“That’s all I can stands.
I can stands no more.”
For several weeks, I’ve avoided the “elephant in the room.” I’ve tried to opine about - and have fun with - a number of subjects without referring directly or indirectly to our interim President. With his name and likeness everywhere, and with his massively covered, lying bombast filling the media, it’s been difficult.
But, as in the words of the spinach eating philosopher cited above - and with precisely that feeling - “I can stands no more.”
For some weeks following the 2016 election, I tried to put a best face on the situation. I kidded myself that, sooner or later, wise and responsible heads would exercise both wisdom and responsibility to straighten out the mess and return the troll to his rightful place under the nearest bridge. They haven’t. And kidding myself is no longer providing effective mental relief.
Following the election, for many political watchers, conventional wisdom was a fear that someone in the Oval Office, with not a day of political experience, would screw up working the machinery of the job. That was quickly followed by a second widely held belief he would commit a series of major mistakes which would draw some of the Republican pros to his side to help him get a handle on things.
Neither has happened.
In the first instance, with rare exception, nearly every Trump decision made and action taken were previewed in the presidential campaign. What he’s done, most often, is what he said he’d do. Clumsy though he may be. But the executive orders, what few policy decisions there have been, appointments made and actions taken - most were foretold. The feared ignorance has been, for the most part, actions of someone with absolute determination to have his own way, regardless of both laws to the contrary and unintended outcomes. Not ignorance.
In the second instance, GOPers who could bail him out have shunned the opportunity. Some have even tried to use his ignorance and elephant-sized ego for their own ends. Evidence of that was the near unanimous and speedy Republican confirmation of his cabinet full of misfits, crooks and self-serving billionaires. The most unfit bunch ever appointed to top positions of government authority in our national history.
Additional proof of using Trump for Republican self-service came when Mitch McConnell blew aside 240 years of bipartisanship, history and tradition to put Judge Gorsuch on the U.S. Supreme Court. There was nothing so important in the Gorsuch nomination that it required the rupture of the system of judicial - and other - appointments in the conduct of the U.S. Senate. Nothing. Feeding his own oversized sense of self-worth, McConnell has fundamentally changed how our legislative system will function for all time if not corrected.
Being four score years for the first time, I’m not sure how much of my thinking these days is due to age or other factors like predisposition. But I’ve recently had this desperate feeling we’re losing our country. That factors which seem out of anyone’s control are destroying values and traditions we grew up with and have traditionally lived by.
Advancing technology, increased scientific knowledge, new experiences, changing climate and geographic variables combine to alter conditions around us all the time. But it feels like more than that. Foundations on which this nation has stood for 250 years seem in flux - seem in danger of decay or disillusion. Traditionally unchanging factors of national pride, loyalty, fidelity, trust, sympathy, citizenship, accomplishment seem less valued and often ignored in the relationship between individuals and our current governance.
In fact, our system of government actually seems to have changed from representative to authoritarian. The idea that we elect others to represent us in matters of the conduct of state seems to have devolved into us becoming something to be ignored and “represented” only the second Tuesday in November.
This is not a time when we can afford a megalomaniac in the front office as the Syrian bombing proves. We do not want - and can’t afford - sycophants who enable an egomaniacal leader to carry out his own fantasies without defiance.
It’s been 100 days, give or take. We’re already launching missiles against another country without Constitutional authority, actively treating climate change - which can end civilization - as though it were a parlor game, denying food and shelter to millions in our nation deemed unworthy of care, threatening the quality of air, water and other resources necessary for life on this planet, denying rights of citizenship to minorities guaranteed those benefits, rewriting tax policies to reward billionaires for simply being rich, threatening the foundation of our nation’s public education system, denying national entry to diverse peoples whose ancestors built this country, using the taxpayer as a family’s personal piggy bank and more.
This is not the country I grew up in. It’s becoming one I don’t know and am growing increasingly uncomfortable living in. And those who have the power to change it seem to have no interest in doing so.