Trump’s new confederacy

Sam Smith – Almost 60 years ago, when I first started covering Washington, it occurred to me that while the South had lost aspects of the Civil War, such as slavery and secession, it continued to exercise stunning power over a nation that had allegedly defeated it.  Congress at the time seemed almost a southern house party and the war, it appeared, was far from over.

While the old South has changed and no longer has the power of that era, it is fair to say that with its help, Trump has launched a new confederacy – only instead of secession, it seeks to overthrow a huge portion of the progress that country has made in the past eight decades.

In fact, Trump got 52% of his electoral support from members of the former confederacy and, in the same manner of the old South, he cons lower income whites into supporting him by blaming blacks and other minorities such as immigrants for evils that actually have their roots in policies for his fellow wealthy elite.

While he can’t be fairly accused of treason, it can be said that his goal is a personal dictatorship such as he had at his private businesses and that he is consummately disloyal to the Constitution, democracy and simple human decency.

Like earlier plantation owners, he is creating a new confederacy of evil, inequality and cruelty.

One need look no further than his new budget  to perceive  dimensions of this disloyalty to decency. Here are some of the programs, many painfully constructed over the past eight decades,  that would be deeply damaged:

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public works (through the privatization of highway construction), TVA, PBS, NPR, the national endowments of arts and humanities, the Environmental Protection Agency, food stamps, Amtrak, the Institute of Museum & Library Services, Obamacare, child care, and  foster care,

You do not need a war to destroy a society and Donald Trump, if he gets away with it, will have caused more damage to America than anyone since the Civil War – the most evil man to whom we tragically granted power.

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One thought on “Trump’s new confederacy

  1. Cogent thoughts, but ones that don’t go far enough if Trump is the symptom and not the disease.

    What disease? The one that’s afflicted the US since its inception, only lessening with the Progressive era (sandwiched meekly between the Gilded Age and Roaring Twenties) and the New Deal (whose key elements, unions and Social Security, and now under final assault). To the extent the South is a perennial foil to progress, it’s because the Constitution is written that way. The newfangled, unaccountable power of corporations cements the deal.

    Maybe it’s not the end of all that was good and decent (note: this does not include Heritage-Romney-Obamacare), but since we couldn’t solve the problem of massive inequality when the US enjoyed a more privileged global position, an empire swaddled with debt, war, mediocrity, and nepotism isn’t a better bet.

    Were there an opposition party, there are enough levers to use for re-stabilizing this nightmare – Medicare for All and federal cannabis legalization for openers. From there, momentum could open all sorts of doors: ending the gulag, shuttering overseas military bases, halting mass surveillance. If popular government gained a beach head, the larger issues of the electoral college and corporate rights could be addressed. These are policy changes to which Trump, were he of agency many ascribe, could not effectively speak. But the Democrats aren’t won’t touch these and the Left is lost in an echo chamber of Russiagate and identity politics. Again, not betting odds.

    History includes some pleasant surprises and maybe America draws to that inside straight. Whatever may be, let’s not get lost in what Trump does or means. Politicians are only the hired help. To quote Stephen King, Trump “could eat his way through a boxcar of Ex-Lax, but wouldn’t fart without corporate approval.”

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