When I last wrote a post about the glories of the Trump administration it was the beginning of day seven. Little did I know what would transpire, There are three areas I wish to discuss: what has happened, what some thoughts and reactions are, and lastly, a definition of terms of: liberal, progressive, conservative, right-wing, and alt-right.
Where to begin?
After my last post I went and watched to some the news shows. Wow. The commentary was unlike anything I’ve ever heard when it came to describing the President and his behavior. Words that I always hope would be used to describe the President of the United States like: mature, reasonable, cautious, adult and the like were absent. David Brooks, a conservative commentator whom I think is smart but is annoying because he tends to talk down to people, observed that the president seemed to either be like a whirling dervish atop the government signing meaningless executive orders and actions ( a la Berlusconi) or he was a petulant child. Brooks believed he was more the petulant child whose ego needed to be continually stroked and feed.
Rachel Maddow, a person that many feel the way I do about David Brooks, but whom I like especially for her often very informative and fact filled opening segments, had a most interesting Thursday show where she reported two top Russian officials were arrested, One was hauled out of a meeting by putting a bag over his head and has not been seen since. Why, she asked would this happen? The only reasoned explanation she could conclude was that in fact some or all of what the former M6 agent had reported about Trump must be true and the release of the actual report gave the Kremlin the specific information they needed to find the mole and take them out. This would then be proof that the Russians did in fact tamper with our elections, based no the idea of “look at what they do, not what they say.”
Since last report the administration has walked back, denied and gaslighted their gag orders on various government agencies. At first it was “No, no, we didn’t mean you couldn’t talk to the people, the press, and Congress” when in fact that is exactly what they meant. Also, website pages that had disappeared were re-instated, most dealt with climate change. Not sure how they explained that one, if they even tried. At one point, they (the administration) actually used the word “rescinded.”
Much of the speculation around all this was termed “Trump being Trump”, or the new way “we” were going to be running the government, or this is the way to negotiate, etc. The idea being that so much was going on some would leak through. or as some call it “moving the frame.” Whatever and however one wishes to characterize it the U.S. government is careening off into uncharted waters.
By day 8, an order to deny entry to people from seven countries was in place, and some people were kicked out of the country, notably a professor at Clemson University who had been here for years. This order caused people to be detained at airports, even U.S. citizens. It is astounding, and disheartening. A judge finally put a stop to it – temporarily.
One thing all this activity and this election has done is to galvanize people, mainly in opposition, but not entirely. In Richmond where I live on the outskirts a resistance meeting was scheduled in someone home. It had to be moved to a local church because 324 people sent and RSVP. Realize I live in the district that Eric Canter was from, and he got ousted by a tea party conservative named David Brat. So even in this bastion of Trump conservatism there is a huge and growing resistance to these actions. There was also the huge Women’s March on the Saturday after the Inauguration, but that was followed a few days later by a large anti-abortion march. The anti-abortion march has been held for 44 years. One report talked about regardless of what you feel about abortion it is the single most enduring galvanizing issue of the last four decades. For me, I can’t abide by people thinking they can tell other people what they can or can’t do with their own body.
This brings me to conversations I’ve had with some people. Actually, they aren’t conversations as much as someone makes a declaration stating something about me, or at least what they think about what my political views are. It usually goes like this “You’re more liberal than me.” This quickly devolves into my being instructed why I’m wrong, or at least don’t understand some issue. Sometimes the word liberal is used, sometimes it’s progressive. Usually, it’s used in opposition to the word “conservative.” I give the same explanation each time, which is: I don’t consider myself liberal or progressive but some have characterized me that way. I consider myself a “What works” type of person. If there’s a conservative idea that works I’m all for it. I can’t think of one that does work. I believe in the idea that a rising tide floats all boats so I look for political and economic solutions that help the most people. I find conservative economic ideas don’t do that, in fact they do just the opposite.
I believe that people should be free. That they should have the right to freedom of the press, assembly, religion, speech and that they should be entitled to clean air, water, food, land, ocean, streams, etc. I think the whole clean grouping needs to be stated because it’s been under such relentless attack. I also believe that people have the right, if they choose, to be prejudice, hateful, narrow minded and delusional. However, there are limits to that sort of thing. I don’t think one should be allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater when there isn’t a fire. I don’t think one’s prejudice should be allowed to take action against others based on their prejudice, that’s discrimination. I don’t think ones hate, or delusions should be translated into actions. Nazi Germany comes to mind, but we tend to forget that many of the attitudes that let the behavior in Germany at that time, were prevalent in other countries too. There’s been the picture of the ship that was refused to let Jewish passengers from Europe to emigrate here or to South America early in WWII and had to return to Europe. Or that Anne Frank’s family was denied asylum here. What people forget is that there was deep distrust of the Jewish people in the U.S. at the time. I received an alumni magazine last year from my university where they were lauding a well-known professor. They showed a copy of a letter of recommendation for him that was written in that era that said something along the lines of “Well, even though he is a Jew, if you can look past that …” France has had a long history of discrimination and hatred against Jewish people from the trial of Alfred Dreyfus in 1894 to the magazine Charlie Hedbo, which if it has been noted that if published in the U.S. would probably be considered both racist and antisemitic. Not that the Israelis are without blame. Their attitude toward the Palestinian people is deplorable and what they claim to hate that is done to them they practice on their Palestinian brethren.
So where does this leave us? Mikhail Gorbachev has this week said that it looks like the world is preparing for war. The folks who keep the clock that tries to guess if we are getting closer to nuclear holocaust has moved the clock closer to that.
These are dangerous times.
A comment that is being repeated now with more and more regularity is that this is exhausting. The question is being raised as to how long can this be kept up. How long can the President keep making these pronouncements and how long can people march, resist, and demonstrate? At what point an time does it move in another direction? Will this resistance movement last until the next election cycle and will they be able to get more reasonable people installed? Or will the crowd erupt, grab their pitchforks and lanterns and march on the palace and throw the rich out. How long will it be before building with the name Trump on them be desecrated? I don’t think we are far off.
Some say Trump won’t last, that he’ll be impeached. Then we get Pence, a political operative that has a deep seated religious belief that he says instructs him. Instructs him to force his beliefs on the rest of us. Not what this country was founded on or for, but that hasn’t stopped him, not in Indiana and certainly it won’t if he gets the power.
These are not only dangerous but scary times. There is no reason to believe that a democracy will or can survive.