Friday, December 21, 2018

A Trump Lament

This late fall and early winter have been difficult for me, and it shows in the paucity of my literary output here.  We are now almost two years into the Trump Era, and each day Trump acts more deranged.  To document all his daily atrocities would sound like constant repetition, so I have not done so.  Besides, I knew all this would happen on that election day in 2016.  And so did you, because if you read here you are clever.

The true pain I feel is not about Trump, but about the acts of millions of Americans who voted* for a man with no brains and no relevant training, no understanding of how the government works, no values except  a huge need for self-gratification, and  no experience except in shady business deals.  Enough Americans preferred a completely untrained carnival barker with a giant but fragile ego to the other candidate: the Crooked Woman.

My pain is of two sorts: First, I have lost my virginal trust in democracy, and desperately struggle to regain it.  Second, I have concluded that almost any woman who might run for the presidency of the United States will be treated to the distorting mirrors -treatment that Hillary Clinton received from the right-wing over decades and will become a Crooked Woman, Cruella de Ville, by the time she might be in a position to run.  And we will, once again, hear people say "but of course we would vote for a woman, not just that woman!" 

Anyway.  Trump is currently throwing several simultaneous temper tantrums** and those have consequences.  Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has resigned over Trump's sudden decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, and possibly also over Trump's impulse decision to withdraw around 7000 US troops from Afghanistan where the Taliban (with medieval values about women's rights and about gays and Lesbians)  is currently gaining ground.

I use the words "sudden" and "impulse" in the above paragraph, because withdrawing troops without letting your allies prepare for such a withdrawal is very stupid and thoughtless, and because withdrawing troops without carefully thinking about what all the negative consequences might be is criminal.***


*  Though James Comey certainly had an impact on the election results and though the Russians may have influenced them, too, it's still the case that all those Trump-voters bear the real responsibility for the Trump Reich.

**  This is familiar to anyone who has dealt with a two-year old, though most two-year olds don't hold the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in their tiny hands.  

***  I am all for peace.  But it's incredibly naive to assume that the kinds of sudden troop withdrawals Trump has decided upon would result in more peace.  The vacuum that leaves behind will be filled with something, possibly a revival of ISIS in Syria. 

Depending on how the local geopolitics in the area work the outcome could be more bloodshed, more war and more suffering.  Then there's the interesting question of possible influence from Turkey or our pal Vlad on Trump's decisions.  He is incapable of understanding the local political games in that area.

Or put in another way: Suppose that a pillar is propped up by a complicated framework of supports.  If you wish to remove one of those supports, you should first figure out what its removal will do.  Will the other supports be strong enough to keep the pillar upright?  Or will the pillar fall?  And if someone else recommended that you withdraw that support, what would they like to see happen?  Do they want the pillar to stand or to fall?  Which outcome is in your interest?