Writings and observations

Alternative facts

mckee

Donald J. Trump is now in his second full day as President of the United States, with his poll number already tanking, with the rest of the free world beginning to make excuses for his flubs and gaffs, with the European and Asian powers looking around for others in the fold to take over the world reins, and with most of us still wondering how the hell did we manage to get ourselves into this mess?

Trump continues to live up to our expectations. We thought his inaugural address would be horrible and it was – a narrow based, dystopian sermon of bumper-sticker extracts from his campaign, painting a bleak, dark picture of America and leaving little room for compromise. We thought that he would continue punching down with pointless twitter attacks against irrelevant criticism and he has – rude, school yard insults at a world renowned actress, at a senior member of Congress and icon of the American Civil Rights movement, and at a major cable news network, among others.

We suspected Trump would not abandon his disagreements with the news media and he did not. He accelerated the rhetoric by repeating the incendiary comments in a speech at the CIA, and later he directed a completely pointless and irrelevant bombast to the members of the White House press corps over the reporting about the size of inaugural crowd. Trump simply made up his own version of the crowd estimates, which his special adviser now represents are the “alternative facts.”

Alternative facts! Trump no longer has to worry about lying in politics for there is no longer any such thing – there are just alternative facts.

We suspected Trump would keep the rest of the world off balance and he has. His off-hand remarks about the future of NATO, the need to expand our nuclear arsenal, and the high cost of the trade deficit with China have managed to unsettle all of Europe, Russia and the Far East, leaving it to China’s Xi Jinping to provide calming and stabilizing remarks on future economic relations with the Pacific Ring, and to Russia’s Vladimir Putin to observe that no one, anywhere, in their right mind, has any interest in following the United States into a nuclear arms race.

We expect it to get much, much worse, and it probably will. Congress is poised to begin acting on Monday to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, despite the groundswell of opposition and to begin confirming the cabinet appointees, despite significant problems revealed during the Senate hearings. Trump plans to start undoing the plethora of executive orders that, in many instances, figuratively keep the trains on time, and the Department of Justice intends to rethink its involvement in pending civil rights litigation. What else could possibly go wrong?

The one bright spot to come out of this whole mess is one we did not expect. We did not expect the huge, domestic firestorm of passionate, motivated, articulate, and thoroughly pissed-off women to charge onto the scene throughout the nation on Saturday. From an amazing start-up loosely knit out of social media interactions, the movement developed into a monumental demonstration throughout the entire United States, and extending around the world. Accurate numbers are not yet available, but early estimates are of huge demonstrations in every major city, and many, many outpourings in smaller locales. The events in Washington D.C., which have been estimated at three times the size of the crowd following the inauguration, underscored the issues of concern to women everywhere.

The demonstrations of the day were heralded as the kickoff for what many hope will be a sustained campaign of protest and involvement to bring home the women’s concerns to the President and Congress. If they succeed, they have the ability, the means, the motivation and the interests to keep enormous pressure on all of government. Moreover, the midterms are only two years off; if any of this is does start to work, look to see many, many new names in the mix as the plots start to thicken.

They do need to get rid of the silly hats.

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