US election a Hobson’s choice if there ever was one
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
It’s time to think the unthinkable.
Trump could win! No kidding and as I say this I have to admit I’m whipping egg off my face as I never conceived of the possibility before.
So where does this leave us? Uncomfortable? That’s an understatement. Shocked? Maybe, but not when you consider the decline of the American Empire the last decade or two. Amazed? In a digital world, nothing seems amazing anymore. Scared? That’s the big one and one I hope we never find out.
Time to back up a bit. How did we get into this bizarre and potentially dangerous mess in the first place? In your humble correspondent’s opinion, it began almost 20 years ago and I first began to notice it on my numerous cross-border trips down South. Being a news junkie, I always have the radio on wherever I go and when I’m cruising the interstates and the backroads of the No Longer United States of America it’s no different as I wear out my dial finger looking for 60’s rock and roll or the voice of the people on open-line radio.
That’s when I discovered what I dubbed “American fascist talk radio.”
No matter if it was Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity or Michael Savage of “Savage Nation” fame, the message was the same – the American way of life was being undermined by an unholy triad of liberals, socialists and progressives and good, God-fearing, conservative Americans had to fight back or the Home of the Brave and Land of the Free was going to become a dictatorship ruled by Oprah Winfrey, Big Brother and a cabal of Marxists.
Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in the Excited States of America start twisting the dial. The barrage of anger, hate and vilification is enough to make you drive off the road. And there’s a reason for it. In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) deregulated the Fairness Doctrine of commercial talk radio which required that extreme political comment of one viewpoint had to be balanced by political comment of opposite points of view. This opened the floodgates for hatemongers like Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage to spout their bile without contradiction or retort. And who was this electronic hate speech directed at? Liberals, Wall Street, immigrants and “Islamo-fascists” as anyone from the Islamic world was labeled. And where was it most popular? The Bible Belt, the Rust Belt and rural America where unemployment was high and education levels low. And the message resonated especially strongly with seniors, especially if they were white male, and angry. Military people liked it too.
I think you see where this is headed.
It was American fascist, talk radio in the late 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s that laid the groundwork for a demigod like Donald Trump. Don’t kid yourself for a minute. The Great Unwashed cheering for Trump aren’t the so-called Washington “elites,” the academics, the intelligentsia, Silicon Valley geeks or millennials. They are the Americans who have lost their jobs to technology, or were replaced by immigrant labour or, not without reason, have come to hate and distrust politicians of all stripes and the media too. And they’re not as naïve as many closeted intellectuals and cultured people think. They know he’s vulgar, a liar and a cheat. But that’s how they feel about all politicians AND THEY DON’T CARE!
In other words, it’s payback time for the whole damn system, which they feel is holding them down while immigrants get the jobs and the Chinese make the profits. Like Trump, they feel the system is “rigged” against them and they’re going to teach the system a lesson and God help us if they do. And if Trump doesn’t make it, big deal. He’s just another politician. No crocodile tears to be shed for him.
To me the crowning irony of the whole damn thing is that both Hillary Clinton and Trump have financed foundations which are supposed to work for the public good yet both foundations are accused of being corrupt. Corruption by both for God’s sake! Can’t they do anything ethical?
I wouldn’t want to be an American voter trying to choose between these two.
Gerry Warner is a retired journalist who hasn’t been accused of corruption. At least not yet.