Sunday, July 24, 2016

What the GOP Platform and Candidate Say to Me

If you’ve been distracted by the power of the individuals being nominated, join the crowd, but the hidden agenda that is sliding under the radar is an exceptionally old-world, throw-back parcel of past policies that is alarming when you dig in. For example, the GOP platform seems to go out of its way to reverse or eliminate anything that smacks of LGBTQ rights, probably the most negative official position of any political party on such rights in American history. Party officials not only maintain the “one man, one woman” view of marriage, but they have expressly rejected any language that would ban LGBT discrimination.
“Additional provisions included those that promoted state laws to limit which restrooms transgender people could use, nodded to ‘conversion therapy’ for gays by saying that parents should be free to make medical decisions about their children without interference and stated that ‘natural marriage’ between a man and a woman is most likely to result in offspring who do not become drug-addicted or otherwise damaged…
“[Nearly] every provision that expressed disapproval of homosexuality, same-sex marriage or transgender rights passed. The platform calls for overturning the Supreme Court marriage decision with a constitutional amendment and makes references to appointing judges ‘who respect traditional family values.’” New York Times, July 12th.
And as much as we rail against Muslim countries moving to make the Qur’an the source and direction of governmental policies and laws, it appears that inserting the Bible into American law is absolutely required.
The GOP’s desire to insert an Evangelical bent in lawmaking is evidenced by their adding ““that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights.” The platform also says the teaching of the Bible in public schools inasmuch as a good understanding of its contents is “indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry.” Guess the idea of the First Amendment, clearly separating church and state, is one constitutional provision the Republican Party has chosen to reject.
Pornography is described as a “public menace” as well as a “public health crisis.” Women should be barred from combat roles in the military as well. Abortions get an almost total ban. Strong provisions against gun control go along with archaic support for an industry that will, without or without supporting legislation, die off in a world where coal is not only a vile and uncontrolled polluter but an excessively expensive fossil fuel alternative to natural gas. Apparently ignoring the rather conclusive scientific evidence to the contrary, the GOP platform tells us that coal is a “clean” energy source.
The platform also takes on China’s human rights policies and flatly rejects China’s position regarding territorial claims in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Instead of keeping this under the radar where diplomatic discussions could resolve the impasse, the GOP has forced China to dig in its heels, embracing the potential of a genuine military conflict. “One op-ed from a [Chinese] state-run outlet asks, ‘Is there any chance of war in the South China Sea?’ The same piece suggests that, if the United States did battle China over the sea, America may be vanquished: ‘The 21st century has witnessed a series of failures of U.S. military actions.’”, July 21st.
While Trump recognizes that our military budget is out of control, he has issued a set of conflicting military policy goals including the possibility of withdrawing our military commitment to NATO while relying heavily on NATO and local regional powers to help us defeat ISIS. Let the NATO members pay the real costs, says Trump, suggesting that our national defense policy is less important than getting paid for military services. Are his policies plagued with internal irreconcilable differences?
Trump also sticks by his original statements that Mexico has sent criminals and rapists north (“half” of them are criminals), that we will build that wall (experts say it will cost north of $25 billion without taking into consideration maintenance) and deport approximately 11 million undocumented aliens, an exceptionally expensive law enforcement effort that would take years to implement while dramatically disrupting small businesses (particularly in agricultural endeavors) that rely on them.  And no, Mexico isn’t about to pay for the wall according to every senior government official in that country.
He and other at the top of the GOP have castigated the “Black Lives Matter” movement and have come down pretty uniformly on the side of police forces at the expense of those who have been wrongly shot by the police. While every politician on both sides of the aisle decries the horrific crimes against police officers, for which there is no excuse, Trump has refused to focus on the issues relating to police treatment of inner city blacks, where statistics clearly show that there is a dual standard of law enforcement. His “I am the law and order candidate” carried his message rather directly. Trump’s feelings were rather clearly expressed when he rejected an invitation to speak at the NAACP’s convention. He’s even called Obama a “monkey.”
His anti-Muslim rhetoric – banning Muslim’s traveling into the United States (modified slightly with a notion of “extreme vetting”) notwithstanding the fact that the overwhelming majority of victims of jihadist terrorism are Muslims – drew a litany of negative reactions from most European leaders, clearly leaders among our Muslim allies and even the Pope. ISIS has nourished its recruitment efforts with this fodder from the Trump camp.
And while we are beginning to see some waffling on the issue of trade agreements, noting that free trade has been a bastion of Republican policy for decades, the Donald still insists that he will reopen all of our major trade agreements and revisit provisions he believes to be unfair, as if those on the other side of such treaties will simply lie down and comply with our unilateral demands without demanding concessions of their own. As a “seasoned business negotiator,” Trump should know better. Sticking to unilateral demands will only result in economic retaliation, which, according to unbiased experts, will trigger trade wars with serious costs to American jobs. See my May 29th Trade Wars blog for a rather detailed economic analysis.
The rest of the world is pretty antagonistic to Trump’s vision as the chart above suggests. With Trump at the helm, we’re going to have to make it on our own. The reaction of global leaders to Trump’s acceptance speech was almost uniformly negative, some of it incredibly negative.
What all of this says to me and most of the rest of the world if you follow the international press, is that Trump’s view of America, supported by the official Republican Party platform, has legitimizedracism and discrimination against religious groups and LGBTQs. It has clearly made our nation one that continues to tilt the playing field toward white Evangelical values to the exclusion of everyone else. The proliferation of guns, including assault rifles and the encouragement of open carry laws, is a major party vector.
Nothing brought home the GOP’s willingness to suspend the rules – the constitutional protections that underlie our individual existence – to look the other way as government does what it has to do to save this country from attacks from within and without. Under the guise that political correctness (read: constitutional rights) is no longer appropriate, Donald Trump’s acceptance speech for the GOP presidential nomination seemed like a litany of darkness where only he could take control and save the day. The camera scanned the audience repeatedly. Seethingly angry white faces dripping with hatred, reflecting a commitment to “take back America” (from whom? The rest of America?), one way or, unfortunately, the other.
It was dangerous rabble-rousing from, as the Washington Post described him, a fear-mongering “strongman” (polite for “dictator”), not a candidate for a democratically-elected and regulated office, stirring the pot. Listening to the dangerous that needed extreme measures to correct, Trump is ultimately challenging the individual freedoms and rights of those who disagree with his alarmingly angry, disenfranchised white Evangelical constituency – the real minority in America today – that obviously wished to turn the clock… and the world… back to the 1950s or earlier. Frankly, that well-delivered speech terrified me in its substance. The Washington Post’s Editorial Board calls Trump “the candidate of the apocalypse.”
The GOP seems officially to be championing a new isolationism that history has already taught us is impossible in a globally linked/dependent world. Isolation in military policy when it is clear that a uniform global response is probably the only way to contain ultra-violent jihadism. Isolation that will foment unwinnable trade wars. We no longer live in the era of sailing ships and vast distances between countries. That platform is rather dramatically drawing global condemnation, and American-citizen minorities are looking at the potential of a government that could be officially aligned against them… with Donald Trump having his finger on the red button capable of launching a nuclear strike. Donald Trump is the candidate of fear, anger, hatred, prejudice and exclusion.
            I’m Peter Dekom, and even if Donald Trump fails to take the Presidency in November, that he has so many adherents standing loudly behind him has already created a new era of distrust of the United States among even our strongest allies.

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