Donald Trump uses the single most powerful microphone in the world to immunize all who listen to him against facts, scientific conclusions and the truth. He has uttered more than 10,000 outright lies or misleading statements since the 2016 election as documented by the Washington Post.
The motivation for such a practice, borrowed straight from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, ranges from cynicism bordering on mental illness to destructive greed that does not have any limits on personal avarice. The cause of such unbound pursuit of power and money is important, but not as important as the consequences.
The ultimate consequence is loss of life. That consequence becomes painfully obvious with each mass shooting in the country. And it becomes painfully sad as each migrant child seeking asylum in our country dies from illness, neglect and/or bureaucratic cruelty engineered by Trump’s alter ego, senior adviser Stephen Miller.
Both men are cruel. Both men encourage and perpetuate white supremacy. Both men are outrageously incompetent. Both men probably have a high I.Q., but use that gift to demonstrate and perpetuate unlimited narcissism that pursues their own sense of strength by making others weak.
Unfortunately, both men are in the White House surrounded by sycophants who tell them what they want to hear rather than challenging them with the truth about the damage they are doing. The sycophants are supported by a cadre of billionaires who make Ronald Reagan look like a traveling huckster selling bottles of snake oil.
This group of libertarians has been unleashed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. We now have two and one-half branches of our government controlled by plutocrats such as the Kochs, the Scaifes, the Olins and others aptly reported upon by Jane Mayer in Dark Money.
Money and fear of being “primaried” has supplanted the vote at the ballot box. The solution to problems exacerbated during the first three years of the Trump administration is a turnout of rational voters. A rational voter can see that guns kill — especially high-powered military style weapons with large ammunition clips. In this context, rationality is not antithetical to feelings and emotion. Rationality provides reliable evidence upon which constructive feelings and conclusions are based.
A rational voter can see and feel the encroachment of human-caused climate change with every relaxation of rules governing release of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.
A rational voter can feel the widening gap between rich and poor along with the disappearance of the middle class.
A rational voter can experience the stress of being one illness away from bankruptcy.
A rational voter can understand the rising cost of living with every visit to the local food market and every month as utility bills come due.
A rational voter knows the high cost of childcare and the rising cost of college.
A rational voter knows the feeling of inescapable debt.
A rational voter knows that money is not speech and corporations are not people.
Voter turnout in 2020 is the solution. The ability to recognize that voting with a clear mind is the only effective antidote to money in politics.
Maynard Chapman is a Vietnam veteran and a 2006 recipient of a New Mexican “10 Who Made a Difference” award. He lives in Santa Fe.