After Five Weeks of Trump: An Assessment
Donald Trump has been our president for five weeks. Slightly less than 2.5% of a full, four-year term. Seems like it might be time for an assessment.
The good: No new wars. No market crash, and rising portfolio values. (Stay tuned on the markets.) The sun still rises every day, and it sets every night.
The bad: [Nothing.]
The ugly: Everything else.
Wrapping my head around the awful, evil, disgraceful face of America circa 2017 stretches me to the breaking point. (I know it stretches many others, but my names sits above the fold here, and I own my words, alone.) Maybe I got there this morning, when I read Federal Agents Move Woman Awaiting Emergency Surgery at Texas Hospital to Detention Site in the February 23 L.A. Times? Or was it Another Wave of Bomb Threats Targets Jewish Community Centers, and the destruction of headstones in St. Louis? Or the defense of alternative facts by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway and Press Secretary Sean Spicer?
I don’t know, honestly, and I really don’t care. This man, Donald Trump, has destroyed my country. I lived in a nation best epitomized by Superman, a supremely American character, who stood up for truth, justice, and the American way. Not so anymore. The bosses don’t believe in truth or justice for sure. And the American way? Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s creators, were both first generation Americans. And this crew wants to be damn sure we keep them and theirs out of here, as much as possible.
I wonder often how we reconcile our past and the present. We don’t trace our roots back a thousand years or more, like the English, the French, the Germans, or the Scandinavians. Or the Chinese or Japanese. Or the Arabs. So we might expect a little more humility when it comes to those who look, speak, eat, and pray differently. We also have Lady Liberty in New York Harbor, and we host the United Nations. For crying out loud, we’re the world’s home of last resort!
Alas, on the humility front, there’s not so much, from too, too many of us. For sure, our history reflects plenty of hatred for Chinese, German, Italian, Irish, Japanese, and Jewish immigrants, to name just a few of the populations which have thrived here. And we’ve certainly got our share of bad governmental history when it comes to strangers among us. (Here’s How U.S. Immigration Laws and Rules Have Changed through History by D’vera Cohen for the Pew Research Center.)
Somehow, though, I think we’re living in different times. Why? I don’t know. Best answer? Mr. Trump and his crew’s indolent contempt for governance. (Regulatory reform? Toss two for every new one, as if all regulations are equal. Obamacare? Pick an over the top adjective Mr. Trump attributed to his plan, which has no meat on its bones even now. The wall? We’ll impose tariffs on Mexican goods, which is cock-eyed and never considers the notion that Mexico might offer up a set of “back ‘atcha, Donnie Boy” tariffs.)
The notion that everything is easy, that a president can say whatever he wants without ever being called to account, and that nothing really matters anyway, pervades, and I recall no time in our national history in which that attitude prevailed.
But, like an infomercial, “there’s more.” Mr. Trump lives in a world in which “I win” means “you lose,” and the ugliest way. Not a win-win guy is Donald Trump. (There’s surely more, still, and I welcome comments.)
So, I’m grieving. I grieve:
For a nation which values education, facts, and knowledge;
Because my generous, welcoming, can-do country has disappeared;
For civility; and
For so, so much more.
Yes, I know about the special elections, the mid-terms, and 2020 and beyond. Getting people revved up matters, and I will surely do my part. But for what, I wonder. We quit on ourselves, and we let selfish bullies take over. And I don’t know how we ever recover.