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Cassius Clay renamed himself Muhammed Ali shortly after becoming the boxing heavyweight champion of the world in 1964. He was known for his speed, his agility and for the prolific and colorful nature of his speech. He was dubbed “Gaseous Cassius” by the press, but the public enjoyed his remarkable presentation. And he was black, a Muslim and he refused to participate in the establishment’s war, so he gave the haters many opportunities to show off their skills. Remarkably, he never returned their hatred. During his public decades he was always a class act, regardless of one’s views of his bombast.
Sadly and destructively, our politics hasn’t had that same class for a long time. Perhaps ’twas ever thus, but it has been much more in evidence for many years, certainly since the Republicans decided that scorched earth was their best strategy. They have made fear, hatred and sheer meanness their tools to achieve power and have consistently appealed to the worst in us.
Doubt that? Donald Trump is all about demonizing, hating and meanness. Amazingly, one-quarter of Republican voters now favor him to be their presidential candidate for 2016 and he is the personification of exactly the fear, hate and meanness that Republicans have been practicing for decades. He is also the poster boy for the fact-less spraying of of idiotic slurs.
Other examples: George W. Bush knocked John McCain out of the Republican primaries in 2000 by questioning his patriotism, just as he did with war hero and triple amputee, former Senator Max Cleland (D-GA). He did the same to former senator (D-MA), now Secretary of State John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.
And it’s not just Trump and Bush who have appealed to fear, hate and meanness. It’s the birthers and the fools now criticizing the Iran nuclear deal, the stupid and fact-devoid attacks on the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the dozens of substance-free congressional hearings and investigations into the Benghazi incident. It’s former Representative Darryl Issa (R-CA) refusing to allow any woman to testify about reproductive rights and former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who continues to this day his baseless WMD accusation, as well as former national security adviser Condoleeza Rice and her imaginary mushroom cloud.
All of that and more is at the heart of Republican strategy. Read Timothy Egan’s column in the July 26 New York Times article, Trump Is the Poison His Party Concocted. The only difference for Republicans now is that their own poison strategy is being used by Trump on them. Oddly, they don’t seem to like that.
That Trump is gaseous is self-evident. That he and his Republican cohorts do it without class is equally self-evident.
Blog Bonus: Here is a special quote for our politicians who haven’t grown beyond the narrow-minded notions they had when they were 19 years old:
“Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”
Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.
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Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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