What have we done?
What do we do next?
The first question ruminates the words of Paul Simon from “The Boxer” —
“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest”
A woman too. As for the disregards — to regard comes from a visual root, to see something, which suggests a reference to the song “Magic” by Bruce Springsteen:
“Trust none of what you hear, less of what you see, this is what will be, this is what will be”
People say we get the government we deserve. A fine-tuned machine, by one account.
We have elected the most charismatic and mercurial egomaniac to emerge as a public figure in our lifetimes the President of the United States. We elected him. He won.
A man who campaigned relentlessly for xenophobia, nationalist anarchy and anti-intellectual demagoguery got elected fair and square by the free voting electorate according to the law of its beloved Constitution. This was not a putsch or a coup. This did not come about by mob rule or insurrection. Not by ballot fraud. This was accomplished by a year-plus campaign culminating in a free election. Donald Trump.
Who voted for this guy? These people are fellow citizens to be reckoned with. These people have hopes and desires, demands and expectations of the new administration to act on their behalf. What do they want? What will Donald Trump deliver?
A large swath of conservative people voted to rid the executive branch of the liberal party, at whatever cost. They do not see liberal values as progressive in the right way for the country or the culture. On the contrary, they see the social goals of liberals as a form of tyranny. Regulations of food, air, water, weapons, energy, property rights and business practices all impede freedom, they say. Political focus on the civil rights of minorities makes some citizens feel uncomfortable and left out. Dispossessed. Counter disgruntled. The government spends too much money, and everywhere it’s wasted, especially on social programs. Taxation isn’t fair. Immigrants are social liabilities who either steal jobs or soak up welfare benefits. Compulsive health insurance is government socialized medicine. Global trade kills jobs. Gangs kill cities. Liberals aren’t nearly tough enough on gangs.
Theses are some of the mainstream things I hear why voters went GOP this time, if not wholeheartedly for Donald Trump. Already discussed is the influence of digitalysis — the collection of private cyber data for unauthorized publication — contributing to the upending of Hillary Clinton and much attention to efforts of Russian operatives to spin it against her campaign. Americans are loathe to concede their free choice could be compromised by Russian propaganda, but they received fair warning it might be coming from Donald Trump himself when he previewed the suggestion in a presidential debate the Russians should hack Hillary Clinton, suggesting there might be something there — something like what, a link between pay-for-play with the Clinton Foundation, the State Department and the Trilateral Commission.
Hillary Clinton to her eventual discredit campaigned like a nerd girl running for student council. She remanded a linear campaign focused on platform talking points of liberal and progressive goals. The moral highground seemed obvious. It seemed obvious to her that human rights — children’s rights, women’s rights, the rights of asylum seekers and the poor and downtrodden of this world — should be of greater concern than the petty complaints of white privilege. It seemed obvious to her of the certainty that she represented the virtues of being on the right side of history.
How prescient when one of the few times she broke character debating Donald Trump she called him a Russian puppet, and the two of them bantered back and forth like second graders: You’re the puppet, no you’re the puppet. Puppet!
I know you are but what am I?
Hillary Clinton failed to define herself as someone who would make America greater. By default we get a president who won’t even accept he won. Even if he does, would it make the criticism go away?
The president is a crybaby.
He disrespects his own office. He disrespected his candidacy, his opponents, the electorate and the institutions of his country.
It’s all about him. Were he a poet he could claim poetic license, but his verse rings rank and foul with unholy lies and half lies. He said in the campaign, he’s the only guy who can. He’s a brand. An entity. He’s going to makeover this country in his image, combover America with dyed hair. Of course he has a plan, an unbelievable plan, an agenda, it’s his plan, his agenda. Did he not speak plainly enough in his campaign? How many quotes back do we need to go?
He built a fan base out of a cult following of people who admired his behavior and that he told it like it is. His most admired quality besides being rich is that he says outrageously rude things and gets away with it. He has no pretense of political correctness and people love that. He hijacked the Republican party and stole away the Tea Party and the GOP sold its soul to put Donald Trump in the White House to push conservative legislation to downsize government, except the military. So far Trump’s populist base favors the results so far from Congress, but the fan base might not see enough loyalty from legislators who may sense the President is playing them with shenanigans.
There used to be a caucus called the Liberal Republicans. Dick Nixon was considered one when he was in Congress. Nelson Rockefeller was one. In Minnesota we had Senator Dave Durenberger. Today any politician with a trace of liberal philosophy has been chased out and exiled from the GOP, sometimes turning up as independents, like unradical unleftist Democrats often do.
Donald Trump is his own guy.
Doesn’t need the party. Doesn’t need Congress. Not the intelligence community. Not the courts. Not polls. Not the Fifth Estate. He just needs fans. That’s why he continues to campaign.
The people who voted for him include significant numbers of people who voted a straight ticket and crossed their fingers and only thank their creator that the Devil Witch didn’t get elected. There’s that “Thanks Obama” punchline, people who politically oppose the Dems for being Dems. Most of them would say they would have preferred Lyin’ Ted or Little Marco or Rand Paul, but they would rather give Donald Trump a try than trust Hillary Clinton.
The population who voted for Trump who puzzles me are the women. Aside from the many straight ticketers who could not abide Hillary, who crossed over the gender line to endorse this so-called sexist pig? This beauty queen trafficker. Deprecator of Carly Fiorina, Megyn Kelly and Elizabeth Warren. Vilifier of Rosie O’Donnell. Bragger of grabbing coochie. There must be a lot of female voters out there attracted to Bad Boys, especially rich ones. Is it like the women who write love letters to guys in a penitentiary they don’t even know? For some women Donald Trump is like an outlaw rock star.
Bad Boys, Billionaires and Bigots.
Fascination for being rich enthralls people. It follows that the envious and the emulators support Trump’s enterprising attitude. In the event they too hit the big time they don’t want to pay taxes either. They want to keep secret accounts too. When the illegal immigrants are gone then the poor can get kicked off welfare to take the vacated jobs. For some people the middle class is just a stepping stone. Nothing gets in the way of making money.
The portion of the people — yes, they are people, as in We the People — who elected Donald Trump who concern me the most are the ones Hillary Clinton called a basket of deplorables. The basket. In another rare spontaneous wisecrack she defined an estimated half his supporters, which in sheer numbers is one big basket. He draws rallies like Billy Graham. There’s people who would take a grenade for the guy. Donald Trump could literally shoot somebody on 5th Avenue and they would still love him, and he knows it. Talk about a cult of personality.
Every time I see him give a speech I hear jackboots in the background. Every Twitter rant sounds like marching orders, coded signals to get ready.
Even if the estimation of half his voters is way too high, the deplorables — not to confuse with Les Miserables — are the very ones the crybaby is appealing to, whom he’s been addressing all along, who identify his message as their own and would carry out deplorable acts to get their way. In the name of their demigod, Donald Trump.
This is why Donald Trump worries me, he has had such success projecting his personality on American society by guessing right at reaching the lowest common denominator.
His latest conceit, that a “sick” (sic) President Obama tapped his phones, is so believable among the birther mentality we could see a demand for a special prosecutor to look into innuendo that the surveillance ran through Hillary Clinton’s server. Then we’ll learn it was hacked by Russians and intercepted by the NSA, CIA and FBI then leaked to Wiki. Digitalysis by the numbers. If the DNC had actually hacked Trump’s tax returns don’t you think they would have been leaked by now?
Yes, we vetted him over a year and elected him anyway — well almost three million fewer of us than voted for Hillary nationwide, but he won by electoral votes. Not a landslide, but he won. What do we do now?
Somewhere in the scheme of things we owe ourselves an examination of conscience. In each our own lives we first have to reckon what kind of person we are and want to be.
Then we have to look after our families and communities and recognize our common affirmations. We need civil dialog as we strive for solutions to social problems. We need to make the effort to stretch our understanding of others of a different mind to arrive at common enlightenment.
To be specific to Donald Trump there is an urge to resort to low satire, call him Hump our Douchebag Fuhrer. Call his daughter Treblinka.
Then I think about Barack Obama and the cruel things the obstructionists said about him. Donald Trump has not nearly the grace to hold up with nearly the dignity, and I don’t want to see this presidency degenerate into a horrifying mirror image of the last, depersonalizing and dehumanizing the President like unmerciful trolls — not that Trump wouldn’t do that to you if he felt he had to.
I would refrain from stomping on Ivanka because she has expressed support for Planned Parenthood and women’s empowerment issues enough to make one wonder if she even voted for her dad. Women are going to put more influence on Donald Trump’s administration than he may think and he depends on them more than he may know — can he imagine a day without Kellyanne Conway? His election has invigorized women to demonstrate their political and socioeconomic power and we’ll see a lot of culture clout the next four years. Anita Bryant and Phyllis Schlafly are gone, and it shouldn’t come to Lysistrata, but there is movement to resurrect the Equal Rights Amendment, and it poses an opportunity for Donald Trump to reveal his true colors about women.
On policy he should be challenged at every forum. If he gets something right he should be acknowledged. If he contradicts his own mission or double-crosses those displaced workers he panders to he should be called out. If he negotiates bad trade deals or reneges on treaties he should be shamed. If he fakes the press and lies the news he’ll be found out, believe me.
I am not objective. I am white and quite privileged. I am not disenfranchised or unempowered, nor do I feel left behind by the times. I thought the country was great already and going the right direction and take issue with those who think the opposite.
To his hard core supporters be gentle but firm. Give them wide berth to wear their prized Deplorables badges and do not abridge their constitutional rights. Let them manifest themselves so we can know who they are and what they really stand for. Let them out themselves. Do not engage them or bait them with violence. Bypass their confrontations with alternate channels of persuasion. There has to be a way to educate people who fear an armed insurrection of Somali immigrants in caravans of taxicabs and minivans. Let the fools reveal themselves as idiots by and by, and we’ll move on, this too shall pass.
Resist despair. Take heart.
Look people in the eye. Do a good job. Wear a safety pin on your lapel. Keep the faith. Pay attention. Don’t get suckered. Assume positive intent. Be the nicest one.
In Minnesota there once was a ballot referendum to amend the state constitution to explicitly prohibit same sex marriage and after all it became the first state to make it legal by legislative action, not by the court. Be careful what you wish for, ye who wish to rule the world.
In Trump’s case pay attention to his fine-tuned machine. If it breaks down and the wheels come off he won’t be able to hide it under a clandestine pit stop.
He can’t fire everybody. He’s the apprentice now. The mid-term election is just next year. Constituents have the power to hire and fire the House and Senate, which goes both ways with Trump-era legislation. He can’t fire voters.
Sid my son-in-law observes that you never see Donald Trump laugh. Sometimes he smiles, you see him smirk, but you never see him laugh.
Ask him why America should trust a businessman who dodges his bills and goes bankrupt. Ask him for his tax returns.
Hound his subordinates. Chase after the Steves, Bannon and Miller, seek after cabinet appointees and staffers like paparazzi and question whatever they say. Saturate Congress with attention.
If this presidency folds up its bridges of access and retracts itself into a fortress like Trump Tower, don’t expect Congress or even Mike Pence to rescue Donald Trump from his perceived enemies of the people, by the people and for the people.
My friend Jim offered caution to the President when Trump first disparaged the intelligence community and he wondered out loud if maybe Trump whined enough about the CIA being like the 3rd Reich a black ops team under the 25th Amendment might show up one night at Mar-a-Lago, put him in a bag and whoosh him off to an undisclosed location, never to be seen again.
How can Donald Trump expect America to be great when he makes us look like morons? He embarrasses us to the world. The crybaby better grow up.