military parade

Our Populist Plutocrat at Home


I laughed when I first heard billionaire candidate Trump called a “populist.” He was a Republican! They’re the ones with money. But everything stands on its head these days. Democrats seek out the ruling class with money too. The old labels no longer fit.

But misfit-ness isn’t just along these party lines. There is something deeply different about we, the American people. Last week I read a piece by the great late writer Ursula LeGuin. She noted how in 1947, during the first televised White House address, President Truman asked Americans to give up eating meat on Tuesday and poultry on Thursdays. Why? So the US could stockpile more grain needed for people in Europe who were starving.

Who, these days, is asking us to do anything for anyone? Give up AR-15s? NO! Give up your grudge for the poor, those slackers? FORGET IT. Share health risks in a national insurance pool? NO WAY!

This past week “populist” plutocrat Trump, who just gave his richest friends a huge Christmas tax cut at the government’s expense, unveiled his budget. It cut $20 billion from our disabilities insurance program, $1.3 trillion from Medicaid, and $554 billion from Medicare, Sen. Sanders soon tweeted.

Trump proposes cutting food stamps for our poorest families by a third, and wants to replace food stamps’ shopping autonomy in local stores with a food-delivery system—full of food he’ll decide the poor should have. Can’t wait to see what his multinational corporate friends find most profitable—for them, not for the poor.

The populist plutocrats will also benefit hugely from Trump’s big military spending, and soon will be waving the flag at a military parade all along our new, expensive border wall. All these work for keeping poor people scared, and the rest of us, the majority, allied the wrong way.

Look around you, American woman. You have far more in common with the poorest than you do with any “populist” plutocrat, who pays off porn stars, protects wife-beaters, and is busy making money while in office, all on your dime and our diminishing American reputation.

—Rickey Gard Diamond