01:25:43 am on
Saturday 20 Oct 2018

A Loss of Hope
AJ Robinson

Looking back over my previous columns, I re-read one where I spoke of my hope for the future. I was optimistic, hoping that despite the troubles facing American politics and society would improve with time.


I hoped for my daughter more than for me.

I was even willing to forgo seeing those improvements in my lifetime. What I hoped for, most, was life would be better for Alexa, my daughter, and her generation; my nieces and nephews, too. I no longer feel that way.

On 1 August 1991, then-President George H.W. Bush gave the “Chicken Kiev Speech,” in Kiev, Ukraine. The Berlin wall had fallen on 9 November 1989. The seams of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were pulling apart.

The Ukraine was considering leaving the USSR. A referendum votes was set for December 1991. Shortly before the vote, Bush spoke.  

Bush urged the people of the Ukraine to use caution as they considered leaving USSR. He was widely criticised for the speech. The collapse of the USSR was the dream of staunch conservatives, in Europe and American, for decades. Why would he slow the demise?

The key point to all of that are the words “widely criticised.” Many people, politicians and pundits, reporters and writers, took him to task for saying what he said. Why not hasten the end of, the complete collapse of the USSR.

Here’s the point. We don’t have such criticism, today. Other than George Will, David Gergen, Carl Bernstein and one or two other commentators, nothing the current president says or does is “widely criticised.”

Trump, on a daily basis, spouts all manner of lies. Did I say daily; hourly, minute by minute is hardly hyperbole? Moreover, I’ve yet to hear Trump speak when he has not lied. Never in our history have we had a political leader, especially a president, who didn’t just lie with great ease, but never called on any of his lies. We have an apparatus of enablers who do nothing but cover for him.


This is scary.

At the very depths of the Watergate scandal, the media was there to call out Nixon and every member of his administration on their lies and there were many lies. Nixon and his people had to do “non-denial denials” on everything. Then, when it was clear his presidency was “circling the drain,” as the expression goes, a cadre of powerful Republican members of congress marched over to the White House and laid everything out for Nixon:  resign or face impeachment, by the House, and a trial in the Senate.

Nixon faced a relentless wall of opposition. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, of the Washington Post, dogged his every move. Bi-partisan political concerns and opposition grew quickly as did public scorn.

There’s none of that today. The media does almost nothing. A segment of the media, Fox News, is literally a propaganda tool for Trump, although cracks are showing in its coverage.

Partisan politics rule. The Democrats have no power. The Republicans have no spine.

Trump maligns the media, his opponents and anyone that disagrees with him. He acts with impunity. The whopper of a lie he tells, at this moment, dwarfed by the lie he tells next.

The truly worrisome par is that a majority of the Republican Party still supports him. They hear about Russian interference in our election; they don’t care. Trump causes financial hardships for people because of his tariffs and bad economic policies and it’s great, even when they’re the ones getting hurt. He damages the Affordable Care Act (ACA); nothing. He locks up children; they cheer. He reverses environmental policies that will pollute rivers, the soil and the air and accelerate Climate Change; crickets. He pushes forward on policies to take away women’s ability to control their own bodies; women and men applaud him. He gives us “Hell in Helsinki,” where he kowtows to a Russian dictator, and his followers act as if Trump has just parted the Red Sea and given them manna from heaven.


None of this is conducive to a healthy democracy.

I wonder where it is going to lead. Many people are pinning their hopes on a “Blue Wave,” in November, which will put the Democrats back in control of Congress or at least the House. In 2010, the Republicans did turn sixty-three House seats; a wave is possible.

The last election was supposed to go one way, as the pollsters saw it, but it didn’t. Although I hope the voting goes well in November, I’m not holding my breath; as another saying goes. Right now, I have little hope for the future, and that’s truly dysphoric.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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