The Cult Of Trump #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am winning myself no friends amongst the people I went to high school with when I call the people who still support Trump cult members. But as every day brings with it new scandals and revelations, there doesn’t seem to be any other answer but that.

Trump’s base is a cult.

What gets me is otherwise normal well-informed, educated people have succumb to this cult in such a way that they rationalize anything Trump does out of existence. In the end, it’s all rather chilling because it’s the people with logical explanations for why they can continue defend Trump that really bother me.

I was on a vacation of sorts and off the grid when it broke, but this whole Rob Porter debacle is a prime example of what I’m talking about. There is a lot going on with all of this. Something about Trump, in essence, poo-pooing domestic assault, added to his usual grab bag of misogyny, racism and bigotry is something of the last straw. I simply can’t brook such bizarre illogical behavior. How someone could possibly support a public figure who attempts to mitigate viable claims of domestic abuse is really beyond me. It is staggering that anyone could, at this point, continue to support Trump. I take violence towards women very seriously and the at best tepid response on the part of Trump to this fetid imbroglio leave much to be desired, to say the least. I find myself getting angry just thinking about it.

Ranting on Facebook about all of this doesn’t seem to matter. The Trump supporters I like on a personal level, while the ones I don’t like stick around and are oddly silent. The few times I do talk directly to my Trump supporting Facebook friends, it’s like talking to someone at Jonestown as they cruise towards the koolaid stand. They have so invested in the cancerous growth that is Trump that they’re a political zombie. They have reached a level of sheepdom that I don’t quite know what to do. They talk in a political language that is so surreal, so detached from my own personal reality that it’s literally like we’re on two different political planets.

I give then proof that Trump is a racist, they say he’s “tough on crime.” I give them any number of different reasons why they shouldn’t have voted for Trump in the first place, and they tell me Hillary Clinton was worse. This boggles my mind. I was no big Hillary Clinton supporter, but to me Clinton was a flaming pile of poop compared to the alien facehugger of Trump. I was right in 2016 and I’m right now.

The tragedy of all of this is that Trump supporters do, in fact, have any number of legitimate reasons to be furious at the established liberal order. But they got conned. They got conned by snake oil salesman who apparently put some potent mind-control substance in his elixir. My biggest fear is that Trump’s constant playing to the base, will, for various quirky reasons, actually work. It seems as though the Republican Party is hell bent on near-permanent power and if they do, they will reshape America in some pretty significant — and dystopian — ways.

It goes without saying that Trump’s victory laid bare the problems with the American body politic. I’m enough of a student of history to know that given the ebb and flow of presidential politics, it was inevitable that the situation we find ourselves in would happen. What makes it unique is Trump’s lack of an ideology and complete incompetence. Add to that his extremely ill-suited temperament and you have the makings of a pretty disastrous moment in American history.

Italy’s former prime minster Silvio Berlusconi is a lot like Trump and the only way he was extracted from power was his connection to an underage prostitution ring. I get upset and tell Trump supporters that Trump could literally strangle someone live on FOX News and they wouldn’t care, and they just chuckle and say it depended on who he strangled. Thus, at this point I honestly don’t see how Trump doesn’t serve out two terms. Trump is shaping up to be much like Reagan in how he defines his moment. The only thing that might, just might cause Trump not to be able to pick a successor — President Tom Cotton, anyone? — is, if anything, we’ve seen that by the end of a president’s second term, people grow tired and want change.

Before you get your hopes up, though, remember, Democrats were out of power on the presidential level for 12 years. It took them that long to find a new vision — the famous Third Way — that was so successful in the guise of Bill Clinton. So, it’s very possible we’re in for about 12 years of this insanity before someone bubbles up to the political surface and fixes things. Though, just as Reagan changed everything, I suspect for a lot of Trump’s changes in our political environment, there’s no going back.

You can’t screw things up this bad without changing things long-term. This doesn’t even begin to address the significant risk of continued Russian — or Chinese! — meddling in our politics for many, many years to come. It could be decades before we straiten things out and things begin to sort themselves out.

The ultimate tragedy is while liberals like me are distracted by the near daily outrages of the Trump Administration, Trump is pulling an epic fast one on us. He’s changing our government and some basic assumptions we have about the social contract in ways we simply aren’t going to be able to understand for generations to come. But, like said, this was inevitable. Trump is just putting his own bizarre spin on things.

Of #Trump, #Art & #Immigration In The Context Of The #Screenplay I’m #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s interesting how the more I think about it, the more this screenplay I’m developing is about, in real terms, immigration in the Trump era. Humanity — and specifically the United States — is given the greatest opportunity in human history and the screenplay asks out loud if because of political dysfunction if anyone would be willing or able to take advantage of it.

At least, that’s my vision of the concept. I see my efforts as a stepping off point. If I’m able to finish something, anything, I can pitch it to others who might be able to make it better. I’m sure I’m going about this all wrong, but, then, I never do anything right.

The key is, of course, to simply finish something, anything, instead of screwing around and daydreaming. I have produce “paper” as they call it so I can prove that I’m actually serious about all of this. But the process itself is fun. A lot of fun. And I believe I’ve come up with a really, really unique take on the First Contact cliche. But only time will tell. Maybe I’ll grow bored of this like I have everything else.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

V-Log: #Art In The Time Of #Trump #Screenplay #Writing

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am simply not a good enough writer to accurately represent Trump in a screenplay. But maybe that might change once I finish something and then someone who is a better writer might be able to help me. Anyway, I talk about all this in this video. Enjoy.

Of #Writing #Screenplays & America In The Age Of #Trump

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

There’s no way to tell the story I want to tell without talking about how Trump has changed America, so I’ve decided to make that the main theme of the story in the first place. But it’s going to be a while before I produce anything. I have to write a short story or novella first.

Far Worse Than Watergate, My Ass: How I Quit Worrying & Learned To Love Fuckwits

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

For otherwise grown adults, the Republican Party sure does collectively act like a bunch of little kids. They know the only way to get anyone’s attention is to cry and say this or that dumb conspiracy theory is “far worse than Watergate.” Republicans know they will catch liberals attention by invoking Watergate, even if it, in fact, has nothing to do with what’s going on.

I had a long, painful and weirdly insightful discussion with a Trump supporter recently that at first left me seething and now leavings me somewhat resigned. Talking to him about Trump was a textbook case of gaslighting and rhetorical shadowboxing. Even when I landed punches, he wouldn’t admit it. It was extremely frustrating.

But I did learn something about how to debate a Trump cult member. You have to give them specifics. You have to be prepared. If you’re going to engage, not enrage a Trump cultist, you need to be prepared. This is a really big mistake I’ve made in the past. Just because it’s self-evident to you that Trump and his ilk are bigoted, racist misogynists, doesn’t mean you’re not going to have to prove it to a Trump cult member.

The sooner we admit to ourselves that Trump supporters are in a deluded cult, the sooner we will better understand how to address them. They don’t see the fetid, rancid ideological dumpster fire of MAGA as that at all. All they care about is that the economy is “humming” and that ISIS has been largely defeated. It’s really weird that otherwise conservative people would embrace moral relativism in their efforts to support the Dear Leader, while a liberal like me has to stand on principle to get anything done.

Anyway, I guess the point is if you’re going talk to a Trump supporter, you can’t just yell at them the way you want to. You’re going to have to have cold hard facts — lots of them — at your disposal that you can throw at them. They will shadowbox, they will rhetorically bob and weave, but find your hill and die on it. Don’t get distracted by what a target rich environment MAGA is. Find a specific thing that really pisses you off about Trump, learn as much as you can about it and attack, attack, attack.

But we’re all doomed. I need some hope.

Mulling The Political Psychology Of A Trump Supporter

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I had a long a painful discussion with a Trump supporter that just left me furious. It’s like they were living in a different universe than me. Their argument boiled down “Lulz, nothing matters” with a heavy dose of “the economy is doing well” and “Trump defeated ISIS” along with a side dish of “he’s securing the borders.”

What made me so angry was I would present the person with number of insane things Trump had done — things that would destroy any other politician — and they either lightly admitted it was outrageous or rationalized it out of existence.

The whole thing left me white hot angry that otherwise sane people could believe such stupid shit. It makes me so angry. I want to make Trump supporters furious. I want them to hate me. But weirdly enough they’re so numb to any disagreement that it’s like talking to someone in a well-medicated cult.

That’s really the only thing I can compare it to — a cult. Trump supporters are in a cult and they’re holding my country hostage. All I can do in response is vote. Maybe engage in some political activity to get help my little corner of the world.

But as of right now, things are looking kind of grim.

‘Have A Great Life’ — #Lyrics To A Woke Power Ballad

Trump, besides putting his grubby hands on a great Beatles lyric, is just a fountain head of lyrics today. So, here goes. The meaning of these lyrics is kind of muddled.

Have A Great Life
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

the end is near it seems between us
we’re going to have to accept
that the last lap has been run
we’re done, done, done
you’ll be gone soon enough
leaving all this behind

have a great life
is all I have to say
have a great life
I mention to my dismay

the powers that be have kicked you out
you had power over me now you’re just a lout
when we look back upon this time
we’ll struggle to figure out
how it happen at all
we will climb to a new fate
leaving me to wonder why we ever did date

these days are scary
with the tweeting going on
war seems about to happen
so I hide in the lyrics of a song
when it will be over is anyone’s guess
but will tell you now Godspeed and God bless

have a great life
is all I have to say
have a great life
I mention to my dismay

[bridge]
you’re quoting Beatles’ songs
much to may dismay
how would you do such a thing
I say with a sway

but goodbye is all I have to say
you’re gone now for good
at least that is your claim to fame

have a great life
is all I have to say
have a great life
I mention to my dismay

Some Thoughts On How America Gets Out Of This Trump Mess #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The existential question of the day is whether or not Donald Trump is a fluke or the dawn of a new, dystopian era in American history. One thing is fore sure, Trump’s rise to power is the culmination of structural, systemic issues in the American body politic. Not to invoke his name too lightly, but Trump, in a sense, is an American Hitler if you think of history but as the biography of great men.

It is possible that the United States will bounce back, at least momentarily, from this Bad King. I mean, Caligula in all his insanity didn’t manage to bring down the Roman Empire. But I do think Trump is endemic of the end of the American Republic. The entire system is so broken, so built to squash leadership in any meaningful way, that there’s a real chance the United States is fucked.

And, yet, it is at least possible to put a positive spin on things. But it would require some pretty astonishing things to happen. The crux of the issue is — has Trump so fundamentally warped American politics that we can’t go back to traditional politicians? Have we reached Idiotracy at last and from now one, our politicians have to be establish celebrities and our celebrities have to be politicians? The answer to that kind of question will come, probably about November 2018.

When people begin to throw their hats into the presidential ring in earnest in late 2018, that will determine the tempo of things. A lot, unfortunately, depends on one Donald J. Trump. If Trump manages to survive past 2020 and have a second term, it’s really likely that there really will be no turning back. It’s very possible that we will have entered a new era in American political life that really is dark and uncharted. A lot depends who Trump is going to be up against in 2020.

I have long suggested that the only type of person who could defeat Trump, who is nothing more than overgrown middle-school bully, would be the adult equivalent of a middle-school class clown. It seems readily apparent that someone like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or even Chelsea Handler might be the silver bullet that might be able to slay the political monster that is Trump. Handler, in particular is, in a weird way, perfectly suited to the task at hand. She’s got just the right acerbic wit combined with a tough as nails sensibility that she could effectively deal with whatever horrific vitriol the Right wing managed to throw at her. There is the issue of a sex tape released by a vengeful ex-boyfriend, but I would like to think in this bizarre political world we now live in that wouldn’t be held against her too much, at least by most voters.

Meanwhile, both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would be great candidates as well, but it’s highly unlikely that Stewart would leave his petting zoo in New Jersey or that Colbert would leave a successful late night talk show to run for president.

One thing we have to take seriously is how the Russians might try to meddle in the election again. The American political system is so fucked up in a structural way, that it’s very well possible they could throw the election to Trump AGAIN and nothing would happen. Trump really has a near mystical hold on his followers that is difficult to explain or break. It is very well possible that he will not only survive, but thrive and prosper in the coming days and that there really will be nothing to stop him from finishing two complete terms.

That, of course, would leave the issue of where will America be once he finally has to step down. I would, again, suggest that that will be settled by who his successor is. If Trump’s successor, after eight years in office, is another celebrity, then that would be a definitely different spin on things than if it was a career politician. At this point, it’s too early to tell which it will be. Right now, it seems as though Trump is going to plow his way through the American political system, doing as much damage as possible.

And, yet, if, say, someone like James Comey were to succeed Trump at some point in the future, the American Republic might bounce back a lot quicker than you might think. But that is being really optimistic. It is difficult for me to say in good faith that the United States is even a Republic at all anymore. We are careening towards a theocratic, autocratic plutocracy of sorts. No amount of leadership will fix such long term trends. Effective leadership might manage it, mitigate it or ameliorate it but it won’t eliminate it altogether.

Having said all that, I would also like to say that as an American, I have hope that American exceptionalism still burns in the hearts and minds of its citizens and we ultimately will reject the “managed democracy” of Russia. I’d like to think that at some point people power will kick in and we’ll take back our government from the kleptocracy that it’s succumb to for the time being. But I don’t know, I just don’t know. I can’t predict the future and it could go either way, it really could.

At this point, we’re just going to have to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune until November 2018. If the “Blue Wave” really does wash down on the shores of Washington, then we can talk. Then there is a real chance that this Trumpian nightmare will end sooner rather than later and we can put it behind us. But every day Trump is in office, we risk bigger and worse disasters.

A real chance exists that Trump will try to save his sorry ass politically by pulling the biggest “wag the dog” in American history by initiating a “preemptive war” against the DPRK. I could totally see him doing it by, say July 2018, so in about November 2018 his approval rating will be in the high 80s as TV and social media are awash with the spectacular images of the long-oppressed people of North Korea at last being liberated. We could all wake up in 2021 to a truly distopian future.

One fear I have is Trump is, really, the only thing keeping the United States away from a civil war. The peace of mind that Trump gives the insane Right wing may be a weird firebreak that we won’t realize we enjoy until it’s gone. The United States is, right now, effectively two different nations and it could tear itself apart if we don’t find some effective leadership in years ahead. But sometimes you don’t get leadership until there’s a reason for people to rise to the occasion, so who knows what will happen.

Trump’s Campaign Colluded With Russians. Now What. #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s pretty obvious that we now have proof that the 2016 Trump Campaign knowingly and in a systematic manner colluded with the Russian government to rig the election in their favor.

The question, of course, is now what?

I’m afraid we’re just going to have to wait and hope that Congress is flipped in 2018. That’s all I got. I say that because, well, the Republican Party is so surreal in its partisanship that they would rather protect treasonous behavior on the part of Trump than potentially risk the passage of an enormous tax cut for the wealthiest amongst us.

So, in short, we’re fucked. We are so completely fucked that this lurch towards authoritarianism will grind on for at least another year. In the end, I think this scandal will be a lot like Iran-Contra. We’ll know the facts, the president might even admit what happened and say something akin to “I’m sorry,” but ultimately we won’t get rid of the fucker in any meaningful way.

I fear that even if we do flip Congress and impeach Trump, he won’t be convicted by the Senate. Or if he is convicted by the Senate, I worry he won’t see the vote as legitimate and we’ll have shoot out on the West Lawn between the FBI and the Secret Service.

The prospects of things going back to normal are extremely dim. We’ve entered a new age and the future is dark for the American Republic. I think when we look back upon this period 20 years from now, we’ll see it as the period where the United States finally transitioned from a constitutional democratic republic to an theocratic, autocratic quasi-fascist state.

Is 2018 Our 1968? Next Year May Be A Crucial Year In American History #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The thing we have to understand is that because of gerrymandering, The Resistance could win 54% of the popular vote and still lose the House to Republicans. Let that sink in. That’s why if you love the United States as I do, you may have to seriously contemplate getting out of your comfort zone and begin to actively participate in politics in a way you never have.

The 2018 mid-terms are so crucial because House Republicans are so Vichy and callow that if we don’t vote them out of office in a big way, the morphing of the United States into autocracy. Trump is doing real damage to the American Republic and if nothing happens to change the current chronic Constitutional long-jam we’re in, there may be no stopping Trump completely seizing power.

There is an ebb and flow to politics and it was inevitable that Republicans would come back into power. What we didn’t fully appreciate is the hysterical rage caused by the bullshit echo chamber epitomized by FOX News would make the Republicans so bad at governing. So, we have a historical imperative to throw them out of office in at least the House, if not the Senate. If we could flip the Senate, then we could end the appointment of extremely Right wing, extremely unqualified judges to the federal bench. But we’re kind of desperate, so we need the House to flip more than anything else.

A lot of things could go wrong between now and November 2018. Chief amongst them being, Trump could do his failsafe and start a preemptive war against the DPRK. This is a serious possibility that we need to see with clear eyes. We can’t take for granted that Trump will “do the right thing” and not kill a few hundred thousand people by prompting the North Koreans to freak the fuck out. I am of the opinion that they have a vested interest in not starting a war on their own simply for the reason that they know that in the end they will lose, and lose badly.

Regardless, there is a real chance that 2018 will go down as 1968 as a year where the universe changed in a big way. In many ways, 1968 marked the beginning of the modern age and it will be interesting to see of something similar happens in 2018. We face a historical turning point. Either the Republic fails and we become an autocracy, or it bounces back and Trump is destroyed politically.

I am not very sanguine about our prospects. It seems as though the Republic has fallen already and we’re a “managed democracy” like they have in Russia. It’s all over but the shouting, as the say. But we have a small window of opportunity in 2018. It’s possible, just possible that I’m wrong.

One thing is for sure, we need new leadership. We need a new generation of people to fight the good fight. The current crop of leaders is old and out of touch. Trump isn’t going anywhere, but maybe we can mitigate his damage if we manage to flip Congress in 2018.