DONALD TRUMP–WHO IS TO BLAME?

The hand wringing has already begun. Who exactly is to blame for rise of Donald Trump?  Here are the suspects, followed by some clever analysis by Pastor Greenbean. Keep in mind that Greenbean trusts no politician and has misgivings about both major political parties.gop-2016-trump.jpg

The Media–Some people blame the media. Indeed, many in the media gleefully blame themselves as a celebration of their power. It is true that Trump received an overwhelming amount of coverage, such that no other candidate could seemingly get a word into the political conversation. What I wonder, as something of an outsider on this whole thing, is if Ted Cruz might not be onto something–the media made him, now they will tear him apart. Cruz would argue this was their plan because of ideology, however my suspicion is that it is not about ideology, it is about ratings.

The GOP Establishment–By this I mean the popular meme that those in Washington–the insiders–have not gotten anything done, have waffled on their promises, and have sold out to President Obama. I admit I don’t quite see that line of thought, but that is what some believe. I suspect it is not so much that this is a fact as it is a perceived fact.

The Pollsters–One key to Trumps success was his constant pointing to poll numbers. The abundance of so many unscientific on-line polls always favored Trump because of his name recognition, not his politics. Trump talked about them so much, it gave early credibility to his candidacy when it should have been suffocated.

Reality TV/Crude Culture–I put these together. The thinking is that people were not electing a politician as much as they were voting for who got to stay on the island. Each week, they picked the most entertaining person to stay because he was, well, entertaining. Future historians and sociologists might write about this process, but for now I think it is overstated. People knew they were voting for a presidential candidate. It just so happens the one they liked was a crude TV star. That is not too different from people voting for the actor Reagan or the general Eisenhower.

The Tea Party–I think they have much to blame here. The same people who supported the Tea Party movement in 2010 are supporting Trump now. They have no interest in governance or compromise or any of the things necessary for a democratic society. Instead they are complete reactionaries against societal change. Trump is a vote for a return to something like 1957, and the Tea Party has already set the date on the flux capacitor.

The Other Candidates–I keep hearing people make excuses by claiming the field was too big. I find that bogus. All it would have taken was for one of the other candidates to do their job and go after Trump early. None of them had any stamina at all to go toe to toe with Trump in an effective way to reveal him as fraud. It is one thing to say he is a fraud, but none of them showed it. Instead, they all fawned all over him as if they were just happy to be along for the ride. I’m talking about early in the process, even before the debates started. They should have went after him then. But they didn’t, because they were afraid of him. Cruz and Carson specifically had opportunity early but instead they played all nicey nice.

All these bare some of the blame, but they didn’t play the decisive role. The real blame for Donald Trump is the GOP electorate. Let me be clear, I will never vote for Donald Trump under any circumstance. However, he won the nomination fair and square. It is his party for at least the next eight months. The people knew exactly what they were doing and they enjoyed every minute of it. They ran roughshod over a host of great candidates to pick the most unqualified, liberal, reckless, racist, unChristian person they could.  He is what the GOP is right now, and it is time that the people within the party who do not reflect that figure out if they will match to fit, lay low and bide their time, or leave.

Make no mistake, Trump’s general election campaign will be a nightmare for many people. Could he win? I suppose he could. It is hard to believe he will. However, I must admit I never dreamed he would win the nomination, either. If he were to win, it would spell a dramatic change in American politics that would reset almost everything–beginning with the terms left and right, liberal, conservative, hawk, dove, and so forth. If he wins it will be by shaking up the electoral map. He will win places like Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania.  He might, in contrast, lose places like Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

Who will be his running mate?  Chris Christie is the obvious choice–that might have already been made back when he endorsed Trump. Sarah Palin comes to mind, as does Newt Gingrich. I could even envision him choosing his daughter Ivanka. In fact, the more I think about it, I say 50-50 odds it is Ivanka.

I hope it is not wishful thinking to feel confident that he will lose. For now I am getting accustomed to saying, “President Clinton” again.

 

image from nydailynews.com

 

TERRORIST–A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (THE MORE YOU KNOW)

I should be working right now.  I am about 30k words into a new novel that is, IMHO, awesome.

But before I get to work today, I wish to perform a public service.  I need to help the various news agencies with a bit of editing.  As a writer, and before that as a pastor/theologian, I learned that putting the right label on a thing is vital to comprehension about what is really happening.  If I label something as hate, it communicates something different from labeling it as misplaced emotions.  One word hardens the situation into a very well know feeling, while the other phrase softens it into something almost incomprehensible.  What exactly is a misplaced emotion?  Likewise, labeling something as crazy means one thing, labeling it as extreme is something else.

Now to the point at hand.  Many of you, like myself, were no doubt horrified at the recent news of the American journalist named James Foley being beheaded yesterday by ISIS (Or is it ISIL now, or just Islamic State? it seems like it keeps changing) and then the video was posted on Youtube.  I refuse to watch the video, and will certainly not post it here, but I have heard video outtakes and seen the photograph of Foley kneeling, wearing orange beside a man dressed in black.

I have read several news reports, television reports, and radio bulletins on the incident, and I have found a mistake.  In each of these, the media continues to use the words militant, jihadist, or fighter to describe the man standing beside Foley.  One report (BBC) indicated that the ‘fighter’ was British and spoke with a ‘London’ accent.

Please be advised, the correct word is not militant.  If the individual was militant, he would be a part of a military and therefore would properly be called a soldier.  Jihadist is a better word, but still not quite right for this situation.  A Jihadist does what he or she does for religious reasons.  ISIS, though Muslim in the extreme, is operating as a political endeavor.  I believe the first S in ISIS stands for state.  Nation-states, though sometimes motivated by religion, are usually understood as political entities seeking to exert control of geography and resources.  Fighter is even a worse label.  Fighter is so ambiguous it could also be used to describe someone in a MMA event or a brawler on the school playground.

No, the correct word you are looking for is terrorist.  Please use the correct word, even if our political leaders don’t want the world thinking that terrorists are still a threat.

This has been a public service provided by Pastor Greenbean.  The More You know.

 

 

AMANDA KNOX AND MICHAEL JACKSON

Americans have always been captivated by high-profile trials and crimes, whether it is the Scopes Monkey Trial, The Al Capone Trial, or the O. J. Simpson trials we have shown ourselves captivated by jurisprudence.  Even the trial of Socrates still interests us.  Today that thought hit me as I traveled up and down the I-5 corridor to have lunch with a friend.  For a while I listened to my iPod (for those curious—Some Stones, G-N-R, a little Frank Sinatra) but then I turned to one of my favorite things to do—radio surfing.  I discovered that the whole world was talking about one of two things.

Thing One:  The Amanda Knox Trial. 

I really do not know if Amanda Knox is guilty or innocent, but I must admit it is captivating.  I’m torn over her conviction/release.  If she is guilty, the crime she committed is awful, but if she really is innocent, I can think of few things worse than being imprisoned overseas.  Once upon a time I entertained the thought of taking a church in British Columbia and one of the main reasons I didn’t was the advice I received from a friend:  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends at the border.

Aside from the forensics of the case—that a person was brutally murdered—the whole situation regarding her release has been odd.  The media have been hounding her ever since she got out, and now they are apparently camped outside her home.  I hope she has enough sense not to go home.  Ironically, that is probably the one place she really wants to go to, but she shouldn’t.  If I were her, I’d find a quiet cabin far away from civilization and hunker down for a month or two.  That is all it will take for people to forget.

 

Thing Two:  The Michael Jackson Doctor Trial.

Is it sad that, even though I’ve heard all about this trial and all sorts of information about it, I do not know the doctor’s name?  I just know it is Michael Jackson’s doctor.  Apparently the case revolves around his care of the King of Pop, whether or not he killed him by overdosing him on the drug that killed him.  It is hard to tell, but the media seems to think he is guilty.  To me, that might mean he is innocent.  I do not trust the media to judge anything correctly.

The saddest part is  that even in death, Michael Jackson seems to have no peace.  I know that his life was a sordid celebrity explosion, swirling questions of child sexual abuse, and who knows what else, but death is usually the final word on such issues.  But the cult of celebrity is so strong in our culture (notice the striking similarities between the word “cult” and “culture”) even death does not end the dog and pony show.  Do not get me wrong, if the doctor is guilty he should be punished and put in prison.  But this hardly seems national media newsworthy.  How many other people will die today from medical malpractice?  Is Jackson’s life (and death) that much more important than anyone else’s?

 

There are so many other stories I’d love to hear about, but these salacious stories suck up all the air.  For example, I’ve not seen or heard much about protests on Wall Street, the looming demise of Rick Perry’s presidential bid, the drone killing of an American citizen overseas, or the quarreling in congress right now over funding the government.  Does anyone remember Afghanistan?  Libya?  Iran?  Israel?

Maybe news about trials are just a diversion for us so we don’t have to think about the things which have real impact on how we live.

I STEPPED OUT AND THE WHOLE WORLD FELL APART

As a man who grew up in Tornado Alley and now lives in Northwest Washington—home of slate gray and high winds, I found a lot of interest in the way the media covered the recent earthquake/hurricane situation on the East Coast.  For starters, had either of these events occurred anywhere else, neither would have received very much attention at all.  The only reason these seemed to matter so much is because ALL THE MEDIA LIVE ON THE EAST COAST AND THINK THEY ARE ALL THAT MATTERS.

Okay, I wrote that in all caps, and that was a little too strong.  I apologize.  I am actually not that convinced the issue is East Coast bias as much as  the media’s need for the next big story.  But for most of the time in which the “historical” category one hurricane was moving along the seaboard, I was busy with life.  I took Mrs. Greenbean away to celebrate our 18th Anniversary (horray—our marriage is old enough to vote!)  We spent two nights in beautiful Leavenworth and stayed at the best Bed & Breakfast ever.  I did keep tabs on my iPhone and Sunday afternoon after I returned from church I watched some of the coverage and I have searched the internets.  Here are some interesting things I noticed.

1.  The only voice of reason during the earthquake was coming from Shephard Smith.  Amazing—as he is usually the one who gets so super excited about things.  It is interesting to me that had this earthquake happened on the West Coast, or anywhere else for that matter, it would have made the “crawl” at the bottom but that’d be about it.

2.  What is this lunatic reporter doing?  Apparently the ‘toxic sea’ foam is actually raw sewage.

YUCK

3.  Michele Bachmann just flat-out makes me laugh.  I don’t think she meant anything spiritual or evil about this; but you can’t be saying things like this and expect to be understood or elected!

4.  Cliff Mass is the best weatherman ever.  I love his blog and I think he is very cool because he got fired from public radio (KUOW) for protesting weak math education here in Washington.  His weekend blog seems to have put things in to perspective nicely.

5.  It is curious that the name of the hurricane was Irene, when the word Irene in Greek means peaceful.  In English it is very common to refer to the “irenic sea” when the waters were calm.  I guess the people who named it either didn’t know that or, are highly ironic.

I am certain that to the people who live in these zones it was all very frightening and troubling.  However, things must be put into proportion and the overreaction of the media to things that happen all the time is very troubling.  The 24/7 news cycle is ruining our ability as a society to be anything.