politics

The Consequences of Democracy

“This is political Jihad perpetrated by the Democrats.” James Woods of 80’s movie character actor fame and more recent but less entertaining conservative tweet fame tweeted.

He’s right.

Though, I’ve been through Jihad up close a few times. And it’s a little different. I think the word he’s searching for is actually opposition. But I’ll give him a pass because Against All Odds still holds up. 

The Wall Street Journal thought this through for about an hour before they responded that “Democrats and their media allies finally got their man. After weeks of political pressure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein blinked…”

They’re right too. The Democrats finally did get their man.

Everyone claiming that the Russia probe is politically motivated is correct. And everyone who wishes it would all go away should probably have figured out a way for someone else to represent their message to the world besides Donald J. Trump

I don’t have any idea if President Trump colluded with Russia to influence the election. My guess is he probably didn’t. I’m from Atlantic City and I’ve watched him for a long time. Outright criminal activity isn’t really his thing. Slimy business practices, discrimination, general dishonesty and low character behavior are more his style. Some of the people he used to gain power and didn’t vet properly may have done some real live illegal things. That’s more his speed, sloppy and undisciplined. You can afford to be when you live on the float of your real estate empire. A little less so when you’re President. That’s all conjecture though. And it doesn’t matter. We’ll find out sometime over the next one to two years as we waddle through an even more paralyzed federal government that won’t be able to get anything done, good bad or indifferent, because the guy who has to lead it is a punch line.

That’s actually the point. We elected Donald J. Trump to be The President of the United States of America. And if I told anyone this two years ago, they would have picked this outcome at least as commonly as they would have picked any other one. And you can’t say that about anyone else who ever seriously pursued the office.

Somewhere, in a delusional political haze, a large portion of America got it in their heads that the only man alive that could drive the political change we so desperately needed (and we do) was Donald J. Trump. I don’t know how that transformation actually happened. I can’t explain how a guy whose best quality was being rich and whose worst one fluctuated between confirmed pathological lying and the worst sensitivity to criticism I’ve ever seen on any human being in the public eye, was supposed to deliver us from our inevitable dark end. It’s not obvious how he was to magically turn over a new leaf after 70 years on earth and stand in the flaming kitchen of the oval office, keep his cool, stay on message and build the trust that the American people have to have in order to live through hard change.

How in the world did we ever think that was going to happen?

It was the greatest collective self-deception I’d ever seen. And it made me respect the power of political ideology over the politically minded more than I ever imagined I would. The lies we needed to tell ourselves to believe this was a good idea are some of the greatest ever told.

I tried. I didn’t want to vote for Hillary Clinton. We just had a Democrat for eight years. We needed to reform what we ask of our government. And that wasn’t happening with her. I tried to get people interested in Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. But no one gave a crap about third party candidates. And if they didn’t this go around, they’re never going to. So this is what we got. We got Donald J. Trump as the President of the United States doing exactly what you would expect a reality TV star to do if you put him in charge of the world.

He formed a cabinet that’s the political equivalent of changing your Facebook profile picture to a selfie with your new girlfriend the day after you leave your wife and kids. He tried to jam some executive orders out, except they were struck down because no one trusts him and they weren’t written well enough to overcome it. The worst of his staff got pinched for being a foreign agent. Then he fired the Director of the FBI while there was an active investigation into his campaign going on. These are all things that I would have expected a President Donald Trump to do. And he did them. And he didn’t make it to June before the first reasonably credible discussions of impeachment are taking place.

Because of politics.

Nativist, xenophobic rhetoric aside, I don’t disagree with the message that carried Donald Trump to the oval office. We invest poorly in our government. And after 240 years, we’ve learned too well how to game it to do things for us we never intended for it to do. But I disagree vigorously with the messenger some chose to carry it. My reasons why are playing out on the world stage for all of us to see as I write this. Political opposition is a mathematical constant. The multiplier for its effectiveness is a function of who you trot out there to stand in against it.

One other thing.  And it’s a big one. While we were arguing about how bad our president is, North Korea is telling us they are now able reach the United States with a nuclear weapon and Russia is testing our response by flying jets near American airspace. Those new behaviors aren’t a coincidence. You thought the last guy was weak? Wait until the world gets used to an American president who no one will follow. Democracy has consequences. We’re living through a tough one right now.

9 replies »

  1. There is good populism and bad populism. Trump represents bad populism that is fueled by
    exactly what you said, racism, nativism, xenophobia, greed and avarice.
    Our two major parties are both so weak we are ripe for Trump-type evil (and I literally mean evil) to come in and dismantle our precious, fragile democracy. The politicians now in power, particularly on the Republican side (McConnell, Ryan, Sessions, etc) are snakes in the grass instead of leaders with integrity looking out for ALL the people, this country.
    We need to take our parties back, by redefining their missions, they have lost sight of the fact that each public servant represents everyone, not just the agenda of special groups and lobbyists.

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  2. [The Wall Street Journal thought this through for about an hour before they responded that “Democrats and their media allies finally got their man. After weeks of political pressure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein blinked…” They’re right too. The Democrats finally did get their man.]

    Are you saying that the Republicans wouldn’t have done the exact same thing if this was all Hillary’s mess and bad governing? That’s a bad cop out if you ask me. The Republicans are complicit in this whole horrid mind boggling mess. But yes, if it was the democrats who got “their man”, then more power to them.

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  3. You said, “The truth is, I don’t have any idea if President Trump colluded with Russia to influence the election. My guess is he probably didn’t. I’m from Atlantic City and I’ve watched him for a long time. Outright criminal activity isn’t really his thing. Slimy business practices, discrimination, general dishonesty and low character behavior are more his style. Some of the people he used to gain power and didn’t vet properly may have done some real live illegal things.”

    I guess I’m not as hopeful as you. No, I can’t prove he colluded with the Russians, but my gut tells me different. He was already in business with Flynn before becoming president. He HAD to know what Flynn was doing. Then he places Flynn in a high position where he felt he could protect him (as Comey is now stating he was asked to do), Which all leaves me to feel that Flynn was actually working with Russia on Trump’s behalf. I don’t think I’m taking too big a leap in thinking this.

    Also, you stated that, “Outright criminal activity isn’t really his thing. Slimy business practices, discrimination, general dishonesty and low character behavior are more his style.” Sorry, but in my mind every one of these pretty much equates to criminal activity. Add to this the fact that some of the people he used to gain power DID commit crimes, and learning that Trump divulged what was classified information to his Russian friends (although I realize he can’t be impeached for this because a president has a right to declassify anything whenever he wants)–well, all I can say is that where there is THIS much smoke, there HAS to be fire, and to not see this would be pretty naive. The only thing I laugh about is that Trump’s ego never allowed him to ask himself WHY Putin would want him to be POTUS. Why WOULDN’T Putin want a complete idiot (who is no match for him) to be president of the United States of America? Of course Putin was going to help him!

    I can only end by saying that Trump has me so afraid that I pray everyday for those who know the truth to have the courage and faith to come forward and speak up. And Republicans–PLEASE stop playing politics. The campaign is over and you won. Now do the right thing for the country. Otherwise you may not be out of a job in the future by getting voted out of office–you may be out because we will all be dead or under the rulership of another nation. Some may think I’m being paranoid in saying this, but would you have ever imagined that so many Americans would be dumb enough to vote for someone like Trump based on anger (adults should know never to act on emotion–and especially anger)? Yet it happened!

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  4. Yes – the fact that he objectifies women is by far one of his worst traits. Women number greater than 50% of the US population. Yet along with simple decency, transparency, consistency, any semblance of policy or even a feeble attempt to learn anything about governing, he dismisses us with that jowly sneer. Repugnant.

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  5. I think you left out a very important ingredient – aculintabcoityFor the LTA’s “fine-tuning” fiasco, who was the one accountable for coming up with the strategy? Not that we want to see heads roll but having some accountability would go a long way to ensure that policies are well-thought out before they are implemented…

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