First-time readers, this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.
Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters. You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.
This entry is a bit different. A couple of times each year I step back for a “sense check” whether a Revenge Revolution in the United States sometime after 2020 is still plausible or am I blowing smoke you know where?
If there were any doubt about plausibility of a Revenge Revolution, events this past week should have erased them. The Revenge Revolution seems not only plausible, but likely. While one could make a credible argument that Revenge Revolution will begin before 2020…and may have begun already, let’s do some more analysis.
What’s confusing, at least for me, is trying to determine “who’s on first?” in Washington. Is it Abbott or Costello? The political leadership in Washington and the some of the populous seem to be wandering…aimlessly. President Trump has been displaying classic symptoms of what I call “water-bug” management. Like a water bug, he operates in shallow water and darts back-and-forth, changing positions constantly but never really progressing. Describing his behavior as inconsistent and his non-scripted remarks as incoherent would be a compliment.
The lack of leadership from the president has left Congress with no clear direction. The lack of leadership has also confused the general population, creating even more splinter groups. When I first started writing this “sense check,” I assumed the splinter groups, or clusters, were based on traditional political descriptions – far right Republicans, far-left Democrats, etc. But those cluster definitions just did not seem to fit today’s situation. After some head scratching, I decided clusters described around behavior were more appropriate than political affiliations.
The clusters also seemed to beg for more descriptive names. So, here are names of clusters I thought were evolving – in no particular order of importance or influence: (i) Brainwashed; (ii) Know-Nothings; (iii) Independent Thinkers; (iv) Chicken Hawks; (v) Me Firsts. My rule is to try to limit a blog entry to no more than 1,500 words, so for this entry, write-ups about the clusters are relatively brief. In my best imitation southern vocabulary, I “might could” expand these write-ups in coming entries.
Cluster #1: “Brainwashed” – the most dominant portion of Brainwashed seems to be the Alt-right, which is promoting an America of international isolation as well as domestic racial, ethnic and religious separation. Based on purely anecdotal evidence, the cluster seems to include a surprising large percentage of college graduates. I have friends from my undergraduate and graduate days who seem to have put aside all learning and become brainwashed.
The term “brainwashed” occurred to me when having breakfast with a former high-school history teacher…and a fellow Jew no less, which I mention because of the anti-Semitism of the Alt-right. For the past 4-5 years we’ve met for breakfast every 6-8 weeks. For the past couple years, with each succeeding breakfast my colleague became more vocal about alleged problems with the Obama Administration. During the 2016 presidential campaign he started repeating false claims from Breitbart, Fox News and other sources. Refuting the claims with data had no impact on his position.
The final straw in the relationship was after I asked for a source of data supporting what I thought was a wildly outlandish claim, he jumped up, pointed a finger and accused me of calling him a liar. A liar because I asked for a data source? His behavior and behavior of some other college-educated friends could only be explained, I concluded, by some type of brainwashing. Ok, it might be a stretch…but how else do you explain it?
Cluster #2: “Know-Nothings” – there are many voters on the right and left who are not brainwashed, but, for some reason, do not seem to understand or think through consequences of their positions. Many Trump supporters fall in this category. Why else would someone vote for a candidate whose campaign platform, if implemented, would result in legislation against one’s economic best interest? Either you don’t understand what you’re voting for and/or you’ve been hoodwinked by a slick real-estate developer.
Whichever the case you have displayed that either you know nothing or chose not to think. As with the Brainwashed cluster, there seem to be a surprising number of reasonably well-educated people in this cluster. What happened to critical thinking?
Many Know-Nothings in the Republican Party, even those in Congress, seem to be intimidated by the Alt-right. Trump’s bizarre and incorrect statements following the demonstrations In Charlottesville, VA were a perfect opportunity for Republican members in this cluster to reestablish credibility. Other than a few senators – Graham, McCain, Corker, e.g. – prominent Republicans remained silent, or like Congressional leaders McConnell and Ryan, issued wishy-washy statements not directly critical of Trump. So much for leadership.
While not surprising, Know-Nothings also did not address what I consider the elephant-in-the room – the meaning of statues of Confederate soldiers, mostly generals. Folks, like it or not, those who fought with the Confederacy were traitors. Yes, I’ll say that one more time, traitors.
The southern states were not forced out of the Union but chose to leave voluntarily. The southern states betrayed the Union. Well, guess what? The traitors lost. So why should the country honor traitors with statues? And forget the false equivalency to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson being slave owners. Unlike traitors Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson fought for the creation of the United States.
The Know-Nothing cluster, whether right or left, will likely remain ineffectual, even after the Alt-right is marginalized following the Revenge Revolution. Maybe this cluster should join Dorothy, travel to the Land of Oz and ask the Wizard for a brain.
Cluster #3: “Independent Thinkers” – by definition members have no strong ties to the left or right. The group includes more moderate Republicans and more moderate Democrats. The cluster has no clear agenda and no obvious spokesperson, other than possibly Bernie Sanders. Since the election, and especially since the events in Charlottesville, more Congressional reps and voters seem to be shifting toward the center, recognizing that the country needs some well thought-out policies. (Article written by former Trump supporter, 17 08 20 Voted for Trump and Sorely Regret It. Source, NYT.)
At one time, this cluster included Lincoln/Dirksen/Javits Republicans and moderate Democrats. Following the Revenge Revolution, this cluster should emerge as the driving force.
Cluster #4: “Chicken Hawks” – A potentially dangerous cluster. Bush #43 suffered as Chicken Hawks Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz pushed military involvement, despite never having served any time themselves. Trump might be Chicken Hawk supreme. Lots of bluster and bullying but no time in the military – and no, military prep school does not count. Trump seems to have no comprehension of how a military operates and the possible consequences of taking military action.
Again, without supporting data, my guess is most neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other Alt-right supporters could be classified as Chicken Hawks. With any luck, the real military people in the Administration will take control should chief Chicken Hawk give some dangerous order.
Cluster #5: “Me First” – cluster includes people with a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and education. The primary focus for “members” of the group is me, me, me…to the exclusion of everyone else, or at least until I’m satisfied. “Team,” “country” and similar such words are not part of their vocabulary.
The most visible members, but not the largest number, are the “1.0%’ers” and many wanna-be 1.0%’ers. For the 1.0%’ers the primary solution to all economic and many other issues is “more tax cuts.” These cuts, of course, benefit the wealthy the most but are often disguised in percentage terms to mollify the “Know Nothings.” In fairness, not all 1.0%’ers fall in this category. Some high-profile super-rich have been extremely generous sharing their wealth and have not supported additional tax breaks.
The cluster includes those opposed to most government regulation, unless the regulation favors them, of course. Few in the group seem to understand or acknowledge that their personal freedoms and other rights are the result of a…yikes, strong Federal government.
Also included in the “Me First” cluster are those seeking government handouts, whether through tax breaks or direct payments. Many supporting tax cuts are opposed to any kind of cash payments to people with lower incomes. Somehow tax breaks do not constitute real cash?
This cluster exists in part because of a mix-mash of laws and regulations. While the “Me First” cluster will continue to exist after the Revenge Revolution, the Revenge Revolution should provide the impetus to simplify the Byzantine regulations that affect taxes and various subsidy payments.
Summary: Back to the question at hand – Is a Revenge Revolution plausible sometime after 2020? Has the Revenge Revolution already begun? Based on activities during and actions by the Trump Administration, let’s stick with the answer, “yes, still plausible after 2020.” In fact, Trump and supporters have likely accelerated the timetable for the Revenge Revolution.
Ironically for Trump and supporters, the outcome of the Revenge Revolution could be exactly the opposite of what they intended to accomplish. The Revenge Revolution could result in a stronger Federal government with laws that are more equitable and more regulations, especially protecting the environment. So there, Trump et al. Happy now?