Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The Death of Anti-Trumpism? Sadly, No.
Juicy gossip and mindless hate are not a substitute for political thought.
A recent article in the New York Times argues that the new "expose" book about Trump spells the death-knell for mindless anti-Trumpism. While the media has gone all agog over this book, it really boils down to a gossipy tome which talks a lot about he-said/she-said kinds of things and rumors of arguments and temper tantrums, but no real hard analysis of policies being set - the latter being very important and the former irrelevant.
And as the author of the Times article (how did he get this past the Editor?) notes, perhaps the "drama" from the White House these days is just a smokescreen to prevent us all from noticing what is happening in terms of executive action in the nation's various government agencies. We will be so obsessed about who screamed at who, or what Trump tweeted last week (and getting fleeting satisfaction from quips by late-night talk-show hosts) that we won't notice horrible things happening until it is too late. Quite frankly, this answer makes the most sense.
Again, in America, most people root for a political "team" and have no idea what policies their team stands for, other than vague things about abortion and guns - if even that. The fact that neither party gets much done on even those basic policies seems to elude most people. Rather, they want gossip and reality television.
We saw this with the Clintons. People loved to hear that Hillary threw a lamp at Bill or that they had knock-down drag-out shouting matches in the West Wing. Of course, most of it wasn't true, and what little might have been was irrelevant. The laws Clinton signed and the policies he implemented as Chief Executive of our government were more important than bullshit made-up drama behind the scenes. But that doesn't sell newspapers, does it?
The sad thing is, back then, Democrats decried this nonsense for the nonsense it was - untrue, fake news (a term we didn't have back then) and irrelevant. But today, the shoe is on the other foot and what do the Democrats do? Same bullshit times a factor of ten. We are supposed to hate Trump, not because of his half-assed tax law (which appears to reward companies for moving business overseas and cut the taxes of only the very rich) or because of his half-assed policies, but because he Tweets stupid things and gets angry (supposedly) with people.
The Washington Post and New York Times - who both should know better - daily feature gossipy articles from "leaks" in the White House about the latest shouting match or who was humiliated during a cabinet meeting. It is all nonsense and bullshit. Meanwhile, real policy decisions are being made and the press yawns.
And maybe that is because we yawn. Whether Jeff Sessions goes after legal pot or not seems not to interest us (and shame on you pot smokers who voted for Trump - idiots!). But we want to know whether "The Donald" is laying in bed eating fast-food.
The reality of the Trump Presidency is that Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do, and moreover, what Republicans have been promising to do for years now. The biggest obstacle to his implementing new laws and policies is not the press or the "outrage" of pussy-hat protesters or "anti-fa" college kids setting fire to a McDonald's, but the do-nothing Congress he inherited from Obama.
It seems that after eight years of blocking Presidential ambition, the GOP-lead Congress is stuck in "No" mode. All that talk about bipartisan "reaching across the aisle" is out the window, and all it takes it one or two holdouts to stymie any political action.
And maybe this is a good thing. The less Trump (or any politician) gets accomplished, sometimes the better. Politicians like to drone on about how the IRS code is so big you'd need a dump truck to haul it around. But how did you think it got that big to begin with? Yup, Congress and Presidents pass laws and promulgate rules - and then act like these laws and regulations just magically appeared on the books, undoubtedly created by "bureaucrats" of one sort of another (possibly linked to the "deep state" - right?).
Sometimes, government inaction is better than government action, and passing more and more laws isn't the answer to our nation's woes - real or perceived.
But anti-Trumpism - the mindless hate of Trump for being Trump - as well as this latest gossip book are not going to accomplish much. If you want a change in government, vote for it - and vote for a rational candidate who has a chance of winning. We've have enough "reality TeeVee" and "come from nowhere" candidates with little or no experience in government. We don't need Bernie or Oprah in 2020 - we need someone who isn't drama and division.
But of course, that doesn't sell eyeballs for the media, does it? Why do we let the media pick our candidates for us, based on which one sells the most SUV ads?