By Jason Taylor
When Barack Obama became president, he inherited two wars and an economy in free-fall. Eight years later, Trump inherited a recovering economy and a smaller U.S. presence in the Middle East. There were no urgent issues to deal with on day one. President Obama’s success on these and other issues (in spite of Republican obstruction) has allowed the Trump administration to flounder about. Trump has created an ineffective, chaotic environment that created crises where none existed. God knows how he’ll deal with the inevitable real crisis when it comes his way.
Our democracy is dying the death of a thousand cuts. Many have been inflicted by Trump and the tornado of chaos that surrounds him. Many have been inflicted by cynical career politicians who do the bidding of the elites while mouthing the platitudes of the plebes. These cynical operators see Trump as a force that will be beneficial to their party or to their individual brand and continue supporting him despite being aware of the deleterious effects he is having on our republic. They bloviate about “fake news” or sit and silently watch as Trump ham-fistedly dismantles our ship of state, oblivious to the fact that we are all in the same boat.
Let’s not assume that we can elect our way out of this situation. Much of the fuss and bluster of the Donald and his supporters is aimed squarely at our voter registration and election traditions.
Trump could not have done this on his own. Trump has enablers, powerful enablers. His two biggest enablers are Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. These two would sell their own grandmothers down the river for political gain. Another very powerful enabler is Fox News and all these extremist right wing propaganda outfits. People can only make decisions based on the information they have. When the poison Fox produces forms the basis of people’s worldview, they make bad choices based on what they have been fed. Fox and company serve a non-stop menu of lies for one reason only. Profit.
Stupidity is another hammer destroying our nation. Talk to any large employer that has to evaluate huge numbers of people. About half of the population reads at a ninth grade level or lower. What about the bottom 25%. Are they at a fifth-grade level? Or is it a third grade?
People are emotional, not rational. That is the door that propaganda walks through. Just tell them you are great, you are under attack, and I will save you. Then they follow by the millions. The first and biggest giveaway that a demagogue like Trump is on the loose, is when they attack legitimate news. They start their campaign by delegitimizing real news by calling it mainstream media. Subtle but effective.
Trump is clearly trying to remake the U.S. government in his own image, creating a cult of personality around himself. Hence the Mooch, who was a projection of himself and whose antics he initially approved of. In order to create his cult of personality Trump must make his cabinet members swear allegiance to him rather than the Constitution. He must, therefore, destroy the Constitution in order to supplant it with himself as absolute dictator.
The good news is that he is so incompetent that he has probably not thought all this through yet, and will not likely achieve his end unless he continues to be enabled by the moneyed interests who control the Republican Party. But, just as Hitler seduced the industrialists who at first took him lightly before he came to hold absolute power over them, it is dangerous to underestimate Trump. The difference between Hitler and Trump is that Hitler had a plan. Trump has no plan, he merely operates on instinct. But he is no less dangerous.
As, well, there should be no doubt that at some point Robert Mueller will be sacked and replaced by whoever is considered capable of shutting down the Russian inquiry. What is still in doubt is the response to this when it happens. The reaction, or otherwise, of the elected houses will tell us just where in the short term democracy is heading in the United States. The institutions and structures of liberal democracy are a reflection of the past and are only fit for more of the same, obviously. This president has so changed the game that the mechanisms in place to act as checks and balances are under strain. They still exist and can be used as effectively as in the past but for that to happen something of the past needs to be summoned up — probity, courage, selfless action, honor and respect for the truth. History will judge and remember the custodians of power long after those that seek to abuse it.
Since Trump became President, every hour, every minute, the law has been broken, abused, constantly deteriorating. I know I am in total dismay after watching what he is doing with our Democracy. I live in total disarray, being conscious that the world, as I knew it, is falling apart. My sense of security is totally gone. And still, despite all the chaos it seems that citizens, we, the people, are paralyzed to act and claim our rights. This extreme nationalism, this constant show of drama queen must stop. I want to feel free again and have a normal life. Are we waiting for something catastrophic to finally grasp reality? I sincerely hope not.