Saturday, November 19, 2016

Handle It, Handle It.

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This is how I feel about politics today. There's no guarantee I'll continue to have this attitude but it feels pretty permanent right now. I'm 70 and I've been in the political arena for decades. I never missed voting, for candidates of both parties. I've worked the polls. I've had political jobs and had both Democrat and Republican bosses (and loved them both). I walked the streets passing out literature. I've written ads. I've endorsed candidates. I've worked in fair booths in the blazing heat of an Indiana summer. I've attended endless campaign meetings. I've donated money. I was the head of the Chamber of Commerce's legislative affairs committee and as such, I organized State of the City addresses and candidate debates and legislative breakfasts. I've worked at campaign fundraisers, making pancakes or breaded tenderloins. I've made cookies and cakes and pies for bake sales. I've run for office myself and lost. After every election, even my own, no matter how they turned out, I was instantly ready to jump back on board for the next one.

I've had my heart broken before by politics (being a mostly Democrat in Indiana will do that to you) but it never dissuaded me from fighting on. The Supreme Court-mandated election of 2000. Hillary losing to Obama in 2008. They were both painful but they were, in the end, temporary setbacks. I've never been afraid for the very soul of my country before. I didn't care for George Bush but I didn't feel he was an imminent threat to the U.S. I was glad Romney lost but I wouldn't have been terror-stricken if he had won.

Now I am. I think Donald Trump will be a completely different kind of president....and not in a good way. He doesn't play by any accepted rules or protocols for high level leaders. No one has ever threatened to put his opponent in jail before, at least in my lifetime. No one has ever admitted to sexually assaulting women in the most crude and vulgar terms. No one has ever accused the sitting president of not being an American before...and Trump held to this allegation until almost the very last. No one has ever threatened to round up and deport millions of people or to put people on a registry based on their religion or to surveil churches.  No one has ever lied with the frequency and abandon that Trump does. He lies and when he's confronted, he lies again. He denies making statements even if there is tape of him saying it and ignores the proof. (And yet Hillary was the one we didn't trust).

He's the first candidate in modern times to refuse to reveal his taxes. He's the first to refuse to put his holdings in a blind trust. He's the first to bring his children into high level briefings even though they will be the controllers of his vast business network in many foreign countries.

For instance, his newest hotel, the Old Post Office in Washington D.C., sits on land owned by the General Services Administration, which means that agency is Trump's landlord but he will control the agency through his appointee. If ever there was a direct conflict of interest, it is this one but oh, well. Does anyone think that visiting VIPs to Washington will be inclined to stay at Trump's hotel to curry favor with the president?

But even that isn't what bothers me the most. It's that a majority (of electoral college voters) knew all this and just didn't care. They preferred the fake news about Obama and Hillary. He's a Muslim. He's not a citizen. He's gay. Hillary has people killed. She deliberately refused help to the Benghazi victims. Michelle is a transvestite. Blah, blah, blah. I guess that was all more exciting than actually talking about the policies of two competing candidates. It upsets me that I have lost so much respect for people I (still) love, people I thought would have seen through Trump's bullshit.

Trump's first picks of advisors have done nothing to quell my alarm. A white nationalist (and purveyor of the stories above via Breitbart "News") will have a seat beside our new president in the White House. Jeff Sessions, Trump's choice for attorney general, who was once turned down by Republicans for a federal judgeship due to his racist tendencies will certainly not calm the fears of African Americans.  His strident calls more deportation will only drive the stress level of Latinos higher. A harsh anti-Muslim National Security Advisor like General Michael Flynn will only make American Muslims more anxious about their future. Our new C.I.A. director comes from the home district of the Koch Brothers and they are his biggest donors. The people on Trump's transition team are mostly politicians and lobbyists and bankers. His EPA guy doesn't believe in climate change. He's a fossil fuel man. So much for draining the swamp.

I will admit that it has been rather amusing to watch men like Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz grovel. I wonder if they had to kiss Trump's ring? Is there even an half an inch of backbone between the two of them? It doesn't appear so.

Yes, it pisses me off to see this same scenario play out over and over whereby the Republicans tank the economy (1928, 1989, 2008) and the Democrats have to come in and haul us back to recovery. Eight or so years later, the Republicans, who have meanwhile done every possible thing they could to keep anything positive from happening, are clamoring - "let us try trickle down again". And damned if we don't buy into it every time. You'd think we'd eventually catch on.

But I'm too old to worry about it this time.  I've done my part so it's up to the rest of you now. I'm not going to do as my President (for now) and candidate recommend. I'm not going to give the new president a chance. I doubt if Obama and Hillary really feel that way either but, unlike Trump, they do respect the courtesy and traditions of our system. But they can go ahead without me.

I'll just sit back and watch because I really think the travesty of President Trump has killed off my heart for politics. So, it's all yours, Kids. You did it. Now deal with it.