I had originally selected Marco Rubio as my candidate from the lineup of Republican contenders for the presidential nomination; and I was content with that until last month when Ted Cruz confronted Janet Yellen with a passage in Bernanke’s new book, The Courage to Act, which basically admits a central element of the market monetarist explanation of the financial crisis.
That was the first and only time I have ever heard of anyone at the Fed being asked by a member of Congress for an explanation of how monetary policy became too tight in late 2008. In my point of view, it’s a really big deal to finally approach the cusp of the lifting of the veil of inflation nutter and bubble fearmongering propaganda to get to what appears to be the most likely explanation regarding financial crisis, the Great Recession and slower-than-molasses recovery that followed.
More than this, however, Cruz confrontation of Yellen is a sign of the evolution of at least one Tea Party politician, one with demonstrated Tea Party leadership, toward policy practicality. After having left the Tea Party group I was involved with over monetary policy disagreements, the position of Cruz on this matter has special meaning.
I’ve been reviewing the video footage of the CPAC 2016 presentations by the presidential candidates Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio on CSPAN today. Each one is very good. Kasich’s was inspiring. Rubio had great content. But I found Cruz’s to be the most engaging, and with the exception of the religious and immigration content, most consistent with my constitutionalist bent.
So I’ve heard a lot of talk about Trump and his supporters recently. Of course. Who isn’t talking about them?
I got caught up the in the Trump derangement syndrome early on in the contest. I said as much as I could about the content of Trump’s campaign but decided to exercise more discretion in the approach after a heated exchange with a Trump supporter over a video and what the definition of a free society might entail.
Someone had posted a video in a Facebook group that many years ago was established for “radical” constitutionalists, but has somehow degenerated into a Trump-bot group that I have remained a member of so I can watch the discussions and be informed about developments in the movement. The video was of a city square somewhere in Denmark around at twilight a few days before Christmas. The sidewalks were lined with merchant tents like we might find at swap meets here in the US, each decorated for the holiday and the ambiance was filled with what I easily recognized to be Christmas music. Then I noticed a sort of chanting rising above the ambiance and the video centered on a man with dark, sort of shaggy but short hair, standing in front of his own tent chanting his religious chants – and they were not Christian. The view then scanned across the table of the tent that the canting man was standing in front of, and it was littered with Islamic religious tracts.
The caption the video was posted with was something like: “This will be America if Trump is not elected.”
I was astonished because that is what a free society is all about. Why wouldn’t I want that to be America, a place where we influence each other with information and persuasion, not with force or threat of force? It was chants. It free literature. Nothing harmful. And I wondered how Trump would supposedly do something about that, or why I’d want it. So I posted that I didn’t understand what the problem with the video was. It’s a free society, and he was using his freedom of speech and non-violent means to tell people about his religion. If you don’t want to listen, then don’t.
So on Christmas Day, a Trump-bot privately responded to my post, which I did not notice until several days later, insisting that I am a “fucking moron” and that he hopes I die in New York. The point of my rhetorical question about the video was obviously completely lost in translation from classic liberalism into Trump-o-mania. Of course I will probably die in New York – that’s the state where I live and dying is a natural part of life that I will most likely be doing here when the time comes. But I fail to see a connection between free speech and death. People who want to influence others, yet do not wish to participate in free speech and free exchange of ideas are the ones to be concerned about, ones who say “be [insert favored religion here] or else.”
Of course there is always the possibility that this Trump-bot represents what is and has always been bubbling under the surface of society. I was raised in California and now I live in New York. Perhaps everything I ever believed about the good nature of people in general is merely a regional phenomenon and isn’t really a constant. Or perhaps it’s just the zeitgeist. I am not particularly sure of anything anymore.
It’s never been okay to threaten someone with whom we disagree, an old lady on Christmas Day no less. Never. If this person wants to discuss moronic behavior, perhaps he should put some consideration into what sort of ambassador for Trump he really is. And perhaps Trump should consider the kind of inspiration and leadership he is providing to impressionable children who obviously have no moral leadership at home.
PS: The lack of civility in the presidential campaign this year inspires me to point out the importance of organizations like the 10th Amendment Center and the 10th amendment to the Constitution itself. The states have a very important role to play in limiting the ability of the Federal government to violate the rights of their citizens, and we should demand of each and every state house that that role be fulfilled.