with Trump and Russia and if his recent statement on Ukraine don’t give his bedrock Republican supporters pause for thought, I don’t know what will.

Let me stress that I’m no big fan of Hillary Clinton. I think Ms. Clinton is a bad candidate and if, say, Jeb Bush was the Republican nominee I might, just might, consider voting for him. But, alas, that is not to be. So, I have to deal with the choices I have. And I really don’t want someone like Trump to be able to suck up to Putin in a manner unimaginable just four years ago.

It doesn’t take too much consideration to see that Putin would see a Trump Administration as a once-in-a-century opportunity to make a huge land grab in Europe and, hell, maybe even central Asia. This is pretty scary stuff. It’s the type of stuff that you’d like to think the children of Reagan Democrats would take as a cue for the exits. But, people are so furious, so white hot in their anger about the Establishment, that it doesn’t seem as though even this is enough to dislodge this core base of supporters.

I, and a lot of people like me, are just going to have to accept that we are entering a dangerous new world when it comes to international affairs. We’re entering a world where some pretty basic tenets of foreign policy are up in the air.

It would be an odd twist of fate if the thing that brought down a Republican presidency was an epic mishandling of foreign policy, not the cover-up of a third-rate burglary. When you start to reflect wistfully on the Nixon days, you know your party is in trouble.

V-Log: Trump’s America, David Letterman & Jon Stewart

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03Here is a v-log about Donald Trump’s America and the consquences it would wrought. I think David Letterman and Jon Stewart might find themselves pushed into the political scene.

Watch Me Rant Against Donald Trump For 10 Minutes

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

shelton-Profile03I usually do this using Periscope or Facebook Live Video, but I wanted the opportunity to do it without interruption. So, you get this. It is entertaining, if nothing else. There are worse ways to spend 10 minutes.

My Views On Donald Trump, July 2016

I sent this to a Trump supporter, hoping to make my case, if nothing else. — Shelton Bumgarner @bumgarls

Dear Scott,

Because I am going to lay out my views on Donald Trump, I intend to post it on mediafleek.com, at least. So, in this sense, this is not a very personal letter.

Ok, let’s establish the argument for Donald Trump for president. It goes something like this, as best I can tell — people are furious with the status quo and they want real change of some sort. They want effective change in a way we’ve not seen in a long, long time. The closest election I can connect this to is the one that elected Andrew Jackson to the White House.

Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at this situation with a clear eye. I’ve grown so tired of trying to argue the merits of Donald Trump because there are no merits. None. I feel the pain of those who feel he can bring change to Washington, but a lot of people thought Hitler could bring change to Germany in 1933 and look what that brought them.

If you can’t on the face of it see that Donald Trump is a racist, bigoted, misogynist, neo-fascist then I honest don’t know what to say. To blame Democrats for inciting racial problems in America is a huge co-out in my opinion. Just because Democrats in your opinion are inciting racism in America doesn’t mean we elect Trump out of spite.

At the core of my argument about Trump is not so much that he is unfit to be president because he’s a racist, bigoted, misogynist, neo-fascist, it’s something much, much, more basic — he simply doesn’t have the temperament to be president. Unless he does as he has suggested in the past, which is essentially handing off all executive policy to his Veep while he “makes America great again,” having him with his hand on the nuclear trigger is something that sends chills down my spine.

It boggles my mind that someone such as yourself sees Trump do exactly what I see him doing and yet is unable to make the basic observation that the man is unstable, to say the least. He has said so many things to disqualify him for president that I don’t have the time to go through the list.

Which, of course, raises the issue — how is this possible? How is it possible that Trump can get away with such utter bullshit and yet essentially be tied with someone like Hillary Clinton? That is such a troubling issue that I fear that should he become president that it’s something we’ll be pondering for decades to come, much like the way we ponder how it is that Hitler actually won an election. Something unprecedented, to say the least, is happening. Something none of us can fully understand as it’s happening.

I am kind of grasping at straws, but the only thing I can think of is technology is allowing the extremes of the political world to be amplified to such and extent that there is no center anymore. Add to that the notion that people are bored with eight years of No Drama Obama and it’s possible that people want some spice in their politics. They want P.T. Barnum as president, not a third Obama term. But even that doesn’t really get to the issue at hand. Even that doesn’t begin to address how someone such as Donald Trump who proposes astonishingly unjustifiable policies at the drop of a hat can make it this far and grow this close to being president.

To simply say that Trump can be president even though he’s racist because the Democrats do the same if not worse, is such a straw man, so irrational that it leaves me flabbergasted. Are you not paying attention? Why can an otherwise educated, high-information voter such as yourself be hoodwinked by a madman such as Donald Trump?

Donald Trump’s racism is just part of a vast array of disqualifying qualities. Yes, Hillary Clinton probably should have been indicted for her mishandling of State Department e-mails. But she wasn’t. And so we have a pretty clear choice — a madman or a woman who is — despite some obvious poor judgement — more than qualified to be president. She’s paid her dues, as they say. Meanwhile, Trump panders to the masses in a demagogic fashion and says simply bizzaro things that can’t be defended.

The blatant a racist, bigoted, misogynist, neo-fascist aspects of Trump don’t even address his real most dangerous quality — his apparent fondness for the most despicable of thugs on the international scene. He praises North Korea’s Kim Jung Un for murdering his opposition. He kowtows to Russia’s Putin and goes so far as to suggest the United States wouldn’t uphold its NATO obligations. If that doesn’t cause a minor freak out, I give up.

As I have said repeatedly, I have finally come to the point where I can’t summon up the energy to try to convince anyone to change their mind when it comes to Donald Trump. All I can say at this point is, “You break it, you buy it.” Too bad the same could be told to the voters of Germany 1933. I fear the next election when I feel like debating the merits of Donald Trump, all I will be able to do is find a rock, scratch something on it and throw it at someone nearby. The stakes are really that high.

July, 2016