Jim Murray

3 years ago · 5 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Requiem For A Heavyweight Democracy? Maybe.


Rest Ia EES

I was born exactly 71 years ago in the small border town of Fort Erie Ontario. Fort Erie is one of the many towns that is connected to the US by bridges.

Ours was called the Peace Bridge and it connected us to Buffalo New York and the rest of America.

Growing up in Fort Erie, in many ways, was no different from growing up in small town America. In fact for quite some time in my early years I actually thought of myself as American. We listened to American radio stations, watched American TV, shopped in downtown Buffalo, went to wrestling, when wrestling was great, at War Memorial Auditorium, the whole nine yards.

By the time I was sixteen I knew and was friends with as many American kids as Canadian kids.

Growing up In a border town, where the only real exposure to Canadian culture was Hockey Night in Canada, because that’s about all we could pick up on our TV, was odd. I worked as a caddy at a Country Club in Fort Erie owned and populated by Americans. I first learned about advertising from one of the guys I caddied for named Pete King who owned an agency in Buffalo and even invited me over for a tour.

America and the ways of its people were very familiar to me. In fact it wasn’t until I moved to Ottawa at the age of 17 that I realized that there really was a Canadian culture and it was markedly different from the American culture. We were more laid back. And people didn’t get all revved up about their elections the way the Americans did.

But I was what I was and I never really stopped keeping an eye on America, especially after the Kennedy assassination when I started to figure out that America was not just some big pasture of plenty where lots of people got rich doing lots of different things.

No, that event made me realize that there were real divisions within the country and that a leader who tried his best to represent the hopes and dreams of everyone in the country was doomed to be hated and despised by part of the country.

I never really intellectualized it back that, but the thought occurred to me and has been in my head ever since. And as I grew, that particular axiom of division was always there poking at my brain.

For the past 50 years or so, I have been watching America closely. Mainly because there was always something weird going on. A cold war. A failed coup or a successful coup initiated by the CIA, government corruption and the ensuing scandals, mass murders, ill-advised military decisions, and all the accompanying protest to full blown terrorist attacks on its icons.

America could always be counted on to provide you will some juicy news every night. And all through my adult life I have lived close enough to be able to tune into it. First in Ottawa, then Toronto and now back to the Niagara peninsula where I started out.

But through it all, you always had the feeling that the country was moving forward, and that all the conflicts, both internal and external, were, if nothing else, advancing the idea of democracy in some way.

To be sure, I have seen a lot of weird shit from that country. But over the past few years, this weirdness has been injected with high powered steroids and is now at the point where it is almost too freaky to believe.

Supporting and promoting a free society, is not cheap, and as a result of that noble cause the country has run up a debt in the neighbourhood of 25 trillion dollars. They have also, in the past 30 years or so gone through 3 major recessions, the last one caused pretty much totally by greed in the money business.

The Horseshoe Up America’s Arse

Many countries would have turned into a wasteland after something like the 2008 financial crisis. But America got lucky and elected a president who was willing to take on the challenge of bringing the country back.

He made a lot of highly criticized moves and it took a couple of years, but his administration finally got things turned around and moving in the right direction. All this despite the fact that for the last 4 of his 8 years in office he had to deal with an almost totally obstructionist congress and senate.

To say that his achievements would qualify as minor miracles is not doing them justice. They were huge by any standard.

And after he was finished in office, he determined that the best way for his country to continue on the path renewal would be to support a candidate who would carry on where he left off.

And, hindsight being 20/20, that would have been, far and away the best way to go.

The Monkey Wrench In The Gears

But this was not meant to be.

Mainly because the Republican congress and senate had grown fat and happy with all the under the table money they were making from lobbyists with lots of it to throw around.

They knew that the proposed new Democratic president had the savvy and skill to put a serious dent in their juicy revenue stream and pulled out all the stops to get a Republican president that they could control.

They, of course, picked, Trump. Who better? No real political experience. A loose howitzer that would keep the attention focused on himself while they quietly did the bidding of their special interests. An untrained pitbull who only knew how to attack and attack some more.

He was perfect. At least on paper. They rationalized their choice by telling themselves that there was no way he could be worse that GW Bush.

What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Yeah…it was a hell of a campaign, and these Republicans put up with some of the weirdest shit that has ever been done in an election race, all in the name of greed.

But what they didn’t know is just how dangerous their golden boy really was. I’m sure they thought he would get into office and sit around tweeting all day and playing golf all weekend.

But Noooo. He took his job seriously, and being a chronic narcissist, racist bigot and many other extremely undesirable things, he started using his office (on the advice of anarchists and racists) to start issuing executive orders that would undo all of Obama’s hard fought and beneficial policies divert the lions share of the lobby bucks into his pocket.

There are a few theories about what Trump himself had to do to get elected, and what he’s doing now to systematically turn his country into an autocratic state. But they don’t really matter all that much in the great scheme of things. Russian influence, no matter how deep, is always gonna be hard to prove.

IMHO This Is All About The Greenbacks

Because money is the only way Trump knows how to measure his success. He knows how to manipulate money. How to profit from debt. How to use his presidential power to manipulate the market so that he can profit even when it hurts the country.

When you are bent the way Trump is bent and greed is your only real motivator, you will tell people anything they want to hear, and then rip them off behind their backs.

He has done this in the real estate and development business for the past 40 odd years. Why would anyone believe that someone with such a limited intellect be interested in running a country any differently than he would run his own business. This is his business at the moment and he is running it the only way he knows how.

The trouble is that he has literally painted the Republican party into a corner. If they oppose him, they not only risk his wrath, but they also risk having to justify their support for him and then the sudden change, in attitude which makes them look erratic to their constituents.

I may be all wet here. But the way I see it, this all makes logical sense. Of course, that may also be what makes my little theory wrong. Because there is very little in the way of logical thinking going on in America today. Because the seeds of confusion have been very effectively sown.

So Is This The Death Of American Democracy?

I don’t know. But it’s definitely among the worst shitstorms ever unleashed on the country, and it’s only about 18 month old. I’m not sure how much worse it gets before it gets better.

But over the next several months we will see just how much internal damage Trump’s tariffs will actually do to the country.

A lot of people will tell you that things are just fine right now. The market is surging, unemployment is low and the dollar is strong.

But one thing I have learned about the world over the past exactly 71 years is that good shit can turn on a dime, especially when the person holding all big the cards doesn’t really care one way or another, because either way he will do just fine

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He has run his own business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

Jim lives in St Catharines Ontario (AKA The Quiet Side Of The Lake) and is still working with companies in Toronto whence he came.

You can follow Jim

On beBee: https://www.bebee.com/bee/jim-murray

On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-murray-b8a3a4/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimbobmur

On Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/y97gxro4

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Jim Murray

3 years ago #15

That's pretty accurate, Harvey. But the have-nots really don't have any idea how much power they actually have. We'll see if they can wake up by November. Because this fart fest is stinking up my country as well as yours.

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #14

I dont disagree with your apathy, i share it. I guess its the finger pointing aspects of labeling things with words like fascism or dedicating the apathy to one side or the other. True fear exists on both sides and with good reason. The guns are out on both sides and the Mexican standoff has begun. Obama and Trump are mere symptoms of meterialism haveing run its course. The haves and have nots now have separated into their tribal groups. Each has merit yet nether can discuss these. Each side subscribes to, we will talk after ya’ll are all dead. Sufferage will never go away as humans always will make bad choices. Just because folks don’t take advantage of opportunity doesnt mean we shouldnt help. But this is the essence of the two camps. I know only one thing. Politics is shaped by the humans that vote. We are in quite the mess if our elected officials truly represent the hearts of real humans. Not just trump but all of those we elect. We are not in Kansas anymore Toto.

Jim Murray

3 years ago #13

I get what you are saying Harvey Lloyd. Conservatism is one thing. I'm a fucking conservative myself basically. But what we have going on in the US is nothing short of fascism. But the real issue here is that if you were to follow the money, this is more about him making money off this presidency than it is him asking what he can do for his country. US politicians have become as corrupt and greedy as any in the world. Trump is right that the system is broken. But he's not fixing it. Not even close. All he's doing is trying to get paid for his influence. He doesn't give a shit about America and the rest of the world knows it. This will not end well for you guys. I get shifting the landscape from left to right, but this is way up in the fucking bleachers.

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #12

Jim i think that once you get past your opinion you would find that the best Obama could be considered is a mild point in history where we experienced a null outcome. Mostly he pandered to a segment of the population concerning unicorns and such. Trump, well he is a knee jerk reaction to the pandering. Is he or will he go down as another null president? Who knows. His character leaves a lot to be desired but his policies are not pandering, but provoking. He has provoked Europe to the table and China is hanging out there still, again who knows. You will begin to experience the same reaction in Canada eventually as the left dries up all intellect and the right comes back into prime time. It is the evolution of politics since we started thinking about the individual as sovereign. Funny you mention Kennedy as i immediately thought of his phrase, ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Your post, as with many of them is the asking that a country should do something for you or others. This is the wrong question. I do not care for either of the Presidents pointed to as your god or devil. I just want them to get out of the way of people so they can self determine. But since Johnson this has been a liberal experiment gone to far. As to Obama guiding us out of 2008, you need to reread the history of the crisis. Bush had stopped the crisis in its tracks with 400 billion in loans to private corporations that returned interest at high percentages once loans were paid off. America made money off the bailout. Obama proceeded to insure that banks and institutions would be hog tied with regulations that costs are passed on to consumers. Nearly 50% of the near trillion dollar bailout he formulated went bankrupt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solyndra

Philippe Collard

3 years ago #11

Thank you Obama!

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #10

Jim, I have ot check the law but I believe a president can serve a third term if there is a break after the second. What would it take to get Barack to run again? Probably more than I can envision I know but he's the only government official I'm aware of that has the experience in dealing with a situation so far gone.I can wish but I'm not sure there is enough time for a powerful leader to come forward to run in the next presidential election. And so it goes.

Jim Murray

3 years ago #9

Yeah. I get that a lot. But my theory is that it's just a matter of time before you start felling the walls closing in. This president has a proven track record of turning stuff to crap. We have our problems up here for sure. But so far, only the Saudis hate us and that's a compliment.

Jim Murray

3 years ago #8

You'd make a great Canadian Philippe Collard. French Canadian sounding name and articulate voice.

Jim Murray

3 years ago #7

I think a lot of people in America maybe even up to half of them, are just not all that bright, Jerry Fletcher. They cannot imagine how much money a trillion dollars let alone 25 of them. The future has been mortgaged to the hilt and is just a volcano waiting to explode. If ever there was a time for responsible and inspired management, this is that time. And honestly, America is as far away from that as it gets. You're right though, the only hope is the upcoming election and frankly it's actually more important than getting rid of Trump and his band of thieves.

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #6

Jim, The consequences of electing "Agent Orange" on the congress that stopped real progress with malice aforethought will be known in a few short months. My concern is that there are still citizens that have no idea how deep in the shit we are who will vote to keep the money-grubbers in office. And so it goes.

Neil Smith

3 years ago #5

It's interesting how so many European countries are actively taking steps to try to Insulate themselves as best they can from the trump inspired shitstorm coming over the horizon. They've tried nice, tried flattery and tried sensible. Now they've just given up. Nice post. 

Lisa Vanderburg

3 years ago #4

Americans have always suffered from short memories, and they become enraged during national elections times - I've seen it. I couldn't agree more alas, @Jim Murray (glitch on BB...doesn't hightlight...) I agree with a bit of what #1 said, all of #2 and not at all surprised at comment #3. Edwin Dearborn is only saying what the US have long felt about the rest of the world :)

Edwin Dearborn

3 years ago #3

Our economy is booming, jobless rates at record lows. Guess what Americans think of Candanien politics? You probably don’t care. The feeling is mutual.

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #2

Teflon politics has been invented or brought to a whole new level 🤔 Just my sentiment but it seems we have completely lost interest in Europe about the buffoon in the White House 🏡 I don't think we will see any white smoke anytime soon either 🤔

Philippe Collard

3 years ago #1

Jim Murray I left France for the US in 1983. It was a dream come true. I became a US Citizen 10 years later. 25 years ago. What I have witness is the country I chose to be part become a banana republic where greed is not only "good" but the only way to go. Where corruption is rampant. Where hate of the "other" is the norm or excusable. A country that is not better than Iran with respect to being a theocracy. The most country in the world where 50% of the population cannot make ends meet. Where several hundreds of $B are spent of defense budgets to make sure fat defense companies get fatter. Where being black, muslim, a woman, LGBTQ is consider a sin or a crime. Where over 40% of the population believe, in 2018, that the earth is 6000 years old. Where "god" is injected in just about every sentence from sports stars to members of Congress. A country where science is "fake news" and scientists are paria. As for the "democracy", explain to me how you can elect a POTUS twice in less than 20 years who does not win the popular vote. Explain to me that Vermont with 500,000 people has two senators whereas California with nearly 40M people only has two senators. Where the senate majority leader (McConnell) can deny the duly elected POTUS his nomination of a SCOTUS judge! Where health care is so expensive most people cannot afford it. Where education is a business not to teach younger generations but to make money, whatever the results may be. Where racial profiling of Latinos is common. Where hate speech by neo-nazis is tolerated as they are "fine people". I simply cannot recognize the country I made my own. WTF!

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