Adolph Reed Is Right: This Is Important

Adolph ReedI’m a great admirer of Adolph Reed. And I generally agree with him. Unlike most of the people I read on the left, I don’t read him contingently. What I mean by that is that he is roughly as “liberal” as I am. People like Paul Krugman are allies because our country is so out of whack. But if the country does take a solid turn to the left, I will be more and more at odds with Krugman in a way that I won’t be with Reed. So I was pleased to see him write, Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger: It’s Important. He means, of course, Hillary Clinton.

Now, I actually don’t have much bad to say about Clinton in the same way that I don’t have much bad to say about Obama. Neither people are truly in my political camp. But they are both like Krugman: in the modern American context, they are allies. Also, in Clinton’s case, I think most of this narrative about her not being honest is due to the right-wing campaign against the Clintons in the 1990s. I don’t find her any more corrupt than any other politician of her stature.

Adolph Reed on 1930s Germany

But there was one thing in Adolph Reed’s article that really struck me. He was talking about how the Communists refused to support the Social Democrats in Germany in the early 1930s. And their leader, Ernst Thällman, famously said, “After Hitler, our turn.” Reed wrote, “His point was that a Nazi victory would expose them as fraudulent with no program for the working class.” Of course, that didn’t happen. Thällman underestimated the ruthlessness of Hitler and the Nazis. Reed goes on to discuss this. You should read his whole article, it is typically brilliant.

I’d like to talk about this in the context of our political system. I am one of those people who thinks that our democracy is stronger than Donald Trump. But I hear a lot of “Bernie or Bust” types claiming that Trump would be such a horrible president that he would only serve one term — if that. And then we would have a wonderful future where everyone is fairies and elves and you can have all the cotton candy you like. This is a total misreading of how politics works in the United States.

How a Trump Presidency Will Go

I think if Trump were elected, it would be Ronald Reagan 2.0. At first, the economy would tank. People would flip out. But then, they’d notice that Trump hadn’t actually started World War III. And the economy would recover. By 2020, Trump would win re-election easily. And by the time he left office in 2024, the country would be in ruin. But by then, the laws of the country would be much worse.

The lower classes would pay a far higher percentage of the taxes than they now do. There would be virtually nothing left of the social safety net. And the federal courts — most especially the Supreme Court — would be so conservatives — that it would be almost impossible to fix the country if a liberal Democrat were elected president with a Democratic House and 70 members of the Senate.

This Is Important

People who believe this “Trump will be such a catastrophe that everyone will see it” nonsense don’t understand how things work in this country. There ain’t gonna be a revolution. The same rich people who are in charge now will be in charge then, but the rest of us will be poorer with far less power to do anything about it. And that’s the best we can hope for. With all the voter disenfranchisement that the Republicans will enact, it could be many election cycles before anyone anywhere near liberal is in the White House.

Adolph Reed is right: this is important. Super important.

Odd Words: Ablegate

Cardinal George Pell Without AblegateAfter the first page of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition, I thought these Odd Words posts would be easy! (Well, not easy; creating the definitions with all the odd characters is actually rather hard.) But then I flipped the page and there were only two words I didn’t know.

The one I didn’t go for was “abulia” which is a mental disorder characterized by a loss of willpower. But that one hits a little too close to home. Also, I don’t really see it as a disorder. Schopenhauer would doubtless have called it a rational response to the absurdity of existence. I work obsessively, and that strikes me as far more of a disorder. So let us say no more about it.

Today’s word, as you may have guessed, has something to do with the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, I could find no pictures of an actual ablegate. So we are stuck with Cardinal George Pell. What’s important about the image is what it doesn’t contain.

Ab·le·gate  noun  \ab’-lə-gət\

1. a papal envoy to newly appointed cardinals or civil dignitaries.

Date: early 19th century.

Origin: it could be from the French word ablégat or the Latin ablegāre. As far as I know, both these words mean “ablegate.”

Example: It turns out that Francis was upset not because he gets yanked on day in and day out by people looking for a quick blessing, but because this particular puller almost knocked the supreme pontiff onto a wheelchair-bound man during an open-air mass in Morella, Mexico. I guess you could call the whole thing a dis-ablegate! (Papal pun!)Lindsey Ellefson