America Has Fallen and it Can’t Get Up
In what kind of a bizarro parallel universe does Donald J. Trump become President of the United States? Last Tuesday this country put a gun to its head and pulled the trigger. How could this happen? First, you need a society infested with greed and corruption, with massive wealth inequality. Add a populace overworked and under severe stress, throw in a criminally negligent media obsessed with ratings, celebrity culture, and infotainment (CBS’ CEO Les Moonves said of Trump: “It may be bad for America but it’s damn good for CBS). Stir until mixture boils over. Trump’s ascendance is the ultimate triumph of spectacle over substance. Bill Maher points out that Trump didn’t create this swamp, he just arose from it. And who bears the brunt of the blame for this insanity? The American people, for the most part. There’s a quotation attributed to Jefferson et al, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” We let our guard down. History is replete with examples of demagogues taking advantage of a people’s ignorance. Maybe every one of those countries said “It couldn’t happen here” until it happened there.
Trump told us the election would be rigged, but he didn’t say it would be rigged in his favor. Was it? We’ve been warned over and over about the unreliability of electronic voting machines, and the ease with which they can be manipulated, which is true. What else seems to have been true is that millions of Americans who have been ignored by both parties for decades, simply got fed up with the establishment. We’ll find out lots of Trump voters aren’t racist white nationalists, but good, working people. Maybe they didn’t tell pollsters or anyone else for fear of being accused of deplorability. Well, it is what is, as they say.
So what can we expect from a Trump dictatorship, er, I mean presidency? If he holds to form, the first thing he’ll do is go after his enemies. He’s extremely thin-skinned, automatically lashing out at any perceived attack. He’s said he will sue the eleven women who have accused him of sexual assault. He’s talked about loosening the libel laws, so he can sue media and newspapers that print “lies” about him. That goes for comedians too, I suppose, as well as people who have done online impressions of him. I don’t think he’ll be so easy to file even more lawsuits. He’s got a pretty busy docket right now. On Nov. 28th the case against Trump University resumes, and Dec. 16th a case against him for the rape of a thirteen year old girl, and there are 73 other cases involving him that are still active. He has no need for further trials; as President, he has all the resources of the Executive branch available to him, the IRS, FBI, CIA, and more.
As for the Wall and deportation of 11 million immigrants, he’ll have to get Congress to appropriate the money, and it’s controlled by Republicans who claim to be deficit hawks. And if he drops corporate taxes to 15% (from 35) he’ll have even less government revenue to work with, and all his promises will require tons of money. He also said he’ll repeal Obamacare and replace it with a “terrific” plan, but as usual, provided zero details. Congress would have to repeal the law anyway, and I doubt they’re too keen about suddenly depriving 19 million people of their health care.
One of Trump’s campaign themes was law and order. He’ll stop all this carnage on the streets, by God, or so he says. He wants to institute a nationwide Stop-and-Frisk policy, which has already been ruled unconstitutional due to its overwhelming racial profiling. We can expect a lot more police, with more weapons, and less tolerance for civil unrest. And there will be civil unrest, you can count on it, especially when all his white nationalists finally get the message that they’ve been screwed once again. They were all hot about assassinating Hillary and many actually said it. What will they do when they figure out that their strongman superhero doesn’t give a rat’s ass about them?
What happens to women when we have a president who exemplifies our rape culture? There has been an epidemic of sexual assaults of women in the armed forces, and what does he say about it? “What else do you expect when you put men and women together?” In other words, she shouldn’t have been wearing that dress.
One of his scariest statements was his saying he wants to see “One country, under one God, saluting one American flag.” What happens to non-Christians — Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Wiccans, Buddhists, Jews, Scientologists, and atheists? Will we no longer be welcome in our own country? Will we be deported too? I sure as hell hope so. Congress will probably appropriate enough funds to add the words “Do NOT” to the Emma Lazarus inscription at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Bring me your tired, your poor . . .”
In the next four years we could easily see either the retirement or demise of three or even four Supreme Court justices. Can you imagine them all being replaced by Antonin Scalia clones? All the gains made by women’s rights and LGBT communities could be swept away. The only people who won’t be living in fear each and every day will be white men over fifty. Don’t despair, though; this is the last hurrah before their extinction, and they know it. They’re batting in the bottom of the ninth, there are two outs, no one on base, and they’re behind 400 – 0. And believe me, they’re going to go down swinging. History is against them.
What am I talking about, anyway? None of this can happen because the Founding Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, designed a system of checks and balances called the separation of powers, and so on. That’s true, the American system was something new, ideas born out of the 18th Century Enlightenment. History teaches us another lesson. Empires always fall, every time, and always from corruption within. Why should we be any different? Oh, that’s right — American Exceptionalism. God is on our side. And that somehow makes us immune to despotism? The most frightening thing of all is that a mentally unbalanced man now has the nuclear launch codes. I wouldn’t even trust him with the zip codes.
At least a Trump presidency would be a gold mine for comedians, right? Not unless they want to get sued or perhaps even disappeared, who knows? The media will have to be nice to him, too, if they want to stay in business. Oh, but what am I saying? Trump will enjoy the adulation, and probably break the record for press conferences. But I don’t think he’s all that into governing. He’ll have his people take care of that, which means that Mike Pence will effectively be the Chief Executive, as Cheney was to Bush. Pence, a religious freak Christo-Nazi fascist, would love to establish a theocracy. Trump will be lazing around down at his resort at Mar-a-Lago, in Florida. “Yeah, just call me if anything comes up, you know, don’t worry, it’ll be great. Tremendous, believe me.”
When Trump said earlier in the campaign “This country . . . is going . . . to hell.” I’d say we have arrived at our destination. Our new First Lady is a former Slovenian pole dancer. Poor thing, she won’t compare in future history books along with Jackie Kennedy and Michelle Obama. Or maybe she will. She speaks three languages, so she’s no dummy. Rudy Giuliani will be the Attorney General, I’ve heard. For Secretary of State, how about Ted Nugent? And Trump can nominate the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre to the Supreme Court. Kim Kardashian can be Secretary of the Interior. I’ve seen her crib on TV and it looks pretty cool. President Trump will regularly address the nation at 3 a.m. via Twitter storm. And don’t forget; we’ll still have enough Democrats in the Senate to filibuster every goddamned bill he tries to pass. Turnabout is fair play, and instant karma is a bitch. The trouble is that the Democrats are born with neither spine nor testicles, so they’re operating at a disadvantage. It’s easy to suddenly be conciliatory and call for unity when you’re the winner. If unity means returning to the 15th Century, then no thanks. The struggle will go on though, as it always has, but I’m afraid for the short run. This country is about to get a lot uglier, and I find it difficult to imagine that.