All or Nothing

As I walked by our storm ravaged wharf in Granthams.  I could not avoid the fact that in over a hundred years this was the first time this dock, jutting out into the waters of Howe Sound, had taken such a beating. There were storms before, high tides and driftwood logs jamming up against the dock but never had it been battered and damaged in such a fashion. Was this part of the rising sea levels, or just a combinations of a high winter tides, fierce winds and a lot of driftwood swept loose? Yes, our dock is a disaster but it can be fixed and it’s damage pales against the Anak Krakatau eruption in the Sunda Straight, that caused a  tsunami to crash into the  coast on the islands of Sumatra and Java killing scores of unsuspecting people, including members of a rock band and their audience at a beach concert. I felt suddenly grateful for the rain and wind here and I had other things on my mind that I wanted to talk  to about with my friend Campbell – Camp  as we all call him.

“Camp, can you explain to me why Trump, after all his lies, his chaotic behaviour, his firings and despite all the people who quit on him, who denounced him who are going to jail for him and who feel betrayed by him, still gets a 40% approval rating. There is something amiss here, something out of cync,” I said shaking my head.

“Well my friend it’s actually quite simple. Trumpism is like a religion, you don’t question the dogma; the actions of the supreme leader are not scrutinized, rationalized, explained or otherwise discussed. They are accepted as tenets, like canon law. Christians don’t go around discussing if heaven and hell are real, they don’t question the holy trinity or the authority of the pope,” Camp said, taking a healthy swallow from his pint.

“You mean to say either you’re all in or you’re out, either accept the whole package or you’re a heretic, a non-believer, an infidel, a liberal or a democrat,”

I said.

“Yep, it’s an all or nothing proposition. Your allegiance cannot be open to doubt or criticism and is not negotiable. You are either a Trump supporter or you’re the enemy. And don’t wait for somebody to shoot him off his pedestal. Most gun owners are from his flock,” Camp said. “It’s a congregation of deniers, intolerant racist, bigoted and the single minded.  A basket of deplorables, as Hillary put it so succinctly. They hide behind the flag, their money and their guns. They view compassion as weakness, scientific proof of climate change as liberal propaganda and fake news as truths.”

“The scary part is that this nascent populism is spreading throughout the world like a bad decease,” I said.

“Yes, just look at Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Austria, not to mention Russia, or most of the Arab countries or even Germany and France who are being pulled to the right. Democracy is under attack all over the world. Or as the Financial Times man of the year, George Soros, said: Whenever there is a conflict between universal principles and self-interest, the latter is likely to prevail,” Camp quoted.

“And Soros has been vilified for his philanthropy and liberal views, and blamed, threatened and attacked by conspiracy theorist, anti-semetics and extreme right wing groups, from his homeland to the White House. That’s the man of the year. A courageous nomination,” I said.

“Of course the other half of our American brothers and sisters don’t think like their counterparts at all. In fact they are embarrassed to say the least and horrified by what’s going on in Washington. They would rather leave their homeland – and many have – than put up any longer with this  all out attack on their liberty, their democratic principles, their judiciary and their ability to govern themselves. Half of the American population is perfectly willing to help the displaced and the persecuted; they want to learn and understand and they embrace the philosophy of tolerance, diversity and justice for all,” Camp said passionately, counting off the virtues of our good neighbours to the south with his fingers.  I haven’t seen my friend this agitated in some time. Usually he likes to sit back and lecture from a comfortable, reclining position.

I tried to change the subject and mentioned the recent results on the BC referendum. “I guess we’ll have to stick with the First Past The Post system,” I said. “Over 60% voted for the status quo.”

“I’m not surprised,” Camp said, “people don’t want change and then the whole question was too complicated and nebulous.”

“At least 42% voted. Better then expected,” I said.

“What’s all the excitement about today,” Vicky asked as she brought around a much needed refill.

“We’re worried about Trump and the way the world is turning,” I said, somehow cryptic.

“I worry about next month’s rent,” she said. “Will you two show up for our New Year’s bash? It will be a sea food special and champagne special.”

“Probably not,” Camp said. “I’m not sure if I can stay up until midnight, that’s way past my bed time.”

“You two are the life of the party,” Vicky laughed. “Happy New Year.”


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