In Defense of the Unconventional

by Justin Robbins

There has been, and will undoubtedly continue to be much debate about how Americans…“real” Americans…should react to the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. The gambit seems to run from elation at the rise of a genuine man of the people, to despair and claims Trump’s presidency is not legitimate. My own struggle to coalesce my thoughts into an outlook whose gaze I could hold in the mirror, has been remedied by closely watching one man; Donald Trump.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a liberal. Today, more so than ever before, an independent liberal. So, I’m not talking about joining “the movement.” I’m talking about embracing the strategy employed, by my next president, to each new challenge he encounters; specifically, knee-jerk reactionism. Please note I am talking about embracing knee-jerk reactionism, not endorsing it. This may seem like a distinction without a difference but, in the age of Trump, what else is there?

If the last year has clarified anything for me, it is that conventional wisdom no longer has a significant role in our society. Trump’s ascension handed a victory to the alt-right and their ilk who have successfully, and now completely re-branded the concept of common decency as “political correctness”; something to be scorned. Ironically, he and they were assisted in this endeavor by those on the illiberal left shouting down speakers with whom they disagree, handing out trophies for participation, and clamoring for spaces at our universities “safe” from controversial ideas.

Social and mainstream media is now practically choked with breathless accounts of Trump’s latest “shocking” tweet, revealed hypocrisy, or celebrity battle; as if this one will end him. Most recently, a tangle with civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis brought suggestions Trump would regret his harsh tweets. Really? Has it honestly been your experience that Donald Trump regrets anything that puts his name in the headlines? This guy…?  

I’m not yet sure how you fight this guy; save to say doing so is imperative. My only suggestion here, as we all navigate these new waters, is to part immediately with convention. Claiming the moral high ground and appealing to common decency will have no effect on the man in this gif; nor, for that matter, on his red hat brigadiers. These are people who demonstrate self-awareness by lining up behind a 10 year veteran of reality TV to decry celebrity voices in politics…you know; morons.

For my part, I have completed my share of hand wringing. Donald Trump won the electoral college vote, and will be my country’s president. But, it is still every bit my country; therefore, I will react.

Grounded in the same liberal principles which underlie the original American experiment, I will plant myself firmly in the face of any who would use this clown’s election as carte blanche to lash out at minorities, assault women, foment racism, or otherwise advance ignorance. It is not a time for good people to do nothing and if this pig’s chosen arena is the mud, I don’t mind getting dirty.

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43 Comments on "In Defense of the Unconventional"

  1. I was with you right up to the last paragraph. Is calling the president elect a clown and a pig required rhetoric under your liberal principles? A genuflection to the epistimological surly?

    • If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, you should probably call it a duck.

      Actually, calling him a clown and a pig is probably being ….. dare I say ….. too politically correct. The man is a sociopath and a congenital liar. He has spent his entire life lying to, cheating, and stealing from practically everyone he has ever dealt with. His mentors were his despicable father and Roy Cohn, attorney and confidant to Joe McCarthy, and arguably one of the most vicious bastards in 20th century politics.

  2. I am committed to repeating the slime without regard to facts. Pee is my Benghazi….for now.

  3. I asked myself “what is missing?” in this rather snarky piece. And it came to me that the author seems to believe everything was okay before the election of Trump. Neoliberal elites have failed the American people, as the Trump fascists will also inevitably do. Rejecting both political ideologies and replacing them with some kind of democratic socialism is what remains. And it begins with understanding what the 99% need.

  4. I refuse to acquiesce to a man so hateful of President Obama that he had Hookers Pee on the bed the President and his first lady Might of slept on while in Russia.

    I agree with John Lewis, he is not a legitimate President.

    • Alveda C. King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is reported to have said:

      “I pray that all polar opposites learn to Agape Love, live and work together as brothers and sisters—or perish as fools. While I voted for Mr. Trump, my confidence remains in God, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Prayers for President-elect Trump, Congressman Lewis, and everyone including leaders.”

      And President Obama said: “…the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one freely-elected president to the next,… I committed to President-Elect Trump that my administration would ensure the smoothest possible transition, just as President Bush did for me. Because it’s up to all of us to make sure our government can help us meet the many challenges we still face.”

      The hate I see are those that clutch it so bitterly to their breasts as if it had value to the health of our nation and nourishment to people’s souls.

      • Its not Hate I have, its reality.

        I am not a politician, I am not a government employee, I as an american citizen have nothing to fear because of my opinion. I respect our institutions and the office of the presidency. Just not this Orange tiny handed man. Infact any man who speaks of women like trump did, speaks against the disabled like trump did, calls Latinos rapists, and criminals, who are my friends and my biracial children, and than Harrasses blacks with the same continuity as he treated the central park 5 deserves my spurn. Not my understanding. Thats not hate

        Trumps missteps and gluttony is all on tape, and live daily on twitter for all to see. Just because you ignore it do not expect others too.

        I even have less respect for the people who voted for him, because if history has taught us anything… History has taught us that republicans voters of late, do not Care for AMerican people’s interests, like jobs and healthy workers, a growing paycheck, and a clear atmosphere. Hell, you dont even care for the American dream. No! Your kind only care to continue to drink the snake oil, and continually hand over your and our hard earned cash to corporations instead of feeding and educationg the children. You believe in party before country. It happens time and time again, and you continue to think it will get better with each conservative vote for right wing conservatives, each election. Your delusional, It’s been getting worse since Reagan, but you dont mind crawling, trying to drag this country to the gutter with you…..

        Try as you might to lead me to your downward level of Bullshit and greed, and bigotry, I have always found my country has granted me boon enough to help others. whether it be in spirit, in my time and in my donations. I am not even worried that some of you hate my religion.

        Scramble as you will to catch my attention to this crappy jerk elect, I am only reminded that I should give republicans the same amount of respect you gave my president Obama. As you feign it now in your comments above….

        Are you looking for company on your way to Boot Stomping fascism and hell? DO you feel alone Craig for picking that soulless sap? I am not interested. Thats not hate at all Craig, it’s my 60 years of experience, that you republicans talk from both sides of your mouth, and knowing better, as a person of intelligence, to encourage to allow such Feeble ignorance to continue.

        You picked him, you live with him for the next four years. We liberals will do as we always do. clean up the mess you leave in four years and march the country forward again.

        • Sorry, I should have noticed that you mirror MLK III. He said recently, “Well, first of all I think that in the heat of emotion a lot of things get said on both sides. And I think that at some point — I am, as John Lewis and many others, a bridge builder,… The goal is to bring America together and Americans. We are a great nation but we must become a greater nation. And what my father represented, my mother represented through her life, what I hope that I am trying to do is always bring people together.”

          It was his father, MLK jr., who said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

          • And therein lies the problem. Republicans as a general rule dont listen to the right family members of king or KIng himself 2. In order to build bridges, you have to know how to use the tools of Love and Justice. 3. the only tools republicans use are gerrymandering and the closing of voter booths to disenfranchise the poor and needy in our country….

            As I said before, I live in the real world, and the reality is, your side Plays dirty, it doesn’t build. It tears down.

  5. What is a “real American”? I don’t believe there are any unless of course u are talking about my ancestors…

  6. Please call the alt right by its descriptive name. It is White Supremacy. This request comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center. To use alt right is an attempt to normalize the White supremacists

  7. Skyla, that is exactly what got us here.

    • Not really. Its the “party of the working people” having abandoned them for WallSstreet and the 1%. Obama and his embrace of deficit cutting and austerity has surely paved the way for Trump. Clinton did not waver much and actively and unfairly undermined Sanders. The neoliberals have betrayed all American working class people, regardless of gender, race or ability. Its time to remake the Democratic Party as a true party of the working class.

      • The republicans luck, is in getting CItizens United. that decision is the real culprit. Democrats could have appealed to the working whites by promising to continue to help these Americans….

        But the lure of only talking to a corporation or pac meant they didn’t have to invest that time in their districts. Some Democrats got as lazy as the republicans and accepted cash from corporations, which is easier to do than passing the hat at rallys. In all actuality they thought they had to collect money like the GOP has for years….

        Bernie proved that wasn’t necessary. And that’s the example democrats should value when they run. that’s how they get back in touch with Americans.

        So to tell you the truth, republicans nor Democrats are working with their constituents any more.

        That should bother the crap out of you.

        That neither party holds their party platform policies in esteem either, makes what they say since Citizen United ring hollow in our ears.

        Four hours in the halls of justice, and another 7 hours a day at a call center asking the rich for money on their next election, tells me all I want to know about where their priorities lie.

      • You’ve said the “Neoliberals have abandoned/betrayed the working class” several times and I think it’s a bit of copout. It’s basically picking up the republican talking points and using them as if they are therefore true…didn’t we see enough of that in the election? Beyond the majorities of votes, last minute Comey none sense which played at least some role…the right grabbed the narrative on Hillary and started down the road to pretending she was compromised and sold out early and often – and many just followed along with out thinking twice and for little reason.

        The only betrayal is really in the negative…the working class has the same needs as always: good pay, decent jobs, reasonable oversight and protection against bad actors and wall street level scandals, fair tax policy that enables the middle & working classes to grow and puts a fair burden back on the right…etc. And all of those things live on the left not the right in this political age. There isn’t a working class issue out there that Bernie and Hillary wouldn’t have represented them better than Trump, Cruz, JEB!, Huckleberry, et al.

        Hillary talked long and hard about working class and middle class jobs. She had programs and outlined them. In debates she detailed them, while the orange haired opponent just said he create a bigly amount of beautiful ones without a shred of detail. Could her campaign have done more to work on working class voters – sure, but betrayal suggests something else. Even the post poll numbers show that she was still trusted more on the economy in most swing states. The working class heard it and didn’t care even if she was the only real one talking about on jobs…and I think that part of that comes from the false narrative that the right sold many on the left without an ounce of anything but innuendo.

        This canonization of Bernie (and I am a Bernie supporter), and the pretense that Hillary did something awful to him, or somehow corrupted the party as being the cause is also false. Do people not know how modern elections work anymore? It’s not a great system, and it’s got it’s ugliness, but ANY democrat running for president needs a lot of money to run the large machine involved and make a serious run. If Bernie was the front runner he’d have been in much the same position with the Kochs threatening to spend close to 800 million against the DEM nominee alone. Bernie got money from bundled groups and unions, and other places under the same messed up election system – but Bernie’s a saint and Hillary’s compromised because the right says so?

        And the old screed that mean old Hillary’s team played dirty tricks on poor old Bernie is very thin…during the primary the front runner and rest of the pack claw for votes, and then the work together after the primary to win the agenda. Do you think Bernie didn’t have surrogates out there doing the exact same stuff? Unfairly undermined? If Bernie was the front runner and the DNC saw him as the favorite – they’d have been doing the same work to make sure their predictions came through for him…at some point this naiveté of pretending this should have been run like the local middle school’s student body election is just playing into the right. They say how dare Hillary fight for the position she wants like every other candidate…and we repeated it back like they were right. The RNC fought tooth and nail to dislodge Trump and amongst themselves- but do we ever tsk-tsk them for it? We’re supposed to be bright angels that shouldn’t fight back when they start the slime routine? Part of their success is their ability to not hold petty grudges after the convention…while half the left was so bitter than they’d have rather burned down the building than help push the agenda

        Moreover, the agenda between HC and BS is not the wide divide many pretend other than semantics…name one topic that Bernie was light years away from HC on? There aren’t any – it was degrees on the dial not polar opposites – and again I am a Bernie Supporter. Its as if many just found brushes laden with black paint on the ground and figured you’d just start applying a coat or two…

        So the negative…yes, some of the working class is upset about the left embracing BLM issues…is that a bad thing just because there is some latent resentment and feeling some sense of slippage in the social order there? Are we supposed to keep BLM at arm’s length even if we agree cops don’t have a given right to shoot unarmed black youth because we’re afraid it will alienate voters…now that would be a betrayal of basic principals of doing what’s right.

        • @MTHauser – You are entirely correct in your assessment of the political construct that ended in such a dismaying result. I pin a lot of the responsibility on St Ronnie of Reagan and his imbecilic nonsense: “Government isn’t the solution, government is the problem.” That gave carte blanche to every vicious ideologue on the extreme right and all of the clueless pseudo-libertarian nimrods to blame “government” for everything that they disapprove of.

        • The neoliberal tag I think goes to those who believe that Federal budget deficits are bad, that taxes should be kept to a minimum, and that austerity in Federal budgets are the solution. This then applies to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Most everything else takes a back seat to this world view, as it completely plays into the interests of the 1%. Obama did do some good things, but by adhering to the neoliberal economic “agenda” he allowed a recovering economy to stall and show no gains for the vast majority of working class. Rhetoric aside, it is about the economy.

          • Sorry Mark – this is a combination of magic beans politics, revisionist history and backbiting. It pretends complex problems can be solved with magic beans or wands and that when they weren’t solved magically then somehow the problems were the problem but the leader, who must have been compromised…and therefore let’s apply a name, oh maybe NEO-liberal.

            There’s real silliness here…even the 1% don’t try to pretend Obama was good to them int eh slightest but you do? A few so-called real progressives want to pretend that the guy the right hates so much that this very day they’ve invested millions to get everything he’s done erase immediately…is somehow nearly a republican because he’s isn’t radical enough for them.

            It’s basically the same stupidity the right would use against Obama…they’d swing back and forth between pretending he was a dictatorial monster who should have been able to immediately fill in and repair the black hole the Bush admin created, but then he was a obstructionist because he didn’t let the right have their agenda, while he was also ineffective because he couldn’t get his agenda enacted wholesale because the right openly said they were going to block any and everything.

            So now the left – and I am as progressive as they come on almost any day – plays the same magic bean/wand game. As if Obama didn’t get all the things he should have done because he chose not to sell his magic beans, but the things that he did do (that the right rolls on the floor and howls about nightly) weren’t REALLY accomplishments because they weren’t as radical as they think a magic person should be able to make magically appear, or that he was in cahoots with the right because he didn’t force congress to his will. It’s a naiveté that shows nothing of reality. The president doesn’t rule as either Trump, Putin or the vengeful and disillusioned far left think he does.

            I really wonder if some of young progressives are just fresh out of school and unable to comprehend that we have a government by it’s very nature that is cumbersome, relies on coalition building and doesn’t perform like some TV version of ruling. Obama tried to push landmark reform in many areas and was thwarted…mostly by republicans but often enough by his own party too. And when the mid-term bounce of 2010 occurred as again the right grabbed the narrative on ACA that they still ply…Obama’s hands became even more tied. But there was very little gifting to the 1% and much more taking – and strong pushes to make real changes that helped real people through the congress and EO (stimulus spending, overtime rules, family leave, gun issues, ACA, tax increases on the wealthy, stopping keystone, battling corruption…and on and on).

            IF you want to cry rivers on TPP – go ahead…but your throwing the baby out with the bathwater…I don’t agree with TPP but I understand that, just like NAFTA in the 90’s, the president was trying to come up with a plan to take the lead and thwart China’s regional dominance and create what (mistakenly IMHO) would be an issue that compromise could be built upon in removing trade barrier to help build jobs at home.

            And with Bill Clinton…NAFTA taints that legacy all day long in my eye. But he still was a liberal president that pushed a decidedly liberal agenda most days of the week…his ascendancy to power is the very genesis of the Newt Gingrich far right to battle him. And again, there was nothing in the Hillary Platform to suggest that she’s anything but a close cousin to Bernie – the only difference was early support of TPP when it was a different agreement. Her policies on spending, wall street reform, education including significant changes to funding and debt…all virtually the same. Neither Clinton is perfect – is anybody – yet they were on our team and pushing our ideals and not the right’s…Just because Hillary and Bill had grown somewhat rich and influential as a result of his post presidential life – doesn’t show up in their politics no matter how much you mention Goldman Sachs speeches that promised nothing.

            IF the disillusioned Bernie Bros would have done a little more thinking and a little less lashing out for the right – they have seen Bernie’s imprint on the party this year as his ideas and a more progressive vision was building within the party in new blood and stalwarts like Warren, Brown, Duckworth and others. And Bernie would be a king in congress running his agenda to a large degree instead of trying to scramble to remain a thorn in Ryan and Trump’s side to keep us from disaster. You can say tearing the whole thing down will build it back up quicker – but again that’s naiveté at it’s finest. You know what builds things up…like minded groups working together and progressives pushing the party to be more progressive instead of eating their own out of their own childish & selfish anger. (apologies to all on length – that’s just how I like to write – thanks for patience).

            • A lot of us Berniecrats, In fact a majority of us which are not Brenie-bros, Voted for Clinton. So your argument is false.

              The reason she wasn’t elected, had more to do with gerrymandering and the closing of 807 more voting precincts by republicans in gerrymandered districts this last election compared to 2012. which also made the electors votes Gerrymandered as well( another reason to get rid of that particular kind of vote in presidential elections).

              For all intensive purposes she actually won the popular vote By almost 4 million votes.

              Then there is HIllary speechifying style. which only catered to the hillary Faithful, and mostly college educated. Her messaging style was to nerdy, and too complicated for most Americans.

              LAstly republicans had plenty of opposition research on her and none on Bernie. they had years of lies told, and never countered before she ever got to run a second time.

              The DNC played right into the GOPS hand, the Establishment Dems refused to explain themselves in High school language, verely missing conversations with most average Americans, They wouldn’t vehemently counter Republican lies… they just thought they were to saintly to lose.

              She might have been the most QUalified to most Americans, but she couldn’t punch through the thick mind of some, who were to pre-occupied working two Jobs to feed their Family nowadays.

              Bernie understood that, I understand that, Some of you understand that. For the rest of you that still dont, stand taller and it might not keep going over your head!!!

              • Actually, his argument is spot on. Only something like 51% of Bernie supporters voted for Clinton. Another 15% voted for Trump. The remaining 36% either didn’t vote or went 3rd party. That 49% non-Hillary vote would have made all the difference.

                • source? of the 30 oe so Berniecrats I know only ONE voted for anyone but Hillary-and now says he feels like an idiot for writing in Bernie. None of the PPP, Rasmussen or CNN/OARC polls show those results. The 100’s of 1000’s of cross-checked names has much more effect.

                  • Look harder. It’s there. When you applaud insults, don’t expect to be spoon fed.

                    • Sorry. That’s the response of someone who made an unsubstantiated claim, then couldn’t find any credible source to back it up.

                    • claudius, actually what I what asserted is true. You are welcome to your opinion regardless of the facts. There was a huge number of Bernie voters that would not pull the lever for Hillary. If they had the inauguration on Friday would be different.

              • Norma, just to be clear. I was not blaming Berniecrats in anything more than part. I WAS countering the arguments by Mark that ‘Democrats Betrayed the 99%’ and his portrayal of Hillary, and both Clintons as DINOS (the right is good for something! Mean names for each other). As you mention many on the left allowed the right to dominate the narrative as they always do – and some on the left readily accepted those memes as truth without much basis and ran with them.

                I was a Berniecrat too. And when he didn’t win I worked to put the next best option that shared almost all of his ideas and who’d even copied some, into office. So you mention some faults of Hillary and of course voter restrictions and gerrymandering (kos has been doing a series on it and the maps are just insane in each state). And the uphill Comey battle comes into play. Hillary had faults – no doubt…but I don’t see that as BETRAYAL BY THE PARTY as Mark claims but a mix of hubris (maybe) and mistakes made in a typical campaign of assuming votes were secure in areas they weren’t. I also think there is some part of this that might be sexist in both how she was seen at times and how she was treated…it’s not an overriding answer versus the trump victory but just part of the puzzle.

                Hindsight feels like Bernie could have managed that storm better and prevailed – but it’s hard to tell with the way this election played out. As you sorta mentioned, we are seeing everyday that a man was elected that proudly lied, misconstrued basic reality and mislead people, and they were happy to be treated that way. Some are even surprised now that he’s doing the things he actually said as they were so used to being lied to they come to expect he really wouldn’t defund PP or dump ACA.

                One of the biggest issues is us dems tend to want to play politics in a victorian manner of outrage at the game and high-minded politics in the face of the republican muddy tactics, instead of standing up and fighting as hard back when challenged…and we tend to fail to stick together to work together for a common goal under trying circumstances.

        • And Sanders is no neoliberal. Most people can figure that out even though they don’t have the vocabulary for it. That’s why so many people did not vote for Clinton. Which is more substantial to the election outcome, in my opinion, than any groundswell of support for Trump.

  8. Responding to the language, and not the ideas, that is. New joke. what is the difference between garbanzos and chick peas? Donald Trump doesn’t like garbanzos.

    • @Steve – Are you like Kellyanne Conway then? Pay no attention to the incessant lies coming from Trumpski, it’s what’s really in his heart that counts.

      Sorry, his language tells us exactly what is in his heart and what his ideas are.

      New joke. How many Trumpski supporters does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: None. They’d rather stay in the dark because he told them there is no light bulb, and if there was a light bulb it would be the brightest bulb ever, but if it wasn’t he’ll put in a new one that’s bigger and brighter than any light bulb ever – the very first day he’s in office.

  9. When people realise the newly anointed Supreme Smartypants is a distraction from the efforts of Congress, it will be too late. He will already have signed those bills…..

  10. @claudius No, I’m not suggesting the subject be ignored. I just don’t want the SPLC telling me how I use language. Like it or not, some people get angry when they are word-policed for no real reason. I’m very much against white supremacy, and everyone knows already that the “alt.right” is filled with them. It’s morning, it’s cold, and I’m shaking this all over the place.

  11. Oh and Sanders is no neoliberal.

  12. More to the point, this is how things are going to look under a Trump regime. I’m not too worried yet, for the trains will still run on time and Walmart will still be open. Unless of course the fascists overreach, which they appear to be doing.

    http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Will-US-Citizens-Tolerate-Authoritarian-Rule–20170117-0007.html

  13. Well its quite obvious that there are some DNC shills here posting lengthy screeds in support of the 1%. Saunders had more money donated by individuals than Clinton. She had Wall Street backing sure, but unless you’re in the high society set, those folks couldn’t give two sh*ts about you or your flat-for-10+ years wages.

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