I’ve struggled with the idea behind this post ever since November 2016. There, you now know what I’ll be talking about. Politics. Trump. Our sorely divided and dysfunctional nation.
There is something foundational that has changed in our political discourse with the election of Donald Trump. But, it’s not just him and his victory, it goes deeper than that. It’s about how the never-ending 24/7 news cycle has changed how we think and act and respond to the events of the day. It’s about how social media has further changed how we think and act and respond to the events of the day.
The title of this post relates to what I wanted to say. And it was motivated by my thoughts about the kerfluffle over the Nunes Memo. This document is an incredible example of how monumentally screwed up we are as a nation. A memo that may disclose confidential information about how our intelligence agencies gather information may now become public to protect and defend the President, and incidentally potentially destroy the FBI and a few other things along the way. Meanwhile, to present “the other side” the Democrats have drafted a counter-memo. That the Republicans who control the process have refused to also release. Or maybe not. If I were to believe the right-wing blog I read, the Republicans simply applied the same process to the Democratic memo that they applied to the Republican memo — oh, and by the way, the right-wingers claim that the Democrats have not shared their memo with the Republicans.
And this is what made me want to write this post. We Americans, all of us, are responsible for this mess. Yes, you, whoever you are reading this post, is responsible for this mess. Regardless of who you voted for or whether you actually voted, you are responsible. Unless you have risen up and screamed from the rooftops that this is too much, that we as a nation have officially jumped the shark, you are responsible. We are in meltdown. Complete and total meltdown and the partisan hacks on both sides are destroying our nation.
The funny thing for me is that I read a right-wing blog or two and a couple of left-wing blogs. When I comment on the right-wing blogs, I am accused of being a mouthpiece for the corrupt liberals of the United States. When I comment on the left-wing blogs, I am accused of supporting Trump. There is no room for gray for these people. You are either with us or against us.
And I want to demand that you, the few readers of this blog, go out and demand that your political leaders, whether Republican, Democrat, Green, or brown start acting like adults. And if they don’t … vote them out!
Another inspiration of this was watching Congressional Democrats during the President’s State of the Union speech sit glumly throughout his speech. I get it. I don’t want to applaud for much of anything he says, but the image is horrible. Think about what you are doing and how it comes across. Absolute and total objection to anything and everything is not a solution that America wants. The reality remains that the majority of Americans want the sides to work together. The reality remains that the sides don’t hear this, don’t act on this because they hear is the primal scream from their partisans, their base.
In my lifetime, this began with the Clinton election and the reaction of the right-wing to the loss of the Presidency — something they had come to believe was a birthright. The efforts of the Republicans to destroy Clinton are without doubt. Then GWB came along and Democrats argued that he wasn’t legitimate because … you know … hanging chads. Then Obama came along and Republicans argued he wasn’t legitimate because … you know … Kenya. Then Trump came along and … you know … he completely turned all of this upside down while rotating it 180 degrees and covering it with chocolate syrup.
And Democratic leaders still have no idea how to respond to this while their partisans scream on Twitter and react to every stupid thing President Trump does. And the noise just gets louder. And the divide wider. And the dysfunction greater.
And we are all responsible for this. You and I. All of us.
I’m still trying to get a grasp on what exactly it is that Trump really aspires to. It is only figuring that out that can lead to a greater understanding of how to respond to him.
Tonight, I got home and opened up the current issue of Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi has a piece in the issue, as he does in just about every issue, in which he tries to analyze the Trump phenomenon. It beings with this:
January 2018, we’re trapped in an intellectual prison from which there is no escape. The modern American experience has been reduced to a few grim lines: President Donald Trump says something crazy, we freak out. A leak comes out, we obsess over it. Someone gets fired; the deck chairs on the sinking ship of state get rearranged a little. Trump says something crazy again. Rinse outrage, repeat. It’s a fatal mind loop worthy of an early Twilight Zone episode, and if you think about it (although the next presidential tweet will likely pre-empt the possibility), we’ve been riding the same moronic circle for more than two and a half years. Cycling through the Twitter opinions about the president’s latest brain belch has become an irresistibly shallow national ritual.
I just don’t know if there is any better way to describe this.
And, yes, we are all responsible. Trump is playing a game at which he is a master. An absolute master and instead of realizing that, the rest of us have just become pawns in his game of distraction, dysfunction, and destruction. It’s time for this to stop. For people of all stripes and colors to stop engaging in his dysfunction.
The problem is … that aint ever gonna happen. We have completely lost control. Which is exactly what Trump wanted.
And, yes, we are all responsible.