I have wondered why I have not felt motivated to add anything here recently. The truth is, the slow train wreck that is the Trump administration and the attendant coverage is an energy black hole.
Seriously weak and I should get over it. So here goes. Why am I angry? Clearly, as readers of this blog know well by now, Trump was not my candidate. Sometimes you lose. Obama was not my candidate in 2012 – Romney was. I didn’t feel angry or dispirited then. Why now?
The mountain of lies is discouraging. The re-awakening of the viler aspects of our society – racists, bigots etc. – is discouraging. The sense of fear in the immigrant community about not only the racism but also the prospects of deportation is discouraging. The deadly mixture of arrogance and ignorance that our President displays is troubling. The sense that he is too arrogant and narcissistic to know that he is being manipulated by dark characters such as Steve Bannon is troubling. The fact that he may just back us into a corner in some area of foreign policy is concerning. The fact that he may, through inattention to the available information on climate change and favors promised to the energy lobby, contribute to a huge backward step in managing our relationship with our environment is disappointing. The hypocrisy of championing states’ rights regarding transgender bathroom access and yet suggesting inserting Federal law when it comes to state laws on recreational marijuana is embarrassingly laughable. Dismissing reports from DHS when they don’t confirm the President’s bias is a sign of shutting down inquiry and debate based on facts, as is selecting the news organizations who are given access. There is more and I could go on. The daily news – the mainstream media he despises – is full of the latest despicable steps taken by the Trump administration.
Am I happy that he is planning to dismantle some of the regulatory machinery that has grown up over decades? As someone who is fundamentally libertarian, I approve of that to some degree – depending on the specifics. Am I happy that he is allowing the Dakota Access Pipeline? Generally yes. I believe that was a terrible cause driven mostly by the fact that the Standing Rock tribe did not get the economic deal they wanted and decided to fight. It is a project that should happen. We will be better off having that oil move through a pipeline than across road and rail. There are some things that the administration is doing right. A broken clock is right twice a day.
Above all else, what bothers me and unsettles me every time I hear Trump’s voice, is the abuse of truth and language. He uses words and sentences at a grade school level. He tells lies as if the truth does not matter. He is singlehandedly dragging public discourse back to the stone ages – pictures would be preferable (think Moose Lamb – thank you Melissa McCarthy). Not only does he abuse truth and language wantonly, but he celebrates the cloud of ignorance it produces as a populist victory against those he claims comprise an arrogant elite. To protest the abuse is, in his eyes and in those of the masses he energises, further confirmation of the change that needs to be wrought.
What about those who are complicit in his administration? The Sean Spicer and Kellyann Conway jokefest? Gary Cohn, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, James Matthis? Perhaps some of them are convinced they can make a difference by restraining some of Trump’s worst inclinations. Perhaps they are right. Some have impressive credentials and are clearly trying to bring order from chaos.
To some degree, one is bound to normalize a President. They are elected by a process that we honor and respect. We should all calm down perhaps. Perhaps Trump will do himself in as Milo Yiannopoulos did. Perhaps. Language and truth are important. They offer a standard and a medium of communication that serve us well. If lose our grip on truth and debase our currency of communication, we are cast adrift as shapeless utterances in a chamber of lies – travelers with no compass listening to discordant sounds with no redeeming musical elements. A wasted opportunity and a waste of time.
Sad to see Pence as a better option. Terrible. Wrong. Bad. Fix it!