(views are my own)
I have been waiting to blog on the new administration. I was hoping, like others, that some of the bluster, misinformation, and threats were simply election, not governing, tactics. There were, and still are, hints of a moderate stance on certain issues. But, the people he is trading with are predominantly right-wing conservatives. They control the deals. As the DeVos nomination demonstrates, Democrats really can’t stop people who would rather win than be correct. So, he is either ignoring or demonizing them. The Trump administration and their puppet Congress are doing what Congress does best…stopping things from happening and reversing things that have happened. Such as stripping away consumer protection, pushing pipelines, and removing regulations that keep banks in check. For whom: The rich people, the donors, and the friendly companies. Nothing for the average worker except bluster and taking credit for trends that existed before, and even in spite of, Trump and the Republican-led obstructionist Congress. No new policies yet, no refinement of policies, no progress. Just the taking of things away, from the people. Congress gives Trump a few things, he gives them a few things. Everyone else is irrelevant. Everyone else is “the enemy.”
I believe we have a transaction, rather than a principled, President. That can be good or bad, depending upon the mentality. Part of me wants to see someone use common sense and strong negotiation skills rather than ideology to make informed decisions. That part of me, is in mourning.
As I said, though, I was hopeful for good deals. I waited. But, maybe, though, my definition of good is different. They say “Everyone Likes a Winner.” In fact, this is a major attraction for Trump supporters and a facade he works hard to cultivate. Trump is a winner. Fine. I wonder though, “Is there a way to win without making so many people lose?” The tone of this administration so far is one of a bully, not a protector. Strength with no wisdom. The goal is winning at all costs and punishing opposition, either by word or deed. If the immigration ban is any sign, he acts before thinking of the bigger picture. By the way, he probably could have gotten that, or most of it, if he had waited and did it differently. He threatens those who disagree. He threatened to “ruin the career” of a Senator with who he disagreed in public yesterday and I am sure the trolls hit that Senator’s social media accounts as they do everyone Trump calls out. There is no such thing as “the loyal opposition.” There is no inkling of considering all sides to make the best possible decision. No sense of even an attempt at balance or fairness. Just winning and increased ratings. No balancing of interests and no attempts to minimize collateral damage, or even consult/consider alternative and less harmful solutions. Just winning at all costs. Sometimes, they say, winning is losing. This will not end well for anyone.
When a judge does not agree with something, they trash the judiciary. This is harmful to democracy as the constitution codifies 3 co-equal and complementary branches of government and the system of checks and balances envisioned by the framers. When a journalist points out a blatant lie in a Presidential statement, the entire profession of journalism is attacked, again weakening the role of a free press in a healthy democracy. More damage. It’s like a Superman movie, lots of ruble and destroyed buildings. Where is the thought to fly the bomb into space to minimize the damage to innocent lives?
These past few weeks are full of actions clearly done with a belligerent spirit. There were no attempts, as far as I know, by anyone associated with the new administration to consult with various interests and attempt to develop solutions that MINIMIZE damage. Just win and brag. Challenge, misinform, deny, accuse. Very macho. Very single minded. Very destructive. Destroy the city, win the fight.
For someone who claims to represent ALL Americans, Trump sure is hurting a lot of people. Can’t the same things be done with some style and care? I am not a business person. Just a Political Science major who has dedicated her adult life, so far, to helping my people thrive in a world that often ignores their very existence. But, in a Democracy, shouldn’t we value and protect our fellow citizens? Even if they disagree? It seems that we only value those with whom we agree. The rest are evil and deserve the pain and ridicule heaped on them by a dirty fighter. While I do not agree with many things these wealthy white guys have done, I can see why they might do what they do. What I cannot comprehend is the WAY it is being done…unless the goal is a totalitarian one.
The goal seems more than winning. The goal seems to be to make losers.
When I saw the executive order to push for DAPL, just four days into this new Administration, and to ignore the mandate for an Environmental Impact Statement, I was, of course, disheartened. But I was even more saddened at the way it was done. As far as I know, the President’s team did not take the time to understand the opposition, to reach out to the Standing Rock Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, other parties involved, or to attempt to develop options that work for everyone. One side, in its extreme, wants no pipelines, ever. One side wants to do whatever it wants to make money. In the middle is a Tribe trying to protect its primary water source and way of life. There doesn’t have to be absolute losers or absolute winners. That middle goal, protecting a water source, could be accomplished with some creativity. But, the decision was political and impulsive. It was rushed, probably uninformed, and definitely one-sided. The blatant disrespect in the WAY it was done can do nothing but engender hostility and damage any potential for future collaboration. All of these things are damaging the potential for peaceful collaboration. We now know we have an enemy in the White House. This guy prides himself on comparisons to President Andrew Jackson, the one who sought to exterminate Native Americans.
From our point of view there can be no other view. From his point of view, however, there is another, more insidious, interpretation. We are less than an enemy. We were treated as though we did not exist. It was more than disrespect. It was as though we weren’t even worthy of a thought and definitely not worthy of negotiation. Simply irrelevant. It is sad and demoralizing. It will not end well.
Humility is a value in our culture. Mistaking humility for weakness is a shallow misinterpretation. My ancestors negotiated treaties with me in mind, not just them. They gave up important things in their life to insure I would be here today. I am more committed than ever to standing up for what is right. I am more committed than ever to making sure we are heard, respected, and relevant. I will not hate the man. He will be gone and we will still be here as we always have. Even Andrew Jackson finally got THAT message.