Monday, January 30, 2017

Week of 01/30/2017

Welcome To The Cult Of Trump
Well here we are!  As of this column’s posting date we are a little over one week into the presidency of Donald J. Trump and the world has not been blown to pieces... yet.
Last year I said that I would give our new president a chance to prove his critics wrong and I urged others to do the same.  I wasn’t suggesting that we forgive him for his past antics.  I wasn’t saying that we should forget what he said on the campaign trail.  I was saying that we all should give him one chance, just one, to do the right thing.  To prove that he really could be the president that we really need.
Yes, it’s a naïve dream that somehow a mystical transformation would occur between Election Day and Inauguration Day with the person that won.  But it does follow into the myth that we are told about the people running for office; that politics is a win-at-all-costs blood-sport and that the caricature that we see on the campaign trail is not an honest indication of the real person that gets elected and inhabits that office.  We saw that eight years ago when the “hope and change” Obama that gave us Obamamania became the “jobless recovery” Obama that let the rich criminals buy their way out of prison and stick us with a health reform program that still found ways to screw us over.
We were hoping that the reverse would happen with Trump, that the orange-skinned-wacky-man would be the leader he promised to be after he won the election.
Unfortunately, between Election Day and Inauguration Day, Mister Trump has put that “one chance” to the test even before he put his little hand on the borrowed bible.  It was very hard for someone like me to tell others to give him that chance when he continued to hold pissing contests with people on Twitter.
I know we’re used to incoming world leaders being stoic and noble, accepting victory with grace and humility.  Not rubbing it into the wounds of others who still have a hard time digesting the loss.  That kind of antic is not how you unite people.  That’s how you aggravate and agitate and divide them.
But I suppose that is to be expected.  We have all been immersed in a political death-cult for a while now, and, like any cult, it feeds off conflict and paranoia and divisiveness.  As the Italian tyrant Benito Mussolini strongly believed and incorporated into his principles of fascism, a nation is defined by its wars.  So too has been not only the man that is in the White House today, but also the people that follow him, the party that supports him, and also the belligerent masses that voted for him.  It is the very polarization that I saw creeping in way back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s that has led us to where we are today.  They live by polarization and confrontation and agitation.  They know nothing else.
And now, here we are just one week-plus into Trump’s reign, and I cannot say the word “Administration” when it comes to the man.  I had hoped that I would after eight years of Barack Obama’s failure and after eight years of George W. Bush’s neo-Roman Imperium and eight years of Bill Clinton’s Regime.  I really wanted to refer to a president’s tenure in the White House as an “Administration” after so many years of not being able to say it honestly and truthfully.  That’s why I try to give each incoming president since the end of the Clinton Regime that one chance to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s three-ring White House clown act didn’t even make it through twenty-four hours in charge without pissing away that one chance.
When it came to the size of the Inauguration Day crowd in the Washington Mall, the media pointed out that the attending crowds were fewer than those that showed up for President Obama’s first inauguration eight years earlier.  Two photographs taken from the same vantage point atop the Washington Monument shows this.  The day after his inauguration, President Trump declared that the media was somehow lying about those photos, and, not long afterward, the brand-new White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, showed his gross incompetence by attacking the very media assembled in front of him and pompously declared that Trump’s inauguration was the largest assembled in person and online “period”.
Twenty-four hours.
That’s how long Donald John Trump was able to piss away my optimism for his presidency.
It took Barack Obama six months before I dubbed his tenure as the “Obama Fail”.
It took George W Bush four years - four years – before I dubbed his tenure as the “Bush Imperium”, and that was taking 9/11 into account.
Donald Trump and his lackeys pissed away their one chance in not even twenty-four hours.
Now there were a few ways the Trump gang could have walked back their asinine declaration.  They could have said that it was just from the president’s perspective, and that it’s hard to look beyond the big white tower in the middle of the Mall that blocked much of the view.  They could have said that they meant the numbers of potential viewers online and through the various international media outlets.  They could have said those white spaces in the Mall as seen from the Washington Monument were tarps because it was raining that day.
But, no, Il Trumpe’s declaration stands, and to make matters worse, we actually have Kellyanne Conway telling the media that Hack Spicer wasn’t “lying”; he was giving “alternative facts”.
“Alternative facts”.  Because we supposedly can’t call people “liars” anymore. 
Except when Il Trumpe refers to the Senator from Texas as “Lyin Ted Cruz”.  Or says that Hillary Clinton lies and lies, and the Democrats lie and lie, and that liberals lie and lie, and that the media does nothing but lie.  But Trump and his people and the GOP cannot ever “lie”… they can only give “alternative facts”.
And even before the term “alternative facts” was invented by the three-ring White House Circus, we have editorial staff of the Wall Street Journal declaring that they will no longer accuse people in office of “lying”.  Because lying involves intent and supposedly you can’t accuse people if lying if they don’t know that they’re lying.  And this was before Trump even put his hand on Abraham Lincolns bible and desecrated Lincoln’s memory.  I should point out that the Wall Street Journal is owned by the same News Corporation that owns Fox News, which helped Trump get into the White House, so no big surprise there.
It’s scary when you have read the works of George Orwell, with all of the references of “doublespeak” and “thoughtcrime”, and then have those things being carried out right in front of the world.  It’s no wonder why his books are now soaring in popularity again.
And I haven’t even gotten to the other things that happened this past week! I haven’t even mentioned the infamous wall that Il Trumpe promised that we would never have to pay for… until he got into office and now we are going to be paying for it now and, at a later point, somehow Mexico will compensate us for it.  Boy did we get Trumped on that!
I haven’t gotten into his gross religious bigotry by giving preference to Christian refugees over Muslim ones and then putting in a blanket ban on all Muslims coming in from certain countries, including those that were previously allowed in.  The carnage just yesterday over the airlines and airports trying to enforce that blanket decree should give anyone pause over what kind of person we’ve elected.
And the insane part about this is that he believes that what he is doing is not only right, but it’s the greatest thing that could ever happen in human history.  And how does he know this?  Because he’s regurgitating polls conducted by the biased Fox News – the very Fox News media outlet that helped propel him into office by giving him trillions in free publicity – and those polls claim that “the people” love him and support him.
I haven’t gotten into his picks for his cabinet, which look more and more like an exercise in how not to govern.  We have a nominee for Education Secretary whose qualifications are almost out of a TV commercial with someone saying they can perform brain surgery because they stayed at a brand-name motel.  We have a nominee for Labor Secretary whose experience is that he is the CEO of a fast food burger franchise.  We have a Treasury Secretary nominee that came from Goldman Sachs.  Remember the last Treasury Secretary from Goldman Sachs?  Hank “Too Big To Fail” Paulson!  And how about the Department of Energy being led by failed presidential wannabe Rick Perry?  This is the same Texas Governor that previously wanted to eliminate that very department, when he could remember what that department was, and who also believes that rain comes from Christians praying really, really, hard!  No, I am not making that up.
Then there is Trump’s continued assertion that he was the victim of “voter fraud”, even though he won the election.
Most people would simply take the win as that, but not for Donald J. Trump.  No, he demands that the public accept his delusion that he didn’t just win, but that he won by such an overwhelming majority that nobody would ever question his legitimacy.  While his Trumpets were pretending to be history teachers and bringing up the number of times presidents were elected by the electoral college but lost the popular vote, Il Trumpe is demanding a full investigation of the very election he won to find those mythical “two-to-three million” – now “three-to-five million” – illegal voters that supposedly only voted for Hillary Clinton.
Movie buffs should remember this kind of antic.  It’s almost straight out of the 1954 motion picture “The Caine Mutiny”, with Humphrey Bogart as fragile Lieutenant Commander “Old Yellow Stain” Queeg and his search for missing strawberries and a duplicate key that did not exist.  Only it took a while before Queeg’s crazy began to surface, and Trump’s crazy was showing even before he took office.
Oh, and I should point out that Trump’s pick for Attorney General has a real “winner” of a history finding voter fraud that did not exist.  I guess in Trump’s world, guys like “Yellow Stain” Queeg would be the Secretary of the Navy.
Let’s get brutally honest here… the whole world, not just America, is in the shadow of the Cult of Trump.  Because that is the only way to describe his kind of leadership.  It’s not an administration that earns respect, but one of a cult that expects and demands praise and compliance.
I’ve said before that the man in the White House is a narcissist.  I don’t make that claim lightly.  And that’s not to say that we haven’t had a narcissist in the White House before.  I’m sure history will pull up a few names like Teddy Roosevelt or Richard Nixon.  But previous presidents have had the benefit of staff members and cabinet members serving as a buffer from their more dangerous sides.  Trump has direct access to the masses through Twitter to say whatever he wants, unfiltered, no matter the consequence.  That may be okay as a private citizen, but as president, he speaks on behalf of the United States.  A 4am Twitter-tantrum, the kind that Trump is infamous for, could very well spark a nuclear war depending on who pisses him off.
But what makes this Cult of Trump truly dangerous is not just the man at the top of it.  It’s not even the people that he’s chosen to serve as his myrmidons and soothsayers and propagandists.  It’s the members of the GOP, who originally vowed to keep Trump in check but are now serving as toadies and lackeys, betraying their own words and beliefs.  But even more than those people, the truly dangerous element in this Cult of Trump are the masses that voted for him and who are now mindlessly supporting him.
And that’s where the real danger lies to freedom, because now we’re not talking about the people on Pennsylvania Avenue and K-Street and C-Street in the District of Columbia.  We’re not talking about faceless lobbyists and think tank “experts” and career politicians.  We’re not even talking about state legislators and state-level lobbyists.  Now we’re talking about our own neighbors and co-workers.  The people that we see on a daily basis.  People that we talk with and work with that treat Trump as a great messiah who can do no wrong and say only what they themselves believe as gospel.
These are the people that I’ve been seeing and hearing all the way back to the late 1980’s.  The ones that used to be written off as a few kooks and crazies.  The ones that made talk radio the influence that it is today.  The ones that made Fox News the influence that it is.  The ones eager to push Bush Junior’s “War of Terror” into country-after-country without end.  The ones that bought into every manufactured lie about Barack Obama for eight years, even made up a few about him, and are now telling us the orange-skinned-wacky-man they religiously support should be obeyed without question.
These are the people that put Trump in the White House.  And now that he’s there, they’re operating on the belief that they can do anything they want, just like him.  A community center that gives aid to refugees is threatened.  A mosque in Texas is burned to the ground.  One Trump supporter disrupts an air flight demanding to know who doesn’t support his personal messiah.  Another physically attacks an airline employee at JFK Airport for no reason other than she was wearing a hijab.  A whole town in Montana was being threatened by the “alt-right” community!
We’ve seen this before, people.  Not just in Germany or Italy, but also here in America.  Fascism and their bullying tactics know no bounds or decency.  America is shamed by these kinds of people, and the insane part about it is that they are so wrapped up in their own cultish devotion that they will never see what they are really doing, never mind own up to it.
The only thing I can tell these Trumpets is that they better pray that the atheists are right about the afterlife, because, if not, they will never enjoy the kind of “reward” they see themselves getting when they die.  Even the Old Testament talks of “the chosen” suffering for forty years in the desert for their sins of hubris, and that’s being lucky.  And, news flash, Trumpets: you’re not even close to being “the chosen”.
For the rest of us, we have no choice but to put up with the Cult of Trump until those in power decide they’ve had enough of the self-appointed political messiah of the masses.  That’s not to say we need to be silent or compliant.  The January 21st Women’s March in Washington and around the world was a good start.  We have all spent eight years putting up with the GOP and their death-cult games.  Eight years of obstructionism and insurrection and shutdown threats and fake birth certificates.  Eight years of being told “no” and “hell no” and “drop dead”.  It’s long time they get back exactly what they’ve been dishing out.
The Cult of Trump is really not Trump’s creation.  Like a few other things that he takes credit for, he simply affixed his name to the death-cult mentality that as always been there.  Most of us can only hope that there will still be a country left when this cult is finally out of power so we can clean up their messes.