Saturday, February 18, 2017

Post About These Early Days of Trump

I meant to publish this several weeks ago, as the month of January was coming to a close. Somehow, it slipped my mind, and I almost forgot about it, until earlier this morning, while sifting through some of the unpublished posts. This one stuck out like a sore thumb, and so it seemed like it was time to get this particular blog entry published already. 

January is basically over, and in many ways, this month felt somehow like it was both very short and incredibly long.

Yes, I know that probably sounds very contradictory, but let me explain. One a personal level, this month kind of flew by. I was anticipating this new year, hoping it would be a fresh start. As with most months since I have become an adult, I turned around and noticed that this first month of the not that new year anymore was almost over already.

But this month was different than most others, though. Today is January 31st, and we have a new president. He was only inaugurated 11 days ago. Yet, it already feels as if he has been in office for a deceptively long time. I am not one of those guys who longs for the good old days of President Obama, and glorifies him more than he deserves. However, the Obama administration felt a lot quieter and more sane than what is coming out of the White House right now, and that relative sanity somehow feels like it was a long time ago already.

Why? Because so far, the Trump administration has launched an all out blitz, with offensives coming every single day. We hear about all sorts of incredible news, and it seems that the world has hardly caught it's breath from the latest shock before the Trump administration announces some new major shock.

Do you think this is part of his strategy? I think there might be something to that, as well as the general feeling of confusion about it all. Yes, my suspicion is that all of this is very intentional.

Indeed, in more ways than one, the Trump administration seems to be testing new water all of the time, every day. And they are not wasting any time with it, are they?

Have we ever seen such unbelievable news (almost all of it bad) so quickly into a new presidential administration? An ultra nationalist and shallow inaugural speech that most of the rest of the world feels signals that the United States is a lost cause, and our long cherished position of "leaders of the free world" is basically already gone. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are under attack, while science and other facts are actively being suppressed. Prominent members of this government are urging Americans to trust Trump as the true source of facts, although he makes claims that are demonstrably untrue (such as with the size of his inaugural crowd, or claims of massive voter fraud in an election that he officially won without offering any shred of evidence). They have even gone so far as to offer positively Orwellian doublespeak with "alternative facts" to counter inconvenient facts not flattering to this administration, and sales of Orwell's classic "1984" have made it a bestseller again. Former head of Goldman Sachs, and now Trump's top economic adviser, gets a $100 million severance package, and they are making absolutely no effort to conceal this anymore from the public. Meanwhile, Trump freezes hiring and pay for government workers, including vets. He has now told the American taxpayers that, in fact, they will be paying for the border wall after all. There are signs that he is going ahead with the Muslim registry. The president overreached with his authority with an executive order to force the Dakota Access pipeline through, and Republicans who cried foul with Obama's executive orders have absolutely no problem with this. Trump himself keeps showing that he is petty and cannot let one single thing go, as he has to have absolutely the last word on everything. There are already major legal challenges to many of this administration's actions, and opposition in general is gearing up. And now this.

All of this, and he only took power a week ago today!

Well, he can be criticized for many, many things, but you certainly cannot criticize him of being lazy during this first week in office, can you?

First, he announces that American taxpayers are going to pay for his damn wall. Now, he is imposing tariffs on imported Mexican goods, clearly suggesting that this, in fact, will be the way that the wall is paid for, although with construction set to begin very soon, it will still fall on the American taxpayer, clearly. Is this his way of making Mexicans pay for this stupid wall after the fact? By imposing a tax on imported goods that, ultimately, American consumers are going to pay? This is running the country like a business, and clearly, it does not work. What a cruel joke, but the joke is on us. We've been conned by the master scam artist. 

Being a dual citizen myself, I sometimes have felt that collectively, Americans actually are the ones who too often lack the objectivity and proper distance to see themselves and their actions, and to judge them accordingly. Other than the argument that everyone is special and unique, there really is no justification or rationale behind this. Yet, many, if not most, Americans of all political persuasions seem to truly believe this, often to their very core! When you hear the president and other political leaders continually and relentlessly remind you that this is the greatest country in the world, and God Bless America, and that this is God's country, and hear things like "USA #1" or "America First" constantly and without ever being challenged, and you see the flag literally everywhere, and your children recite the pledge of allegiance every single day before school, then you might lack the proper perspective on your own actions, and not understand how other countries cannot relate to your thinking and your actions. We are conditioned to see ourselves not only to recognize ourselves as the world's leading superpower, but that somehow, this was something given to us by divine intervention. I had a history teacher once describe to the class that we Americans "are the good guys...with the white hats." When you see yourself as superior, than the natural logical next step is to be dismissive of anything outside of these sacred American borders, which is how we wind up being not the only country that fails to provide it's citizens affordable, universal healthcare, and which denies basic science, or enthusiastically invading another country, but on top of it, is damn proud of itself for so doing! So it seems to me that Americans themselves too often cast quick and decisive judgment on people the world over, often relying on silly and outdated stereotypes to judge others. Some of the constantly recurring themes we are hearing once again lately, Muslims are all terrorists, Mexicans are all criminals, Russians are the bad guys. Yet, when other countries in the world simply cannot relate to this kind of thinking, we quickly dismiss their criticism, often in an insulting way, or we rely on the impenetrable but intellectually dishonest argument that we are unique, and that other outsiders just do not understand us and our uniqueness throughout history. It really has become a vicious cycle!

A Clarifying Moment in American History by Eliot A. Cohen, Jan. 29, 2017:

The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It by Jake Fuentes, January 30, 2017:

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