199 Comments

There are six words that strike fear in my heart, "Even if Trump wins in 2020". It is my greatest fear. Yes, the world will go on and positive change will hopefully come, but I am 62 I might not live to see it. In four years, he has caused problems that will take at least a generation to fix and that is being positive. I don't know if I can deal with the damage eight years of Trump could potentially do. The guy has got to go!

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My greatest fear too is that I end up living The rest of my life in the smoking remnants Of American democracy by people cowed by trump.

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As scary as that seems, I worry more about my grandchildren. It’s starting to feel like Mad Max could happen.

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Marcy Meldahl, I have been working for the U.S. Census. My area is Conservative. It has gotten a little better. I think it currently "leans Republican" which has been viewed as progress by the area Democratic Party. However, I see far too many Trump signs especially in neighborhoods where it is apparent the residents don't have two pennies to rub together. That said there is a fair number of Biden signs in the community, but I would feel better if I saw more.

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I think I am one of those who would love to put a Biden sign in my yard, but fear repercussions from a Trump supporter. It's very possible that there are many out there who feel as I do. I pray it is so.

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Carole Wilcox, my prayer is there are a lot of secret Biden voters

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I feel the same. On my street is one prominent Trump sign, and on an adjacent street, the owners went all out for a full 8' by 4' banner that completely shades their entire front porch. So disheartening.

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In my neighborhood there is a house with two flags. One is a confederate flag and the other is a trump flag with his fat face on it.

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I had an Obama sign on my property and within two days it was torn to bits and thrown all over the street. So I got a bunch of them and put them inside in my front windows just to make a point. 😠

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Lawn signs are often placed by the landlords, not the tenants. This gives a neighborhood impression that may not reflect the local sentiment.

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That's a very good point.

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I'm 77 and did not expect to be spending my last years in a dystopia. But here we are, on the brink of seeing our beloved democracy end and climate change hasten the destruction of life on Earth as we've known it. We must do everything in our collective powers to get out the vote and eject monster Trump and his cult members in Congress from power. What remains worrisome are all the people, like those at the campaign rally last night on the South Lawn, who will still be around and will be difficult to coax back to the slime from which they've been encouraged to emerge.

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I know! I have been voting for President since 1976. I have never seen this much crazy and I survived Reagan. Now as compared to Trump, Reagan seems rather benign. However, policies put in place during the Reagan administration still impact us. We can only hope we recover from Trump's damage in a generation.

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Hell, NIXON seems benign compared to the Traitor.

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Trump makes Nixon look like a Boy Scout.

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At least Nixon hired American burglars, not Russian hackers.

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Nixon Administration had checks and balances. Trumps administration does not. Therein is the rub.

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I thought George Bush was the most idiotic president I have ever seen and dangerous and stupid to boot. This is just on steroids. I can’t believe my ears sometimes

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Dick Cheney was the dangerous part about George Bush.

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Do you remember Jimmy Carter and the 70's? Survived Reagan? More like were rescued ;) And of course you think all the crazy is...T....Look in the mirror my dear...Portland, NY, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle... the beat, the riots, the killing goes on....Oh yeah.... T ;)

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Why are you here?

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Kathleen Bruce, I have the same question

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I am right there with you, Sharon. I am 71 (fortunately healthy, both physically and mentally (hmmm, but, psychologically? Some days, not so much...). You are right that it will take at least one generation of committed, well-informed, and morally balanced citizens to repair what has been destroyed.

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Yup, we are still living with the remnants of Reagan and he was benign compared to Trump

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I am also 62. I cannot tolerate this man.Our whole democracy and country depends on kicking his backside out of office

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My primary care asked me if I wanted an antidepressant today. I said no but if trump gets re-elected in November, BRING IT ON! I’m not kidding.

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No joke here. Between the pandemic and this BS think everybody needs something

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I will be in line with you

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The fact that a 17 year old white boy with an AK-47 with his hands raised can simply walk past police after he killed two peaceful protesters while a black man getting into his car is shot seven times in the back while his children are watching from inside the car should tell every citizen something is very wrong. "Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected by it are as outraged as those who are." ---Benjamin Franklin

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It's time to make military service in Iraq and Afghanistan a disqualifier for service as a police officer. What they learned over there is exactly what we don't need here. What we're seeing is "bringing the war home." Which has always happened in every empire.

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Is that why it takes seven bullets to subdue an unarmed suspect? Is part of the problem that the military is selling their out-of-date weapons to our police departments? Is this just another consequence of the defense contractors wanting more profit? This has to be addressed!

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You’re absolutely correct. The government is giving police forces equipment that has no place outside of an actual war! And more than ex-military personnel, you might wanna look into the nepotism that runs rampant in the police community. And the training they get from the same people (many of them Israeli) who train Latin American dictator’s police and death squads. This is the ugly, psychotic dark side of the military industrial complex that no administration this side of WW2 has done anything to muzzle. Given half a chance and trump will let them off their leash entirely.

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That sir, shows how little you know about what it’s like to serve on the front lines (as opposed to support troops living in relative comfort) of a stupid military conflict. I and everyone I served with at the sharp end, who came home in one piece (and their wits intact despite repeated brain injuries), hated it! They’d served alongside people of every race creed, and political persuasion with most love for one another than you’ll ever know in your overly coddled existence. We saw the effects it had on the civilian population as well. And hated that too! "Bringing the war home"? Of course we did! It’s not as if you can just slough it off like a change of clothing. Real combat veterans are exactly who you want wearing a police uniform. They’re not so easily terrified of unarmed civilians as to shoot them 7 times in the back as they were walking away. They’d also be horrified at treating people differently because of their color after serving alongside them. Of course,some of us didn’t come home right in the head. They need treatment and compassion, and certainly shouldn’t be given a gun and a badge, but to deny the very people who put their life on the line to (as they were mistakenly told) defend our constitution from participating in civic life is akin to racism.

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Yeah, that's why they learned to kick down doors and shoot first. Sorry. I was in a war also, and you are full of shit. Thanks for the reminder I never knew so many white male morons in one place at one time as in the military. Lots of good people, too many of your ilk,

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To true about the number of morons in the military. After all they’re a reflection of the country they came from. Probably a different war though. I spent my time in the jungle where there weren’t any doors to knock down. Just strangers trying to kill me (probably for good reason but still...) Only a 25 man platoon just trying to stay alive in the middle of a civil war. The assholes got a sand bag party and were medivac’d out the next morning. Our machine gunner (who I owe my life to) came home to get killed for driving while being black, and the 2 other guys on my point team spent a combined 40 years behind bars because they had a hard time adjusting to the hate from the "virtuous" many who got "bone spurs" for example. Did you choose to be in the military? When you came home, did you hear "Thank you for your service? We certainly didn’t. And what exactly did you do in your war?

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You should read a book that's very hard to read, being a fellow Vietnam veteran. It took me six months to read it, that was a day spent reading a chapter, and several weeks afterwards steeling myself to read the next. The book is "Kill Everything That Moves," by Nick Turse. A chronology of US war crimes in Vietnam. The book is based on the records of a secret Army unit established at the Pentagon to investigate (and disprove) allegations of war crimes made by returning veterans. Except every allegation they investigated was proven to be real. It's sickening. But then, everyone I know who was there heard of at least one, and everyone wasn't in the same platoon in I Corps. It happened everywhere, it involved people from generals to privates. And the same thing has happened in Afghanistan and Iraq. And the people capable of such things, who come home unindicted, untried, unpunished, free to take up their civilian lives, those are the people who have worried me for the past 50 years as cops. Believe me, I have known of more than a few "problematic cops" who were Vietnam veterans. Dirty wars, fought when you're on the wrong side, dirty everyone of us to one degree or another. Even "good" wars like WW2 had their share. But the US has a terrible record on war crimes when it comes to conflicts with non-Europeans.

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Of that I have no doubt. Brutalized people can easily become brutal themselves. And yes, it happens in every war from every side. We found a GI skinned alive and nailed to a tree. And no, that’s no excuse for it. But it didn’t happen to every unit. I spent my time as essentially being in a LRPP unit. We operated platoon separate except for re-log (re-supply for the uninitiated) days. Just being part of the mountain of ordnance we called down from the sky unseen is shameful enough to haunt me for every single day since. Only once did I encounter the "intel" community in the jungle. They started torturing a POW, so I put my M203 to one of their heads to make them stop. My platoon mates had my back and... I won’t go on, but nothing happened to me. We had a great LT and platoon sergeant. If we’d have been taking casualties from the same place day after day? I truthfully don’t know what I’d have done. War is just fucked no matter what or where or when. Many of those who did those things have to live with it forever and suffer from their deeds in countless ways. MPs were always self righteous shitheads and they’re no different here as cops as they were there. I’m far more concerned with the men & women who grew up in a racist family/community and continue to spew their filth from generation to generation.

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Thomas, Would you say a bit about the difference between being a soldier in a war and being on a police force? I assume soldiers are taught to shoot to kill. What are police taught to do?

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Uphold the law but not be the judge and jury.

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I agree. I don't even know what to say anymore to certain friends and family members who aren't bothered by the stark contrast.

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Biased policing at its finest. Meanwhile, the Trumpers and their ilk are cheering the kid on.

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One commentator said we should not call this kid "troubled". He has been "radicalized" - not dissimilar to how youth in terrorist organizations become radicalized.

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And, tRump is a Stochastic Terrorist - the kid merely a product of his rants.

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(I shared this and Heather's newsletter on Facebook and would like to say hello to all the subscribers here, who though diverse are kindred spirits of history both present and past. May we work towards the future)

This is the first item on my agenda every single day. The historical context in which she places our current events in invaluable.

I encourage many of you to start your online day with this same ritual. Maybe with a cup and a cookie.

I often share her ideas and stories, in person, online and in the many many emails I write.

Heather Cox Richardson often takes a day break on the weekend as well. This regular sabbath is essential, more so during this present crisis, and I encourage you all to find that time of rest for yourself as well.

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I do the same, although I have found, during the past week (RNC), that I am plagued with hollow anxiety for hours after I read HCR's cogent take on what we're up against. Coffee definitely helps, though...

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Larry Kang, I start my day with HCR too. I feel I have contributed to her following in the dog agility community. I share her "letter" daily in private Facebook group called "Progressive Agility Activists".

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I share HCR's Letters every single morning on my FB feed. I know at least two of my family members who are (still) Trump supporters read her letters. I'm glad because they do as they are impossible to discuss politics with and maybe, at some point, reality will wake them up.

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I read HCR’s letter every morning without fail (and sometimes stay up at night waiting for it) and then share it on my public Facebook page in the hope that some of the trump supporters I know will read it. The only comments I ever receive are ‘likes ’ from one fellow resister. I have run the full gamut with Facebook: from belligerently anti trump posts to nothing at all and back to just posting articles without comment. I have been ‘flamed’, shamed, and ridiculed for it and had a very public discussion/argument with a decades long close friend who felt disrespected by my posts. I tried to politely discuss it with her but she would not budge and remained rabidly dogmatic in her position. It ended with me politely explaining that I was not attacking her, personally, but didn’t go any farther than that. I am at a loss as to how to get through to people.

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In November of 2016 as the votes were rolling in red on the screen my stomach twisted into a ball of bile. I felt a fear I would not be able to describe until 3 years later. This is it. I could not have predicted it—but some primal part of me understood we as a nation were changing, our disconnection making us alien to our neighbors. Democracy has show its weak links across all our institutions. Republicans have pulled off their veil of “patriotism” showing us their true god—POWER. Humanity has revealed their darkest side, proudly aligning with corruption & lies to maintain a false reality where they are the so-called good guys. Trump is serving up fascism, the end of democracy and social concern, so many people around me— presumably in the Fox News alt-right universe are lapping their white tongues around every single word. I am so afraid for what is coming. Regardless of the election, his base will be waiting for a dog whistle. And I fear no one can stop it. I want to have the hope of history on my side but I fear our world has changed too much— technology has connected us to a vortex where we can choose our worlds. I write all this with profound sadness.

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Yes..I agree unfortunately...It does not look good..esp..when I saw Melania in a Hitler like uniform..

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i saw it as a nod to dictators as well. 💔

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I’m afraid I echo your sentiments. 😢

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Jolene, you have written a response that could have come from my own hand and have articulated it better.

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On Nov. 8, 2016 I turned off the TV when I saw how the votes were going. It was my birthday ruined twice, as my great-grandson was born that day as well. He will soon be 4 and I will soon be 76. I don't worry for me but for him and my grandson who is not yet 30.

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I shared you emotions exactly. I waited till the morning to find out the results of the 2016 election. I was immediately seized by anxiety and fear I had never before experienced. I did not know what would be coming, only that it was ominous. I was tentatively hopeful early in the year, despite the Senate mockery of an impeachment trial, that maybe we would make it through the election. I don't have this hope anymore. Even if Trump loses, they are ready and willing to make the self fulfilling prophecy of war and destruction if he is not elected a self fulfilling prophecy. I am grateful to Heather for providing a little bit of historical hope for the long term.

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Molly Irvin’s, one of the most perceptive and funniest columnists of my lifetime, said of Pat Buchanan’s 1992 speech at the Republican National Convention that “it probably sounded better in the original German.” It is a shame she is no longer with us. However, it is interesting that she left us this same review of last night’s Trump RNC speech.

She also left us this gem, “ War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were 'German dogs.' They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds.”. This description of misunderstanding patriotism could also be applied to Trump and his supporters. The German shepherds, now today’s liberals and disaffected conservatives, are getting organized to take a bite out of Trump’s butt in this years election. They are all tired of seeing his cruelty toward those without the power to fight back.

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I miss Ivins EVERY day! There are scores of quotable people from the past (Mike Royko, Studs Terkel, Robert Benchley, Katherine Ann Porter, Ann Richards, Lewis Grizzard, etc. etc.) I yearn for in these times. I'm sure their opinions would be rich!

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I used to watch Molly Ivins' on C-Span. She told it like it was. I really the Showtime Documentary about her life. She would have loved to chew up Trump

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Sorry about the autocorrect misspelling of Molly's last name Ivins. Sometimes autocorrect just drives me crazy.

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I am hesitant to post a comment here mainly because I’m intimidated by Heather’s smarts and those of her readers, but that hesitancy my own problem.

I am always blown away by these posts and their stength of putting us in historical perspective. One thing that I was mentioning to my wife yesterday was how Trump really reminds me of King George. I am learning more, but his behavior and impact on us is strikingly similar.

Heather hits on those very resonant notes in our history, but the one that strikes me most is the person who basically caused us to become America in the first place.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

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Brilliant, Heather, absolutely brilliant. With a historian's concise precision you laid it all out there. Yes, we can look back as you skillfully do, but, as you keep pointing out, what we can see time and time again is that America ALWAYS ends up being pushed, often kicking and screaming, into the future. Old rich white men have tried again and again to wield their privilege and power to shape everything into their vision of society with them on top, but then, inevitably, that push toward the future is what succeeds. As a historian, you see the "big picture", and that is what matters now more than ever. Mired in the present as we are, though, it's easy to be dismayed. In the short term, I am very worried that in order to achieve that "push to the future" THIS time, things may take a violent turn. It's happened before and can again. Usually we manage to avoid it because cooler heads have prevailed and we solve our problems democratically and with compromise. But, these times see this country so intensely divided I'm afraid we're on a path not far removed from the period that led to the Civil War in 1861. Would you agree? There may be some real pain for us to go through before the next big "push to the future". Of course, I hope and pray things don't come to that, but we're not dealing with people on the "other side" who can think clearly. Some of them are absolutely apocalyptic. How does one reason with such people? Is violence the only way? Again, I'm very hopeful for the long term, but still very worried in the short term. Thanks again, Heather, for what you do. It is SO appreciated.

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As Winston Churchill observed back in December 1941, on hearing the news of Pearl Harbor, "Americans always do the right thing. After trying every alternative first."

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Not surprised that this administration would only need a history lesson to understand that what they’re doing is wrong. But morals or ethics would have been very helpful, also! They don’t care. They believe themselves to be above the law. And above learned intelligence.

I work with several people who are thrilled with the RNC. Getting back to work has felt more isolated than, well, isolation.

Can’t say it enough. Vote!

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It's time to make these Trumpian idiots care...and rue the day they dared to not care!

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Stuart, how are we going to make them care? If kids in cages, Black men and women being murdered by police, people unable to pay bills and put food on the table, elections and foreclosures, at least 184K dead and God knows how many infected with Covid 19 don't make people care, I don't know what will.

I agree with you whole heartedly but have no idea, at this point, what more people need to see and experience to know we are in deep, deep trouble.

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You firstly hit them where it hurts. Losing their place will start the process. You then change the rules so that this can't happen again.

In previous incarnations of this hideous ideology, elections finally triumphed, but we went on assuming that we were dealing with decent, reasoning people who respected the system. You just have to look at the numbers of advisers to Reagan's government for instance who also helped create and maintain the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile to be disabused of that idea. (See Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean) You are not dealing with people who act in good faith but terrorists determined to overthrow the democratic state. The constution, people's fundamental rights, the legal seperation of powers and the checks and balances must be strengthened on the assumption that people will not respect them volontarily.

You then address the fundamental issues of why people might acquiesce in such an authoritarian nightmare in the first place...rethink and dynamize federal services, massively invest in quality public education and health services, deal with poverty in ways that supports people's dignity and helps them believe in themselves again, put a stop to rampant international outsourcing that shuts down whole communities, re-impose environmental regulations and make the polluter pay, and rapidly, but progressively restore the balance in the distribution of wealth. A big job but without a doubt it is only the beginning. Eternal vigilance and rigorous application of the law will be required to ensure we don't have to start again in a few decades time.

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Evictions and foreclosures

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someone I really like told me yesterday how she thought the convention embodied God, unity and patriotism. <sigh>

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Marcy Meldahl, did you ask her what convention she was watching.

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She’s my hairdresser and otherwise great person. I need to keep her. 😲 she’s deeply religious. I continue to shake my head at how “religious” ppl can support the man.

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Why not enter into a polite dialogue by asking why she thought that and then sharing (again, politely) facts about why this is wrong (ie: Hatch Act, for example)?

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My hairdresser is a Trump supporter too. I saw her the other day. I was talking about my temporary job with Census and the crazy I have encountered. She knows I don't support Trump. The conversation drifted a little political. She made comment that in Beauty School they tell them not to discuss politics with customers. I was good with that. I have plenty of other things to talk about.

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Since when do Trumpers care about facts?

We must rally OUR base and get out the vote in indisputable numbers.

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Thank you HCR, for being willing to sacrifice time, stomach lining, and brain cells to watching the post-postmodern version of the Nuremberg Rally (I know I would need alcohol to get through it!) in order to keep us informed. I can barely read through the morning summaries and listen to the NPR assessment. We are, indeed, at a tipping point. What worries me deeply is that, unlike the points in US history when the "people" (that is, white men) rejected the autocratic moves of political leaders bent on reducing everyone except elites to subject status, these same "people" are now driving autocracy onward, and the rest of us are hoping desperately that the democratic system of "free and fair" elections (which have never actually been either of these) will prevail. In 1934, Germans thought that electoral politics would prevent the rise of dictatorship. We saw how well that turned out.

In my FB feed and in comments and posts connected to media outlets, I am seeing the Trump message filtering into seemingly rational people's heads. The fundamental message has to do with the false, but compelling, image of the Zero-Sum Game: if "you" win, then "I" lose. I have been fighting against this messaging forever but it now perfectly encapsulates the GOP position that white people--especially men--should fear anyone who aspires to gain a share of prosperity and security. And when women who are aligned with patriarchy because it benefits them latch onto the same zero-sum argument, we wind up with people who are willing to overlook the obvious fact of Trump's utter corruption and incompetence in order to prevent anyone else from gaining the privileges they enjoy.

As someone whose ancestors (who did not flee to the US) pretty much failed to survive pogroms in the Pale and the Nazi occupation of Greece in WW2, I am deeply, deeply worried.

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From Chris Andrews: America’s deteriorating society has been attributed to the individualism that played such an active part in the establishment of our original colonies and their eventual break from a controlling monarchy. Our subsequent expansion in the years after that follows the same pattern of individuals wanting to make their own decisions. Yet, it strikes many of us as strange that our public now tends to abandon awareness of cause and effect at the same time that scientists have pursued logical scientific enquiry to advance in so many fields of technology and medicine (among others). Technology has been a double-edged sword. § The Irresponsible use of content has been a fatal flaw because so many accept use “content” at face value whatever it’s source. They have no learned understanding of who is providing the “content” or whether any vetting or sourcing of the material has been applied to that “content”. 19th century children usually understood that milk comes from cows and carrots grew in the ground. Some in this century are quite sure they come from the grocery store, but don’t think about where the store got what they are selling. Civilization is not bought in competitive packages without the initial work of production. § Children may find a peculiar understanding from media. Their screen world may be global, but they may never have walked more than a mile from their home. There is little basis for judging the value of an action, because what is destroyed in one virtual scenario can be replaced in the next scenarios at little cost because they can make choices about what they want to do in the next game. It’s easy to control things with a click until you run out of batteries and no one knows how to make more. § Exposure to stories about our past are overviews and don’t always display the hardship or hunger or danger that were experienced. Likewise, they have little concept of the existential damages caused in those who experienced slavery, or genocide, or discrimination for generations. Perhaps that group accounts for those who are easily manipulated by demagogues without awareness of the consequences. Are we to blame this social damage on individualism? Empathy requires experience. Without empathy, it is too easy to make up fictional excuses. Following the crowd is a substitute for studying reality outside your own small bubble. § So much for political “individualism”. Current actions have the same damaging effects on the U.S. public now as those of Hitler did during the escalating evils during WWII. Much of the current U.S. public knows little else about that war except that we “won”. It was just another football game. For far too many, winning is an end itself, whether the result is right or wrong.

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I worry about Trump winning the election because it seems that that will be the end of America as a republic, regardless of its endurance as a country. Current and future Americans may want to meet the challenges of the future, but if Trump and his ilk are in charge of the country they will have a knee on their neck--especially brown Americans like me. Your description of the mindset of 'old white men trying to cling to power' is apt, but a lot of people like me will die or be put in camps if they win. You're so percipient that it worries me that you're trying to raise our hopes for after a Trump win.

...then again, pretty much everything worries me nowadays.

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I hear you. I told my husband I cannot talk about 45 winning right now. I cannot even say his name. But my husband says we must get over that and prepare for the worst. He is right...O Canada...

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RNC Night 4. This is what a Trump Dictatorship looks and sounds like. Spin a story blaming Biden for the past 47 years. Pronounce lie after lie with smirky asides to make your audience feel included in the joke. Make no mistake, Trump is a master of self-congratulation based on grievance. It made me so angry to see the nation’s White House and National Mall used in violation of the Hatch Act to promote the Trump Family reality TV show. The Rose Garden tossed away for better tracking shots. Jumbotrons flanking the WH! Fireworks spelling “TRUMP” illuminating the Washington Monument. My Q for the day: How many flags does it take to make a criminal a POTUS? This is our future unless we VOTE HIM OUT. Thanks HCR for giving my fears some hope based on USA history. But, I’m still scared. Back to my current day job of writing to voters in swing states. ❤️🤍💙

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Heather, thanks for the message of hope, despite the despair I feel right now...

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Thank you for revealing this throughly disastrous and corrupt Administration that showed its true colors in earnest last night. This should be the rally call to all decent people of this Country to end this perversion with our votes in November. I am hoping that our votes will count and we can work through this clear slight of hand, illegal election to find a better way. I would say we don't deserve what is happening to us, but how in hell did we get to this point?

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I think it’s from years of regular people just not caring. Whether frustrated with govt or the fact things were going relatively smoothly people just lost interest. They didn’t participate in their govt. This allowed things to get passed/precedents set that went unnoticed little by little. It allowed the fringes to creep in. I think this current situation is partly the people’s fault for becoming complacent. Of course the conmen saw the opportunity created and took advantage of the situation. That’s what they do. Admittedly, I didn’t pay much attention prior and I know that was a mistake. Lesson learned.

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Agreed. Canvassing in a super rich and very red Southern area in 2018, for a very close race, I kept running into men who told me when they answered the door (always the men answering, which was the opposite of the poor neighborhoods) that their wives were planning on voting Democrat for the first time--but they were still either on the fence or going Republican, their usual vote. One was a retired *very* high ranking ex-Navy gentleman--lovely elderly guy. As we chatted, he told me the same story. He was one of the men on the fence, but his wife and her sister were going to "cancel me out plus one". Then he paused and said "I believe Trump might be our punishment for past sins...". Just amazing. A lot of male Republicans who are decent sorts vote in a knee jerk fashion, party, party, party. They need to wake up. Their party is gone. And their country will be, soon enough, if they don't wake up.

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Having Civics dropped from public schools, and also raising a generation (those 30-40) who are functionally illiterate due to the Edumacational Hexpurtz coming up with "Whole Language" reading education (on top of 40 years of "word recognition" that didn't help when one came across a word they didn't recognize), and all the other "educational reforms since 1950 that created a nation of semi-literate, historically-illiterate, political morons set us up for the bullshit and useless baloney of 90% of so-shall mee-dee-ya (I'm ready to join in making all those platforms responsible for what they allow on their platforms), plus the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine that created the Far Right Noise Machine. Like Pogo said (to date myself): "We have met the enemy and they is us!"

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I’ve wondered often if trump planned this evolution—I don’t think he’s either smart enough or organized enough—or if he is some cabal’s useful idiot. Or, perhaps having had no restraints on his typically criminal and bullying actions, things evolved to this point.

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He is some cabal's useful idiot. He has no filters and is a loudmouth so all his handlers need to do is plant a seed, wind him up and away he goes. Notice how little his rhetoric has actually changed over the last few years. Topics have been added but what he says and the order he says things is very formulaic and almost always in the same order. Often during his speeches he resets himself and repeats himself, almost verbatim.

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He has people like Stephen Miller whisper things into his ear. Because of Miller's distastefully twisted way of being, these little tidbits are then turned into earworms inside of tRumps twisted way of looking at things. GIGO as we say...

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Grimell Wormtongue Miller, you mean — right?

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Miller, yes, and also Putin, who he calls more and more often.

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I heard an interesting interview of Brian Stelter on Fresh Air last Tuesday. Mr. Stelter says that Trump will hear something on Fox and then adopt it for himself; Fox and Trump engage in a close back and forth, with Trump often calling Fox in the evening for a good little chat. https://www.npr.org/2020/08/25/905860392/cnns-brian-stelter-on-the-foxification-of-america.

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Your last point is probably the truth. Trump doesn't consider anything further out than the end of his nose. He just "goes with the flow."

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Thank you so much, HCR, for your clear-eyed, rational appraisal of each days news. You are a national treasure.

Thank you for all you do.

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As others here have noted, the phrase "if tRump wins in 2020" strikes fear in my heart. I'm 72 and living through 4 more years of chaos and insanity will probably be more a threat to my health than Covid-19. We must work to make sure the tRump train wreck is thrown off the tracks in Nov. And on Nov.3 we must VOTE.

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I sincerely hope I am overreacting, but this week, I worry that he will win reelection. I've been reading comparisons to 1968, when Nixon trotted out the "law and order" mantra (and the DNC had a "promises made ... promises kept" banner). According to a poll that Yamiche Alcindor of PBS reported on Thursday, support for BLM has dropped significantly in the past two months, probably because many have grown weary of headlines about protests and violence in some cities. Of course, that doesn't get to the root causes of why people are called to protest. Anyway, I'm concerned that Americans who have no clue about the Hatch Act and/or no energy to understand Russian interference and the Ukraine "I would like you to do us a favor" scandal are fixated on the "law and order" scare tactics being used by the Administration. They've found the phrase that will work -- it's the equivalent of the anti-immigration red meat that 45 threw out when he first announced he would run. Of course, the narrative might shift again if a lot of the mask-less folks who congregated on the White House lawn for the Trumpfest contract COVID-19. I certainly wouldn't want any more people to get sick or die, but I also don't want this poor excuse for a human being to be able to lie and manipulate his way to another term. I'm not sure our country could survive another four years of this.

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Your comment resonates. I explained to someone yesterday that I think troublemakers (e.g., the 17 yo in Kenosha) come in after the protestors to engage in violent behavior. I do believe the “rioting and looting” without any examination of who and when could be a problem.

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A sobering piece by George Packer: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/how-biden-loses/615835/

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From the article:

"Ellen Ferwerda, an antique store owner, “said that she was desperate for Trump to lose in November but that she had ‘huge concern’ the unrest in her town could help him win. She added that local Democratic leaders seemed hesitant to condemn the mayhem.”

Democrats have an unfortunate habit of going all professorial on folks. We want to EXPLAIN things, do the nuance, be fair to a fault. Republicans know what works is grabbing your audience by the throat in emotionally charged stories, and not letting go. They, thanks in part to Frank Lutz, have become masters of the one-liner, the zinger, the indelible sound-bite. That is what people remember. They don't remember the lecture they got from their professor, when what they wanted was a gut-level reaction.

Will we never learn? If Trump manages to win this election, we - Democrats writ large - will bear at least some of the responsibility, because we've lost the knack of really communicating our message to more than our own base. FDR must be weeping.

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Thanks, Gwen. Packer is very sharp.

I tried calling McConnell's office this morning and couldn't get through - got a recording saying they were 'experiencing extraordinarily high call volume", and I thought, "I sure as hell HOPE so." I did get through to Richard Burr's office, at least to leave a message. My message was, I have never felt so much outrage in my life as I feel over the Cecil B. DeMillesque fantasmagoria in the People's House last light, all to feed the ego of this lying, egomaniac. I was practically sputtering. Called my congress critter, too. I hope we all man the phones this morning and let them know that this was a bridge too far.

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I so totally agree with you. It is not looking good right now.

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Let's hope the narrative shifts by early October. A glimmer of determination and hope from my little corner of the country: My octogenarian mother, an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen in 1961, is holed up in her assisted-living facility (on lockdown since March). The most important errand I could run for her this week was to print out the online absentee ballot request form and deliver it to the front entrance of her facility. She cannot wait to cast her vote for change.

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Next time you visit, bring a stack of them for her to distribute :-)

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And offer to convey any completed ballots directly to the appropriate ballot drop box or election office, if your state allows for that. I know there is someone doing that for my mother's elderly housing building, and a lot of residents are going to give theirs to her.

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Yes. I told my mother already that I would hand-deliver her ballot to the appropriate place. I will find out if I am permitted to do the same for others.

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I emailed the URL to the executive director so he could share widely with other caregivers and family members. I believe the activities director will assist any elderly residents who want to complete the form.

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But that's a great idea to also print the form out, make copies, and bring it to the facility the next time I'm there!

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