America Has a Coward Problem and Lacks Courage To Change

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From elected officials to college presidents to the nation’s Attorney General, the U.S. has a cowardice problem.  Who dares to fix it?

America cultivated the macho man mystique, but it is not evident today in the twisted world of Donald Trump.

As the Mashable website said, “The candidate’s vitriol, rants, and crass commentary have changed the rules of political discourse.  From referencing a television host’s menstrual cycle to using vulgar phrases to describe opponents to his encouragement of violence at rallies, Trump’s insults have known no bounds — and have been a dominant storyline of the campaign.”

There is also a studied academic explanation about why people become cowards.  In addition to being a natural response to fear, people become cowards to become better followers of their leader.  Psychologist Rollo May and novelist Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn addressed the danger of cowardice to buttress totalitarian rule.  They both agreed that a decline in courage accompanies a decline in democracy and accelerates the rise of totalitarianism.  This allows the growth of “hyperconformity,” according to the YouTube video, Why Are Most People Cowards?

Trump’s Use of Insults and Cruelty Is Part of Right-Wing Populism

Trump uses a stream of insults to bully and threaten people even when there is no evidence that anything has ever resulted from his insult campaign.  In his pathetic political career, Trump has used social media to attack the media, elected officials, prosecutors, protestors, women he does not like (“fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals”), movie stars, entire nations, such as Puerto Rico, Mexico (calling Mexican immigrants making their way to the U.S. criminals), African countries, the Red Hen restaurant, the Associated Press, the Pulitzer Prize, MSNBC host Joy Reid, Baltimore, John McCain, Rosie O’Donnell, Trump’s onstage buffoonery is entertaining.  Still, it has even earned a name, “insult politics.”

Trump’s sociopathic bullying has made his own party cowards. It’s not clear what they are afraid of.  The common reason is that they will be primaried in their next election, and they may have to work in order to keep their jobs.  This is inconceivable to politicians who believe they have lifetime appointments and probably cannot find work in the real world aside from becoming lobbyists.

Since there are few courageous U.S. politicians, The Republicans look to authoritarians in Europe and Asia as models for transforming the U.S. That’s why the conservatives held their recent meeting in Hungary in order to cozy up to Victor Orban, Hungary’s near-dictator. So, if Americans think fascism belongs in the history books, they better start reading the news today.  It’s already here and there is more fascism to come.

Why Is America Facing Fascism?

In a paper, “Insult Politics: Donald Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and Incendiary Language,  by Oscar Winberg, he addresses the right-wing populism and incendiary rhetoric that Trump used in his 2016 campaign.  Winberg says Trump’s “brand of insult politics fit into the long tradition of U.S. right-wing populism.”

As a political scientist, Winberg writes that “ad hominem attacks throughout U.S. history include John Adams calling Alexander Hamilton “the bastard brat of a Scotch peddler,” accusations that Andrew Jackson’s late mother was a prostitute, claims that Abraham Lincoln was a mulatto, charges that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a Communist, and allegations that Barack Obama was a Muslim.” 

However, insults traditionally do not play well with the electorate.  On the right wing, however, it is a different story.  Alabama Governor George Wallace used anti-liberal, anti-segregation messages in his presidential campaign.  Winberg and historian Michael Kazin note that “populism is not defined by ideology but by rhetoric.  Populism is thus political rhetoric which seeks to champion the common man against perceived sinister elites, or “the establishment.”

Populism is also an impulse and not an ideology.  This could account for the unsophisticated, misinformed responses Trumpers give to interviewers when asked questions about political history or how the government operates.

The Tea Party helped set the stage for attacks on Democrats and Liberals.  At Tea Party events, President Obama was called a Communist, Muslim, a Hitler surrogate, or an African witch doctor.  “Tea Party demonstrators protesting the passage of the Affordable Care Act yelled the most insulting slurs at black, homosexual, and Jewish members of Congress,” Winberg writes.

But this unhinged hatred of others is part of Trump’s mental illness.  While he insults entire nations and individuals, the more interesting response is how people who have been publicly humiliated and abused by Trump have done nothing to defend their reputations, their families, or their profession or office.  Instead, we have a coterie of cowards whose common bond is their spinelessness.

So, when we hear about university presidents who are afraid to use their professional skills and institutional authority to prevent undergrads from taking over their institutions, we should not be surprised. Unfortunately, many journalists and even U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland are part of this problem. Spinelessness is a national problem, and it should rank up there with obesity, smoking, drunk driving, voter fraud, and child abuse.

Take a look at how this list of cowards in national leadership positions caved in when the sociopath Trump insulted them to their faces, insulted their wives and families, or just cowered in the corner when Trump spewed dangerous medical advice to unsuspecting Americans.

Coward 1:  Ex-Attorney General Bill Barr

former Attorney General Bill Barr (see the CNN video here and here) lets Trump insult him to his face, and then Barr says, “So what?” in response to the insults.  The former Attorney General of the United States is so confused and mentally disoriented that Barr says, “he’ll vote for Trump even though he says he shouldn’t be president.”  Barr, like Senator Lindsey Graham, must be a masochist to tolerate Trump’s consistent insults.

Cowards 2, 3, 4, 5: Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham

How Senators Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, and Marco Rubio allow Trump to insult their families, including their parents and wives, and they look at their shores and accept the insults.

Trump loves to bash Marco Rubio.  He is called “Little Marco” in numerous rallies and told rally attendees that Rubio “could not get elected as dog catcher.” The audience roared with approval.

As an example, Trump has Tweeted that Rubio has the “worst voting record in the U.S. Senate in many years,” “will never MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” “bought and paid for by lobbyists!”  “dishonest  lightweight,” “he is scamming Florida, Florida,”  “lightweight,”  “Dishonest,”  “Lightweight,” “lightweight,”  “big loser,”  “fraud lightweight,”  “failed presidential candidate,”  “Rubio puts out an ad that my pilot was a drug dealer- not true, not my pilot!”  “never even shows up to vote,”  “worst record,” “a joke!”  “lightweight,”  “Interesting how my numbers have gone so far up since lightweight Marco Rubio has turned nasty.  Love it!”  “Phony,”  “little,”  “the lightweight from Florida,”  “lightweight Senator,” “the lightweight no-show Senator from Florida,”

Coward 6: Dr.  DeborahBirx Looks At Her Shoes As Trump Spews Dangerous Advice

Then, remember when Dr. Deborah Birx sat in a press conference looking lost and then at her shoes while Trump told people to ingest bleach as a cure or prevention of COVID-19.  Trump’s lies were so well publicized that Clorex, the largest manufacturer of bleach, was forced to issue a warning not to ingest bleach because Blixt never said anything to counter Trump’s dangerous claim.

At the time when COVID was spreading, Dr. Birx, Trump’s top official to co-ordinate the COVID epidemic, “failed to do her job,” according to Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University.

“That is very obvious.” Dr. Reiner said that if Birx had done her job, about 250,000 Americans would be alive today.

In August 2020, Bloomberg News posted a news item questioning the veracity of Birx’s scientific updates about the Trump administration’s progress in fighting the COVID-19 virus.

In the Bloomberg article, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she “doesn’t trust information” from the coordinator of the White House’s coronavirus task force (Birx), the latest political skirmish over the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“President Donald Trump has been spreading disinformation about the virus, and Deborah Birx “is his appointee, so I don’t have confidence there, no,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week.'”

Coward 7: South Dakota Governor Shoots Her Puppy To Be a Macho Woman

Then there is the odd case of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noam, the wanna-be VP to Trump, who announced in her book that she shot her puppy because it was running around a field chasing birds.  She also shot a goat because it was dirty and smelled.

Noam must have her reasons for these actions, but the best one is that she wanted to shoot something, anything, to get the attention of the gun owners and others in the MAGA crowd who love shooting anything.

Writing in her book to make money for her stellar leadership in South Dakota, the story is that Noem recounts shooting a 14-month-old puppy, Cricket, Cricket, the 14-month-old wirehair pointer, whom she was training for pheasant hunting, according to this article in Slate News.

“The young dog (that she “hated,” she writes) allegedly exhibited aggression.  Cricket once crunched a chicken to death in one bite, for example.  Noem called the dog “untrainable” and “less than worthless.”

“Finally, she concluded she would have to put Cricket down—by shooting the dog in a gravel pit.  She also wrote about bringing a “nasty” goat to the exact location to kill, as well, Slate wrote.

vhttps://www.cnn.com/videos/media/2024/04/30/stephen-colbert-kristi-noem-dead-dog-orig.cnn

Explaining, Bloomberg columnist Francis Wilkenson, offers this insight: “While Noem relayed a disconcerting tale about cruelty, which she thought would translate as Trumpy. Republican politicians campaigning during Reconstruction “waved the bloody shirt” to summon the partisan passions of the Civil War.  MAGA politicians wave the bloody gun to inflame the culture war.”

So, to avoid the cowardly label, MAGA politicians substitute cruelty.  This is exactly what Trump does when he ridicules people from the podium during campaign speeches.  Wilkenson concludes that the violence is there “to signal solidarity with a political culture that increasingly honors cruelty and valorizes violence.”

Cowards 8: University Presidents

University presidents who are facing protests by pro-Palestinian supporters are also under the spotlight to gauge their reactions to class disruptions and the takeover of college buildings.  While the colleges seek to negotiate with the protestors, the problem is: What are they negotiating, and how long will it take?

Parents of students attending the affected colleges want to keep their kids safe and not waste their tuition money as these colleges suspend classes.  So, does the delay in restoring order make the college presidents look cowardly or just deliberative in their responses?  Sometimes, cowardice is not as evident in some cases as in others.

How People Coped With Trump’s Insults

Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, broke with Trump after he told him there was no evidence of voter fraud after the 2016 election.  Meadows later agreed to work with Special Counsel Jack Smith to testify against Trump.  In response, Trump called Meadows a weakling and a coward.

So, how can those attacked by Trump rectify their reputations and restore their credibility?  They can become a witness for the prosecution.

As the 18th-century novelist Eugène Sue said: “Revenge is best served cold.”

 

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