Terry H. Schwadron
Dec. 11, 2017
As these news days pass, there seems little that enobles or feels as if it will make life better for most people I know. Instead, as a country, we seem to be rewarding bad personal behavior and unethical acts that insist on belittling others to benefit us as individuals.
Increasingly, what Donald Trump or other Republican congressional leaders say seems strictly to divert attention from the administration’s actions and public goals. The tax bill passed by movi the Senate is proof of that. Despite a passel of studies, reviews, assessments of what the bill will do, Trump insists that this is an effort to cut middle-class taxes when it clearly benefits corporations. Despite the certainty that eliminating the individual mandate will adversely affect seniors and those facing chronic illness, Trump and supporters see liberation from a requirement. Despite a history of companies keeping unspent profits in the bank or spending to pay down debt, the administration insists that there will be a better payday coming as a kind of trickle down of corporate success.
Increasingly on the foreign front, this president seems sure only about offending allies like the British, and insisting that he is “handling” the North Korean nuclear weapons program, over which he clearly has few effective countermeasures. He shows that he cannot listen to even his closest advisers, and he is willing to risk at least regional violence in declaring Jerusalem the official Israeli capital, even when they have not asked for this.
Instead of worry about the substance of foreign policy, Trump is spending his time weaving plots against his own Secretary of State and decimating the professional ranks of the staffing of foreign service. When the current Rex W. Tillerson leaves, we’re told he will fill the job with someone like Trump believer Mike Pompeo, who will not question the boss, even when question is called for.
Increasingly, we learn that even Congress has no idea how many troops are deployed in Afghanistan, Niger, Yemen and other faraway places. We have no idea what our American goals are in these areas other than some kind of vague anti-terror stance. We seem to be pressing the case for selling American weapons around the world. Yet somehow, it is more important for this president to spend his time retweeting hateful anti-Muslim videos being distributed by extreme far right Britons — especially since they are not what they were said to be.
Increasingly, Trump is telling people that the Access Hollywood tape was not actually showing of recording him, and has started telling people again that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, or that he cannot stop himself from tweeting without checking on even the general truth of his statements. The number of political people, news organizations and everyday people who openly see his actions as a manifestation of some kind of self delusion is remarkable.
At the same time, the voters of Alabama seem on the edge of electing an accused pedophile who is a Bible-thumping champion against gays and transgenders — with the help of the president and his supporters. Trump cannot own up to allegations himself, and he insists that denial of charges is sufficient for the Alabama Republican, an alleged pedophile. He seems not ot have noticed that we are in the midst of an actual up-churning of policies affecting sexual harassment that seems more than a bit uncontrolled and ill directed. At the same time, the stock market is going wild in glee over garnering the prize of millions and millions in unpaid tax with absolutely no obligation to hire more employees or offer more health care or make the world better in any way.
I find myself in a world awash in celebrating profit over doing good, over protection of those who have made it over those who can’t, over those who, by circumstance, were born American over those who have sought out and worked hard for that status. I find myself in a country where religious liberty means enforcing “Merry Christmas” greetings, and ignoring shootings in churches, or rising hate crimes aimed at Muslims, or even acknowledging that “free speech” was not put into place to make it easier to shout anti-Semitic slogans at Jews.
I find myself in a country that wants to support building up what is already the world’s biggest, baddest military to the detriment of providing health care to seniors, a country that expects others to cower if we even threaten to consider using our military, a country that still cannot even find sufficient ways to support the veterans of that military to find jobs and mental health services upon coming home.
I find myself in a country that supports bullies over owning up to behavior that bullies, that can’t consider empathetic social policies because its leadership lacks empathy. I live in a country that no longer can separate responsibility for self from the need to win, regardless of the policy at hand. So, we can’t effectively support Puerto Ricans recover from hurricanes, we find it easier to deport displaced Haitians than to help them, that cannot find the heart to keep immigrant families together and will deport DACA immigrants who were brought here as children by families seeking a way to support themselves.
We should have a president who actually wants to Make Americans Great Again rather than one who wants to win at the cost of squashing others.