If you vote for Trump, then you the voter, you, not Donald Trump, are standing at the border like Nazis going ‘you here, you here’.
– Donny Deutsch on MSNBC last week
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
With each passing day, Trump’s hardcore supporters and detractors become more deeply entrenched in their respective corners and grow more hysterical. With every turn of the news cycle, we see two groups increasingly and equally convinced that only they and their allies can save the nation from total ruin. As someone who isn’t a cheerleader for any politician or political party, it’s fascinating to watch. It’s also made me consider where to draw the line when it comes to political action or commentary.
First off, we need to understand that an increasingly centralized, corrupt and unaccountable government making decisions for 325 million people will be inherently and systemically abusive toward the citizenry. To confront this reality we need resistance, but it can’t be the superficial, purely partisan kind.
Superficial resistance is what you see from establishment Democrats and MSNBC, peddling the fairytale that Trump the person is the problem, not the system itself. In contrast, genuine resistance is admitting and confronting our root problems which are deeply engrained and systemic. It means coming to terms with the fact we’re largely living in an imperial, executive-driven government structure as opposed to a Constitutional Republic. Congress doesn’t even bother to seriously weigh in on war and military operations anymore, essentially outsourcing its most awesome responsibility to whoever happens to be president. Trump the man isn’t our huge problem; excessive, secret and unaccountable government power is.
We need to admit that whoever happens to be elevated to the presidency will invariably abuse such misplaced power. Obama’s terrible policies were deserving of intense criticism as are Trump’s, but thinking that merely switching out the president is going to magically fix our problems is deranged. This is why I have no patience for “the resistance” to-date, which focuses all its energy and passion on Trump the man, versus they imperial leviathan he happens to be in charge of at this moment in time.
Obsessing about Trump the man has caused many of his high profile detractors to become overly hysterical, myopic and downright foolish. A perfect example of this occurred last Friday when Donny Deutsch, an advertising guy and pundit, explicitly instructed people to consider Trump voters Nazis.
What Deutsch manages to do is take an already existing obsessive focus on Trump the individual and move it in an even more counterproductive and mindless direction. Blaming Trump the man apparently isn’t superficial enough for him, so he encourages you to demonize the voter. You know the average person who’s intentionality given two awful candidates to choose from every four years. They’re the real problem according to him. Moreover, he doesn’t just want you to blame Trump voters, he wants you to consider them Nazis. This is the sort of clown they put on political television.
The fact that such nonsense so seamlessly flowed from his mouth demonstrates a total lack of capacity for reason. According to this logic, every Obama voter should be seen as a reckless imperialist murderer directly responsible for the destruction of Libya and the emergence of slave markets there. Feel free to use this sort of logic, but you won’t like where it leads.
Even worse for Deutsch, blaming voters is a surefire way to achieve noting politically.
Sorry, you can’t guilt people into voting the way you want by calling them Nazis.
Perhaps you could think about creating opportunities so that people can pay rent without eating dog food.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 22, 2018
Trump supporters expressed outrage over what Deutsch said, and I’m sympathetic to that. What he said was ludicrous, dangerous and petty. That said, many of those same people got equally bent out of shape over the fact Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owners. On this front I disagree, and think it’s important to draw a distinction between what Deutch said and what the owner of the Red Hen restaurant did.
If you work in government you are voluntarily putting yourself in the arena in a unique way. There are boundaries you shouldn’t cross, but don’t put these people on a pedestal irrespective of where you lie politically.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 25, 2018
Of course, I’m not arguing “anything goes” when it comes to government officials and bureaucrats, but kicking Sanders out of a restaurant is a non-violent political statement specifically directed at someone who voluntarily works for government. Standing up to and making government officials uncomfortable is part of our political heritage. We should also never forget how uncomfortable our unaccountable and overbearing government makes us feel all the time.
Finally, the action may herald the beginning of a new sort of activism based on grassroots action as opposed to the superficial, nonsensical and completely phony resistance promulgated by cable television pundits and washed up corporate Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Chucky Schumer.
This is why the move scares people of both parties in D.C. Because they want deference. In fact, they demand it. But politicians and government bureaucrats should only be respected when they earn respect. They work for us. We need to remind them of that.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) June 26, 2018
Obama wasn’t the problem, Trump isn’t the problem, and one slice of desperate, irritated voters isn’t the problem either. If we want to start blaming voters then we should look in the mirror, because all of us allowed this to happen. Demonizing and dehumanizing our neighbors because they voted differently might feel good, but it won’t get us anywhere.
However, giving government officials a hard time for doing terrible things is a reasonable tactic, irrespective of which party happens to be in power. They work for us, and if they’re screwing us over (which is at least 95% of the time) we shouldn’t just bow down and accept it.
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