Colson: Get ready for the dawn of Trump World
Hit and Run
A week ago, I was feeling fairly positive about things, election-wise.
I hoped that the national existential belch that was behind the rise of Donald Trump might have passed, and that enough people were horrified at the idea of a Trump presidency that the election would be close, but Hillary Clinton would squeak by with a win.
Got that one wrong, eh?
As you may have noticed, I’m practicing my Canadian phraseology just in case, though I’m not planning to let a little thing like this electoral upset drive me out of the country.
I feel a need to point out, as well, that one of my most fervent wishes about the end of the just-passed election cycle will not be granted — I will not be able to go for protracted periods without writing the name “Trump.”
Because now that he is our president, we are all in deep ca-ca. He has no idea what he is doing, he has the personality of a spiteful, schoolyard bully, and he has lived his life in a fantasy world wherein everything he believes automatically becomes the truth because he was the one in control.
No one knows how his world view will translate into action from the White House, but I have a feeling it’s not going to be pretty, peaceful or progressive, and that we all need to stay alert and be prepared for action.
At the same time that we contemplate the dismal failure of the Democratic Party to get its act together and prevent Trump from gaining the White House, what we must do now as a nation is this — get ready for a tsunami of wildly reactionary, anti-humanistic and regressive politics, and doing everything possible to throw a monkey wrench in the works.
OK, the forces of hate and intolerance are on top for now, but our history as a nation has shown us that we can overcome setbacks such as this one.
To be sure, the political and social experiment known as the United States of America seems irredeemably divided right now, and some have said the division is the worst it’s ever been, although we seem always ready to paint our current situation (no matter when or what) in the blackest terms we can think of. In fact, we tend to hyperventilate and aggrandize our crisis-of-the-moment with little regard to the actual history we supposedly are examining.
If we want to look back at a time when our nation was as divided as it is now, we need look no further than the middle of the 19th century, when we literally shot each other to pieces in a deadly dust-up called the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression, as it is known by certain unrepentant southerners).
So, all things considered, where the nation is now is not nearly as nasty as where we’ve been at certain times in our past.
Still, things are looking more than a little dark.
For instance, if you want to challenge your stomach’s ability to keep itself in check and not lose lunch, take a look at the latest list of Trump’s possible cabinet picks, at least according to The New York Times.
I did. It was early Monday morning, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t recovered yet.
To begin with, as I read through the list, certain names leaped off the page:
• Sarah Palin for secretary of the Interior. You remember her, I’m sure — she was U.S. Sen. John McCain’s albatross — er, vice presidential pick — in McCain’s 2008 bid to prevent Barack Obama from becoming president, though a more apt metaphor might be to call her the iceberg that sank his cruise ship. Her wildly inaccurate understanding of just about everything political, economic and social was funny to watch, but terrifying to think about in the dark hours of the night. Like Trump, she lives in a fantasy world peopled by shining Knights of the Right Wing whose ideological swordplay appears to have cut their connection to the real world, and would fit right in with Trump’s anticipated administration.
• Rudy Giuliani for attorney general. The former New York City mayor is an embittered has-been whose pathetic efforts to remain relevant and famous have rendered him into a screeching, vengeful sycophant who, like Palin, is a perfect fit in Trump World.
• John Bolton for secretary of state — A one-time ambassador to the U.N. (under George W. Bush) and an apparently effective diplomat at one time but who tends to see anti-American international conspiracies under every bed in every hotel he’s ever stayed at, and whose innate paranoia might even match Trump’s own.
I must point out that Newt Gingrich, a primary architect of the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and a main driver of two government shutdowns in that same era, also is in the running for this post. Newt, like Trump, is a political brat who fumes and sulks when things don’t go his way, so the two of them should get along nicely.
• Wall Street insiders Thomas Barrack Jr. (Colony Capital) and Steve Mnuchin (Goldman Sachs) are both on the short list for Treasury secretary, which would seem to contradict Trump’s much-shouted criticism of Hillary Clinton as being in the pocket of the financial industry.
• Dr. Ben Carson — The failed Republican presidential hopeful is up for two secretary posts — education and health and human services. This is a confirmed climate-change denier who does not believe in the theory of evolution (apparently preferring the biblical fantasy of creation over the findings of science). He also firmly believes that the free market is the answer to our broken health care system, despite the facts that the insurance-medico industrial complex so miserably failed us in the past, and practically every other industrialized nation on Earth has rejected the free-market model for health care.
There are others, of course, and I urge everyone reading this to check the list and see who they hope will soon be running our government.
Because it is clear that Trump is not up to the task, and in fact already has been asking aides about how much time, as president, he will be forced to spend in Washington, D.C., and to what degree he can delegate and then trot off to beauty pageants, redneck rallies and other things that would be more fun for him.
Yes, it’s going to be a long four years. In preparing for the rising dark tide, we all should examine what can be done to minimize the damage to our country and the world that we can expect from Trump’s presidency.
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