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Deplorables—Making a Case for the Baskets

Ah those two baskets of Mrs. Clinton’s.

A lot of attention is being given to that first basket, the “basket of deplorables,” as Mrs. Clinton called it and, in so doing, started a small fire storm. But before going to that basket, let’s remind ourselves what she said about the second basket. I think that’s worth reading:

But the other basket — and I know this, because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

Well, that certainly seems a fair and balance assessment. However it’s that “first basket,” the “basket of deplorables,” that Trump is spewing his “righteous” indignation over; assailing her for being an elitist who “mocks and demeans” the decent Americans who have rallied to his cause.

How did Mrs. Clinton describe half of Trump’s supporters? As “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islam-aphobic, you name it.”

Now, Mrs. Clinton admitted at the outset of her speech, what she was putting forth was a generalization, and yes, “generalizations” are not adequate tools by which to judge this complicated world of ours.

But whatever faults they incur in overuse, when judiciously applied “generalizations” serve quite well as intellectual short-cuts.

It would be impossible to precisely render the American people in one sentence, but if you said that we are a nation conflicted over our long history with firearms and our present attitudes towards guns, while certainly a generalization, it does, nevertheless, convey a truism about this country.

A single pithy statement couldn’t encompass the many diverse and varied peoples of Africa, but you can lament that tribalism, cronyism and the last vestiges of colonialism are the bain of that continent; again a generalization, but one that carries its share of truth.

You couldn’t hope to do justice to the many people that make up the European Union with a single sentence. But there’s probably two dozen generalizations that you could utter about that collection of nations which would possess more truth than not, if somewhere in the musings you tucked in the word “soccer.”

Now, as far as Mrs. Clinton’s statement goes, I won’t defend it by arguing it had a grain of truth in what it stated. I’m going to defend it by saying that the “grain of truth” within it was on par with Mount Everest.

First, let’s looks at the stats:

In October of 2015, a polling of Facebook by SocialCode found 92% of Trump supporters were more likely to use energy drinks

Okay, let that one slide.

More recently, David Brady and Douglas Rivers of the Hoover Institution polled Trump supporters in September of this year and they found 50% of his supporters had no High School diploma, and about a third of his total supporters were above the age of 65.

Nothing really to duck and cover over yet.

In April, the Pew Research Center polled 2,008 voters about their attitudes towards “America’s Place in the World.” Among Trump supporters eight in ten regarded refugees as a major threat to the U.S. while placing climate change at the bottom of their concerns.

66% of Trump’s supporters want to see spending on the military increased.

What always interests me about those who want an increase in our military spending is that they seldom know approximately how much goes into that budget.

In 2015 the US spent $598.5 billion on the military. Of total world wide military spending, which, tops a trillion dollars annually, the U.S. budget accounts for 37%. The second highest spender is China at $216 billion yearly followed by Russia at $84 billion.
The U.S. outspends China and Russia as well as the next five nations, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, India, France and Japan combined.

What our military desperately needs is a thorough rethinking of expenditures and a concentrated effort at pork elimination. Otherwise, I’m hard-pressed to wonder how we could spend more on our service men and women other than by putting them in silk underwear. On the flipside, those Trump supporters who complain most about the lagging economy, I wonder if they’d agree to a billion, just a paltry billion, being removed from the military budget and utilized in…oh I don’t know…free college tuitions for everyone, infrastructure repair nationwide, and free medical care for all citizens? A billion would accomplish that and we’d still have change left to take the entire state of California out for ice cream.

Writing for the New York Times in March of 2016 and using data from the government Census Bureau, Neil Irwin and Josh Katz discovered that

“the single strongest predictor of Trump support of those we tested” were those not having finished high school.

The third strongest predictor were those living in a mobile home.

They also found those regions supporting Trump were regions in the 1968 election where segregationist George Wallace had his strongest support.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted between March and June of 2016 and interviewed 16,000 Americans. Included on the questionnaire were 21 entries dealing with racial attitudes, 6 of these dealt with character traits.

The 50% of whites supporting Donald Trump rated African Americans negatively on all six questions, including that African Americans were less intelligent, more violent, lazier, more inclined towards criminal activity and less well-mannered.

To be fair, the white supporters of Hillary Clinton were also more critical of African Americans but in greatly reduced percentages. It would have been interesting if the study had published how African Americans survey takers responded to those same questions about regarding their own race and white Americans.

In a national survey by YouGov

nearly 20 percent of those voting for Trump disapproved of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation the first step towards freeing the slaves during the Civil War.

A joint study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Brookings Institution showed

81% of Trump’s supporters felt that discrimination against whites has become as bad as discrimination against blacks.

72% say America needs a leader willing to “break some rules.”

I suppose they mean like breaking into offices of the opposition and clandestinely trading arms for hostages.

Responding to NBC News SurveyMonkey polling:

62% of Trump supporters oppose same-sex marriage

Another Reuters/Ipsos poll, of more than 7,000 Americans in July, found

while 24% of Clinton supporters had an unfavorable view of Islam that percentage more that doubled to 58% among Trump supporters.

A February survey of voters in South Carolina conducted by Public Policy Polling found:

Of those planning to vote for Donald Trump 33% favored outlawing the practice of Islam in America and 40% favored shutting down all the mosques in America.

31% would support a ban on gays entering the country.

And 70% thought that the Confederate flag should fly over the state capital.

In interpreting their data, Public Policy Polling wrote that, “Trump’s support in South Carolina is built on a base of voters among whom religious and racial intolerance pervades.”

Other Public Policy Polling surveys found:

66% of Trump supporters believe President Obama is a Muslim

61% of Trump supporters believe President Obama was not born in the U.S.

And 41% of Trump’s supporters are in favor of bombing Agrabah.

Don’t go rushing to search Google Map; Agrabah is the fictional country from Disney’s Aladdin. You gotta wonder how many would support Trump sending troops in to occupy Oz.

Then you have the more prominent of Trump’s supporters, those celebrities who have announced for him, like Hulk Hogan, Lou Ferrigno, Jesse James, Mike Tyson, Gary Busey all of whom have long histories of head injuries.

Dennis Rodman, close friend of Kim Jong-un, Eternal President of the Republic of North Korea.

Willie Robertson, don’t worry if you don’t know who he is, in four years he’ll be a Double Jeopardy answer no one will win.

Kristie Alley, who was going to “visualize” herself thin again, using the techniques of Scientology.

Charlie Sheen, who in 1990 “accidently” shot his fiancée of the time Kelly Preston with a .22, and was arrested in 1996 after “allegedly” beating his girlfriend—the adult film actress Brittany Ashland—the first of many charges of “alleged” violence against the women in his life.

And there’s Ted Nugent who you might remember during one of his concerts called President Obama “a piece of shit” and offered to let him “suck on my machine gun.”

And who during an interview on Fox News made this contribution to the national debate on Gay marriage, “I got to tell you, guys that have sex with each other’s anal cavities—how can we offend guys that actually have anal sex? Don’t you think that might offend some of us who think that’s despicable?”

Sarah Palin the favorite pin up girl of idiots for her incoherent rambles and delusionary pronouncements (Still waiting for those “Dead Panels.”).

And Ann Coulter, reportedly a non-transgender person, whose opinions have shown her to be a third-rate Lincoln Rockwell clone with boobs:

If you wanted to teach people about the great things about America, a college campus is the last place you’d send them. Even fanatical Muslim terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do.
I think there should be a literacy test and a poll tax for people to vote.
If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.

If there were not a presidential election involved perhaps one could just sit back and have a riotously good time watching Palin, Nugent, Coulter, Sheen and all the rest of Trump’s supporters come tumbling out of a polka-dotted VW parked in the center ring.

However there is an election about to be determined, and there was one poll which had a more foreboding finding…

In December of last year, a polling of 1,800 voters across the country conducted by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst revealed that a significant difference in Trump supporters as compared to others was their inclination towards accepting authoritarianism. To quote from Matthew MacWilliams’ article in Politic Science:

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations…. Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate—Republican or Democrat—whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant. (Bold Highlight added)

The world is in great flux, and a huge social tsunami of unimaginable force is, even now, rising up out of the vast ocean of history surrounding us. It is coming, and it cannot be stopped. There are steps we could take to lessen its impact, but unfortunately our tendency is to hack at branches and never the roots.

The fact is that the reality my grandfather was born into—with some noteworthy exceptions such as the steam engine, assembly line, stirrup, telegraph and perhaps a dozen other innovations—was in essence the same reality that Julius Caesar had known.

By the end of my Grandfather’s life, that reality was dead as well and buried beneath Henry Ford, nuclear power, Philo Farnsworth, Masters and Johnson, NASA, Steve Jobs, IBM, Crick and Watson, Apple, Tim Berner Lee, ATARI, Bill Gates and the other harbingers of progress.

And do not doubt for an instant, that the world of our grandchild will be as strange and disturbing to us, as ours would be to Caesar.

Some see the familiar world of their fathers—a world they expected would be their world and the world of their children—slipping away from them.

For some it is an empty and frightening time.

The fascist and the miscreant ballot, ravenous mongrel have always exploited the sad truism; that embracing a passionate hatred dampens our terrors and gives purpose to our empty lives.

Trump fumes,

Hillary Clinton spoke with hatred and derision for the people who make this country run, an insider supported by powerful insiders attacking Americans.

But Mrs. Clinton’s assessment is more than just accurate, as even Donald Trump acknowledges in an interview from 2014:

Every time I speak of the haters and losers I do so with great love and affection. They cannot help the fact that they were born fucked up.

But what is troubling to me, in both Clinton’s frank evaluation and Trump’s shrewd exploitation is the proof they give to the fact that most of humanity, and certainly a good portion of those supporting Trump, seem cursed to think with their fears rather than their minds.


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Written by

<p>An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, “Among the Vipers” was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest’s stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.</p>

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