This Is What National Decline Looks Like

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  john-russell  •  3 weeks ago  •  29 comments

This Is What National Decline Looks Like

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Because of his incontinent use of it, the rhetorical mustard that the president slathers on every subject has lost its tang. The entertainer has become a bore, and foretelling his defeat no longer involves peering into a distant future: Early voting begins in two states (South Dakota and Minnesota) 61 days from Sunday, which is 107 days before Election Day.

Never has a U.S. election come at such a moment of national mortification. In April 1970, President Richard M. Nixon told a national television audience that futility in Vietnam would make the United States appear to the world as "a pitiful, helpless giant." Half a century later, America, for the first time in its history, is pitied.

Not even during the Civil War, when the country was blood-soaked by a conflict involving enormous issues, was it viewed with disdainful condescension as it now is, and not without reason: Last Sunday, Germany (population 80.2 million) had 159 new cases of covid-19; Florida (population 21.5 million) had 15,300.

Under the most frivolous person ever to hold any great nation's highest office, this nation is in a downward spiral. This spiral has not reached its nadir, but at least it has reached a point where worse is helpful, and worse can be confidently expected.

The nation's floundering government is now administered by a gangster regime. It is helpful to have this made obvious as voters contemplate renewing the regime's lease on the executive branch. Roger Stone adopted the argot of B-grade mobster movies when he said he would not "roll on" Donald Trump. By commuting Stone's sentence, Stone's beneficiary played his part in this down-market drama, showing gratitude for Stone's version of omertà (the Mafia code of silence), which involved lots of speaking but much lying. Because the pandemic prevents both presidential candidates from bouncing around the continent like popcorn in a skillet, the electorate can concentrate on other things, including Trump's selection of friends such as Stone and Paul Manafort, dregs from the bottom of the Republican barrel.

"Longing on a large scale is what makes history," Don DeLillo wrote in his sprawling 1997 novel "Underworld" about the United States in the second half of the 20th century. Today, there is a vast longing for respite from the 21st century, which - before the pandemic, two inconclusive wars and the Great Recession - began with a presidential election that turned on 537 Florida votes and was not decided until a Dec. 12, 2000, Supreme Court decision. Given Trump's reckless lying and the supine nature of most Republican officeholders, it is imperative that the Nov. 3 result be obvious that evening.

This year, the pandemic will be an accelerant of preexisting trends: There will be a surge of early and mail voting. So, an unambiguous decision by midnight Eastern time Nov. 3 will require (in addition to state requirements that mailed ballots be postmarked, say, no later than Oct. 31) a popular-vote tsunami so large against the president that there will be a continentwide guffaw when he makes charges, as surely he will, akin to those he made in 2016. Then, he said he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million because "millions" of undocumented immigrants voted against him. Making a preemptive strike against civic confidence, Trump has announced that the 2020 election will be the "most corrupt" in U.S. history.

The 2020 presidential selection process began with Iowa's shambolic Democratic caucuses, a result not of corruption but incompetence, an abundant commodity nowadays. It is scandalous that in many places casting a ballot requires hours of standing in line. Larry Diamond of the conservative-leaning Hoover Institution at Stanford discerns another scandal:

"The hard truth is that there has been a rising tide of voter suppression in recent U.S. elections. These actions - such as overeager purging of electoral registers and reducing early voting - have the appearance of enforcing abstract principles of electoral integrity but the clear effect (and apparent intent) of disproportionately disenfranchising racial minorities. One example was the decision of Georgia's Republican Secretary of State (now Governor) Brian Kemp to suspend 53,000 predominantly African-American voter registration applications in 2018 because the names did not produce an 'exact match' with other records."

This nation built the Empire State Building, groundbreaking to official opening, in 410 days during the Depression, and the Pentagon in 16 months during wartime. Today's less serious nation is unable to competently combat a pandemic, or even reliably conduct elections. This is what national decline looks like.


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JohnRussell
1  seeder  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
This nation built the Empire State Building, groundbreaking to official opening, in 410 days during the Depression, and the Pentagon in 16 months during wartime. Today's less serious nation is unable to competently combat a pandemic, or even reliably conduct elections. This is what national decline looks like.
 
 
 
Adam_Selene
1.1  Adam_Selene  replied to  JohnRussell @1    3 weeks ago

Putin now lives on popcorn and has been forced to wear Depends since every time he turns on the TV he pees his pants while laughing uncontrollably at his small fisted Pig-malion that he brought to life and installed in the White House.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Adam_Selene @1.1    3 weeks ago
and installed in the White House.

No, not really, and nary a bit of evidence to suggest otherwise.

You need to stop watching CNN so much.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
1.1.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    3 weeks ago
No, not really, and nary a bit of evidence to suggest otherwise.

“President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?” 

“Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.–Russia relationship back to normal.”

" there is no dissent inside U.S. intelligence agencies about the conclusion that Russia used hacking and fake news to interfere in the 2016 presidential election"

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/intelligence-director-says-agencies-agree-russian-meddling-n785481

"In 2016, Russian operatives associated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) used social media to conduct an information warfare campaign designed to spread disinformation and societal division in the United States"

https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Report_Volume2.pdf

Nary a bit of evidence, except for every intelligence agency concluding so and an admission straight from the horses mouth. How Trump supporters are still in such monumental denial over the Russian interference is just sad and one might wonder if perhaps some traumatic brain injury is to blame for such abject idiocy and bone headed denial.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.1.2    3 weeks ago

Although Russia tried to influence the election, there is no physical or digital evidence that they interfered in the election process or changed any votes.

I would suggest that you learn the difference between the two high-lighted words. Oh, by the way, any Trump-Putin collusion was found to be a hoax...even Mueller said so.

Just about every country tries to influence other countries elections by carrying on misinformation and propaganda campaigns. I would think you would know this by now.

 
 
 
Adam_Selene
1.1.4  Adam_Selene  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    3 weeks ago

I agree - I can't prove the comment about the popcorn.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2  Nerm_L    3 weeks ago

Donald Trump hasn't completed one term as President.  George will highlights the fragility of the neo-liberal United States he helped build over decades.  Donald Trump did not create this mess; Trump has only revealed that the United States has been on the wrong track for far too long.

We are living in the United States of George Will's dreams.  George Will has been a vocal whiner about the high cost of labor in the United States and that off shoring production was the only logical necessity.  Now the United States cannot even produce Q-tips to jam up people's noses.  George Will has been a staunch advocate for US military intervention around the world to protect Amazon's and WalMart's supply chains.  George Will chose appeasement over industrial resilience and now the United States is a beggar nation.  George Will has gotten exactly what he wanted.

Germany is an exporting nation.  In the aftermath of World War II the United States rebuilt Germany's industrial infrastructure.  Germany produces for Europe and, therefore, can produce for itself.  Germany protects industry and protects labor.  And Germany doesn't utilize cheap, sweatshop labor as George Will has deemed necessary for the United States.  Germany has taken steps to protect its liberty and now has the freedom to sustain itself.  George Will traded the liberty of the United States for cheap imported trinkets.

George Will declares that Donald Trump should be blamed for his own short sighted, incompetent, elitist politics.  If one President can completely destroy the global world order in less than four years then, obviously, that global world order has only been a fiction created for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the United States.  We need to focus our attention on the United States rather than worry about what Germany thinks.  George Will's opinion has been proven wrong on every level.

 
 
 
Sparty On
2.1  Sparty On  replied to  Nerm_L @2    3 weeks ago
George Will's opinion has been proven wrong on every level.

Yeah, he's right int here with Paul Krugman on that.  

Wrong on most everything even remotely Trump related, since about 2016.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Sparty On @2.1    3 weeks ago
Yeah, he's right int here with Paul Krugman on that.   Wrong on most everything even remotely Trump related, since about 2016.

The United States has the most highly educated under-employed population on the planet.  And the United States has become dependent upon cheap immigrant sweatshop labor.  Our highly educated population can't even process chicken carcasses, we need immigrants to do that work.  

George Will and Paul Krugman will congratulate themselves for eliminating menial factory jobs.  Yet, most jobs available for our highly educated population are menial service jobs.  Yes, placing manufactured items into shipping cartons is menial work.  But so is removing those items from shipping cartons and placing them on shelves.  George Will and Paul Krugman haven't eliminated menial work; they only transformed menial work into more low paying jobs.  Will and Krugman destroyed our manufacturing infrastructure but didn't do one thing to change the nature of work or improve incomes.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

Poor George...his early onset of dementia and  true colors are now being displayed.

The decline of America started with Bush the Shrub and continued on through Clinton and Obama.

Trump is attempting to stop the decline and rectify the damage caused the lack and incompetent leadership of the Democrats, particularly Governors and mayors of large cites and multitudes of smaller ones.

Just look at Denver under Polis and Hancock...the tent city has grown to cover the whole square block

TDP-L-HOMELESS-_ADO7455xxx.jpg?w=795,https://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TDP-L-HOMELESS-_ADO7455xxx.jpg?w=660 780w,https://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TDP-L-HOMELESS-_ADO7455xxx.jpg?w=863 1020w,https://www.denverpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TDP-L-HOMELESS-_ADO7455xxx.jpg?w=795 940w" >

 
 
 
JohnRussell
3.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @3    3 weeks ago

A WHOLE SQUARE BLOCK ?   Wow !!!!!!!!!!  That's so amazing. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @3.1    3 weeks ago

Yep....jammed in tight amongst the smelly porta-potty's, marijuana fumes, no masks, no hand washing......scaring the tourists and locals away from what is supposed to be one of the most attractive and welcoming parts of our city. Actually, there are several of these "encampments" scattered around the once proud Mile High City. This is just the most obvious and ugly example.

But hey, I bet the progressive cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, and New York City have even worse eyesores.

 
 
 
Sparty On
3.2  Sparty On  replied to  Greg Jones @3    3 weeks ago

And incredibly, it will magically disappear in the winter ....... POOF!

 
 
 
Greg Jones
3.2.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Sparty On @3.2    3 weeks ago

Sadly, it won't...the whole state is in the grip of the despotic and dumb Democrats.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
4  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

Will is too smart a man to write something so simplistic.  Tying the decline of the nation to a single man out of 335 odd million is sounds like something out of prehistory, where a tribe believed it's health depended on the virility of its leader. Politics is downstream of culture, if Will wants to address decline, he ought to start at the cause.

He also knows his history too well to pretend Trump is some uniquely nefarious character in our history. He's not hosting naked swimming parties in the White House pools with underage girls like Kennedy and isn't half the criminal "gangster" that LBJ or Nixon was.  He's Bill Clinton with a hostile press.

 
 
 
Sparty On
4.1  Sparty On  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    3 weeks ago

Will has the TDS bad  and he's always been a self important, sanctimonious prick. 

That and he's been a never Trumper since 2016 so this is just more yawn worthy news really ......

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.2  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    3 weeks ago
He's Bill Clinton with a hostile press.

I have never been one of those who try and "persuade" Trumpsters. It's a hopeless case. They have to be defeated and sent to the dustbin of history, like all delusional adherents to crackpot political movements must. 

You act as if someone who has lied 20,000 times WHILE IN OFFICE is being treated unfairly. The truth is the media has been far too kind to Trump. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
4.2.1  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2    3 weeks ago
I have never been one of those who try and "persuade" Trumpsters.

Now that is funny.

They have to be defeated and sent to the dustbin of history, like all delusional adherents to crackpot political movements must.

Damn ... defeated and relegated to the dustbin eh?   Glad someone let me know about that as i thought i was doing fine ...... /S

You act as if someone who has lied 20,000 times WHILE IN OFFICE is being treated unfairly.

20k?   Last i checked you pushing 160K.   Whatsup with the deflation?

 
 
 
Greg Jones
4.2.2  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2    3 weeks ago

Wow! That list of alleged lies just grows exponentially...like Covid-19 cases.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
4.2.3  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Greg Jones @4.2.2    3 weeks ago

The Washington Post, which keeps this particular tally , has a person whose job is largely dedicated to chronicling Trump's lies. The count is accurate and added to every time Trump opens his mouth.  The only mitigating factor is that the number of lies includes re-runs, lies that Trump tells more than once. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
4.2.4  Greg Jones  replied to  JohnRussell @4.2.3    3 weeks ago

Really, they actually pay someone to do that....

while the vast majority of the voting population neither knows nor cares about those alleged "lies"?.

But hey, if it give ya hope and comfort, go for it.

 
 
 
JBB
4.2.5  JBB  replied to  Greg Jones @4.2.4    3 weeks ago

Except that the vast majority of Americans are not inside the far rightwing bubble and they do know and they do care. Do not t confuse Trump supporters with "The Majority". They are not!

 
 
 
r.t..b...
4.3  r.t..b...  replied to  Sean Treacy @4    3 weeks ago
Politics is downstream of culture, if Will wants to address decline, he ought to start at the cause.

This is less a condemnation of trump in the singular, as he is demonstrably a fractured individual thrust into a role he was neither expecting nor equipped to tackle, but more an indictment of trumpism as an indicator of those dark elements that linger in our social construct.

He has at the very least exposed the root of the decline:

Divisiveness trumps commonality. Self-interest trumps community. Isolationism trumps inclusion. Vitriol trumps discussion. The common denominator is trump and all he represents.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
4.3.1  Greg Jones  replied to  r.t..b... @4.3    3 weeks ago

Wrong again, the decline and everything you mention was going way on before Trump arrived on the scene.

Hillary would have completed the cycle. Too bad she isn't the one trying to rectify the mess her fellow Dems have made and Trump inherited. .

 
 
 
r.t..b...
4.3.2  r.t..b...  replied to  Greg Jones @4.3.1    3 weeks ago
Hillary

If only any rebuttal did not reference the past and the impossible to determine what-if.

While being a firm believer in studying history and learning from the mistakes made, to blurt out names without providing any context to the present situation is but a waste of time. Context is the key.

We are living in a new age and it is time to look forward in how we are to address the changing dynamic, for like it or not, 'the times they are a changin'. It starts with empathy and understanding of all the disparate factions who deserve a voice. Seems one candidate has neither the desire nor the wherewithal to even acknowledge that fact.

 
 
 
Dean Moriarty
5  Dean Moriarty    3 weeks ago

Will works for Bezos. Bezos is fighting with Trump. Bezos has been using the Post to attack Trump since day one. 

 
 
 
loki12
5.1  loki12  replied to  Dean Moriarty @5    3 weeks ago

How fitting would it be if Biden wins and takes all the wealth of Biden, Gates, and Dorsey, and leaves them small stipend. Because they don’t need that much money.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
5.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  loki12 @5.1    3 weeks ago

In a perverse way...I hope he wins...and the GOP retains the Senate and retakes the House.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
6  Greg Jones    3 weeks ago

.

 
 
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