We may have been seeing the problem through the wrong end of our looking glass. Start with Donald Trump. No doubt he has become the terrorist-in-chief with as many types of sedition attacks as an octopus has arms. But few would imagine that our ex-president was canny enough to come up with that sort of strategy by himself. So if not him, then who?
There is hope at the right end of the looking glass, but we had to wade through the dirty swamp around Washington, D.C. Certainly, 45 had some bright guys in his immediate circle such as Steve Bannon, who has been committed to burning down our democracy and strutting through its ashes wearing three shirts and burning holes in the soles of his boots.
Then, there was the odd little guy Roger Stone with a large President Richard Nixon tattooed across his back and called himself “the dirty trickster.” He traveled around with an entourage, many of them from the insurrectionist group, the Proud Boys. How much did he and Bannon collude with the January 6 violent attempt to overthrow the U.S. government and hand Trump Sr. his own dictatorship?
The Republican Party certainly crumbled under the ex’s gaze. Almost all of the traditionalist politicians retired as quickly as they could, and the rest of them either cowered from or eagerly jumped onto the Trump Train. How quickly the former president installed himself as the unquestioned leader of the Trump Party and sucked the GOP right out of this party even from Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
The Senate Minority Leader and self-described “Grim Reaper,” Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has killed hundreds and hundreds of bills sent over from the House of Representatives. He continues to filibuster and stall Congress to a halting stop.
Maybe, he wanted to be one of Trump’s oligarchs? After all, he does have an aluminum processing plant in the backyard of his state that was financed by a Russian oligarch.
As the ex-president raged around the White House stomping on most of the traditions, rules, and manners, the Russians and the Chinese inserted their misinformation propaganda into our internet as true. Those who ran the big internet companies have managed to put the almighty dollar over our lives. Just ask Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, but he certainly has not been alone.
Or ask the guy who turned a conservative television station into a money machine, Rupert Murdoch. His talking heads urged Americans to avoid life-saving vaccinations so that President Joe Biden could not bring a terrible pandemic under control. This, even as the number of deaths crept ever closer toward one million lost souls.
The alt-right media coupled with Trump’s campaign of “do not believe what you see and hear, believe me.” The ex-president’s role was born out of malignant narcissism, paranoia, and a revenge policy so great that his “truth” was the only “truth.” And anyone who disagreed with him had to be totally annihilated, completely destroyed.
Crazy is as crazy does. Click your heels, and the horrific armed attack on the Capitol becomes a tourist’s vacation.
Fortunately, there were enough patriots in the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, and other departments to ward of Trump ferocious blast of will. But just barely. And next time, if there is a next time for him, he will have learned from his mistakes and installed all lackeys in key positions.
But the issue did not start with the last president. In the early- to mid-1980s, many big businesses learned that profits would increase significantly should they pack up their manufacturing plants and ship them to Mexico and China. All those good union jobs just disappeared as the Chinese took them over, and their families lived under the eaves of the plants.
That left great swaths of American workers stripped from the middle- and working classes. Stripped of hope. No wonder they became angry and fertile Trump ground. The Fortune 500 and 100 companies maintained a facade of their headquarters here but stripped out many over 30-years-old along with the historical company knowledge. They imported MBA’s just out of college who did not know and did not want to know what they did not know.
These companies erased much of their compassion and respect for their workers. The problem was that the employees did not catch onto this until it was too late for many of their careers. Big biz stripped down company benefits, merged away good jobs, increased working hours, and sped up the company’s operations to a frenetic pace.
At first, bigger salaries sucked in people, worked them until they gave out, and then tossed them upon the garbage heap. Soon, those salaries started dwindling. There were vast seas of workers across America who were simply squeezed out.
President Ronald Reagan implemented the trickle-down theory, which has been tried under each Republican president since then and never has worked. The idea was to give the wealthy money and it would trickle down to the others. Of course, that failed. And faled. And failed.
This went hand-in-hand with the no entitlements for middle- and working-class people. Only entitlements for the wealthy and big corporations. Ask Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) how that worked.
In the early 1970s, some people’s working week dropped from 40 hours to 37 hours. And they sat around wondering what they would do with all their luxury time.
Much of the dismal economic change happened so gradually that people assimilated it. In the 1960s, families usually had one person working outside of the home and another doing the important, difficult, and time-consuming work of rearing a family. Then, two people had to work in order to bring in enough income to support the family. Then two people with two extra part-time jobs were barely enough.
That is where many Americans want to return and some for good reason. But we came within inches of losing our democracy this year. We still might unless all of us get to work and stop it.
The thing is our great national experiment is at an inflection point. Dark money wants to return us to the 1950’s restrictions, but we cannot go backward in time. Squelching change only takes us toward a slow, excruciating death. Our choice is for us to take this remarkable opportunity and step toward a better, changed American.
This is part one of a three-part series about dark money.
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.