Remember when President Obama was compared to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, accused of being an “appeaser” to Iran as Chamberlain was to Hitler? Of course, you do: it was all over the right-wing media from Breitbart to World Net Daily to Gateway Pundit, which the RationalWiki describes as “a hard-right website oft cited by such scholars as Matt Drudge.”
Trump, however, rather than being damned for his willingness to find a way to achieve peace, is being praised. While Keith Olbermann is more accurately comparing Trump to Chamberlain, that lesser son of a greater sire, evangelist Franklin Graham, went on CNN to tell us Trump deserves praise for finding a way to “work with thugs” like Putin because “we’ve got to find a way to talk to the thugs.”
And, he says, “we need to pray for the president-elect and vice president-elect” to “get things done” – apparently no matter what the cost to the rest of us.
Factually speaking, the United States has always worked with thugs. The US has had many thuggish allies since 1945, some of them worse than our enemies, tolerated entirely on ideological grounds.
And Franklin completely ignores Trump’s conflicts of interest and the degree to which Trump’s foreign policy (if it can be called that) will be dictated by his ability to earn a buck here as opposed to there.
Trump’s strategy for working with thugs is to let thugs be thugs as long as Trump gets a cut. And that includes the thugs in Trump’s own cabinet.
Yet Graham damned rational, pragmatic diplomacy, saying,
“That’s the problem with the politicians in Washington. They sit down there and they do nothing. Now we’ve got a man who’s coming into the White House who wants to get things done.”
Obama, obviously, got things done as well. He killed bin Laden and gave us the closure to 9/11 Bush could not; he has brought Cuba back into the community of nations; he has achieved an agreement with Iran to keep nuclear weapons out of its hands; he has restored America’s tarnished reputation – tarnished by the last Republican president – among that same community of nations.
Graham, however, prefers blather to fact and his outpouring of talking points and already debunked propaganda says more about the pastor than Trump’s critics:
“Start working to make America great again, that’s what Trump wants to do. We need jobs, we need to get employment up, we need to have hope for the future. And the only way you’re going to have hope for the future is if a kid goes to college and comes out and knows, ‘I can get a job and I can get a good paying job and maybe I can work my way up the ladder.’”
And here all these years we’ve been told by Republicans that the federal government could not create jobs. Apparently, Republican presidents have magical powers Democratic presidents lack.
Graham’s fatuous attacks on the technological underpinnings of the modern world show just how out of touch he is, as he fed us the outrageous claim that nobody wants to be a well-paid computer programmer when they can be performing low-wage manual labor without health benefits:
“This is terrible. I live in North Carolina where so much of our manufacturing base has gone to other countries. And people are out of jobs, are out of work. And they say, ‘But we’ll retrain you, we’ll let you be a computer programmer.’
“They don’t want to be a computer programmer! They want to do the same job as their fathers and their grandfathers. There was pride in the manufacturing and the building. And we’ve taken all that away and it’s sad.”
Yes, it is sad. Sadder than the Luddite Graham realizes. It’s not 1950 anymore. The world has changed. And it can’t be changed back.
Authoritarianism is a timeless flavor, however, and the so-called Religious Right has sold its soul and fallen in with the worst company possible, in every sense of the word.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.