“Trump is certainly ‘authoritarian,’ but what could be more authoritarian than Hillary Clinton ordering the execution of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, then cackling, ‘We came, we saw, he died’”?
If the Democrats were decent on immigration, not deplorable, they would tell Trump supporters that ending US wars and predatory trade agreements would stop immigration, or most of it, because most people would rather stay home and speak their own languages instead of fleeing bombs and economic desperation. They would have demanded that their 2016 presidential candidate explain those realities to Trump supporters instead of calling them “a basket of deplorables.” They would demand that Trump keep his promises to stop the invasions of Middle Eastern nations and revoke the trade agreements impoverishing peoples of both the Global North and Global South.
If the Democrats were committed to their flagship feminist, gender-neutral, and anti-racist politics, they would extend them to the female, queer, and dark-skinned peoples under US military and/or economic siege in the Global South.
“Decent Democrats would turn more attention to ending voter suppression than to $100,000 worth of Facebook ads generated by a troll farm.”
If the Democrats were traumatized by the human consequences of Trump's election, they would shut up about Russia and start working on a long-term plan to get rid of the Electoral College, which gives inordinate power to the less populous, typically red, states. If the electronic voting machines and the patchwork quilt of voting and tallying procedures are to be believed—a big if—then Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than Trump.
If the Democrats wanted to inspire trust in Hillary's three million vote margin or in any future electoral outcomes, they would call for junking all the electronic voting machines and instituting secure, nationally uniform methods of casting and counting ballots: paper ballots counted by hand and safely stored to make recounts possible. They would thereby propose to preclude any future election hacking by Russians, Republicans, or other potential miscreants, including their fellow Democrats. They would turn more attention to ending voter suppression than to $100,000 worth of Facebook ads generated by a troll farm.
If the Democrats were alarmed by Trump’s obscene tax cuts, they and all their 2018 congressional candidates would be campaigning on a (sincere) promise to repeal them, not just a few parts of them. (They’re longtime champions of corporate tax cuts, so they won’t want to disturb them much if at all.) They would also be promising to repeal the obscene Bush tax cuts that Barack Obama and his Democratic congressional majority extended in 2010.
“What could be more authoritarian than US wars in seven nations, 800 to 1000 US military bases on foreign soil, and five geographic commands spanning the globe, plus space and cyber commands?
Of course they can’t repeal any tax cuts so long as Trump has veto power, but presumably they’re hoping to win congressional majorities this year and the White House in 2020. It’s often difficult to believe that the Democrats do want to win, but let’s presume, for the sake of argument, that they do.
If the Democrats were distressed by the dictatorial and/or totalitarian implication of Trump’s military parade, they would stop sending shrill e-mails and circulating change.org and moveon.org petitions calling him an “authoritarian” and get real. What could be more authoritarian than US wars in seven nations, 800 to 1000 US military bases on foreign soil, and five geographic commands spanning the globe, plus space and cyber commands? What could be more authoritarian than the orders that US presidents gave and the coercive measures they imposed on all the other leaders and peoples of the world long before Trump moved into The White House? What could be more authoritarian than Hillary Clinton ordering the execution of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, then cackling, “We came, we saw, he died”?
If the Democrats were concerned about the estimated $21 million expense of Trump’s parade, they would ask Congressmen Mark Veasey, D-TX, and Mike Cohen, D-TN, to cut the partisan grandstanding, withdraw the ridiculously hypocritical “Preventing the Allocation of Resources for Absurd Defense Expenditures (PARADE)” bill that they introduced to stop it, and then take on the far larger and equally absurd “defense” expenditures in this year’s $700 billion military budget.
“They would repeal Trump’s obscene tax cuts, and also be promising to repeal the obscene Bush tax cuts that Barack Obama and his Democratic congressional majority extended in 2010.”
If the Democrats were worried by both the expense and the military muscle-flexing of Trump’s parade, Veasey and Cohen and other Democrats would help their constituents and local governments cancel the Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds air shows that cost well over $70 million per year. (The Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds each have an annual budget of $35 million, and that doesn’t include the cost of all the other daredevil flying squads dispatched to entice poor and unemployed young folks into joining the US occupation of the world.)
Every time one of the Blue Angels FA-18 Hornets or the Thunderbirds F-16 Fighting Falcons crashes, the taxpayers are out $29 million, and one or more of them crash most every year. On the same day in 2016, a Blue Angel FA-18 crashed at one air show, a Thunderbird at another, for a total loss of $58 million.
Twenty-six Blue Angels pilots have died in the air shows or training accidents. An even longer list of Thunderbird fatalities includes 19 who died in one day when a Thunderbirds' C-123 Provider, a supportive cargo plane, crashed during an exhibition near Boise, Idaho.
“If they cared about other people or the planet, they would have done whatever they could to shut down the trillion-dollar, nuclear weapons upgrade first proposed by President Obama.”
A little-known fact about the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds air shows is that they’re not imposed on local communities, as most people seem to believe. Mayors, city councils, county boards of supervisors, and/or voters are free to cancel them anytime. The City and County of San Francisco hasn’t elected a Republican to any office since who knows when, but it has one of the nation’s most extravagant Fleet Week and Blue Angels air shows.
If the Democrats gave a damn about most Americans, not just elites, they would have long since heeded Dr. King’s words: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” If they cared about other people or the planet, they would have done whatever they could to shut down the trillion-dollar, nuclear weapons upgrade first proposed by President Obama.
If the Democrats had any interest in peace, they would have voted against the $1.4 trillion 2018-2019 war and weapons budget. (That’s $1.4 trillion prior to the supplemental war and weapons appropriations bills that always follow passage of the annual budget.) However, there’s no hypocrisy in that, because the Democrats haven’t pretended to care about peace for a long time. I can’t even remember when they did.
Ann Garrison is an independent journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2014, she received the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for her reporting on conflict in the African Great Lakes region. She can be reached at @AnnGarrison or [email protected]