Friday, March 18, 2016

Donald Trump and the steps that gave rise to the ugly face of Fascism

It is sad for me to be watching the rise of Fascism in the United States, but the extraordinary rise of Donald Trump to becoming a serious consideration for the candidacy for the Presidency is a reality. I'd like to explain my view on why this is happening.

Fascism exists because a leader understands two things. First, peoples' deep longing to be led and be told what to do. And, second, their anger. Hitler understood this very well. And, we are seeing the same symptoms here. Mr Trump has even counseled us that if there is any difficulty during the nominations, there will be violence. He has sent the message to his followers, who, up until now, are not wearing brown shirts. Hopefully, they never will. And, hopefully, he never will. Hopefully, people will become aware that they have contracted a disease. The dis-ease of Fascism.

The question is: How did we get this far? What did we do? I, for one, look no further than the polarization of our politics, both in, and out of, Congress. Certainly, having differences of opinion, and expressing them, is a fundamental signpost of freedom. But, we have arrived at a point where there is no exchange and discussion that leads to a solution and a resolution of problems. People dig in, and there is no middle ground. Look at the Republicans recent stand on the nomination of a centrist judge to the Supreme Court. This stagnant atmosphere builds up frustration, anger, hate, and hopelessness. Hence, Donald Trump flows into the hole we have dug for ourselves.

I am neither left nor right. I have voted both ways, according to what I believed was best for the moment. And, I didn't vote for many years, because I felt that by voting I gave my tacit approval to what I saw as a corruption in our government. It seemed to me that the government acted like a country of its own, with no regard to the mandate that elected officials have been given. They were in business for themselves. I was angry. I still am. But, anger is no excuse for stupidity, or the rise of Fascism.

In France, where elections have two stages, the anger of the population is often expressed in the first vote. In recent years, that has meant the increased voting for the far right party, the Front Nationale. In the second vote, that vote is less. People switch and vote for the candidate of their choice. Though, we are seeing an increase in the vote for the far right.

People want something done, and in general, they feel that things have gone too far. In France, that means that an immigrant arriving in the country is given a place to live, an minimum income, while French citizens can't get a better apartment, can't get help when they are in need, and are more heavily taxed to pay for the government's expenses of paying for the underprivileged.

In the USA, the problems aren't that clear. We have a large illegal population, but a part of that illegal population pays taxes and receives no benefits, as they aren't entitled to them. And, we can argue about what the problem of unemployment is. The loss of manufacturing has to be considered as an important contributing factor, too.

Certainly, the Government wants us to believe that the ugly depression we suffered, caused by rampant irresponsibility in the banking industry, partially fueled by government deregulation, is over. What we need to be able to do is figure out when regulation is necessary, without it interfering with people's ability to do business.

Also, the Government doesn't say that it is over because a lot of people did something to resolve their problems. And, now hold two jobs, instead of one, and are making less money in the process. Or, that people with one job are working longer hours, being paid less, and doing a job that formerly was done by two people. But, we are a resilient people, used to working hard. And, up to now, we don't want Socialism. Yes, we have Social Security and Health Care. And, regardless of whether we like it, Even people who don't like it, use it.

I believe that there is a social contract that defines a Nation. What ours is, according to our Founding Fathers, is: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. What an extraordinary contract. It says nothing about helping people who don't help themselves. And, we need to discuss what that means. Fascism will not discuss that. It will exploit peoples' weakness and feeling of helplessness. In the same way, Socialism exploits those same weaknesses by saying that, since we can't take care of ourselves, we need to take away peoples' unwanted freedom and responsibility and give more power to the Government. To regulate their lives, as they aren't capable of doing it themselves. They are two sides of a coin. I stand for neither.

Monday, March 7, 2016

For a theater man, I have a lot of opinions, even about Apple and a terrorists phone

I was just reading some of my blogs, which is what led me to the title of this one. Having held myself carefully in place most of my life, it stirs me up to see my opinions about everything floating around in this virtual universe of the internet. I'm not even sure who sees them. Or, if they mean anything to anyone. So, I am left with the fact that I do this, primarily, to express myself. Because, I feel the need to share my perceptions with you, whoever you are. Staying silent, in fear of upsetting someone, is one of the traditions that floats around in our education. Fortunately, most of the great men and women I admire didn't seem to learn that lesson. They were, in their fashion, rebels. Or, more aptly, free men and women. It is not wonder that freedom of speech is the first amendment of the American Constitution. Those men really got it right.

Speaking of which, I think Apple is out of line, and has confused their definition of freedom to exclude them from any responsibility in the matter of helping the Government to discover information that may help to fight the war on terrorism. Of course, that means that I do believe that it is a war. Though, not a conventional war. Is war such a normal part of our existence, that there is a definition for a normal war? If I had to say, it would be that a "normal war" means sending a lot of young men, and now, women too, into battle against an opposing group of men and women. They may not be marching in the straight lines that wars were once fought with on battlefields, but lines are drawn, and each side tries to win the other's territory.

However, terrorism has no lines, and is designed to allow a few to disrupt the lives of innocent people, in the hopes that the terror they create will enable them to win their war.

As I have said for years, though not here, I think that the most political play I know is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Because, if people truly believed that love was the most important quality of life, they would never live the way they do. We would change the world; at least, our world. And, if each person changed their world for love, the world would be a different place to live.

Instead, people complain about the corruption of life that we are surrounded by in a sick world. And, expect that it is just normal, business as usual. Or, someone else's problem to solve. And so, nothing much changes. Because, the majority of people don't take responsibility for their lives, and change them. Whether it is because they are incapable or not, depends. I wish I believed that education could cure all the world's ills. Certainly, it provides a hope, that an educated population may be capable of seeing problems more clearly, understand what's wrong. And, be healthy enough to be able to change, fix them.

But, how long will that take? You don't change most people in a couple of years. Most never change. They are too afraid of life to change. Romeo and Juliet weren't afraid. And look what happened to them. They were caught in the sickness of their families' feud, and their love was destroyed by it. Our fear and hatred murders life.

To get back to Apple, that is what the Government wants to stop. But, Apple wants to protect its customers. Is it a form of treason, justified by a self-righteous definition of freedom of speech? Ask yourself what you would do if you might have information that could prevent another terrorist from murdering other innocent people? Its a simple question. And, it should have a simple answer.