President Trump, of the Nation Formerly Known as America

Give him a chance. He can’t be so bad. He’s our president now. Let’s hope he succeeds. You’re just a bunch of political sore losers, get over it. This is what we’re hearing.

unknownThere’s an idea that his critics have been refuted, that being elected somehow laundered him – proving all the negative stuff about him during the campaign was untrue or irrelevant. That the media misrepresented him. Sorry, not so. Things said don’t become unsaid; facts don’t become non-facts. He’s still Donald “Grab them by the pussy” Trump.

But America does love redemption stories, and it’s hoped the presidency’s awesomeness will reform him. He did seem subdued in his post-election appearances. However, so many times I’ve seen some foreign leader elected, thinking what a great opportunity he has to prove the doubters wrong. They never do. Look at South Africa’s Zuma. A creep before. A bigger creep after.

Power does corrupt. It doesn’t make bad men better, it makes them worse. As a student of history and world affairs, I know this story doesn’t have a happy ending.

Steve Bannon, Senior Counselor to the President

Steve Bannon, Senior Counselor to the President

It’s also hoped that a “successful businessman” will naturally surround himself with the best people. What a joke. He was a failure at actually building businesses, making his fortune by looting them and leaving others holding the bag; then marketing his celebrity name. And the best people? Steve Bannon? Reince Priebus? Rudy Giuliani? Newt Gingrich?

Send in the clowns.

In hindsight, Trump won the election on his campaign’s first day, with two words: “They’re rapists.” Not that it was believed literally, but it set the tone. Enough voters instantly latched onto him as their personal avatar, and nothing could budge them. “He tells it like it is.” Another sick joke – the biggest liar in our political history.

His voters feel America has been going downhill, and Trump will turn it around. They’re right about the former, in some ways, but not the latter. unknown-2Our politics has certainly been going downhill, with divisions hardening, and truth, reason and decency among the casualties. Trump is the culmination; not a national renewal, but a national degradation; the bottom falling out.

This is not being a sore loser about an election, it’s the loss of our country. Not about politics or ideology, but culture and values. I keep hearing, “This is not who we are.” And I say to myself: “Well, it is now.”

Of course this is all hyperbole. Life will go on much as before; America is still a great place to live. Unlike in many others, I can still freely write this blog. For now; Donald Trump truly does not like that, nor do a lot of his followers. That’s just one way they trash the principles that actually made America great. unknown-3When will we see the Trump neighborhood brigades to “defend the revolution,” like in Cuba and Venezuela? (And in Sinclair Lewis’s now uncanny 1935 book, It Can’t Happen Here.)

This American travesty reflects an unfortunate worldwide trend of short-sighted voters brainlessly demolishing what was so painstakingly built. Like in the Brexit vote. The democratic, genuinely liberal and humanistic lights are also going out in Turkey (a huge tragedy), the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, Thailand; France and Italy could well be next. The EU’s continuation is doubtful. While Russia and China get more repressive and emboldened; look for a Baltic invasion, putting NATO to the test. And America’s steady leadership is a bygone. A tough time for optimists.

I am politically homeless today. The name “Republican” is ashes in my mouth. I find myself in some sympathy with “progressive” Trump opponents; however, they’re wrong on so many issues, and often just as bad on the fundamental ideal of freedom of thought and expression. The alternative in the next election will likely be far left.

unknown-4But no matter how lonely, I will continue speaking out for the humanistic values I hold dear, and that have given us so much progress. I will continue — until that brigade comes for me.

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5 Responses to “President Trump, of the Nation Formerly Known as America”

  1. johndhs Says:

    I wonder about the possibility of the rise of a centrist party that would embrace the functional parts of the left and the right. I’m not optimistic.

  2. Joseph Sermarini Says:

    In response to the comment by johndhs. Look at what the Democratic party actually has done, not what the Republicans imagine they want to do. The Democrats are the center now.

  3. ryan71 Says:

    I hold dear the warning about parties that George Washington mentions in his Farewell Address. “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.” He claimed the partisanship would lead to inter-political conflict, divide the nation, and give rise to cases of tyranny.
    Well, is this is were we are at, tyranny?

  4. Chips Says:

    I am neither party, but generally vote and support democrats. Putting aside the “purple” center party concept, I long for the days when within each party there were both progressive and conservative voices. Then each party debated ideas and respond to the exigencies of times with its unique voice. Conservatism and Progressivism are not themselves either, or. They are tools to be employed, ways of thinking about problems. Instead of desiring an idealogical armageddon where one way of thinking makes the other extinct, perhaps we should consider a return to party capable of hosting Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller.

  5. Greg Says:

    Your characterization of the Trump phenomenon is right on target. If I remember my history lessons correctly Hitler was elected the same way. At that time in Germany people were discouraged by their government and economy. They elected Hitler because he promised to fix these problems. Once in office, one of the first thing Hitler did was implement a large infrastructure program to create jobs in order to convinced his people he would be a good leader.

    Later, Hitler fabricated political controversies, thereby creating a crisis atmosphere. This eventually enable him to bypass government checks-and-balances and grab total power — for the most part with the people’s consent. That’s when things really went sour.

    If Trump tries to grab unconstitutional powers during his term, watch out. We’ll be on a very dangerous path. Fortunately, our governing structures are much more robust than were those in 1930’s Germany so Trump probably couldn’t get away with it. But given what’s happened so far that’s not guaranteed. Hold on to your hats for the next 4 years!!

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