Elections, Politics, Trump

Train wreck or clown car?

If you’re a Trump-lover, you’re gonna hate this. And if you hate him, you’re probably gonna like it even less.

I can’t decide if the current presidency is a train wreck or a clown car so I’ve kind of fallen in the habit of blending the two. On one hand, the whole thing is a giant, messy, smoking wreckage of policy and diplomacy but on the other hand, every time I think the last clown has exited the tiny car, the administration startles me with yet another joke of a surprise nutcase proposition, crazy firing or outrageous claim. In short, our president is a moron. And even if his rabid followers are right and there’s all kinds of dip state — oops, sorry, deep state — trickery going on, what do they intend to do? Face an opposition government with an AR-15 and an ill-defined grudge and pray for the best?

At first, I had hope it’d be a bridge-building, centrist administration, perhaps colorful in its methods but rational in its policies. Nope. That went out the window right off. If the Billy Bush-bus-p*ssy wasn’t warning enough, it did serve to tell us two things: first, he was going to say stuff no one should say, the type of words that make even a drunken sailor squirm with discomfort. And second, Democrats were going to take him at his word, earnestly believing that he actually and habitually grabbed women in the vulgar manner he described. (I still can’t figure out how you can scream over and over that he’s a liar but then believe everything he says, even a cartoonish, x-rated, high school absurdity. Haven’t you figured out he’s full of crap yet? Even HE doesn’t believe half the stuff he says!)

Overnight, hyperbole became the new prose. Yes, we’ve always liked exaggeration and spin but this was the first time both parties adopted gross overstatement as standard speech — the Republicans started it but the Democrats signed on eagerly with little delay. The outrage on the right had simmered from conspiracy mutterings to militant menacing while the outrage on the left grew to such extreme proportions so quickly that they started believing their own hyperbole, working themselves into a frenzy of offense. I will admit to a little selfish chuckling when the group of Democrats with whom I enjoyed regular polite debates gave up their college-educated dignity and descended into the shrill hyperbole everyone else seemed to be using. These formerly erudite debaters sounded like angry Republicans, only with decidedly leftist ideals and conspiracies.

Ah, yes, conspiracies. On that topic, now Papa Smurf Michael Moore is advocating his bubble-living version of jihad to take back the presidency. Moore and his acolytes are firmly convinced the first family will have to be forcibly evicted from the White House, if need be by his fellow party members who are ready to lay down their lives (his words, not mine) to do so. Moore has outlined a step-by-step plan by which he claims the election will be manipulated or stolen but, as nice as all his neatly stacked bullet points look, the message is designed to incite far more than it is to inform. Unfortunately, the outraged blue population seems to be especially vulnerable now to vague assertions of menace, considering they’ve been taking the most unbelievable man on the planet literally for the last three years. Worse, they seem ready to abandon any conversation with those who disagree with them because, you know, when you hold the moral high ground, it gives you license to act outside the scope of human decorum — just look at the CIA, they’ve used the moral high ground pass for decades. Only problem is the other side also firmly believes it holds the moral high ground so we seem to have an impasse.

But fear not, good news is at hand! Contrary to the core beliefs of every hyperventilating Democrat who’s spent the last three-and-a-half years muttering obscenities and swatting at demons, his time in office was temporary from the start. Sure, he surprised everyone with the breadth of tradition he was both willing and able to abandon but the bullsh*t factor was high enough that no one of rational — and calm — mind should have developed ulcers worrying that the U.S. was neither smart nor resilient enough to return to our previous state of relative order when it was all over. From one manufactured crisis to the next, the administration lurched along, doubling down often enough that several of the fake messes became real problems. But most of them faded after a couple weeks, things returning to the way they were before as we focused on the next “emergency.” Repeating myself, what surprised me most was Democrats’ willingness to believe and cling to every word he said even as they screamed “liar!” and “fraud!” One blue friend lamented the impending end of the world via social media for a full week from the dubious safety she found beneath her dining room table when he threatened to nuke the Dear Leader — it was like the 1960s duck-and-cover all over. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little but overstatement is all the rage these days. Will he leave? I’m pretty sure he’ll go — grudging and accompanied by a string of insults directed at the incoming occupant. But maybe I’m just naive for not taking him as seriously as others.

On the temporary theme, remember, nearly every awful act the administration has committed can be either immediately reversed or at least set on the (reasonably) fast path to rights. Not even his Supreme Court appointments will have a forever impact, although this one will take longer for the blues to undo. If Ginsburg can hold on just a little bit longer (I know, I know, that was in bad taste but I’m just feeling the vibe y’all are tossing back and forth), the blue future might yet look a little rosier. And fortunately, even the French can separate us from our president. When this is all over, they’ll still think we’re buffoons and pretend to hate McDonald’s but our tourist and import dollars will be as desirable as ever, COVID notwithstanding. Europe at large will breathe a masked sigh of relief and we’ll start to work on mending our fences.

Back at home, I haven’t quite given up on trying to sway my conspiracy-blinded friends on the right and I still have a little hope for my protest-hoarse blue friends. I’m not asking anyone to surrender their values but I am hopeful we can all sit back, take a deep breath and admit the administration was a temporary one from the start, like all the other transient-but-not-train-wreck-clown-car administrations. If we have any hope of returning to civility in the current fractured state, we’re going to have to speak politely with people who see things differently than we do. In case anyone has forgotten, our ability to do so is why our system (usually) works. But maybe I’m all wrong and it really is the end of the world.

For what it’s worth, all my life, I never felt constrained to vote for my party except in executive capacities — namely governor and president. All other issues or candidates were fair game, regardless of party or sponsors. This administration has officially canceled that restriction. This year, I’ll vote as I please.

Sorry, I really needed to get all that off my chest.

[APOLOGIES & DISCLAIMERS: Know that I hold a great deal of respect and affection for my friends of both red and blue leanings, even the loonies on both fringes. We probably agree on a lot more issues than we disagree on. But unfriend me, if you like — my rants don’t typically run to the polite and this one did all the stuff I’m accusing others of, anyway. For the record, I am a centrist who has historically played well with others and has preached a message of moderation, cooperation and compromise for as long as I can remember — I have no intention of stopping now. I am registered as a Republican but my friends have always mostly been Democrats. I will be leaving what’s no longer my party and joining the Oregon Independent Party shortly after the election. (Oh, and did you notice I only mentioned his name once?)]

Photograph © Donkey Hotey via Wiki