Thursday morning, MSNBC’s Morning Joe conducted its post-debate analysis of the final battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was one of the better shows the program has put on in a while. Instead of the vanilla groupthink into which the show has been descending, opposition and even strong, sarcastic disagreement grabbed the participants. It was refreshing to see an actual discussion.
More than that, it provided viewers, and voters, with some vital information.
At about the 7:29 mark of the show, Joe Scarborough introduced political commentator Mark Halperin, an anti-Trumper who nonetheless retains a measure of objectivity and mental sobriety. He asked Halperin how he scored Wednesday night’s debate. Here’s Halperin’s reply:
“I’m fascinated by a parallel universe in which Trump hadn’t said what he said about respecting the results because he had a lot of good moments. I think he got more of his message out than he ever has. He had the demeanor that a lot of people wanted to see. But there’s no doubt that it’s the revenge of the elites. Elites do not accept that that was an appropriate answer. And it’s not just the coverage in the media aftermath of the debate, the coverage this morning; but until he explains it (his answer) and gets in sync with everyone on his campaign team, I don’t think he’s going to get to talk about much else. That means every bit of good he might have done last night with a strong performance, and her strong performance, I don’t think matters much.”
Scarborough then asked Halperin this question:
“How many people in Scranton, Pennsylvania, care about what he said in that answer compared to people in newsrooms that are (makes whining sounds) whimpering and whining with their, you know, their soy lattes?”
“That’s why I say it’s the revenge of the elites. Elites in both parties have been against Trump from the beginning…”
Mika interjected: “Yes, they have.”
“They look at this answer as wrong, morally wrong, against our traditions. And so, the elites have the power to make this the whole debate. You know, Kellyanne Conway and others came into the spin room afterward and said, Why are you seizing on one moment? Well, because it’s a moment that is out of sync with everyone else in his campaign. It’s a moment that offends the sensibilities of elites, and it’s a moment that will dominate forever what this debate is about. I think what he said was wrong and his tone was wrong. And it was an unforced error. But there’s no doubt, Joe, you’re right. Normal people won’t care about that answer. That’s why I say again, elites control a lot of this process. They don’t like that answer, and for good reasons. It was not an acceptable answer in the realm of American discourse.”
For reasons I detailed in yesterday’s post, I disagree with Halperin’s take that Trump’s answer was not an acceptable one in the realm of American discourse, that what Trump said was wrong, and that he said it in a tone that was wrong. More importantly, others who possess greater knowledge of history than I have flatly dismissed the kind of objection that Halperin made.
For brevity’s sake, I’ll simply point out the many times the Founding Fathers and others throughout our history, as well as in the history of other nations, have declared loudly the need for perpetual vigilance to safeguard our liberty.
“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.” – Thomas Paine
“But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.” – Andrew Jackson
“Free government is founded in jealousy, not confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind those we are obliged to trust with power…. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” – John F. Kennedy
So what can we take away from Halperin’s remarks?
First, and there is no getting around the terminology, our country has a class of elites who dominate both parties, the economy, the government, and society.
Second, these elites often work together for their common purposes, and they at the least, to quote Halperin, “control a lot of the process.” That “process” is the operation of the above named spheres and the dissemination or suppression of relevant information to conduct the operation of the above named spheres via the organs of mass media.
Third, because of that level of control, “the elites have the power to make this the whole debate”.
In other words, the elites can dictate what issues will be presented to you and the triggers and imagery they will use to capture and hold your attention; they will frame the issues, provide the scenery, and situate the perspective from which you will view; the energy and intensity and color of the kabuki theater spectacle will direct you to the proper emotional, “ethical”, and intellectual conclusions! They will make it seem so noble and so obvious!
It isn’t Trump’s job to assume the inviolability of an elitist principle of respecting the outcome. More importantly, it isn’t our job! We are supposed to assume the worst, and we should be constantly checking to see whether the election process is rigged or not; it isn’t our job to validate something without looking warily at it and testing it.
Liberty calls for vigilance! Liberty’s work is never completed, and its work cannot be approached with complacency or indifference or selfishness.
Yet if you watched any of the post-debate coverage, watched the next morning’s news programs, or read the newspapers, is that not exactly what you witnessed? Did you not see an outrage that anyone could call into question the outcome of an election? Did the media minions discuss the whole debate or did they concentrate on Trump’s answer on the election result and the significance they wanted you to take from it? What did the major newspapers headline? Did the TV and press journalists merely report what happened at the debate, or did they damn Trump’s remarks or claim how dangerous and unprecedented they were… and how dangerous Trump is?
It’s unfortunate, but our country has developed classes. The elites have the cattle prods; we amble about as confused members of the herd, if we allow them their way. We can take responsibility for our individual and collective actions and for the outcomes in our political lives. We can take the cattle prods away from them and restore genuine liberty and accountability.
To do that, we must oppose their machinations and their policies and their candidates. We must slap away the funnels through which they try to force-feed their ideas to us. According to our Forefathers, we should assume the elites intend to manipulate us and our system, perverting it into a new kind of tyranny. So we must stand against them and for godly moral, legal, and political principles that promote liberty and the common welfare. When they, or any one or group of us, try to violate or corrupt those principles, as men are wont to do, we must stop them utterly.
It will not come overnight, but it must begin. The first thing we can do is to vote for Trump. A vote for Trump – his election as president – becomes the first upsetting of the apple cart. It is only the first, but it’s a start. If Trump does not live up to his outsider status, to what he promised in relation to our liberty, our defense, our economy, and the destruction of special interests and those conveniences (perpetual terms in office) that facilitate their hegemony, then we will vote him out.
It’s as simple as that. We try him. If he doesn’t do what we want, we dump him and find someone else.
A vote for Hillary, however, restores or keeps in place the fullness of power Trump has threatened to dissolve, a power that is wielded by the elites and for the elites but often to our detriment and indebtedness, an indebtedness we exhaust our lives slaving to eliminate.
The candidate of the elites is Hillary. That’s why even Republicans have prostituted themselves to endorse her. She maintains the status quo that Trump threatens.
The choice is yours. Be manipulated and vote for Hillary and allow the manipulation to continue; or vote for Trump, shrugging off the manipulation and taking the reins to steer your, and your country’s, own political future.