Column
December 1, 2016

The Nouveau American Revolution

The Nouveau American Revolution

By Marguerite Jill Dye

We were grateful that the snow arrived in time for a beautiful Thanksgiving and to provide ideal conditions for Killington’s first World Cup where excitement and energy stirred up The Beast.
Daydreaming about the great event and sparkling white world, my mind wandered to Killington’s  Canada lynx kitten. How wonderful and symbolic that before the World came together in Killington, our rare and endangered mascot appeared. Threatened in our border states and Canada by human encroachment, vehicles (including snowmobiles) and roads, hunting and trapping, logging and deforestation, changes in climate, prey and habitat, our little friend and its mother are alone in this part of Vermont. It behooves us to protect them through our laws and mindful decisions.
So now it’s back to normal, or what we used to call “normal” that may never be the same: the Nouveau American Revolution. What has transpired of late may not seem like a revolution to some but it shares certain elements: a nation divided, divided families and friends, absolute and unwavering attitudes sometimes based on rumors, lies, deception; loyalty without critical thought; abandoning tradition, societal norms and morals for the sake of change, regardless of its effects.
It seems that we are on the edge of a precipice and don’t believe what lies below. We were promised, and warned, what it would look like but illusions confused, changed color like a chameleon, and descriptions were too outrageous to take seriously. Outrageousness gets our attention in this age of reality television and tweets. But now outlandish illusions and hyperbole are being poured into form like concrete.
At this point, Trump’s proposed appointees have the least relevant experience and related education for their positions of any presidency in American history. For example, Dr. Ben Carson, proposed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has absolutely no experience in affordable housing or urban planning and redevelopment. Betsy Devos, named Secretary of Education, has never supported public education and plans to divert its funds into vouchers to be used in for-profit private and church schools. In fact, a whopping, 80 percent of Michigan’s charter schools are run by private companies, a program she supported.
Bannon, named as White House political advisor, carries his Breitbart baggage with him. He was the executive chairman of Breitbart News until appointed as CEO of the Trump campaign in August. In response to Trump’s considering Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor, 15,000 American attorneys, many conservative and libertarian, stated that “he shouldn’t hold a key position in the White House” and stated “opposing the appointment of someone who has enabled white nationalism and other hate-based ideologies is not a partisan issue.” Our own Howard Dean called Bannon a “Nazi” because of his anti-Semitic, anti-black, and anti-women history. Bannon, himself, declared “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too… I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment,” according to The New Yorker.
What best defines those who put us on this precipice? According to Matthew MacWilliams in Politico, “The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter” isn’t gender, age, income, race, or religion. It’s authoritarianism. He polled Americans across the country and political gamut by asking questions about preferences in child-rearing: is it more important to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; well-mannered or curious? The first choices indicate a strong authoritarian preference. Authoritarians obey, follow strong leaders, respond to outsiders with aggression when they feel themselves threatened, and support Trump, he found. Another study by political scientist Marc Hetherington found that half of likely Republican voters tend to be strong authoritarians, but 39 percent of independents and 17 percent of Democrats are among them, too.
The Republicans and Trump claim a mandate, but there is, in fact, no mandate. Trump lost the popular vote by more than two million votes! Suspicious election findings in the three critical states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, (where Trump won by a total of 100,000 votes out of 13.5 million cast) have been brought forth by expert statisticians and election attorneys and recounts are underway. Russian hacking, FBI interference, voter intimidation and repression also played roles to be determined in the election which, most definitely, was “rigged” as Trump was quick to claim before he won.
Thank heavens, our independent thought, self-reliance, curiosity, and consideration will most certainly help us through these trying times in America.

 

Photo by Marguerite Jill Dye
This collagraph—a form of print making—was created by Marguerite Jill Dye.

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