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Political Prose


Welcome to TVDC's "Political Prose" page! This webpage features interesting articles written by our members and staff. It will also from time-to-time feature select articles that we believe will be of interest to the membership. The articles are excerpted here, to save space. You can click on the title or on the "Read More" link to see the full article.

You are free to comment on any article you see here, but please be respectful.

If you have a political piece you've written - or one shared with you from the outside - please feel free to send it to Chris Stanley at  chrisstanley.vdc@gmail.com for consideration. 

ENJOY!

  • Monday, September 14, 2020 9:19 AM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)

    The following is from the "Good Trouble Blog." It is lengthy but very well done; it's one of the very best of "...the case against Donald Trump" I've seen.

    The author remains anonymous. You can read the full article here:  https://goodtrouble974588398.wordpress.com


    The Case Against Trump (and why some of your friends and family no longer want to speak to you)

    I love this country. I always have. But the last few years in the USA have left me truly aghast. Just when I think that there are no more surprises left in American political life, I am handed a freshly squeezed surprise. Bluntly put, I think we’ve reached the point where Donald Trump could drown a bag of kittens on live TV, or indeed “shoot someone on 5th Avenue”, and some people will still consider him the lesser of two evils...


  • Saturday, September 12, 2020 7:00 AM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)

    The following article appeared in the London Daily today. It aptly describes our 45th President. You can read the full article here:  Why do some British people not like Donald Trump ?

    “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?” Nate White, an articulate and witty writer from England wrote the following response:

    "A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief..."


  • Monday, July 20, 2020 7:15 PM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)

    The following links to an interesting article in The Washington Post, written by Christopher Fonzone, Joshua A Geltzer and Laurence H. Tribe.

    "Trump could lose and not leave. But Cabinet members who try to help face prison"


  • Tuesday, July 14, 2020 8:30 AM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)

    The following Opinion article, by TVDC Board member Marsha Shearer, appeared in Newsweek on July 9, 2020. It is pasted here in its entirety.

      

    Confession time: My name is Marsha Shearer and I live in The Villages, Florida. Yes, that place: the place where a golf-cart driver was filmed yelling "white power", and made it all the way to Trump's Twitter feed, via a presidential retweet. We are now firmly known to the world as the heart of Trump country, full of ill-behaved retirees—with a bunch of racists thrown into the mix. Even before Trump came along, this was identified as the Conservative and/or Republican bastion in Florida. Both of these descriptions are accurate, but they are not the whole story; far from it. And while this is the belly of the beast for those with progressive, liberal, left- leaning beliefs and values, I wouldn't live anyplace else.

    First, that video needs to be put in context. What happened on that day in June is a glimpse in miniature of what it's like living in The Villages. Earlier that day, several hundred people met in the Square, the community's gathering place, to solemnly acknowledge and share the pain resulting from the murder of George Floyd. Poems and essays were read, community members voiced their grief, and there was a communal sense of loss and commonality of emotion and purpose. The hour ended in silent kneeling for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. People carried signs saying 'Black Lives Matter.' Mine said "Are we great yet? #Black Lives Matter." The other side of the sign quoted Martin Luther King; "Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter."

    Immediately following our event, a golf cart rally was scheduled in support of Trump and to celebrate his birthday. Talk about lousy timing. Several hundred golf carts took a drive around the Square honking horns and yelling support. That's where the video came from. It was embarrassing, disgusting, confrontational and sickening.

    So there you have it: juxtaposed opposites, two groups splintered from one another while living and interacting in the same community. But that's only part of a complicated picture. 

    In this Trumpers' paradise is the largest Democratic Club in the State of Florida. Not because we have more Democrats than other similarly sized communities; we're outnumbered here 3 to 1. It is because we live in a vivid microcosm of an America we can't relate to – one that is an insult to what most Americans believe America was conceived to be. Trump and his administration have galvanized us and served as an impetus to come together to proudly share the values of Democrats—of liberty and justice for all—with emphasis on the last two words. The values of concern for others, of respect and appreciation for cultural differences, of truth and transparency. The values that call for a commitment to work to make this country and our community a better place, to heed our better angels, and to help bend the arc of justice. Those aren't just iconic words. We do not accept what a chance visitor might mistake for The Villages' universal political stance. We walk the walk. We are active.

    We walk out of establishments that refuse to change channels from FOX News. We boycott shops that sell only Trump paraphernalia. We write letters to the editor and opinion pieces for the local online paper. We cancel subscriptions to the Daily Sun—the local developer-owned and influenced paper that serves as a mouthpiece for Trumpian "values." We support one another and we work like hell for candidates who represent the best of who we can be. We embrace needed change as we embrace each other. And we detest everything that Trump stands for and represents.

    In addition to The Villages being home to some of the most wonderfully supportive, intelligent, caring people I've known, are the kind of amenities that make The Villages a great place to live. Normally—but not in the time of a pandemic— there are literally thousands of different clubs and activities that are available to everyone. Many focus on personal growth and learning new skills and information. Clubs like Civil Discourse, Free Thinkers, the Philosophy Club, Foreign Films, Humanists, foodie groups for—yes— foodies, creative groups that teach skills and provide opportunities you never had the time for, like dozens of art/sculpture classes, writers groups, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, classes in everything from the martial arts to Pilates, from the Constitution to cheerleading. There are dozens of golf courses and pools. If lifelong learning is a personal goal than anything you can dream up is here and available.

    Most important of all, regardless of your party registration, if you are a thinking, open, inquisitive person, looking at retirement as an adventure and an opportunity for personal growth and giving back, you will find your new best friends here, eager to welcome you.

    In many ways, we are like any other community of 130,000 and growing. People come here to live from all over the world, each bringing with them a lifetime of experience. And like any other community, we represent a bell-

    shaped curve of education, experience, values and beliefs—the latter admittedly skewing right. But don't allow a few people to influence your view of The Villages. What you saw in the video exists. That's a fact. But it is not representative of who we are, however we identify ourselves, any more than Donald Trump is representative of the values of this nation.

    Marsha Shearer has lived in The Villages for the past 20 years. She is a retired educator and school administrator. Her last position was with the Department of Dependent Schools overseas. A lifelong Democrat, she is the author of the recently published book, "America in Crisis; Essays on the Failed Presidency of Donald J. Trump."

    The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​

  • Tuesday, June 02, 2020 10:52 AM | Heather Rabinowitz (Administrator)

    Margaret Chase Smith (late Republican Senator from Maine) presented a classic speech 70 years ago. The GOP should reexamine it for some serious soul-searching.


    As Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine boarded the Senate subway, she encountered the junior senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy. “Margaret, you look very serious,” he said. “Are you going to make a speech?” Without hesitation, Smith replied: “Yes, and you will not like it!”

    The parallels between McCarthyism and Trumpism are striking—although, in keeping with the times, Trumpian show trials take place on Twitter and the echo chamber of conservative opinionating on cable, talk radio, and the web.

    Read Her Inspiring Speech Here

  • Monday, April 27, 2020 3:20 PM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)

    This is no longer a disaster waiting to happen. This train wreck of a presidency has stopped being a spectator sport – watching from afar while Trump instigates the next calamity.

    This time, this isn’t an event taking place elsewhere, although we were given a preview following the impact of Maria in Puerto Rico, as this administration sat by and watched thousands of fellow Americans die – not from the hurricane but from disdain and neglect. This time, we are all on that train, travelling at breakneck speed, to a tragic fate and the conductor is a spoiled, self-engrossed 10 year old who lacks the critical component of ‘humanity’ or ‘character.’ Hard to define but you know it when you don’t see it. And now we finally know the train’s destination; hospitals and crematoria all over this country.

    At a time when we need the foresight of a leader, someone who challenges us to rise to the occasion, a person who leads by example, who listens to the experts, someone who takes and accepts responsibility, someone whose word you trust – we have just the opposite. A leader is adept, is able to change on a dime when conditions warrant, shows respect and generates trust, and listens to experts. A leader is a master communicator (Forbes, Aug.2018). Sarmad Hasan from TaskQue, calls it ‘emotional intelligence’ and adds truthfulness, humility, empathy and accountability to the list. Trump isn’t just lacking in these characteristics – he is constitutionally unable to demonstrate them because he has no idea what they actually mean in terms of his behavior. He doesn’t lead by thoughtful, intelligent example, he leads by dictum. No one knows more than he does. About anything. About everything. His opinion is always worthy even when suggesting people ingest disinfectant as a cure for Covid19. Imagine that. Well, actually, no need to imagine.

    Trump did not cause the coronavirus. And these comments have nothing to do with the content of other policies or programs. But they have everything to do with how he approaches every policy and program. Trump’s first, second and third response will always be about one thing – maintaining, protecting, and feeding his massive ego. Even as people die, this is about him as it is always about him – his polls, his political enemies, the need to project blame, as he always does, on others. It’s about the one thing neither Trump nor his supporters can change. It’s his character – or more precisely, his lack of it.

    This is perfectly represented in a series of tweets to “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN,” and then “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.” (all-caps are his). The last I looked, these are part of the United States, not enemy territory – unless you consider these key swing states, with Democratic Governors, the enemy. His own medical advisors warned that social distancing and wearing facial masks were critical to controlling the virus but Donald agreed with the marching, gun toting masses carrying and wearing Trump paraphernalia, along with swastikas and confederate flags. When asked to comment about the protesters who were not abiding by rules put in place to save lives, his comment was, “…I hear a lot of them  like me…” 

    And there you have it. That’s all that matters. That’s all that has ever has mattered.

    Our biggest threat isn’t Covid19. Our biggest threat is, and has always been, Donald Trump.  

    by Marsha Shearer | Marsha is a Club member and author of “AMERICA IN CRISIS:  Essays on the Failed Presidency of Donald J. Trump”

  • Saturday, April 25, 2020 3:42 PM | Bryan Casey (Administrator)


    The following article (provided by a Club member) recently appeared in full or in part on several websites and social media feeds. It is a scathing commentary of Donald Trump and the broader Republican Party.

    25/04/2020 | by Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times

    US president Donald Trump has claimed he was being sarcastic and testing the media when he raised the idea that injecting disinfectant or irradiating the body with ultraviolet light might kill coronavirus.

    Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.

    However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.

     Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.

    As the American writer George Packer puts it in the current edition of the Atlantic, “The United States reacted … like Pakistan or Belarus – like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering.” 

    It is one thing to be powerless in the face of a natural disaster, quite another to watch vast power being squandered in real time – wilfully, malevolently, vindictively. It is one thing for governments to fail (as, in one degree or another, most governments did), quite another to watch a ruler and his supporters actively spread a deadly virus. Trump, his party and Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News became vectors of the pestilence.

    The grotesque spectacle of the president openly inciting people (some of them armed) to take to the streets to oppose the restrictions that save lives is the manifestation of a political death wish. What are supposed to be daily briefings on the crisis, demonstrative of national unity in the face of a shared challenge, have been used by Trump merely to sow confusion and division. They provide a recurring horror show in which all the neuroses that haunt the American subconscious dance naked on live TV.

    If the plague is a test, its ruling political nexus ensured that the US would fail it at a terrible cost in human lives. In the process, the idea of the US as the world’s leading nation – an idea that has shaped the past century – has all but evaporated.

    Other than the Trump impersonator Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, who is now looking to the US as the exemplar of anything other than what not to do? How many people in Düsseldorf or Dublin are wishing they lived in Detroit or Dallas?

    It is hard to remember now but, even in 2017, when Trump took office, the conventional wisdom in the US was that the Republican Party and the broader framework of US political institutions would prevent him from doing too much damage. This was always a delusion, but the pandemic has exposed it in the most savage ways.

    Abject surrender

     What used to be called mainstream conservatism has not absorbed Trump – he has absorbed it. Almost the entire right-wing half of American politics has surrendered abjectly to him. It has sacrificed on the altar of wanton stupidity the most basic ideas of responsibility, care and even safety.

    Thus, even at the very end of March, 15 Republican governors had failed to order people to stay at home or to close non-essential businesses. In Alabama, for example, it was not until April 3rd that governor Kay Ivey finally issued a stay-at-home order. 

    In Florida, the state with the highest concentration of elderly people with underlying conditions, governor Ron DeSantis, a Trump mini-me, kept the beach resorts open to students travelling from all over the US for spring break parties. Even on April 1st, when he issued restrictions, DeSantis exempted religious services and “recreational activities”.

    There is, as the demonstrations in US cities show, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic 

    Georgia governor Brian Kemp, when he finally issued a stay-at-home order on April 1st, explained: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours.”

    This is not mere ignorance – it is deliberate and homicidal stupidity. There is, as the demonstrations this week in US cities have shown, plenty of political mileage in denying the reality of the pandemic. It is fuelled by Fox News and far-right internet sites, and it reaps for these politicians millions of dollars in donations, mostly (in an ugly irony) from older people who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. 

    It draws on a concoction of conspiracy theories, hatred of science, paranoia about the “deep state” and religious providentialism (God will protect the good folks) that is now very deeply infused in the mindset of the American right.

    Trump embodies and enacts this mindset, but he did not invent it. The US response to the coronavirus crisis has been paralysed by a contradiction that the Republicans have inserted into the heart of US democracy. On the one hand, they want to control all the levers of governmental power. On the other they have created a popular base by playing on the notion that government is innately evil and must not be trusted.

    The contradiction was made manifest in two of Trump’s statements on the pandemic: on the one hand that he has “total authority”, and on the other that “I don’t take responsibility at all”. Caught between authoritarian and anarchic impulses, he is incapable of coherence.

    Fertile ground

    But this is not just Donald Trump. The crisis has shown definitively that Trump’s presidency is not an aberration. It has grown on soil long prepared to receive it. The monstrous blossoming of misrule has structure and purpose and strategy behind it.

     There are very powerful interests who demand “freedom” in order to do as they like with the environment, society and the economy. They have infused a very large part of American culture with the belief that “freedom” is literally more important than life. My freedom to own assault weapons trumps your right not to get shot at school. Now, my freedom to go to the barber (“I Need a Haircut” read one banner this week in St Paul, Minnesota) trumps your need to avoid infection. 

    Usually when this kind of outlandish idiocy is displaying itself, there is the comforting thought that, if things were really serious, it would all stop. People would sober up. Instead, a large part of the US has hit the bottle even harder.

    And the president, his party and their media allies keep supplying the drinks. There has been no moment of truth, no shock of realisation that the antics have to end. No one of any substance on the US right has stepped in to say: get a grip, people are dying here. 

    If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics 

    That is the mark of how deep the trouble is for the US – it is not just that Trump has treated the crisis merely as a way to feed tribal hatreds but that this behaviour has become normalised. When the freak show is live on TV every evening, and the star is boasting about his ratings, it is not really a freak show any more. For a very large and solid bloc of Americans, it is reality.

     And this will get worse before it gets better. Trump has at least eight more months in power. In his inaugural address in 2017, he evoked “American carnage” and promised to make it stop. But now that the real carnage has arrived, he is revelling in it. He is in his element.

    As things get worse, he will pump more hatred and falsehood, more death-wish defiance of reason and decency, into the groundwater. If a new administration succeeds him in 2021, it will have to clean up the toxic dump he leaves behind. If he is re-elected, toxicity will have become the lifeblood of American politics. 

    Either way, it will be a long time before the rest of the world can imagine America being great again. 

   

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