Stuck With the Stink
It’s been quiet in this space for a while. Not that anyone’s noticed or is clamoring for my return (with the lone exception of my dear mother, bless her). For some indeterminate reason, I haven’t been able to muster the energy it takes to write and publicly post on a topic that might be of interest to more than just myself. Time was that such a period of writer’s block would have sent me into a panic, but thank goodness that is no longer the case. To begin with, I haven’t been suffering from writer’s block. Since my last post in April of last year, I have been writing and involving myself in some form or other with words, but I have chosen to do it in the private forum of a journal and other projects. These alternative outlets have given me the freedom necessary to work through troubled thoughts and feelings without the worry of criticism or judgment, in hopes that the words, once I was able to spit them out via the keyboard, would enable me to confront and, therefore, understand certain truths – good, bad or indifferent – about myself and the world. These truths, in turn, would inform a personal philosophy to guide me in my way through a world that increasingly makes no sense or diverges so far from my sense of common decency that I’ve wondered if I might be losing my goddamned mind.
In a way, this was a form of hunkering down and laying low until the stink of the 2016 presidential campaign had dissipated once the winner had been selected, and that person, along with the nation, could return her/his attention to the pressing problems at hand. Needless to say, the “her” candidate did not win – at least not where it counted. And now I, along with everyone else, am being forced to come to terms with the fact that the individual who did win is not someone likely to call for unity but rather relishes divisiveness and chooses to maintain his campaign mode of seeking out and responding only to the fawning of his minority supporters and sycophants. It’s quaint how we viewed George W. Bush as the bubble president, when our new president inhabits a bubble as an impenetrable fortress of self-glorification and self-gratification. His win forced those of us who voted for Hillary to reckon with how we had wrapped ourselves up in our own bubbles of self-assurance that she was sure to win. And now it’s bubble against bubble as we happen to be fighting (so far without real bullets) a very real civil war in this country of clashing, polarizing identity politics. As an illustration, a rather weak showing of supporters and fans of the new president at the inauguration was answered the very next day by far greater numbers of women (one of whom, I am very proud to say, was my daughter) donning pussyhats and protesting the new president’s views and treatment toward women. Since then, wave after wave of spontaneous, daily protests have broken out across the country and around the world, and as I write this he’s been in office less than a month.
This is what we can now expect public life to be in the United States for the foreseeable future, a perpetual clash of ideologies, played out tit-for-tat in the streets and halls of power, with any hope of progress becoming a one step forward and who knows how many steps back proposition. If not for these protests, it would appear that we are helpless to do anything but watch as the Republican juggernaut prioritizes, at the expense of any real issues, the destruction and erasure of the previous administration’s agenda. As someone currently not working and who gets insurance for myself and my family through Obamacare – in a newly red state that refuses to participate in the exchange, no less – I’m very worried about what will happen when the newly emboldened Republican majority recklessly attempts to repeal the law without any replacement. I am downright terrified at the prospect of hard-won progress being reversed on life and death issues such as global warming, environmental pollution by corporations, energy policy, education and longstanding legal precedent if Trump succeeds in winning the appointments of cabinet members specifically chosen for their diametric opposition to the agency they’ve been selected to lead. Since being sworn into office, the new president has been feverishly working, with the aiding and abetting of the Republican majority in Congress, to dismantle every bit of progress that Obama made in his two terms. You can bet that this will sow the seeds for a future groundswell of opposition that will do its utmost to unseat him and the members of his party, with the immediate response of unraveling any and all of his signature policies. Is this progress? Are we having fun yet?
These days I curse the keen interest I have developed in politics over the years, a subject whose Machiavellian machinations once fascinated but now punishes me daily, since I can’t stop myself from reading the news, with waves of revulsion over the societal retreats toward baser and increasingly violent instincts, motivated by fear of the other in the form of immigration, happening in our country and around the world (first England, later France and Germany). Our rather dissonant form of democracy saddles me, in turn, with a government comprised of a party majority that, because I didn’t vote for it, doesn’t care to represent me, recognize my concerns or acknowledge my right as a member of the opposition party to exist at all. The fresh hell of our new president and the Republican’s flagrant abuse of power is infuriating, to say the least. Then again, my outrage has been kept at a steady simmer since the Republican Party took over our government in North Carolina in 2010, giving us North Carolinians over the past several years a preview of the fate that will befall a new president too egocentric to see it coming. Our new president may have been sworn into office believing that his win assumed a mandate, that his power was unassailable and respect toward him was unquestioned (hard to do when you lost the popular vote by as much as he did), but once he crosses, as he inevitably will, those who hold the real power (and, no, it’s not our representatives in Congress but their funders), he will find out soon enough who’s really in charge. If he survives his first term at all, he will be a neutered president, which will be a delicious irony for those of us who watched Obama’s legitimacy and political legacy die the death of a thousand cuts every day that he was in office. It won’t, however, do much for the country or the health of our democracy.
Usually an interest in a particular subject leads toward actions that deepen one’s involvement. However, the more I learn about politics and our system of government, the more I recoil at the prospect of involving myself any more than I already do. I can’t help but worry that stepping up my involvement will come at the expense of my integrity or sanity, that is, if I had any realistic prospects of seeing my preferred candidate or cause through to a victory in the polls. Here in my home of Catawba County where 66% of my fellow citizens voted for this Cheetoh-in-Chief, that is a highly unlikely prospect indeed. Don’t get me wrong, I continue to take these simple actions of calling, writing and voting because failing to do so somehow means giving up altogether, and besides, one can never really know the impact of our individual actions when combined with the actions of countless others. It feels like these actions mock me with the false assurance that at least I’m doing something. Hell, based on that logic breathing is doing something, since it means I’m alive despite a polarized group’s wish that I didn’t exist. In that case, living well truly is the best revenge, but it’s a poor substitute for stopping the idiots in power from doing their damage. Nor does it do much to coax me outside a bubble that often prevents me from seeing the world as it is rather than the way I wish it to be. This is the kind of existential matter that consumes me, only I’m slowly waking up to the fact that such a pursuit of the truth puts me at a far remove from the politics of power.
It’s also anxiety-inducing to convince myself that doing something – anything – for a situation over which I have little to no control is making a difference, when in truth action for action’s sake sometimes merely adds to the noise and hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing. It’s a debilitating form of magical thinking to give any individual or particular outcome so much power and effect over our lives. I get daily examples of this in the form of fundraising appeals disguised as frantic alarms evoking the downfall of democracy and the end of the world as we know it if a certain cabinet member or candidate for the Supreme Court is confirmed, or if a certain law is passed. According to them, all I have to do is donate money and the problem will magically disappear. If only. I’m not saying that such individuals and individual actions don’t make a difference. They do. And I have nothing but admiration for those who are stepping into the fray in absence of a genuine oppositional strategy. But because we can never really know the impact of our actions without having some sort of blind faith, we therefore risk distorting our own reality by attributing such cause and effect to our actions. Besides, it takes two to tango in this new reality. Trump may be mentally deranged enough to believe that he and he alone can fix our country’s problems, but we validate this madness by taking on his psychosis, or conjure our own as a counter response. Under the circumstances, removing oneself physically and emotionally from the melee presents itself as a reasonable response to what one might perceive as a genuine threat to one’s wellbeing. If a storm is brewing, or has already made landfall, isn’t it wise to take shelter until it passes? The challenge is to make sure one does not extrapolate – again, via magical thinking – this temporary security into a permanent one that does not exist. Even if we are fortunate enough to have found shelter in whatever form, this does not in any way neutralize the furor outside or make it go away, and we ignore its changing conditions at our peril.
Waking up on November 9, 2016 to learn that Trump had won the election was a reality-check of epic proportions. His win shattered the smug confidence in a Clinton win that was reinforced by poll after poll, not to mention the delusional conviction Clinton supporters shared with Never Trumpers and others that no matter how misinformed and uneducated Americans can be, they could not possibly vote for someone so unqualified and incompetent, so ill-equipped to govern, so obviously a member of the elite class that brought about and perpetuates our income inequality, and who falls so very far short of having the integrity and moral standing that we expect in those who hold the highest office in the land. But they did, forcing liberals and the political establishment alike to reckon with another reality: that he not only won Americans over in spite of these failings but because of them. Of course, things like this happen in life all the time. We go about our daily lives thinking life works a certain way, only to have something happen (an accident, sudden death, catastrophic diagnosis, etc.) that completely upends that sense of security. As hard to swallow as Trump’s win was, I was even more shocked to see how easily I accepted the fact that, given the crisis of inequity we’re facing in our country today, Hillary Clinton was absolutely the wrong candidate to represent the Democratic Party against Trump. The other realization was far more sobering: every single one of us, regardless of who we voted for, played a part in creating this monster and paving the way for a product of reality TV to become President of the United States of America.
In a way, I was perversely grateful for what had happened, for at least the ugly, racist underbelly of our democracy, fomented by a longstanding economic frustration of the abandoned middle class and a plutocrat-led income inequality that threatens to destabilize the entire country, had been exposed. The Godzilla who was so comfortably laughable in the context of legend and shitty reality TV was real and had not only reached our shores but had also taken over our government! If our nation’s citizens had such a self-destructive bent as to vote for a Wrecking Ball-in-Chief, then by god, let’s break this shit wide open and see where the pieces fall. Now that we can see with our own eyes what we are up against, like a horrific wreck on the highway from which we can’t look away, we can actually come together to do something about it, right? This outcome left us without any way to deny what we had allowed our government to become by clinging to the false hope of do-overs, vote recounts, a revolt of faithless Electoral College voters, or a Hail Mary that Congress might perform its constitutional duty of providing checks and balances against the new administration’s abuses of power. Least of all, no Democrat should be holding out hope that Hillary will come back in another four years to finish what she started. The best thing the Clintons can do for the country right now is accept our thanks for their service and don’t go away mad, just go away. Trump’s improbable rise is all the proof we need that there are no foregone conclusions, let alone coronations, in American politics.
Our new president’s upset victory and today’s system of winner-takes-all politics raise serious questions for me of what it means to be an engaged and active citizen. For starters, we have an obligation to disabuse ourselves of the notion that ours is a true representational democracy. As a member of the minority party in North Carolina and Catawba County, I vote in every election for candidates who have little to no chance of being elected. In fact, two of our seats in the state House and Senate ran unopposed in the 2016 general election. This means, at the end of the day, that my votes are wasted, and that the winning candidates of the majority party feel no obligation to show me any consideration once they take office. For that matter, the political winners don’t even really consider the very people who voted for them, but instead defer in all policy matters to the powerful elite who bankroll their victories. We’re told that in order to make a difference we must call, call, call our representatives, and sure enough, the volume of calls being made over the past several weeks has driven our representatives to distraction. But the proof is in the pudding, and so far these calls have not been enough to cause any of these elected officials to vote their conscience over their ideology. The protests, very much like a paradigm shift, will no doubt continue until elected officials start talking the language of their constituents, not the other way around.
A few months back, the NC general assembly called a special session under the ruse of voting to allocate relief funds for victims of Hurricane Matthew, only to use the occasion as a bait and switch to call another special session in which they rammed through a series of laws, prepared in secret months prior and unveiled with inadequate time for the opposing party to review and discuss, that stripped the incoming Democratic governor of his powers. As soon as I read about this in the news, I became outraged enough to call my House representative to voice my objection to these maneuvers, only to be given the “yeah, whatever” treatment by the staff person who answered the phone. When I next called my senator’s office and pointed out how we had been made to look like fools in the New York Times, the staff person’s response was to tell me how she despised the media. I was dumbstruck.
I understand we may not like the information conveyed in our news reports, but to stick one’s head in the sand, or to immerse oneself only in sources that parrot back what one already believes, is not an answer. How is it possible to do the people’s business without recognizing a reality that is as multi-faceted as the number of constituents one represents? I don’t even know how to respond to this, and it’s pointless to go toe-to-toe with someone who is either too stupid to recognize the validity of other viewpoints or surrenders his or her intellect to leaders who force them to drink the party Kool-Aid. What’s that, Captain Whitman? I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself, for I, as a human being capable of holding opposing thoughts at the same time, am large – I contain multitudes. This is the rarefied air in which our politics operate these days, with politicians the only creature capable of conjuring this kind of two-dimensional, either-or reality.
As though to wake myself from a bad horror movie or nightmare, I keep reminding myself that political machinations are not real life. They are fictional constructs that, ideally, are designed to make it possible for a wide variety of citizens with a wide variety of needs, beliefs and passions to be able to live together peaceably and prosperously in society. Only now it’s reached the point where winning elections is no longer about earning the opportunity to implement one’s political theories over another through policy; it’s about power, pure and simple. And once power is gained, it is lorded over the losers as if it derived by mandate or divine proclamation. To the victors go the spoils! We’ve got ours, fuck you! Again, this mindset is old hat for us in North Carolina, so Trump is merely a continuation of the practice on a grander, national scale. We know it’s about power because when the Republicans gained the majority in our state, their actions completely contradicted their campaign positions of creating jobs and limiting government. Instead, they gave us a stinking pile of legislative overreach that blatantly discriminates against the LGBTQ segment of our population, during specially called legislative sessions that cost the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars every time, and ultimately cost the state hundreds of millions in jobs and lost revenue. This is revenge, not governance, against a party that had denied them a political majority for over a hundred years, against a vulnerable section of our citizenry who, regardless of whether they voted for their representative or not, still deserve their respect and consideration. We are seeing the new president take actions of a similar vein on far flimsier grounds.
We ordinary citizens stuck in the middle between absurd extremes know this isn’t right. Everything about it stinks to high heaven. We look desperately, in vain, to our community leaders and elected officials for someone to be the adult in the room and stand up to this nonsense. It’s reached the point that I’ve actually begun to feel sorry for the sycophants caught up in the Trump administration, paraded before the public by their boss and forced to utter outright lies. They might tell themselves that truth and the facts don’t matter, or that public and political discourse has become so polarized that they must make up facts to counter, or eke out “equal time” for, a conventional wisdom that doesn’t support their agenda, but that’s just so they can live with themselves, sleep at night and keep working at the pleasure of an authoritarian leader. Facts and truth do matter, very much so, and I hold on to the belief that the vast majority of the American and world citizenry still believes and lives by this rule. At least they show by their example the way not to live ethically and morally.
It is, therefore, necessary to detach and detoxify ourselves from the confusion fog, in order to achieve that kind of clarity, if we ultimately are not able to find such truth and decency reflected back at us through our institutions and those who lead them. Hopefully it is by this detachment that we are able, conversely, to attach ourselves to what is inviolable in our lives, such as basic principles of honesty, respect, kindness and compassion. Meeting Trump’s ignorance, anger and insecurity with more of the same only leads to more of the same. When does it end? It ends when we refuse to engage, when we stop feeding the machine. The beauty is that this is Trump’s kryptonite. If he had no way to validate or reinforce his inflated view of himself through the constant feedback of Twitter responses, polls, protest marches and so forth, the man would wither from the lack of attention. His power is magnified only by the attention we give him, the same way a neglected child confuses punishment from a parent as the attention he so desperately craves.
In the meantime, it is thrilling to see that the antibody agents have been activated against this cancer on the body politic. This is a sure sign that there’s strong life in this body yet, but it remains to be seen if these responses aren’t just knee-jerk responses to the liberal trolling so expertly orchestrated by Steve Bannon and his Breitbart brethren but will evolve into a clear agenda. For all we know, they applaud these protests for the way they fire up their base of white supremacists and create the illusion of assent to his policies (“Trump is doing exactly what we elected him to do”). As Bannon would have it, the public outcries and protests are “badges of honor,” proof that Trump’s executive actions are working based on the number of people pissed off about it. Indeed, judging by a great number of the Letters to the Editor in my local paper, folks are almost giddy over what Trump has done so far. It’s strange to think that however much I loathe Trump (and Bush and Reagan before him) is how much these people loathed Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton. The sentiments are the same, only the seats of power have changed. We must drop the scales from our eyes to see Trump and any elected official as straw men for the forces that really divide us as Americans and citizens of a world in which we have no choice but to co-exist.
The reason that Republicans failed to stand up to Trump during the campaign, and have so far failed to do so against any of his executive actions and cabinet appointments, proves once again that this is about power and not the effective governance of the world’s foremost democracy. (Not to be outdone, Senator Richard Burr has flaunted North Carolina’s own style of cravenness by announcing he would not recuse himself in voting to confirm Betsy DeVos, Trump’s clearly out-of-her-league nomination for Secretary of the Department of Education, despite the fact that she contributed $43,000 to his campaign.) They mollycoddle Trump now purely out of calculation for the political gains that his ascendancy will bring them, and if they can’t manage to gain something for themselves and their party out of this concentration of power dropped in their laps, then they are not only corrupt but utter idiots in the bargain. How they live with themselves is between them and their conscience. I’m sufficiently occupied for the time being with how to live with myself in the wake of the insanity they have wrought. One can only hope there is a special place in hell for these spineless bastards, and the stirred up masses are to be applauded for holding their feet to the fire. I will take their actualized form of populism any day over the manufactured and branded PopulismTM hailed by the Trump administration. At least these protests convey a sense of real people behind them, not a movement orchestrated by proxy of the real power pulling the strings behind the scenes. Trump made a big deal in his inauguration speech (reportedly written by his alt-right – sorry, white supremacist – aides Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller) about returning the power to the people, when the reality is the people have been played for suckers, yet again.
Trump supporters can blame this uprising on the refusal of the sore losers (“snowflakes”) to accept the man as their president all they want. I would suggest that they do accept him as their president, they are simply demanding, rather forcefully, that he start behaving like one. The protests are the people’s sincere attempts to claw back whatever power they can from those who would seek to abuse it, when there have been no signs from the Trump camp that they view the people as anything more than reliable trolls and rabble-rousers to pour out of the (virtual) woodwork and spew their ignorant bile on social media whenever the “libtards” or “cuckservatives” fail to show the proper allegiance to their Dear Leader. How else are we to interpret their decisions thus far to staff the administration and fill the Cabinet with billionaires (and generals) in total contradiction of their pledge to “drain the swamp”? (Let’s not forget that Bannon himself is a former Goldman Sachs employee, which makes his claim of being an anti-establishment figure hilarious on its face.) Did uttering the words “drain the swamp,” “lock her up” and so forth quicken your blood? Then President Tweety Bird’s sleight of hand has succeeded (“I tawt I taw a puddyhat!”). They just need your knee-jerk loyalty, a “look, squirrel!” kind of reaction that gives them the political cover to do things like take away our healthcare, destroy our environment and create the kinds of economic conditions that allow our CEOs to thrive but that keep the average worker struggling to earn less than subsistence wages. One side physically shows up in the trenches, while the other protests behind computer screens and macho-geek Twitter handles to send out nasty, sexist and racist tweets. Can you tell the real populist from the one concocted on message boards?
Actually, I have an enormous amount of empathy for the plight of these abandoned Americans who threw their lot in with Trump as a last-ditch attempt to find someone who will take them seriously and address their concerns through policy. This is not a frustration borne by Trump supporters alone. We all are living with elected officials who populate a government that serves their own interests, in terms of getting re-elected, and the interests of their paymasters who fund the most compliant (a recipe for mediocrity) in order to keep their grip on the levers of power and to insure that the money flows forever upward. We’ve all been played for suckers when, in a nation of over 300 million people, our dominant political parties force-fed us the false electoral choice between two establishment and tainted candidates as the most qualified to lead the country in a time of unprecedented tumult and unrest. Really? For this reason, I do not honestly believe that we’d be much better off right now if Hillary Clinton were in office instead of Trump. Her actions and cabinet appointments would most certainly have been more level-headed, properly vetted and adherent to the correct protocol, but the uproar would have been the same, just originating from a different side of the fence, and our systemic problems of unequal power and distribution of economic benefits would still go largely unaddressed. Fighting fire with fire brings more fire and burns more people.
It really doesn’t matter if the political machinations coming out of Washington – and, yes, North Carolina – are a wind that bodes ill or good. Either way, it’s just weather, and weather changes. Things are flying so fast and furious that by the time you mount a protest against a specific issue, it morphs into something else entirely. From this perspective, we’re all Don Quixote tilting at our respective windmills. Pissing in the wind, as they say. The debate over whether the new president should be taken literally or seriously (how about both?) plays into his administration’s hands. This is how their new political order operates. We may recoil in disgust (or laugh our asses off) at the way the man argues against verifiable reality over things like his inauguration crowd size and the loss of the popular vote by as many as Bush won the 2004 election, but to focus on this nonsense is to miss the far more serious transgressions committed by his administration via his many executive orders. In fact, to focus on Trump at all misses the point of how his minions are pulling the strings and committing their truly dastardly deeds behind the curtain (one can almost see them twirling their mustaches and rubbing their hands). Confusion is their aim. Stirring the pot with a flurry of seemingly random and contradictory actions backed up by alternative facts is intended to leave their opponents scrambling over which actions to address first and how to prioritize resources that are woefully inadequate to take on the totality of their full-frontal assault on our democracy.
And yet through all the meteorological fluctuations of this veritable shitstorm, there is a persistence of self that we cling to so as not to lose our way. Part of my awakening to this new political reality is acknowledging how my own sense of self has been tossed about and battered so much that I have become somewhat unmoored philosophically, somewhat lax in my morals, somewhat disconnected from my higher ideals. It’s corruption by proxy, in a way, succumbing to the national malaise. These concerns, in and of themselves, might fall into the category of “first world problems,” given that people are fighting for their very survival in war torn countries, or fighting poverty and oppression in our own. The people and party in power now are likely to dismiss my concerns, but I’ll be goddamned if I forfeit to them my humanity, my soul, my dignity. It very much feels like these are the stakes today.
For these reasons, going inward and feeding the machine as little as possible are my chosen forms of resistance. Then again, this might be something I tell myself when any potential action seems about as futile and pointless as writing this blog post. Sue me, I’m a writer (and an unpaid one at that), not a politician. Nevertheless, my motivation for writing this post is not to change the world or anyone’s mind. No, it’s to remind myself, in a storm of clashing realities so loud and violent it threatens to drown out my own voice and thought, of my core principles. So, in a variation on Michelle Obama’s maxim, when they go low I go not high but underground, the same spirit in which my punk rock heroes set out to find their fellow freaks by way of creating a solidarity that would enable them to endure the Reagan years with their dignity intact.
In an era our new president described in his inauguration speech as “American carnage,” I believe that kindness and compassion and respect are the appropriate response to all people, even Trump supporters, for the simple reason that I’d rather live in a world in which we recognize and respect each other’s existence, as opposed to one in which the so-called winners of a rigged system reject the losers. I may still inhabit a bubble by continuing to align myself with those who share my views and values and by reading sources that reinforce my political and philosophical world view, but I try to keep the membrane of my bubble semi-permeable so that contradictory viewpoints can easily work themselves in and I can evaluate and test them against the views I have. It is this grit from which hard-earned pearls of wisdom come.
I believe in the power of humility because none of us, least of all Trump, has all the answers to our most pressing problems. For that matter, solutions don’t exist a priori but are devised by man. And the best way to create the most effective solutions is to consider a multitude of perspectives. Just as winning an election is merely the chance to test one’s political and economic theories in a public sphere, an agreed-upon solution is never the answer but merely an imperfect attempt at an answer that eludes us, ignorant creatures that we are who inhabit a world that forever surpasses our understanding.
I believe we are in this for the long haul, for our children and for our children’s children, and that there are no quick and easy fixes to our problems. I can only hope that the arc of time, as Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, bends toward justice, but I’m also realistic that the fulfillment of this prophecy may very well elude us in our lifetimes, as it has in the lifetimes of many segments of our American population. As bad as things seem now, we must remind ourselves that this, too, shall pass and that we have survived far worse times, and presidents, in our history. My hope is that we will come out on the other side of this time of adversity a much stronger nation.
I also believe that the real power is and always has been with the people, if we would but wake up to it and refuse to be led by those who seek to distract and amuse us with shiny objects, big-screen TVs, spectacles and tweets. Going inward helps us see and cast off the cheapness and ephemerality of these distractions. It enables us to see as well that our fight is not with each other, or with the boogeymen of other religions from other parts of the world who happen to have different colors of skin. Our fight is with a body politic that has compromised the democratic (not Christian) values on which it was founded and that no longer serves the people, or even the Constitution. If that were the case, our leaders would be creating policy informed by an underlying principle, borrowed from Christianity, that what we do for our most disadvantaged and disenfranchised citizens elevates us all. Otherwise, we’re no better than crabs clawing and pulling each other down in our futile attempts to escape the bucket into which we’ve been thrown.
Lastly, I believe in never giving up hope in the idea of America, our country and our system of government, a system robust enough for all it’s endured that it can easily withstand a pesky fly on its hide like Trump for four – or even, god forbid, eight – years. I refuse to give up hope in the decency and aspirations of the American people who, despite the media outlets screaming louder than they can think in a modern form of Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate, are more than capable of recognizing – and rejecting – a con when they see one.
As for the new president, we know how this will end for him, because we’ve seen this movie before:
It can’t happen soon enough.