Sunday, March 13, 2016

This Speaks Rather Loudly, Eh?

While the woman in the above photo, Birgitt Peterson, claims she was provoked and that her Nazi salute has been misinterpreted (I'm sure such mistakes happen all the time), and a right-wing site offers a lamentably lame spin on her, as they say, actions speak louder than words, eh?

That is not to say, however, that Toronto Star readers' words fork no lightning as they discuss their views of the the U.S. descent into fascism via Donald Trump. All of the missives are excellent, but I reproduce only a few of them below:
The Trump phenom might be ugly, as your editorial states, but it says a lot about the anti-intellectual stream that exists in American society. It’s not just Trump, but most of the Republican candidates for president are worse. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are downright scary. They look like characters in a bad Hollywood movie.

This is the country that put a Man on the moon and developed the Internet, but a good chunk of America is quite ignorant and knows nothing about the rest of the world. And in many ways, why should it? It has a huge domestic economy where internal trade is more important than external trade. They don’t need to look outside their borders.

But saying that, there is no excuse for ignorance. Let’s face it, many Americans, including most Republicans, still believe in Creationism. They believe the world was created in six days and many deny climate change. Even though cities like Miami and New York will be under water in a hundred years.

Obviously, Donald Trump plays to the anger many feel over their lot in life; lost jobs due to globalization and the hollowing out of the American manufacturing sector. Trump speaks to their fears, even though he has no real solutions. Crazy American elections aren’t new, just look at 1968 with the likes of Richard Nixon, George Wallace and Hubert Humphrey. But what is consistent in American life, despite their immense power, is their parochialism and small mindedness.

That is dangerous and sad.

Andrew van Velzen, Toronto

I have read literally hundreds of negative reports on Trump campaign, yet not one article mentions why he is so popular. Although the average American does not know for sure why things are so bad regarding wages, job opportunities or how the 2008 Wall Street fiasco screwed them out of millions of homes, they instinctively know they are being lied to. It would be nice if the schools taught the real history of what has been happening and what led to World War II, but somehow I doubt that is going to happen.

Add to that the “dumbing down of America” that has been in full swing since the mid 1970s and this is what America has become.

All we have to do is look at Germany in the 1930s. They were probably the most educated and advanced society in the early 20th century, yet they allowed a tyrant into power who led the world to a world war.

And why did this tyrant get into power? The economy had collapsed, the German dollar had collapsed and people were desperate for help. Now we see America with cities in ruin, poison water, jobless people living in tent cities and they do not have the social net we have in Canada.

Let’s be honest. The so called 1 per cent has put us in this position and Trump is the answer the Americans have come up with.

If we do not wake up and realize that without a solid middle class, we are doomed to repeat history, then people like Trump will rule.

Gary Brigden, Toronto

Perhaps a significant block of American voters are responding to Donald Trump not because they admire a bully, but because in one respect at least he’s finally speaking to something that no North American politician, and few elsewhere, have dared to speak to in a generation, something that has detrimentally affected and continues to affect virtually every working-class person on the continent.
The so-called “free trade” deals that have been imposed continentally for the past 30 years were calculated to wipe out domestic manufacturing, simply and solely for the sake of somebody else’s bottom line. Although new deals in the offing still persist in callously promising us the moon, they only ever leave a decimated economy at street-level, and diminished opportunities to prosper for succeeding generations. This is clear to anyone who has experienced life in such an economy, such as the current generation of Canadians.

Trump speaks to the fraudulent nature of these multiple ersatz trade deals, which plainly have always had more to do, even in the latest proposals, with investor rights than with broad economic advancements.

If Trump is finally talking turkey about the daily lived fraud that North American workers have endured for too long, and if his message in this respect is resonating with workers, then perhaps his opponents and his critics might take a lesson from his strategy and finally start talking real cases themselves.

Justin Trudeau, are you listening?

George Higton, Toronto

To borrow sardonically from The Bard, who seems to have seen it all,

O brave new world / That has such people in't!


  1. Know Nothingism is alive and well, Lorne.

    1. As your blog entry today makes clear, Owen, this shameful state has been aided, abetted and promoted by the Republican Party for more than the past 30 years.