Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: Not 2016 But

Lots of folks are happy that 2016 is over because, well, a lot of our favorite celebrities died and because that whole campaign and Trump victory thing.  Alas, we need to look forward with clear eyes (full heart and all that): 2017 will be worse than 2016.  Perhaps not on the celebrity death front, but in the real world that affects us--via the policies that Trump and his administration will make or duck (omission can be just as sinful as commission).

If you think it was bad having a deliberately ignorant, white supremacist misogynist run a campaign and then win, just wait until you see him administrate.  Can we name one thing Trump has done since the election to reassure anyone?
  • Has he become less spiteful?  Nope.
  • Has he stopped threatening those who might protest his policies?
  • Has he disentangled himself from his businesses so that the conflicts of interest will not raise questions every time he engages with a foreign actor (or domestic)?
  • Has he chosen a team of extremely qualified and reasonable people to run his White House?  
  • Has he staffed his cabinet with people who will limit Trump's excesses and govern from the middle of the GOP? Folks will mention Mattis here, and I am not so assuaged.
  • Has his first interactions with foreign leaders demonstrated a willingness and a capability to build on the expertise that exists within the government?
I can go on, of course.  Trump has done little to demonstrate that he will act as President in any way that is different from how he campaigned, up to and including wanting to sleep at home in Trump Tower.  Indeed, that one stance demonstrates how thoroughly inconsiderate he is, so no, don't expect him to change or to learn much.  It is simply not in his nature. 

Moreover, Trump has already set the wheels in motion for the most destructive government.  His apparent submission to Steve Bannon means that those selected to run the government tend to share one quality (Mattis excepted): the desire to burn down the agency that they will be leading.  We will have an Attorney General who the Senate rejected thirty years ago because he was too racist to be a judge.  That epitomizes the selection criteria for cabinet positions, other than being white, male and rich. 

So, I don't want to start a new year on a down note, but we must be realistic.  The policies and budgets that the Trump administration puts into place and implements will do real and serious harm.  The Republican Party is not going to save us from this via impeachment. Indeed, they will go along with much of Trump's agenda and mostly just flop around when Trump does stuff they don't like (remember when the GOP were critical of Obama for being soft on Putin?).  The US has bounced back from dark times before, but the cost of those dark times were, well, staggering.  We can focus on the former, but must recognize the latter. 

As a friend posted this morning, the only way out is through.  Which led me to two handy memes:

And, rebellions are built on hope

I am not making many resolutions this year, but I will try to find the upsides, the positive notes, and emphasize them.  I will try to offset the downpour of bad news by noting the successful acts of resistance and where Trump fails to get his way.  Oh, and by discussing the usual silly stuff, like applying political science and international relations theory to understand stuff like Arrival.

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