Lack of outrage

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TennPaGa
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Lack of outrage

Post by TennPaGa » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:14 pm

I'm not sure the point of this, but I wanted to post it anyway...
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I live in red America, the buckle of the bible belt (upper East Tennessee). To provide some context... In my county, I'd estimate the R/D split is 75/25. For example, in the recent election, the Republican candidate won by at least 40 points for President, U.S. Representative, and 3 state representatives.

The local paper's editorials (written by local writers) and letters to the editor generally reflect this point of view as well. And one certainly can't be an "out" liberal where I work (largest single employer in the region, ~ 8,000 employees).

So it is commonplace to encounter people who have no qualms about telling you how much they hate Obama, and how he has single handedly wrecked the country, or how smug he is, or how elitist, or how they just hate to look at his face. Things like that.

I must admit, I never understood how people could be so upset about a single person. I never understood why they would give so much power over their mental state to a single person.

Furthermore, the feelings of animosity rarely seem to be based on facts.

Now, I certainly have liberal leanings about some areas. And, generally speaking, more of my outside-of-work friends and acquaintances are liberal compared with the local population-at-large (I attend a Unitarian Universalist Church, after all ;)).

With Trump's election, now the tables are turned. It is my liberal friends who can't stand to look at Donald Trump. They feel the country has gone down the tubes. Etc.

And, once again, I just can't relate.

Now, I certainly have my concerns about Trump, mostly related to his personality. And, yeah, I expect he'll implement policies that I don't agree with.

But again, I'm not in utter despair. And it seems like many are. I just don't get it.

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by doodle » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:31 pm

Hi my name is doodle, and im veering towards dispair.

Im pretty centrist in my views and am able to identify with both conservative and liberal policies and sometimes flip flop back and forth between the two. My dispair is not related to Trumps policies per se, although i disagree with his stance on a few things it really doesnt disturb me that much. What I find disressing is the qualities of te president himself. Obama was slightly smug, trump however has much deeper and more troubling pathologies for a man in his position of power. Trump is a bully, a narcicist of the most extreme variety, a man who uses his power to abuse and belittle others. In another time or place Trump is a Franco, a Castro, a Trujillo or dare i say a Hitler. He terrifies me.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by Xan » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:20 pm

Let's just wait and see, Doodle. I think most of those concerns are overblown.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by doodle » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:34 pm

Xan wrote:Let's just wait and see, Doodle. I think most of those concerns are overblown.
Because we have a system with a healthy amount of checks and balances built in to it my despair is not that Trump will rekindle the third reich....my despair is that as our leader and chief representative he is an embarrassment to our country and the epitome of the "ugly American".
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by dualstow » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:22 pm

I am mildly concerned that Trump could do some real damage to the country, hastening its decline. Last night's announcement about bringing torture back was icing on the cake. Still:
TennPaGa wrote:I must admit, I never understood how people could be so upset about a single person.
I feel the same. I have a psychologist friend who has seen an uptake in anxiety and in appointments. These are not from people who fear deportation.

For me, getting upset about Trump's *personality* is as foolish as getting upset when your favorite hockey team doesn't win. I see people all around me getting furious and/or nervous, and I guess I'm glad that I don't feel the same.

But I am concerned.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Jan 26, 2017 2:49 pm

American politics today is tribal kabuki theatre. People sort themselves into segregated groups, each with its own symbols, talismans, and fetishes. People in each tribe are supposed to behave in a certain way and believe certain things, and the group as a whole exerts social pressure to conform. Whenever a politician from a rival tribe gets elected, he makes a public show of dragging the other tribe's talismans through the mud. Then he acts in a manner reflecting his tribe's norms and beliefs, and insulting members of the other tribe for their idiotic relics and wrong-headed dogmas.

These actions constitute sacrilege to the other tribe, who become outraged and pledge to defeat the blasphemer, promising to replace him with their own champion--someone who best exemplifies their own tribal culture as evidenced by how prominently he drapes himself with their talismans and croons their sacred chants ("We're gonna build a wall!").

Trump is definitely an escalation of this trend compared to Obama, but Obama himself is another excellent example. In the waning days of his administration, he issued a regulation defining people who get their Social Security checks through a trustee as "mental defectives"--so that their firearms may be confiscated. This will cost money and accomplish no public safety aim (how many elderly shootings were there really?) but guns are a Red Tribe talisman, and this is the political equivalent of rubbing poop on a crucifix: designed purely to irritate one group and delight their enemies.
Last edited by Pointedstick on Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by Tyler » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:40 pm

+1 to Pointedstick's post.

Back about a year into Obama's first term, my small company out in the Bay Area had a company lunch around the same table. The owner was just back from some sort of business conference in the south, and was quite worked up about the political discussions he experienced with other out-of-state small business owners and he just had to share.

Apparently (surprise) not many of them were big Obama fans. But he was sporting a wry grin and using an unusually smug tone about how they were simply so biased against Obama that it blinded them to all the great things he had already done. Apparently his rejoinder of choice was to grill them on their favorite Obama policy (of which they had no good answer) and to respectfully point out an obscure act like his nomination for secretary of education as an example of what they would love about Obama if they would crawl out of their republican caves and actually treat him fairly. The good ol' boys were simply too uneducated to really know any better.

When I got a few uncomfortable glances from people who knew I was from Texas, I decided to speak up. "You know, that doesn't surprise me at all. Talking about Obama in the deep south is probably just like talking about George Bush in the Bay Area." Everyone else laughed, and the owner immediately backed down realizing I might ask him about his favorite George Bush policy and department head for which he would have no answer.

People are tribal.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by Pointedstick » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:09 pm

Indeed, people are tribal. But the tribes themselves have changed. Few consider themselves members of the "American" tribe anymore. Nowadays it's all Red tribe and Blue tribe, or even just "myself". This is why nothing can ever get done. Everyone sees political issues in terms of the effects on themselves personally--or at best, the effects on their own or other tribes. There is no longer an overarching "American" interest in which something can be. It's remarkable how much of what's around today was built in the 1930s and before. Roads, bridges, dams, locks, canals, forests, buildings, you name it. People built amazing things with horses and hand tools because they were proud of this whole American tribe thing. For a time, everybody basically agreed about things that were transparently in the national interest. None of that stuff could get done today because everyone would argue over whose state it should be built in, or who would be funding it, or whether or not there were enough transgender laborers on the project.

This was the current that Trump successfully tapped into: Red tribe basically wants there to be an American tribe once more, but Blue tribe wants nothing to do with it, having come to see "American" as a synonym for "Red tribe".
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by dragoncar » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:40 pm

Please point out an obscure act that I would love about Trump
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by sophie » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:18 pm

I share your concerns about Trump's personality, capacity for self-deception, and over-confidence. I worry that the Breitbart-style logic that sounds good and seems correct, could actually be what the media is saying it is, i.e. completely wrong. However, he does have his strong points (i.e. instincts that I think are essentially correct). Like a squirrel wanting to bury lots of acorns because he senses a hard winter is coming, but he doesn't know how to go about explaining that sense or framing it in hard facts.

First - he's not the first President to have impulse control and personality issues. LBJ had serious anger issues as did Ford. Reagan managed to get through his terms with fairly advanced Alzheimer's symptoms. You can make a case that even though it was big news at the time, it truly doesn't matter anymore.

Second - remember that the essence of top-down governing is to examine an extremely complex and chaotic system and apply tweaks intended to get a specific result. What do you think the scorecard is for those tweaks achieving the desired results? Given that the US system has been creaking along for 200+ years, despite a large number of attempted questionable tweaks - think of Prohibition for example - it's unlikely that one person, executive orders and all, could really damage things irreversibly.

BTW I'm surprised the media aren't commenting on his reviving the Mexico City policy not one day after a world-wide women's march. Boy was that a message and a half. I don't think the media has any more clue than Trump does, so who's to say whose predictions are going to turn out to be correct?
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by stuper1 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:32 pm

Anyone who wants to be president or a high-ranking politician basically has to be an arrogant narcissist inside. Some of them just do a better job of hiding it than others. Trump doesn't even bother to try to hide it, which is a large part of his appeal to the people who like him,

Sometimes I read the Slate Star Codex blog because it has some interesting stuff on it. The guy who writes the blog isn't a big Trump fan, although he's not super hostile. He linked to a thread from another source a while back where someone asked whether anyone had actually had any sort of personal interaction with Donald Trump. About 20 people replied with interactions of their own or that they had witnessed or heard about from a direct witness, and overwhelmingly the response seemed to be that Trump had treated the specific people with whom he interacted with much greater respect than I think most of us would expect from a celebrity. It was really quite interesting to read, because the place this was posted didn't seem like a bastion of conservatism. Based on those responses, he sounded like a fairly decent guy who just happens to play an arrogant jerk on TV, or at least it sounded like he has good impulse control and sense of propriety when dealing with people one on one.
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Re: Lack of outrage

Post by Desert » Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:38 pm

TPG,

I don't have much sympathy for either tribe. I was breaking pretty far right prior to the Republican primary, and hoped that someone like Paul would be nominated that I could vote for. I see the terrible weaknesses of both parties, but the abortion issue in particular had me hoping for a worthwhile Republican candidate to vote for. Sadly, that didn't happen and I ended up voting for McMulllin, who appeared to be the only candidate in the race I could agree with on many positions.

It's early yet, but I haven't been surprised by anything Trump's done so far. As others have pointed out, he's obviously a very disturbed person, deeply insecure and defensive. He's a person who has displayed his low character to the world for decades. And my firm belief is that good generally doesn't flow from bad; a person of very low character is unlikely to produce a flow of greatness. That said, I do agree with Trump on a few positions. And he obviously isn't stupid. He's intelligent, strong-willed and clever. But in the end, I think the darkness of his character is what his administration will deliver to the country. The checks and balances will hopefully keep him contained enough to avoid the catastrophic potential of his unstable personality.

But on a daily basis, I don't worry about him much. I think our country is strong enough to survive him, and I think there are enough great people in this country that can see what he's made of and won't let him become what he'd like to become.
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