2016

23 November 2016: Accepting the reality of the Age of Trump

Thanksgiving 2016 and searching for that for which to offer thanks. Personally, there’s an abundance, but it’s offset by angst I continue to experience for our country. I hate that feeling. Two weeks since, and I’m still unable to come to grips with the reality of 60 million Americans voting for a self-admitted sexual predator, a financial conman, and an unstable dude to be their president. So much for their collective wisdom and family values.

I put myself on the temporary DL list. In sports, DL means Disabled List. Here it’s Depressed Liberal.

The 60 million are far from a majority, but by the rules of game, they won. They might be ready to throw at me a slicing retort or a meandering diatribe about why and how I missed obvious signs the American populace is one angry and volatile mass. In anticipation, I say, “Spare me.”

While one can understand the seething frustration of those who have gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to the economic recovery, nevertheless, to vote for a man one would forbid to be his/her daughter’s teacher is mind boggling, morally reprehensible.

“We’ll show them!” said the angry mass. Well, that’s real grown up.

Yes, I assumed the election’s outcome, thus ignoring a Yogi Berra dictum—It ain’t over ‘til it’s over—and forgetting Republicans descend to whatever level to do what the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders always preached: “Just win, baby.”

By the way, raise your hand if you still trust the FBI.

While it’s mentally helpful to allow one’s self a respite by roaming the ranks of deniers, in the long run it’s enervating; a sound mind requires one to accept reality, and action. The time for denial is past. It’s time to pull heads out of the sand.

Trump will be sworn to defend the Constitution. Whether he’ll defend, rewrite, or shred it, time will tell. He has a compliant and religiously zealous Republican-controlled Congress, a good ol’ boy FBI, and a soon-to-be favorable Supreme Court on his side.

Trump is unlike every other previous president: He’s neither the product of the political or military establishments and plays by his one rules. His defenders argue that’s the point, but to them I say, “Beware. You have empowered an egomaniac who tells you flat out he doesn’t like to lose. After 70 years of a way of life that has served him well, why would he change now?

Trump said same-sex marriage is “settled law,” but not the same about women’s reproductive freedom. What will matter is what his appointee to the Supreme Court, one who might make Antonin Scalia look like a liberal, thinks. Trump also said he wants to clean up elections by getting big money out of them. But will he appoint a justice willing to overturn Citizens United?

Congressional Democrats are taking a decidedly different tact with Trump compared to their Republican counterparts after the Barack Obama elections by making it clear they would oppose every Obama proposal. They are indicating they’d be willing to work with Trump on certain issues such as infrastructure.

Kudos to them, but when one looks at whom he is tapping for leadership—neo-cons, who brought you the Iraq War; Randian conservative libertarians, whose intellectual development stunted after reading Atlas Shrugged; police state enthusiasts and white supremacists—it doesn’t offer hope.

The Age of Trump is nigh. The billion-dollar question: Have we’ve finally entered the last stage of our democracy, the one Plato forewarned would come and James Madison worked to prevent?

I think not. America has great years and centuries ahead.

In September, The Atlantic’s Salena Zito succinctly summed up Trump’s rise to power. “The press takes him literally,” she wrote, “but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.”

Those who opposed him in the campaign can see the folly of that approach. It’s a matter of time before his supporters see the folly of theirs.

For me, lesson learned. I now take Trump both seriously and literally. Given that, I have a job to do. So, do you.

Next week: Active democratic citizenry in the Age of Trump

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