Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Back from retreat

I had the week off -- the university was closed -- and I suppose I could have spent it madly blogging but instead I wound up contemplating. It has been difficult for me this past year to keep up a blog that's supposed to be about public health when the sorts of subjects I might write about from the standpoint of my expertise are overwhelmed in importance by the crisis facing our democratic polity. And that is also a crisis facing all of humanity.

Ezra Klein describes the evident derangement of the person who 47% of the electorate thought should be president, and Charlie Pierce piles on. But it is not his dementia, or even his ignorance and narcissism that disturbs me the most, it is his moral depravity. The discovery that a large percentage of the electorate is actually attracted to bullying, racism, sexism, stupidity and vulgarity  was unnerving. What is even more unnerving is that these people are impervious to reality. Facts and logic don't matter to them, just the angry, obnoxious style. Here's Politico's Michael Kruse visiting Johnstown.  He interviews one voter who agrees that Trump hasn't actually kept any of his promises, but it doesn't matter to him:

Del Signore is by his own admission not a person who’s focused on policy specifics. . . . The 61-year-old Johnstown native proudly planted a Trump sign in the ground in front of his catering company. And nothing that’s happened in the past 12 months, he told me when we met for lunch on Italian buffet day at the Holiday Inn, has lessened his enthusiasm for the man who so energized him.

“Everybody I talk to,” he said, “realizes it’s not Trump who’s dragging his feet. Trump’s probably the most diligent, hardest-working president we’ve ever had in our lifetimes. It’s not like he sleeps in till noon and goes golfing every weekend, like the last president did.” I stopped him, informing him that, yes, Barack Obama liked to golf, but Trump in fact does golf a lot, too—more, in fact. Del Signore was surprised to hear this. “Does he?” he said. “Yes,” I said. He did not linger on this topic, smiling and changing the subject with a quip. “If I was married to his wife,” Del Signore said, “I don’t think I’d go anywhere.” . . .

A Catholic whose wife goes to church every Sunday, whereas he, “shame on me,” does not, Del Signore told me toward the end of our lunch that some people at church told his wife that Obama is the antichrist. “She comes home and tells me these things that they tell you in church,” he said. I asked him whether that’s what he thinks. “I don’t know,” he said. “Some people say that.” If Obama, I asked, is the antichrist—whose arrival is said to precede the second coming of Christ—what would that make Trump? “The savior?” Del Signore suggested.
Here's Digby on the delusionality of the Trump "base":

Nearly half of registered Republicans believe Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign is implicated in a satanic child abuse ring operated from beneath a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, according to the results of a new poll released this week. . . .Basically, most Republicans based upon zero evidence, believe that President Barack Obama was a Muslim plant, probably a terrorist and that Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president and former Secretary of State, is a child sex trafficking pedophile. But the Russia investigation, headed by the former director of the FBI and endorsed by every Intelligence Official free to speak on the record, is a hoax.
Equally as disturbing is the decision of the Republicans in congress to circle the wagons, and try to undermine the FBI investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. This is treason. And for the sake of what? Holding on to the idiot vote so their rich donors don't have to pay taxes and are free to pollute the environment, defraud consumers, and exploit their workers.

Under the circumstances I often despair of sitting down and typing out true facts based on evidence and reason. But that's all I know how to do.


robin andrea said...

Thank you for writing it down so I won't have to. We share your despair and alarm at the present reality. We do hope sanity will prevail. Happy New Year, and let's hope for the best but expect the worst and prepare.

Gay Boy Bob said...

The discovery that a large percentage of the electorate is actually attracted to bullying, racism, sexism, stupidity and vulgarity was unnerving. What is even more unnerving is that these people are impervious to reality. Facts and logic don't matter to them, just the angry, obnoxious style.

I really do enjoy your posts, but rarely agree with you. I hope that's OK.

All of the definitions of the pejoratives you use when accusing President Trump have been changed by the left. For instance, I grew up in a tough neighborhood and running your mouth and saying things about others you don't like was not bullying. I **KNOW** what real bullying is and that ain't it.

And the term "racism" has morphed from not affording someone their civil rights based upon their race into something that no one wants to define because as soon as they do, it will lose it's usefulness as a political weapon. Same with Sexism, etc.

Bottom line is all those people that receive your disdain don't perceive Trump's acts and style they way you do. They don't think asking for voter ID is racist and they don't think complementing someone is sexist.

These are just hard working people who use common-sense common language and they want someone that will stand up for what they want and that will put America first. They perceive this president as the first president since Ronald Reagan to do so.

Their support for the president may be a mystery to you, but it's not to anyone who chooses to try to understand them.

And if the economy keeps smokin' as it has been, you can expect four more years. I think you already know that. So buckle up, Buttercup.

Don Quixote said...

GBB never says whether or not he IDENTIFIES with the ignoramuses about whom he's writing. But I suspect he does. Why? Because GBB is an ignoramus. Look at his post, above ...

Don't capitalize common nouns.

Don't write "it's" when the word is "its".

Consistently hyphenate two linked words used as an adjective.

Don't use trite, stupid-sounding pejoratives such as "Buttercup" when it undermines your supposed disdain for name-calling.

Write "okay" instead of "OK".

"The economy" is not "smokin'" ... most people are suffering. The Dow Jones is not an indicator of GDP or the economy. That one's basic, dude.

The word "someone" goes with the possessive pronoun "his" or "hers," not "their".

On a further note, plenty of people in Nazi Germany agreed with der Fuehrer. That doesn't mean they were intelligent or decent human beings. Neither are the people who agree with Trump's inanity and insanity. After today's tweets and Fusion GPS's op-ed piece, I can accurately predict, "Buttercup," that Trump will resign rather than be impeached.

You're correct about some people's perceptions of Trump and what he represents. But again, there are still Russians who harken back to the "good old days of Stalin." Do you care to stick up for these folks, along with the ones who miss Hitler, Ramses II, and for that matter Nixon?

Not sure why you "enjoy" Cervantes's posts, but I'm almost certain it's because you like to argue. It would be nice if you did it with more cogency and erudition. But that just isn't you. But you're sure to get continued chances to argue with the material on this blog, because you're way out of your league. Still, you occasionally have a valid point to make. Just a lot more chaff than wheat to your comments. I'd say 98% to 2%.

Gay Boy Bob said...

A little off topic, but I thought this was interesting...

Don Quixote said...

If I were GBB, I wouldn't respond to my posts either! There's no way he can meaningfully riposte our take-downs, so he doesn't acknowledge them. He's a broken record ... just keeps saying the same shit, over and over. It's all he knows how to do. He's a classic example of someone who only knows how to talk, not listen; and therefore he'll never change his mind about anything, nor will he shut up and listen. He wants to talk, so he talks. There's the first amendment in action.