Thursday, March 03, 2016

Three Conversations

First, because it's 2016 and politics, here is my obligatory Trump comment:  I'm not much worried that he'll be evil.  All the anti-Trump comments that call him Hitlerian or racist aren't convincing.  Blowhard - that's more convincing.  Which leads me to my real worry.  I don't think he'll be evil, I think he'll just be a bumbler.

On to the regular post. I had conversations this week with three women I have worked with a long time.  One is 64, one is 62, one is 59.  They all follow politics only somewhat, certainly not as closely as I do.  They are liberal but not fanatic; above-average in intelligence; they are among my more trusted people to talk to about work issues, both the clinical info and the assessments of how to work around the difficulties of specific individuals.  My impression over time is that they believe the conventional wisdom of the mainstream media, however it filters down to them.  As I said, however, they are not fanatic.  One is deeply involved in her grandchildren, another with her cats, the third with redecorating the lake cabin. Politics is not usually their thing.  DWTS or choir is their thing.

I have said kiddingly that Hillary could strangle a live kitten on TV and her supporters would leap to describe how the kitten deserved it.  I actually now think that is closer to true than is funny.  All three introduced the topic of Trump, not really related to anything else happening.  There's nothing much wrong with that, it seems to be what everyone is doing.  But the conversation turned very quickly to how under attack Hillary is, that people are screaming that she's a liar, and how well she is keeping her dignity through all that.

A little probing reveals that they do not believe that any of the accusations are true, or if true, very small.  These are just 25 years of exaggerated charges put forward by the Republicans (said in just that way, y'know?), and she has proven under intense questioning that they are untrue. I said to one that I didn't think hours of evasion and refusing to answer questions proved innocence - and learned a few minutes later that she had not actually read about those hours of grilling, just heard the news stories and remembered the pictures of her looking defiant.  And how proud she felt. I didn't press it.

In general I just let them go on.  I wanted to hear what they had to say, without my pushing it in any way. Their identification with her is entire.  Her husband's bad behavior, even sexual assault, was either A) more Republican lies, or B) more evidence of what the poor woman has had to put up with. All the attacks on Hillary over the years are because Some Men fear strong women. They are indignant that people still attack her, and that young women just don't understand how important this is. They are furious. Social workers are fond of ongoing snippy remarks, but they are not fond of contention and confrontation.  Except maybe now.

Today's was the worst, and I decided to not just shrug it off. This is a level of fanaticism that exceeds the Trump supporters, or the Ron Paul supporters last time, or anything I can recall.  It exceeds what I thought I was seeing last time she ran, in 2008, though I admit my memory is largely impression on that score.


Unknown said...

John McAfee, one of the frontrunners for the Libertarian nomination, was quoted last year saying ""If you're caught eating small children and you handle it properly, a year from now people will forget the fact that you're eating small children but they'll remember your name".

So we'll have:
John "caught eating small children" McAfee,
Donald "I could 'shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters" Trump, and
Hillary "strangle a live kitten on TV" Clinton.

I think that last one might not be a direct quote attributable to her, but we should be careful anyway.

Boxty said...

Have you read Scott Adams stuff on cognitive dissonance? Might be what's going on with these seemingly responsible and intelligent people making dumb excuses for Hillary.

Did the women laugh at inappropriate times during these conversations?

james said...

Would you say that "brownshirts", in the sense of street muscle in the service of political leaders, are present, or are starting to appear? There've been some things that might fall into that category, but they've almost all been on the left. (so far) Bundy wasn't trying to scare people going about their business.

I don't see BLM-esque demonstrations as mainstream. When they are, then I'll worry about facism.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

My only experience with threats of physical violence was when some imported thugs from the Sheetmetal Workers Union came up and were outside my hospital claiming that Kerry had released his military records and Bush hadn't in 2004. Of course, I don't seek out protests of either side, so I might not be seeing what is happening. If something had been happening in NH, I probably would have heard something.

College campuses seem to be getting some more dangerous-sounding moments than previously, but still not constant or enormous.

james said...

I see plenty of political protests--or can if I want to, sitting a block from the Square as I do. They're generally not deliberately intimidating, though having a hundred thousand protesters (bused in from all over) was something to avoid. Students are sometimes a bit weirder--you seem to get a higher proportion of committed loons among them than the rest of the world. I attribute that to naivete coupled with an idolatry of theory.

But I'd worry more about bar closing time. So far.
(Since I'm not a bar fan and am usually asleep in bed long before closing time, that doesn't prey on my mind much...)

Grim said...

I think it's likely that BLM or an allied group will soon try to provoke the Trump campaign into actual violence through some provocation designed to tempt him into it. Probably they'll wait until after he has the nomination, in the hope that the reaction by Americans against what will be painted as racist violence will doom his campaign.

Of course, the Trump campaign could avoid the hazard by stopping its regular resorting to displays of main strength against protests at their rallies. One wonders if Trump has that kind of self-discipline, let alone if he has that kind of control over his crowds.

Christopher B said...

Regarding the ladies in the post, what portion of their attitude toward Hillary is actually coming from outside sources, and what portion is just projection?

herfsi said...

those ladies are "true believers" & they get mad when someone attacks their object of veneration. unfortunately, that's either a bug or a feature of we humans!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think it is identification. Their own struggles in life, of men, or a society dominated by men, treating them unfairly (often true); of wanting something of importance but being denied it, with some of the criticism being unfair; of bad attitudes which are obvious to any feminist of my generation but being denied here. She is the embodiment of how they have been treated.

That Hillary deserves much of this bad treatment because of her own actions is not accepted. That they themselves have deserved some of this bad treatment because of their actions is not acknowledged. They can point to some unfair criticism of her, they can point to some unfair treatment of themselves - that is enough.

I see something of this among the Trump supporters. They have been ignored by the GOPe (great abbreviation, BTW) for a long time, especially on the two issues of immigrants taking jobs, and decent working people being accused of some -ism and not being defended. Now they have a champion. They don't care about the details. The attacks on him are attacks on them.

herfsi said...

true - we imbue these icons with our hopes - though these people are far from blank slates (!) we somehow lose boundaries & overlap ourselves with them. i wonder if we will feel betrayed/angry at them later when they turn out to be mere mortals!

Assistant Village Idiot said...

People do not always become angry when disillusioned, apparently

herfsi said...

true - but, if the icon (or rat catcher) dies young, before they can disappoint (insert here anyone ranging from jim morrison of the doors to Jesus) they become a much more glorious legend. sadly (or happily:) all our politicians are too old for such extra glory. somehow it's reassuring that Hitler was much younger than Trump - we've had Trump around in the public eye as long as or longer that Hillary - that should put a little mileage/tarnish on them (the bloom should be off the rose by now!)

Sam L. said...

James, you may want to consider that the few Tea Party gatherings were rapidly and strongly demonized by the Dems. BLMers, I believe, are already "mainstream" Dem units.

Retriever said...

Interesting that you know women who support that harridan. My daughters and I dislike her, as does just about every strong minded woman I know. And none of us like the Seven Dwarves as we disparage some of the other candidates (Clinton is the Evil Stepmother, but there is, alas, no Snow White or handsome prince to save the day....)

I know plenty of women the age of your peers and they have a bad opinion of her for not divorcing that alley cat Bill C. Where I live, repeated infidelity is NOT tolerated by many decent women.. Even conservative Christians who are against divorce ordinarily. We feel that she stuck w him to advance politically. She is thus a whore. No young women I know like her because their impression of her is unethical, old and busted. In fact, that's a problem with any of the candidates. After Reagan's Alzheimer's in office, I would never vote for anyone over 60.

There are those who say that women are each other's worst enemy...but I don't relate to Hillary. She has led a charmed life. Unlike her, I was prevented from pursuing my own profession because of misogyny, but it doesn't make me a PC jerk. Unlike her, my female African American friends work long hours in often thankless jobs while devotedly caring for their families, and being pillars of their churches. Unlike her, the young people I know are selfless, work to help others, or unfashionably creating things...not multimillionaires from schmoozing w lobbyists. We wd vote for Bernie in protest, because none of the others seem to care about ordinary Americans.

I understand the anger at politics as usual, that fuels the Trump juggernaut (I liked your metaphor of the rat catcher or Pied Piper fr that book on the roots of support by ordinary Germans for Nazism). But the field is open to anyone who could inspire people w hope again. Sad that instead we get the poison of hatred and racism.

Sorry to rant. We have banned all political discussion at home because the Boy Kid obsesses about the evils of Trump.

The Brownshirts element amongst Trump's supporter scare me witless.

Bird Dog opines that it's not like marrying someone, you don't have to love the candidate. But if I were to use that metaphor anyway, I would rather stay single than settle for any of the toads currently croaking for our votes. Not that our votes matter anyway. The super delegate BS makes a farce of popular votes. And the monstrous egos and mediocre personal qualities on the Republican side make it likely that a racist demagogue will get the nomination. I often, in conspiracy theorizing despair, feel that this latest bread and circuses campaign is designed to totally disillusion us, make us give up on democracy, softening us up to tolerate a fascist dictatorship. Many historical precedents all over the world.

I felt better the other night just ignoring it. Watched that sappy and beautiful Zeffirelli film "Brother Sun, SisterMoon" about St Francis. We live in wicked times, as he did. All we can really do is love God and reach out to love His suffering children. Nothing else matters.

james said...

Sam L, I think BLM is largely its own faction, and not an arm of a major party. I base that estimate on some of their challenges to Democratic party faithful and supporters.
We'll see what develops.

Texan99 said...

My sister is that way about Clinton--she'll mention that there's some kind of movie out that's supposed to be about Clinton lying about Benghazi or something, how ridiculous. That's as far as any of this news gets with her. She's shocked to hear that anyone has formed the opinion that Clinton is a shady liar who probably ought to be indicted. This is a highly intelligent, educated woman. What she really wants to talk about is a documentary she saw recently revealing Dick Cheney as Satan on earth.