What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 9, 2016

Donald Trump, Schadenfreude, And A Bigger Picture

Given my own giggly reaction to the video that (I would assume) most anyone reading this blog has already seen, I am guessing that there's more than a little Schadenfreude floating around the left these days.  Perhaps it's the Aristotelian epichairekakia rather than German Schadenfreude, who knows?

Most of it deserved, of course.

What lefty wouldn't squirm with glee contemplating the coming election upon learning that, after the news of Trump's sexual assault boast ("And when you're a star they let you do it.  You can do anything.  Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything."), this happened:
The Republican National Committee (RNC) will redirect funds intended to help Donald Trump's presidential campaign to prioritize down-ballot candidates, The Wall Street Journal reported late Saturday.
(For the record, The Hill also reports that an RNC strategist calls the story untrue.)

What lefty wouldn't squirm with glee contemplating the coming election and the presumed collateral humiliation of the self-proclaimed Christianly righteous among us who, even after hearing Trump admit to a failed seduction of a married woman (hey, isn't that against one of those Commandments they keep telling us to live by?) continue to stand by their man:
Leaders of religious conservative groups largely stood behind Donald Trump on Saturday, the day after vulgar sexual comments he made about women surfaced online, but some expressed concern that the U.S. Republican presidential nominee's remarks could depress evangelical turnout on Election Day.

Most evangelical leaders did not condemn Trump, and instead pointed to an urgent need to prevent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency, reshaping the Supreme Court and implementing liberal policies.
But isn't that be an example of placing politics above faith?  Sticking by a thrice married adulterer (and now admitted sexual assaulter) just so that Democrat lady doesn't get into office and RUIN EVERYTHING REGULAR AMERICANS HOLD DEAR??.  I'm not a cultural conservative so I don't know the nuances of the ideology, but it sure looks like that to me.

But let's take a step back.

Many many years ago, I happened to be listening to a local radio program and the host used a metaphor (though he intended it as a business metaphor and I'm stealing it for political use) that's stuck with me ever since.  He said that every business needs a "brake-pedal person" and a "gas-pedal person" and they need to be in balance.  In general, if the business pushes the gas too much, it might become over extended and suffer accordingly.  If the business pushes the brake too much, it might not grow as quickly as it needs to and then suffer accordingly.

The metaphor works just as strongly in politics.

On any issue, there are those pushing for change.  They have to be balanced by those who question the need for that change.  The result of that discussion, presumably is that the right path is taken and the society flourishes. If too many of the wrong decisions are made and the society suffers, the voters get the chance to change the balance of the gas and brake pedalists. Note here that "those pushing for change" doesn't automatically mean "progressives."  For example, a conservative think-tank pushing for a reduction in what they see as unnecessary regulation (i.e. they want a "change") has to be balanced by those looking to protect those regulations for whatever benefits they bring to the society.

And so on.  It's a necessary and on-going discussion.

With what looks like the Trump/Tea-party led destruction of the GOP (and let's remember, it's a political party with which I have very little in common) we're seeing a grand dissolution of one of the parts of an old two party system - the damage of which will be felt politically for some time.

Back in March, the not-born in Kenya, non-Muslim-but-Christian, President Obama said:
I don’t take pleasure in seeing what’s going on in the other side. We need a healthy two-party system. We’ve got to have serious debate. And Democrats need to have somebody who is questioning and challenging some of our own dogmas and our own blind spots.
To be sure, the rise of Donald Trump was not the beginning of this dissolution, just its latest effect.  Depending on your outlook, you could say that the GOP brought this on themselves when they embraced the Tea Party a few years ago (with big sweaty wads of money, to be sure) as a weapon against the Democratic Party.  Or with the rise of Rush Limbaugh.  Or even with the use of Nixon's southern strategy.  In any case, the GOP brought this on itself.  I don't feel sorry for them.  I feel sorry for us.

Don't get me wrong, at this point I think left has the better ideas, the better plans to help society flourish but I don't want to win the chess game just because the other guy's brain's been fried by some syphilis left untreated.

And while part of me can giggle and squirm with epichairekakian glee over the GOP's downfall due to Trump's idiotic behavior, the rest of me can't help but think that, in the long run, America is losing something far more important than a billionaire bigot and the political credibility of the party that chose him to be president.

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