I’m sorry, but the Hitler analogy is at last appropriate. You can hear the original Führer’s hateful nationalism in nearly every sentence that comes out of Mr. Trump’s mouth, most especially in his inaugural speech.
“I’m sorry, but…” is most often a non-apology that means exactly the opposite, as in “I’m not sorry at all.” But not as I’ve used it this time. Like many other Americans, I am downright terrified about the future. Our nation is resilient and I believe that it will survive. I even believe that the pathological liar who is now our president will eventually be destroyed by what he is. But what else will be destroyed to accomplish that?
Right now, most Republicans are acting like World War II’s “good Germans.” Marco Rubio, for example, flirted with opposing the Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s appointment as Secretary of State, but his own people told him there was no political upside to opposition. Just moral. So he collapsed like a fragile soufflé.
Judging by the mounting evidence of Trump’s mental illness, that behavior must change. You do see an occasional oblique flash of truth, such as this DoD tweet about social media’s clues to mental instability.
The day before Trump’s inauguration I read that he wanted tanks and anti-aircraft guns in his Pennsylvania Avenue parade. So perhaps my Führer comparison should instead point toward a different but oh-so-obvious choice, Valdimir Putin—a dictator masquerading as a Communist. One pundit labeled Trump’s parade wishes “very Red Square.” At least the weapons display didn’t happen.
I’ve read that Trump’s obsession with crowd size was a characteristic of Fidel Castro in his salad days. But finally, given The Donald’s total inexperience with government and propensity to exaggerate everything, the most appropriate comparison might be to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and his immediate ancestors.
Ironically, I do have something basic in common with Trump’s supporters—besides being old, fat, and white. My fears for the future are as selfish as theirs. I am a few months away from retirement and I wonder if trade wars (or God forbid, real and serious ones) will obliterate the life savings that my wife and I, and our parents, spent so many years assembling. The Trump supporters who handed him the Presidency by a pitiful aggregate of 70,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania already watched the work of their lives disappear down the rabbit holes of globalism and automation.
I don’t think they understand that by seeking out the cheapest version of everything, they bear some responsibility for their plight. I’m looking at you, Wal-Mart shoppers. For example, those very shoppers complain because so many goods are manufactured in China while rueing the loss of their factory jobs to China. Do they get the correlation between “always the lowest prices” and that the wages for those jobs, barely livable in China, would never ever fly in the U-S-A?
But now take a look at me, a fiercely loyal consumer of Apple’s overpriced hardware, which is also manufactured by underpaid and often underage Chinese workers. You could consider me worse than Trump’s people because I know full well that I’m supporting goods which are merely “Designed in California.”
Actually, those Wal-Mart shoppers probably do know where their goods are manufactured, and like me they consciously ignore that these purchases are a big reason why the factory jobs went to China. The other big reason is that many of the jobs that stayed in the U.S. are performed by robots. Just ask Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, owner of both Carl’s Junior and Hardees, who publicly bemoaned in 2011 that his employees were the “worst of the worst” and championed robot workers. You see, ’bots don’t need expensive frills like health insurance, time off, and wages.
What Trump voters don’t seem to know (or care?) is how outrageously he has lied to them in this area. Manufacturing in the U.S. is higher now than ever before, because of the aforementioned robots, and efficiency measures. Crime, including police deaths in the job? Lower now (and has been in decline for decades), but higher in public perception because that’s the Republican narrative. The alarming “alternative facts” are offered by the same people who accuse legitimate news organizations of broadcasting fake news.
But you and I are not persuaded by such crap. We’re smarter than that! Ahem, take this test: What Got Better or Worse During Obama’s Presidency and find out how thoroughly you’ve been duped.
Trump has also railed against education: a system that he claims is “…flush with cash…” Huh? Perhaps he means colleges that charge graduate students for the privilege of teaching undergraduate classes. His never-been-to-public-school Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is ready to divert public money to private religious charter schools. After all, we wouldn’t want our underprivileged white schoolchildren to learn anything secular, such as critical thinking.
DeVos is emblematic but just the beginning. Trump’s proposed cabinet, now being rubber-stamped by the Republican Senate majority, is full of up-is-down Orwellian appointments; each secretary seems selected and especially qualified to destroy that very department, intent demonstrable by his/her past actions.
You can add naked corruption to that: Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price, as a Representative sponsored legislation that benefitted medical companies he was invested in. Multiple times. That kind of shit used to disqualify nominees; no more. Senate Republicans are falling in line like the room full of zombie workers in the classic Apple Macintosh “1984” commercial.
All that is bad enough. Here’s worse: the first week of the Drumpf administration moved straight into fascism with orders that forbid public and social media communications from federal employees in the EPA and the departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, Agriculture and the Interior.
More to come, no doubt. Fascists always insist on absolute control of all media. It’s sadly no surprise that the same people who are so committed to their version of our Constitution’s Second Amendment, offer no respect whatsoever to the First.
The obsession with control doesn’t even stop there. Trump’s ego insists that he attempt to rewrite history as well: less than a week in office and he’s whining again, this time about the 5-7 million illegal voters that cost him the popular vote. Yessir Mr. President, please order a thorough investigation of that fantasy! I tweeted to him about it:
@RealDonaldTrump, I support your investigation into election fraud. Can’t wait to hear you whine when they tell you there was none.
— Stephen Schlich (@SteveSchlich) January 26, 2017
Are there any remedies for this insanity? The 25th Amendment allows for the Vice President to take over if the President is incapacitated—or perhaps in this particular case, incapable of performing the job’s responsibilities. But that depends upon Republican consent. As long as Donald the Demented is facilitating their dirty work of disassembling liberalism, they’ll do nothing of the sort.
Besides, that portion of our Constitution, like the much talked about Emoluments Clause, has never been tested. And unable to perform is not the same as unwilling.
There is plenty of facilitation afoot: Sean Hannity awhile back praised Russia based on their alliance with us against the Nazis, conveniently ignoring the 70 years of deadly drama and opposition since then.
Then there’s Texas GOP Representative Michael Conaway, who told the Dallas Morning News that he considers Mexican entertainers who campaigned for Democratic candidates to be equivalent to Russian hackers. “It’s foreign influence. If we’re worried about foreign influence, let’s have the whole story.”
But maintaining this kind of ridiculous fiction is not easy. I loved Kellyanne Conjob’s involuntary pause just before she uttered the now-infamous “Alternative Facts”—an obvious tell that she was about to lie:
"Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods," Chuck Todd tells Pres. Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway this morning. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Ao005dQ13r
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) January 22, 2017
I wonder what she tells her kids when they ask about her job.
And Trump’s wife Melania managed to conceal her discomfort to her husband at his inauguration speech, but not to the camera:
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) January 23, 2017
If you’re seeking irony, look no further than the comedians who first popularized “fake news” by making it funny and honestly fake. Now they’re telling more truth than the Drumpf White House.
Trevor Noah on The Daily Show: Watching the inauguration “was like seeing your Dad’s dick. I knew it was going to be there, but it’s still upsetting.”
Watch Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show needle Drumpf hilariously and then offer a tearful good-bye to Barack Obama:
The Political Apprentice #7
Bonus! Trump tries on uniforms:
— The Current Year (@TheeCurrentYear) January 20, 2017