No, I’m not going to talk about a sitcom from a couple of decades ago.
I have to talk about US politics again. I really do have to; it’s not a desire. I’m relentlessly drawn to the topic because it is so fascinating–in a morbid sort of way, of course, somewhat like the witness who is asked over and over again to describe the Hindenburg disaster or a 25-car pile-up on an interstate highway.
Hundreds of professional journalists as well as editorialists, spinmeisters, and comedians are busy in this 24/7 “news” cycle describing the latest mental and verbal gyrations from the White House. President Trump one day issues an impossibly broad and vague Executive Order, and the nation watches, fascinated, as chaos ensues. Within a day or so, a federal judge stays the Executive Order. Trump then issues a “tweet” on his Twitter account in which he demeans the judge, a respected jurist who had been confirmed by the Senate a few years before in a 98-0 vote, as a “so-called judge,” says the decision will be overturned and promises to see the judge “in court.” (Where else? In the judge’s living room?)
Or the National Security Advisor, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, who needed no confirmation from any other part of the government, and thus began in his new position at the beginning of the Trump administration, found himself out of that job within three weeks, after having had contact with the Russian embassy early and often, both during the campaign and during the transition from the Obama administration to that of Trump, then lying about it, including to the Vice-President, then claiming he had less-than-perfect recall of the contact, and then…well, who knows. First, he was said to have been forced to resign. Then Trump said that his lying to the Vice-President was the last straw. Then Trump (sort of) praised Flynn after the fact.
There are a lot of other examples, but it all adds up to one thing: chaos. It’s not exactly the “inmates running the asylum” scenario, but one could be pardoned for wondering exactly who is in charge here. It does seem evident that Trump himself is not, except in a figurehead sort of way; this is not a surprise, since he had no government experience before January 20, 2017. And despite the opinion of many in the public that “government should be run like a business,” that’s way too simplistic.
Business has one overriding responsibility–to make profits, and its shareholders are its constituency. Those who administer businesses rise or fall based on how well they comply with that responsibility. Besides, Trump’s experience is not even mostly along the lines of that business model. He has mainly been in charge of enterprises with his name splashed all over them, privately held, and with no oversight but his. So it should not come as a surprise to see the new president flail, at least at first.
The US Federal Government has a plethora of responsibilities: national defense, collection and disbursement of funds to various programs meant to encourage economic growth or public health or diplomatic readiness, etc, etc., etc. And none of it designed to make a profit. The average Joe despairs at times to describe or even understand what the Government does. He notices, though, if Social Security is disrupted, or if tainted food products slip by the FDA, or if a military officer’s (or the civilian overseer of that officer’s) poor judgment results in the loss of life.
BUT…all of this is not why Trump ran for president and not at all why he was elected. And here is where the morbid fascination comes in. The true Trump supporter did not have any of the ordinary workings of government in mind when voting for the Donald, as it becomes increasingly evident each day. In fact, I would be willing to wager that, even, as many of the executive departments of the Federal Government become dysfunctional to the point of failure, Trump voters will not waver in their continuing support.
Look at the posts of your friends on their Facebook pages. If you have no or not many Trump supporters among your friends, then look at the letters to the editor page in any small-town newspaper, and even in some papers from larger cities. Trump is doing a great job, these folks are saying. If they are not saying it themselves, they are copying or parroting copy from such sources as Breitbart or Conservative Tribune or dozens of others, all of which are steady in blaming all the country’s ills on “libtards” or “the left.” These raw emotional outbursts are just what many Trump supporters want to hear.
Lately those who identify themselves as “conservatives” have been on a kick where they insist that most or all of the people who show up at Congressional Town Halls to protest current doings in Washington are “paid agitators” or “professional protestors.” I have seen (as I assume you have) wild-eyed stories asserting that the crowds who dare confront their Congressmen are all being paid on the order of $70,000 yearly to protest, all, of course, by some shadowy leftist conspiracy to bring down the current president. The NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, recently denounced such dissent as the work of “..anarchists, Marxists, Communists…” who “…”hate everything America stands for.” This at CPAC, the gathering of “conservative” activists just outside Washington.
So don’t expect Trump supporters to turn on their hero anytime soon. The love they profess for him is not for him at all–it is for this worldview that things were just great in the USA until these troublemakers were let get too strong. Many of these same people were shocked to the core of their being in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, and one Donald J. Trump was in the forefront of this wave, insisting that Obama was not American at all–his birth certificate was a fraud, according to a trusted (but anonymous) source. And when Obama released his long-form birth certificate, Trump said that wasn’t enough: Trump had to see Obama’s college transcripts.
Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler. Never mind the Federal Government eventually sold off its share of both companies at a profit, which went right back into the Treasury. He didn’t wear a flag pin in his lapel! His transgressions were legion, in these eyes.
“Libtards,” “leftists,” even atheists and Muslims were emboldened to speak their minds. Gays asked for (and got) the right to marry each other. “True Americans” like Wayne LaPierre could not be expected to stand for these abominations! So, in mid 2016, when it was apparent that Trump would be the Republican nominee for president, but was running behind that dreaded socialist/libtard bitch Hilary Clinton, Steve Bannon, James Comey, and Vladimir Putin all got behind the Donald. The media (the same media DJT now demeans as “fake news”), in their true capitalist motivation to sell TV ads and newspapers, fixated on Trump 24/7, and let him say absolutely anything he wanted without fear of contradiction. And he said, over, and over, that Hilary was a crook, that she should be in jail, blah, blah, etc., and I’m the law and order candidate, and our military will be yuuuuge…
And evangelicals were persuaded that Trump would be better than that Godless Methodist, and the job was done. A few thousand in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were persuaded to switch in the hopes of returning to a more black and white time.
People do not give up their hopes easily. They are holding out, waiting for Trump to bring back their manufacturing jobs. They are listening to corporate CEO’s who say that regulations that stopped the corporations from polluting air and water are what killed jobs in West Virginia and Kentucky. Others are sure that Trump will restore prayer in the public schools, and everything will just get better after that. Or that gays will get back into the closet.
So this is what brought us Trump. He is going to be the boss that will put everything “right.” Only when nothing is “left” will all be right. The Trump/Bannon reign will not last forever. It only feels like it.