Beneath Donald Trump’s constant deceit, discombobulation and deflection is the festering immoral agenda.
Just in the last couple of weeks or so Trump has made a move to destroy the nation’s health care system by eliminating payments of federal subsidies to help people have affordable insurance, presented a tax plan that only benefits the wealthiest among us, suggested through his EPA administrator a rollback of regulations on air pollution and carbon emissions, ignored the suffering of people in Puerto Rico and demeaned them, unitarily provoked the leaders of Iran and North Korea, threatened to essentially shut down “the Networks” from reporting the truth and continued to harass some NFL players from peacefully protesting on Sunday afternoons.
The long list, and I could have made it longer, makes it difficult to focus and connect the seemingly disparate elements, or place them in a workable hierarchy, but if you can’t place these elements under the rubric of fascism or some form of it, then the word has clearly lost any meaning. Unilaterally killing impoverished and elderly people as a type of political sport by taking away their medical access while openly attacking freedom of expression in the press and among individuals is the epitome of fascism as is Trump’s racist- and sexist-fueled nationalism. While Trump’s agenda and accompanying theatrics can never completely resemble the European 1930s-styled fascist movements that fueled the rise of Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini it certainly has glaring similarities in its use of scapegoats, divisive rhetoric and outrageous lies.
Each part of Trump’s growing, immoral agenda deserves close scrutiny in order to fight against them through legal means and targeted protest. This is getting done in mainstream media outlets and through web sites and social media accounts that fight injustice and totalitarianism. But I still think there are three major components holding back the resistance. Here, then, are what we might call reminders:
The Media. Mainstream media outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, continue to hold back their reporters from stating obvious facts. Trump is both a calculated and intuitive sociopathic liar yet readers would be hard pressed to find this information directly stated in daily stories driving the news cycle. It’s unethical for a reporter to not make this information clear when quoting Trump or his administration.
Trump can’t brazenly lie on one issue—he contends his tax plan will not reward the most wealthy in the country, for example—and then get a pass on another issue. Trump is lying, for example, when he says ending federal subsidies on health care is just a slap at the insurance companies. It was the Republicans who didn’t want the public option for health care when the Affordable Care Act was debated. Trump wants to deny people medical access to score a victory. Media outlets need to report this as truth, not as an abstract argument.
Virtually any thing Trump argues on any substantive policy issue is just the opposite of what he says. Any story that quotes Trump or his tweets should have a standard disclaimer about this phenomenon. An obvious lie is not an argument. While pundits throughout the country are pointing out Trump’s narcissism and brazen lies, the day-to-day reporting remains locked in old “both sides” rhetorical reporting and false equivalences. Trump is a liar. He knows it. His supporters know it. The press knows it. Say it over and over. The president lies. The president lies. The president lies.
The Silence of the Intellectuals. Although there are some major exceptions, I remain disheartened by the lukewarm protest to Trump from intellectuals in this country. If intellectuals think they’re going to get to ride this out for nothing until the country suddenly comes to its senses, or something along this line, then they need to rethink it for, if nothing else, the sake of their own jobs and the institutions in which they work. The resistance needs more strong, evidence-based arguments applied in local communities on a daily basis.
Intellectuals need to get on the streets with those people willing to face the consequences of standing up to an authoritarian government. This means we need more students, teachers, lawyers, medical professionals, professors, software engineers, etc., on the streets holding signs, chanting, marching and identifying themselves as a member of a truth-based community. There are simply no excuses. We can’t wait until Robert Mueller has finished The Investigation. We can’t wait on Nancy Pelosi to speak up loudly and do something. Pelosi will never take a political risk.
Even if Trump is forced to resign or gets impeached, we’ll still face the repercussions of his actions and a problematic, immoral regime most likely headed by Vice President Mike Pence, a spineless Trump sycophant.
Trump Supporters. As we all know Trump didn’t win the popular vote for president, but it’s important to remind ourselves that more than 62 million people did vote for the malignant narcissist to become president. Trump’s approval ratings are ridiculously low, as media outlets point out constantly, so there’s some obvious regret, but not enough to make any type of political difference at this point.
Those ordinary Americans who still support Trump, however, remain an enigma. (One can understand why a rich person would selfishly support Trump for their own vested interest to get richer.) To openly and tirelessly support a person who consistently lies and uses the placating of his own ego as the standard for decision making is to embrace the abnormality and immorality of a tyrant. These are not misguided people. These are people who are embracing the demise of their own country and the demise of what’s left of their own financial security and medical access in some type of internal drama difficult to discern and not worthy of any more inquiry.
These people vote against their own obvious interests and will do so for the foreseeable future. What we do know an d shield reiterate is that these people will never apply logic to the Trump regime and that it’s completely senseless to argue with them. It’s a waste of energy and time.
These three components holding back the resistance—the media, intellectuals, Trump supporters—are clearly identifiable. The press needs a new rhetorical format and language that allows it to speak truthfully on a day-to-day basis about Trump’s brazen lies and his self-serving agenda. Intellectuals needs to speak up and get out on the streets. The resistance should not waste time on trying to convert Trump supporters. He has betrayed them like he has betrayed virtually everyone in his life and there’s even an argument to be made that they actually desire the betrayal in some warped, masochistic sense, an embrace of the morbid maybe or simply out of boredom.
In an attempt to find patterns in the chaos to develop workable strategies to resist the Trump regime, we can find our true selves and the real character of the nation.