Trump reflections VIII

 

Continued from previous posts….

August 5, 2017

Trauma. What we see in Trump is typical trauma behavior. It’s not how everyone, or even most people, respond to or live out their trauma. But when we see that type of behavior (anger, reactivity, bigotry, impulsive behavior), it’s often rooted in trauma, in deep wounds.

Of course, it’s important to address the political issues, and it’s important to address the need for respect and a fact-based discourse in a democracy.

And it can also be helpful to remind ourselves that this is trauma behavior. It can be a spring board to look at how we respond to and live out our own trauma (whether it’s big or small), take it as an opportunity for trauma education, and also use it to look at how we can prevent and treat trauma in our society.

Trauma II. Similarly, I can’t help to wonder if not some Trump supporters are reacting to and living out their trauma in their support of him. Again, it’s important to address the political and social issues. But it can also be helpful to explore the possible trauma connections.

For instance, I wouldn’t be surprised if large portions of the US population are traumatized – directly and indirectly – by the significant social and economic inequality in the US. Which means they are traumatized by the policies coming out of neo-liberalism (which has become almost a religion in the US and most of the western world). And that’s why they support Trump because he, on the surface, seems to offer a way to deal with it. (Of course, he doesn’t.) His anger and bigotry plays to the trauma, and his words – at least during the campaign – spoke to the knowing of many of his supporters that neoliberalism is a cause of many of their problems.

In what way are people traumatized by social inequality? They are traumatized by lack of opportunities: lack of schooling, lack of good jobs, lack of money. And that, in turn, creates a life that creates more trauma (through drug use, illness, anger, depression etc.)

In what way is that connected to neo-liberalism? Neo-liberalism creates and deepens social and economic inequality. It’s built in. The wealthy get more wealth. The less wealthy tend to get even less wealthy, especially when the government doesn’t step in to moderate the worst effects of neo-liberalism.

In what way has neo-liberalism become a religion? It’s treated as sacred by many politicians and social commentators. It’s unquestioned. They tend to not address its inherent problems or any alternatives. (The best alternatives are known, but not by many and not implemented yet.)

In what way does Trump’s anger and bigotry play to the trauma? Some react to trauma with anger and bigotry. And to them, it feels like a relief to have someone like Trump in charge and visible in the media. He makes it OK to live out that particular reaction to trauma.

August 11, 2017

A new world. Sometimes, I see people talking about the resistance – to Trump, to neo-liberalism, to whatever damages our life-support system (ecosystems, Earth). To me, it’s a reminder of Joanna Macy’s three approaches to creating a more life-centered and life-enhancing society.

One is holding actions, which is where resistance fits in. Another is creating and sharing different worldviews, and especially those where we see ourselves as embedded in larger social and ecological wholes. (And realize that our own health and well-being is intimately connected to, and dependent on, the health and well being of the larger wholes.) And a third is developing and implementing life-centered alternatives.

Each one is essential. And while I like to stay informed about what’s happening in the less than life-centered world, my draw has always been to the second and third of the three. If I focused mostly on resistance, I would burn out very quickly. But when I focus on the second and third, I feel encouraged and energized.

This is also a reminder that for those who feel drawn to the holding actions, including the two other approaches in their lives will help them keep going. If they only focus on the holding actions, they are likely to burn out. (Or, at the very least, get cynical which is a form of burnout.) But if the two other ones are included, they are more likely to feel nourished, supported, and encouraged.

August 11, 2017

Politically correct? A quick note about the “politically correct” (PC) label that some like to use. To me, what’s often described as non-PC seems mostly reactive (coming from wounds). And what is often labeled PC typically seems more sane, balanced, informed, and taking the bigger picture. I am sure there are exceptions, but this seems to be the pattern. I am very happy to have views that may be labeled politically correct.

I assume those who use the PC label tend to have reactive (bigoted, racist, small minded) views and feel squashed because they are generally not accepted in modern western society. They themselves feel a need to try to appear more sane and balanced. So they assume the same goes for others. (Which may not be true at all.)

Of course, I know I am painting this somewhat black and white here. It’s possible to look at it in a more nuanced way. But it still, to me, seems that those who use the PC-label in a derogatory way often do so because they have more reactive and small-minded views, feel shamed for having them, and wish to break out of their self-imposed censorship and feelings of shame.

August 15, 2017

Expectations? Today, I read an article from NRK saying that many thought Trump would act more presidential once he took office. It may be that some did. But anyone familiar with his personality and past knew it would be very unlikely for him to change. (His biographers, for instance, were very clear on that issue.) And he is too impulsive to stick with any script handed to him by others. He is behaving exactly as we would expect him to, based on what we have seen from him in the past. If you are surprised, you haven’t been paying attention.

Not interested in politics? It’s puzzling to me when people say they are not interested in politics. Anything that shapes how we organize our society is politics. Everything we do is politics.

And, as someone said (sometimes misattributed to Pericles)…

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.

The only reason someone may say they are not interested in politics is that their lives are OK they way society happens to be organized, and they are not sufficiently interested in those whose life is adversely impacted by the way society is currently organized – either locally, regionally, or globally. Similarly, they are not sufficiently interested in how non-human species are impacted, or future generations. (Or they want to avoid conflict, which is understandable, and are dishonest about it.)

I want my friends to understand that “staying out of politics” or being “sick of politics” is privilege in action. Our privilege allows us to live a non-political existence. Our wealth, our race, our abilities [our religion,] or our gender allows us to live a life in which we likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. We don’t want to get political, we don’t want to fight because our life and safety are not at stake. It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.

– Kristen Tea

August 16, 2017

Satire. Good satire tells (uncomfortable) truths, and replaces fear with laughter. There is no wonder dictators tend to try to squash satire poking fun at their leadership. Trump hasn’t gone that far, although he probably would like to. One example of current meme-satire is the Tiny Trump images. They tell a (uncomfortable) truth. They visually illustrate how Trump comes across as partly a little child in his views and reactivity, and partly as a grown-up trying to compensate for feeling small.

Illegitimate. We sometimes find ourselves in situations that reinforce or trigger what we fear the most. It’s partly because life offers a multitude of situations, and some of them will do just that. And it’s partly because, in trying to avoid what we fear the most, we inadvertently sometimes create situations that bring us face-to-face with it.

One of Trump’s greatest fears seems to be to be seen as “not enough” in the form of weak, small, incompetent, powerless, and illegitimate. And, ironically but not surprisingly, by getting into politics he also gets himself into situations where others tend to see him as just that. (Among the earliest insults were losing the popular vote and the small size of the inauguration crowd.) It must trigger a great deal of fear in him and reactivity to that fear. And the reactivity takes the form of anger, denial, blame, misdirection, firing people, and so on.

We all do this. One of the blessings of the Trump presidency is that we all get a mirror for ourselves for this behavior (if we see it and decide to take it in), and there is slightly more public awareness and discussion about this dynamic since it’s so obvious in him.

August 17, 2017

Elections. Many elements of the typical election systems in democratic countries seem a bit outdated. If I were to redesign the election process, I would perhaps include:

Mandatory voting, as they have in Australia. If only a portion of the population votes, the result tends to be skewed.

Instant run-off voting. This tends to reduce “strategic” voting.

Voting based on your answers to a set of questions. (How strongly you agree or disagree with each statement, and how important the topic is for you.) Today’s elections are far too much show and distraction, so answering questions, being shown which parties we agree with the most, and then selecting from that list seems to make much more sense. There is an election coming up in Norway, and I find the “which party do you agree with the most” questionnaires very helpful and more illuminating than listening to politicians debate.

Limit campaign spending for each party. Limit the campaign durations to just a few weeks.

And, of course, having more than just two parties to choose among and a parliamentary system based on coalitions. This means that most people can find a party to vote for they actually agree with, and don’t have to choose the “lesser of two evils”.

Norway does have a good multi-party system and coalition-based governments, and the election campaigns are not as outrageous as in the US, but the rest is lacking.

How will it end? From he was elected, I thought that the most likely outcome would be his resignation. He didn’t seem to really want the presidency. He meets far more opposition and public scrutiny than he did when he was the head of his own organization. He must be experiencing a great deal of frustration. So the logical outcome would be to resign, declare victory, and blame his problems and resignation on those opposing him.

But right now, any one particular ending of the Trump presidency doesn’t seem very much likely than the other. He may resign – out of frustration or if he is facing impeachment – and blame others for obstructing him. He may muddle through his period. There may be a war or terrorist attack that, in typical (misguided) US fashion, gets his ratings up. He may even get re-elected. Anything is possible. Including an assassination, as a Norwegian psychic has predicted. (Which would be one of the worst possible outcomes for everyone, apart from the Republicans taking advantage of it.)

Russian connection. What about the Russia investigation? I suspect they will find a combination of evidence and strong suggestions that Russia meddled in the election in various ways, from sponsoring online trolls and planting fake news to possibly interfering directly with the electronic vote numbers in crucial districts. I am not sure if it will go any further than that. In more democratically minded countries, the 2016 presidential election would be annulled and there would be a re-election. But in the US, they seem more likely to let it slide, or perhaps just get rid of Trump and install Pence instead. They are already used to some degree of corruption and irregularities, so that’s perhaps why.

Alt-right? The term “alt right” is just a rebranding of old fashioned bigotry, racism, white supremacy, neo-nazi ideology, and sometimes Christian terrorism. I find it strange that the media and politicians accept and use this term instead of using the more accurate old fashioned words for it. They are buying into and support the rebranding. Why? Are they just sheepish and unable to think for themselves? Are they afraid of upsetting the bigots?

Weakness? It seems that Trump and some of his supporters are concerned with weakness. They try to not appear weak, and they label political opponents weak. It’s classic projection, of course. We all have every human quality in us, including what can be labelled weakness.

If we try to push it away, and see it in others and not in ourselves, a couple of things tend to happen. We are unable to relate to it intentionally in ourselves since we don’t acknowledge it’s there. And our unconscious identification with it is strengthened.

Denying that something is here makes it into a real weakness for us, while acknowledging and embracing it makes it a strength. We are able to relate to it more intentionally and consciously.

And running away from an identification only strengthens it. Running away from it reinforces our experience of it as real and bad.

Something else tends to happen as well. When we unconsciously identify with something, others tend to see it in us. Trump is a good example. He tries hard to appear strong, smart, and in control. And in that exaggerated trying, he appears – to many – the opposite. What he is desperately trying to avoid appearing as becomes obvious, and also that he is identified with it. (Otherwise, he would feel he has to try to run away from it.) And since he is identified with it, we tend to see him that way as well.

This contempt for weakness is something we recognize from Nazi Germany. I assume it often goes from (physical) abuse and trauma, to denying own weakness and projecting it onto others, and then violence against those who – to us – embody that weakness. It’s the classic bully dynamic.

I assume it comes from a combination of collective and individual trauma. In the case of Nazi Germany, it had its roots partly in a collective humiliation following WW1. And for neo-nazis (and some alt-right folks in general), I assume it has partly to do with economic inequality, lack of opportunities, perceived powerlessness, and perhaps family traumas and abuse.

Terrorism. I am generally surprised when I see people giving those who want to provoke a reaction exactly what they want. Some people like to feed online trolls. And the media and politicans seem to like to feed terrorists. They feed them by giving them exactly what they want, which is attention, fear, and drama.

Why not instead ignore individual terrorists acts, and focus on the reasons for terrorism? (Which include economic inequality within and between countries, lack of education and other opportunities, and the ideologies giving rise to both including neoliberalism and western imperialism.) That seems to make a lot more sense.

Of course, I know some of the reasons why we see this unfortunate dynamic. They all – media, politicians, and terrorists – have a shared interest in feeding and playing on fear in the population. The media gains viewers and readers. Politicans hope to gain support from voters. (By appearing to offer solutions, which most of the time are not solutions at all). And the terrorists gain attention as well.

Intolerance. It’s pretty obvious but worth mentioning. It’s not kind to allow unkindness. And if we allow too much intolerance in society it will take over, so we need to crack down on intolerance. We need to be intolerant, to some extent, against intolerance.

At a small scale social level, it’s clearly unkind to allow unkindness. It’s unkind to allow bullying. It’s unkind to allow people to act in reactive and harmful ways without speaking up.

Within ourselves, it’s also unkind to allow unkindness. It’s unkind to allow our pain and reactivity to persist without inviting it to heal. It’s unkind to allow stressful beliefs to remain unquestioned.

And at a larger social level, it’s the same. It’s unkind and unwise to allow too much unkindness and intolerance, especially when it’s organized and structural.

And it’s all about how we do it. This is not about being unkind. We can do it with clarity and kindness. We can meet unkindness in ourselves with presence and love. We can allow the wounds behind it to heal in gentle ways. We can use our words and communicate clearly. We can listen to the pain behind unkindness. We can give people an opportunity to heal. We can work on prevention. We can reduce economic inequality and other forms of structural violence in society.

To me, the last point is crucial. Organized and structural unkindness in society – for instance in the form of significant economic inequality and lack of opportunities – create trauma, reactivity, and violence at an individual level, which in turns feeds back into society at a larger level.

August 29, 2017

Phrasing in polling questions and questionnaires. This is something I have noticed since my teens. Questions in polls and questionnaires are often phrased ambiguously, which means that people can understand the question in different ways, and it’s easy to misinterpret the answers.

For instance, one question in a (relatively) recent poll in the US (according to the FiveThirtyEight podcast) was: “Do whites experience discrimination?”. I would answer a clear “yes” to that question.

I have seen it often in the US. For instance, when I arrived as a student in the US, I noticed that the bus would pick me (a white male) up from the bus stop, but typically would not pick a black person up if there was only a black person at the stop. Similarly, when I applied for residency and work permit, I noticed that I was treated more kindly than the latinos.

So as a white person, I have experienced and noticed discrimination frequently in the US. I am treated much better than people of other ethnicities.

But when people interpret the answers to that question, they apparently seem to assume that people who answer “yes” mean that whites are discriminated against. That’s not what they asked. They only asked about discrimination, and discrimination can go either way.

My experience with questionnaires and polls is typically: (a) I notice an ambiguous question. (b) I think I understand what they mean, but don’t know for certain. (c) I set that aside and answer according to how I understand the question. (For instance, I would say “yes” to the question of whether whites experience discrimination in the US.) And (d) I assume my question could be misinterpreted.

It may sound as if I am deliberately trolling the people behind the polls or questionnaires. But the reality is that I don’t know what they mean by the question. They could mean a couple of different things. So I have to go by how I understand the question and accept that my answer can easily be misinterpreted.

Best if it’s the way I want it? Would the world be better if it was the way I – or anyone else – wanted it to be? Not necessarily.

Of course, I think my orientation and solutions are somewhat decent and may help create a society that works better for everyone. Otherwise I wouldn’t endorse those views. And that’s the same for just about all of us. Even Nazis think society would be better if it just was the way they want it to be.

But I am also very aware that others are more insightful and experienced in particular fields and may know better solutions.

And I am aware that we all operate from different values, and we differ in how inclusive we are in who we want society to work for. I want society to work the best possible for everyone, including future generations, ecosystems, and nonhuman species. I tend to judge a society according to how it works for the least fortunate. Others are more narrow in who they want it to work for. (And that’s OK. They are allowed to. Although I prefer a society that prioritizes solutions that work for everyone.)

I am also aware that I don’t know the bigger picture. Earth is a living system and we are just a small part of it. Who is to say what’s best for the whole? When the dinosaurs died out, it was a disaster for them, but it was great for small mammals (our ancestors) and we wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t happened. From our perspective, it wasn’t so bad. And from the perspective of Earth, it allowed for new diversity and expressions of life.

When I say “a society that works for everyone” do I mean all humans? All beings alive now? Do I include ecosystems? Future generations of humans? Future generations of all species? Life as a whole, as it may evolve in the future? (Which means not only different individuals but different species and ecosystems.) If I mean the latter, the idea of “works for everyone” starts to break down since I don’t know how life will evolve in the future. Although I can still support solutions that are more life-centered and life-enhancing in general, as we see it today.

The universe as a whole is a seamless system, and we can even call it a living system since what we define as life happens within and as it. And I certainly don’t know what’s “best” at this level.

As everyone else, my views and perspectives are shaped and limited by being part of this particular planet, being human, my particular culture, our particular time, and my own individual experiences.

It’s good to know. And I still have preferences and seek to support and create the type of society I wish to live in.

August 21, 2017

Climate change? It’s good there is awareness about climate change and that we do something about it. But climate change is small peas compared to the real problem which is overshoot (overuse of resources) and destruction of ecosystems for various reasons. We need to reorganize society at all levels to be aligned with ecological realities. And the good news is that we can do so while thriving and growing as a species and individuals. It doesn’t involve giving up anything of real value, but gaining a great deal that is of real value. We know how. And many are already implementing these solutions. (Paul Hawken’s Drawdown project is chronicling many of these solutions.)

August 25, 2017

Not quite up to the standards of western democracies. I was recently at a family gathering in Norway, and one of my cousins – who is usually very careful with his words – said “the US is a developing country masquerading as an industrialized one”. This came up in the context of Trump and US politics. I see his point, although I tend to think of it more as a banana republic. There are many elements in US society and politics that makes the US more like a banana republic than a modern western democracy. 

Reactivity as policy. Trump’s words and actions often seem based on reactivity. Reactivity against ordinary social norms (respect, equality, humanitarianism), what the media says, what Obama did, and so on. And it does seem that his policies often reflect this reactivity as well. Some of his reactivity is in response to current events, but most of it is a deeper pattern and ongoing.

More deeply human. Some see Trump as a shell operating out of bigotry, reactivity, and trauma. Anything that comes out of beliefs and reactivity is, in a way, a shell. And anything that comes out of a deeper humanity tends to look and feel more real, substantial, and human. We all have both sides. When we align ourselves with beliefs and reactivity, we align ourselves with a shell. When we align ourselves with our deeper humanity, we become more substantial and real.

August 27, 2017

Natural disasters & economic inequality. This is well known: natural disasters tend to impact the poor the most. The hurricane in Texas right now is a good reminder. Those with limited economic resources are less able to escape, they are less likely to have insurance, and they are less likely to have the resources to start over again (apart from at a very low level). They are also more likely to already be traumatized, or have untreated mental illnesses, which may make the impact on them even harder.

August 29, 2017

Political map dimensions. In my mental map of politics, I use a few different dimensions. One is collective vs. private ownership of major resources and services (roughly similar to left-right), another is authoritarian-egalitarian, and a third is inclusiveness. (The Political Compass uses something similar to the two first, although I disagree with the authoritarian-libertarian axis.)

As a quick test for how well a society works, I tend to look at those who are the least fortunate or have no voice. And that includes includes non-human species, ecosystems, and future generations.

Personally, I prefer collective ownership of natural resources and vital services. (Which puts me left on a traditional scale.) An egalitarian society with little inequality when it comes to wealth and access to resources. (Natural to me since I am from Norway which fits that model somewhat.) And an inclusive orientation where policies are considered in terms of how much they are likely to benefit all life – including the wider human society, non-human species and ecosystems, and future generations of all species. (A Deep Ecology or Big History type of view.)

Collective ownership of vital resources and services makes sense. We are all humans living as part of the Earth, and we all need access to the same resources. So we need to own them collectively and ensure access to vital services. If either is owned by smaller groups of people, they will tend to make decisions benefiting themselves over the larger whole. The most well functioning societies tend to have collective ownership of both.

Similarly, more egalitarian societies tend to do better on a wide range of measures, including economic growth. It’s also a far more pleasant society to live within, for just about everyone. (Apart from, perhaps, wealthy authoritarians, although I would think they too are damaged from a society that’s too authoritarian or where the economic inequality is too high.)

And a more inclusive, big picture, orientation benefits everyone. It invites us to find solutions that work well for us today, and for our wider social and ecological systems. And that, in turn, benefits us in a wide range of ways. It’s the only orientation that really makes sense, although most political parties today largely ignore it. Although they can’t ignore it for very long. The consequences of decades and centuries of ignoring the larger picture are becoming unavoidable.

There is another point here which I forgot because it seems obvious. Policies should, largely, be rooted in science and research. If something is shown to work, and there are not strong arguments against it, then implement it. It seems obvious. But in politics today, we often see politicians promoting or implementing policies that goes against science and research, probably because of ideology trumping reality, or siding with special interests, or lack of knowledge. So perhaps a fourth dimension of my very informal political compass is degree of alignment with science and research.

Why small minded? I sometimes wonder why some seem so small minded. In the leadup to the election in Norway, some seem to focus on free sale of alcohol, or free use of water scooters, or outlawing burkas. And these are all topics that seem petty and completely the wrong priorities. (These folks typically belong to the libertarian party in Norway, FrP.) Why is that?

I’ll assume that, in their world, these topics may actually be the most important. They may not have the bigger picture or realize that other topics will impact their lives far more significantly.

So what can explain it?

Misinformation. Some may be misled by some politicians and media to think that these actually are vital and important issues.

Adult development. Some may be at stages of cognitive and values development where issues that seem very close to themselves (like being able to go to the supermarket to get alcohol) are the most important. And issues that seem more distant (although actually more important) seem less relevant.

Trauma and wounds. Some may act from trauma, wounds, and difficult life situations. These tend to narrow our focus to what’s more immediate. They may also lead to acting on reactivity rather than more informed and balanced views. (Which we see among some Trump supporters in the US.)

Genetics. I assume there are certain gene-constellations predisposing us for a more narrow or big picture orientation. Both are important in a population and together increases our chance of survival as a society and species.

Rational decisions. They may know very well what they are doing, and still chose to do it. They may think that access to alcohol and free use of water scooters is most important to them now, and if other topics are more important later they’ll vote for another party.

Norway and oil. One of the topics in the current Norwegian election is oil. Should Norway continue to develop new oil reserves or should they phase out their dependence – through sale and use – on oil? The green party strongly favors not developing new reserves and switching to an economy not dependent on oil. The major parties do the opposite.

I have to say I side with the green party view and I have since my teens. The most sane option is to phase out dependence on oil sooner rather than later. The global transition away from oil is already happening, and it’s happening very fast.

Right now, the Norwegian economy is strong due to the oil industry, and that strength is exactly what’s needed to create a society at the forefront of renewable energy technologies. With the right policies, Norway can lead that transition and ensure a strong national economy in a near-future post-oil world.

With the current short-sighted view of the major parties, it’s not happening. They may change their mind, but by then, it may be too late to be at the forefront.

Trolling and enjoying watching the world burn. It seems that a good portion of what’s behind Trump and his core supporters is trolling and enjoying watching the world burn. They seem to like to troll liberals and do and say whatever they consider reverse PC.

Some may enjoy the trolling sufficiently to override more rational thinking and what’s really in their self-interest. It’s natural to wonder if there isn’t trauma and reactivity behind that trolling. And, sometimes, economic inequality, lack of opportunities, and insufficient social safety nets, behind that trauma and reactivity.

Misinformation and poor education also plays a role. And, for some, strategy. For instance, for the Republicans the Trump circus is a great opportunity to get through policies that otherwise would draw more scrutiny by the media and the public. And some, like Bannon, may (in their insanity) think that tearing down what’s been built up over generations – in terms of institutions, regulations, and social safety nets – will somehow do something good.

How to deal with trolling. With trolling in general, it’s important to not give them what they want. What they want is drama, so don’t give them drama. Instead, do whatever else makes most sense in the situation. Point out what they are doing and show that you see it. Meet them with respect (which is not what they expect or want). Focus on what’s important for you (don’t allow them to set the agenda or focus).

In other words, reframe. Reframe through pointing out the trolling, through kindness and respect, through shifting focus to the more important issues.

Angry and irrational. The simplest explanation for the rise of any authoritarian leader is anger. Anger leads to irrational views and decisions. And enough angry people may act on that anger by supporting an authoritarian leader. And behind anger is fear.

In the US today, a high enough percentage of whites feel left out, ignored, and unable to make use of opportunities available to others. That, combined with a lack of decent social safety nets, makes them fearful. Which in turn leads to anger. Which finally leads to supporting people like Trump.

One reason Trump was elected directly after Obama may be that (a) poor or less educated white people (b) saw a black person who was successful, eloquent, wealthy, and happy, and having the most prestigious position in the country, and (c) felt scared, envious, and reminded of their own position, so (d) they wanted revenge by electing an openly racist candidate.

This type of fear, anger, and frustration can also lead to seeking out easy skapegoats (liberal elite, Mexicans etc). The real cause of their problems has more to do with government policies and ideologies. And yet, for some it can feel more satisfying to blame groups of people than systems. In the election campaign, Trump offered the false scapegoats, and Sanders pointed out the real systemic issues.

The irony here is that by supporting Trump, they also support the Republicans. And the Republicans are the main proponents of policies and ideologies that place the interest of the few wealthy over the interests of the rest of the population. (That’s not to say that the Democrats are not doing the same, they are. Although slightly less.)

Of course, I am biased here.

September 2, 2017

Charismatic leader. Trump is, in some ways, the archetype of the authoritarian charismatic leader. That’s how he managed to get himself elected. And that’s why he keeps having election style rallies. Charisma is useful to get elected. But when you are elected, leadership skills are more important. Since he lacks the necesary leadership skills, his impulse is to revert to rallies to feel better about himself.

Trump or Pence? When the question about impeachment comes up, there is an underlying question. Trump erodes democracy, is unpredictable and reactive, and he may damage the Republican brand. Pence – or another Republican – would be far more predictable and also more effective in getting through (damaging, in my view) Republican policies. If we value democracy and stability over partisan interests, we would support impeachment. I would think that even for Republicans, impeachment would be preferable in the longer run. They’ll get a President that is more sane and effective in getting through the Republicans policies.

The Gifts. The list of possible and actual gifts from a Trump presidency looks about the same for me as it did the day after he was elected. Although now, it’s obviously more grounded in reality.

There is more awareness and public discourse about the value of democracy and factual and respectful interactions. There is also more awareness about certain psychological dynamics and disorders. And there is more awareness of the frustration and anger among those who feel left out and have been especially harmed by neo-liberal policies and increasing economic differences.

What has not happened is a Democratic party that has learned its lesson. It’s still torn between the Clinton camp and their wish of continuing much as before, and the Sanders camp that understands the frustrations of people and have actual solutions. (I am clearly biased here.)

September 12, 2017

Election in Norway. We had an election in Norway yesterday and the conservatives were re-elected by a relatively thin margin. It was perhaps not so surprising since Norway is doing well these days, and the sitting government tend to get voted in for another period in those situations.

It’s also a reminder that when things are going well on a day-to-day basis, most people don’t want to rock the boat. It’s understandable, it’s sane, and it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective.

Still, it’s a bit short sighted, especially in a country still very much dependent on the oil industry in an age that’s already post-oil. I still support the one political party that wants us to shift quickly into the post-world era, and use the current oil money to aid that shift.

The larger parties – both conservative and labor – don’t hesistate calling the Green Party naive. But as I see it, they are the ones with a naive view. They try to desperately continue and expand the oil industry in a world that has already shifted into the next era (all the basics are in place and the shift is happening quickly). In this persepctive, The Greens are the ones who have a realistic, grounded, and future-oriented policy.

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