Thursday, January 26, 2017

HOW LONG, OH HOW LONG, WILL THE TRUMP NIGHTMARE LAST?

Donald Trump has been president for less than a week, but already he has violated many of the basic tenets required of becoming a respected national and world leader. Where is any semblance of an attempt to unite the country after a heated election, talk with bipartisan leadership on how to bridge the gaps that divide the nation on especially contentious issues, and hold off on initiating major program changes until the details of an alternative are worked out? Is he concerned, for instance, about the eight million people who may loose ACA healthcare coverage, or healthcare provided by Planned Parenthood?  Apparently not.  Instead, he has demonstrated that a prime concern of his revolves around an obsession with his own popularity, treats known falsehoods as 'alternative facts" if they happen to agree with his biases and chosen agenda, and wants taxpayer money to fund an investigation into voter fraud in spite of a lack of evidence that it exists as a national problem, except, of course, in his own mind, to explain how he lost the popular vote total by as much as 3 million votes.

 Further, he is already violating federal law in various ways, disregarding conflict of interest laws meant to curtail a president's private business holdings from benefitting from his role as president.  He is proposing violating national and international laws outlawing torture, as he advocates "fighting fire with fire" in supporting use of waterboarding, ignorant of the reality that in this context, fighting fire with fire would just mean that everybody gets burned, and would reduce us to operating at the same despicable level as the adversaries we detest.  On the international front, he has insulted and outraged the leader of Mexico, our second largest trading partner, with his demand that Mexico pay for his pet project, the beautiful wall, and if he isn't willing to pay for it, don't bother to come for a pre-arranged visit. Other world leaders must be asking, does he see himself as US president or as world emperor, feeling he can give orders to other heads of state.

For someone inaugurated less than a week ago, an extremely inauspicious, bewildering, ominous start! The massive national and worldwide demonstrations a day after his inauguration give an early indication of the opposition he has aroused, and with his current actions, it is likely to grow daily.  Senior State Department officials are resigning from their positions, others are being replaced. With Trump's strong anti-science, anti-academic bias, a large group of scientists are planning their own march in Wash. DC. When is the last time, if ever, one has seen scientists leave the labs and the classrooms to protest government action?  Climate change concerns, and other scientific issues affecting our well-being, concerning EPA, FDA, and other actions and regulatory rules that a science-rejecting government want to roll back or terminate, in spite of strong evidence for their value, is clearly seen by dedicated scientists as indeed being that important.

 Already, public alarm and opposition to Wash. DC leadership seems to be rapidly mounting to a level not seen since the protests in the 1970's against the Vietnamese War.  A majority of the public is activated, and seems ready to continue the opposition movement. With all three branches of the Federal Government under conservative Republican control, what remains to be seen is how long it will take public outrage to budge the halls of power in DC to realize the danger and damage the Trump administration threatens to impose on the nation. A "grace period" is usually granted the president for the first hundred days, but how can a period of grace be offered to a president who emits absolutely no signs of "grace" himself!  Within 100 days, some of the damage could be disastrous. One possible hope is that some serious, sensible Republican senators will regain some of the higher ethical principles that may be a part of their makeup, and refuse to support the more outrageous of Trump's moves. The character of some of the Supreme Court judges may also be challenged, and the Supreme Court could answer  some of the Constitutional questions that will come before it in ways that will block Trump actions.

Strong voices within the media are beginning to speak up, and are now energized to separate the fake news and alternative facts generated by Trump and his backers from what is known to be the realities. The mobilization of various widespread groups within the public, both at a local level and a national level, is likely to continue with increased momentum,  Trump does not do well with opposition, he loves to be adored, seen as a winner, one who gets his way. His team of high paid lawyers could protect him in the business world, through over a reported thousand law suits, as well as 6 bankruptcies, with Trump even claiming the bankruptcies were a financial success for him because of ways of manipulating bankruptcy law. Trump may well find the political world not nearly as forgiving, or as easy to manipulate. If the thriving on popularity and success he requires is not forthcoming as he continues to navigate in the political arena, will his short-fused temperment stay in check, or will he implode or meltdown in ways that would impinge on his continuance as the president. Time will tell. In the meantime, these are very uncertain, even perilous days for the health and well-being of our nation.