A Non-American on America

I’m going off-topic today for a post that’s been stewing for many months. You can disagree with my point of view, and that’s fine, or you can stop reading now, if you’re a Donald apologist and don’t want to hear what I have to say. This is an outsider’s opinion, and my country has its own issues of race and inequality and homelessness and drugs, and yes, this is my blog, so I’m offering my opinion. Unasked.

First, America, I’m sorry for what you’re going through, be you Democrat or Republican.

I’m sorry for all of your strife, your hatred, your anger, your pain. I suspect that it’s like a personal trauma for many of you, and unfortunately, just like personal trauma, you’ll have to go through it, right through it, and it may take a very long time to feel all of the anguish before you come out the other side and begin to heal.

But you’re not alone. The rest of the world feels it too.

I’ll make it clear from the outset: If I was American, I’d be protesting in the streets and shouting from the corners. His hate, his spewing vile, his corruption, his complete disregard for the law, for decency, for anything that is good in the world, is bringing America to its knees.

(My basis for saying that: Jobs are up, but not in ways he says they are. He hasn’t created thousands of coal mining jobs like he says he has. And no, the world, including the USA, doesn’t need or want coal mines. No, Executive Orders do not count as key pieces of legislation that Donald has passed. And no, the president is not supposed to be golfing every weekend and discussing key national issues in a public dining room. He has not addressed security in any meaningful way that is not a violation of the Constitution. He has alienated most of America’s key allies, allies who would be needed should America be attacked. Meanwhile, Vets are still suffering, consumer protections are being stripped away, Donald wants to make rich people richer, while making it harder for Americans to afford their own homes. People are in danger of losing their health care, and scientific research is being de-funded, as are arts and kids’ programs. Just to start, and not to mention his lies and contempt for the Constitution and the American people.)

For my personal politics, I wouldn’t care if he was Democrat, Republican or from the Loyal Purple Polka-Dots, if his policies made sense and if his heart was in the right place, I’d support him. But he doesn’t have a political ideology, and he’s too incompetent to create one. His is one of convenience, of expediency, of whatever-works-for-Donald’s-bank-account. If he has to divide America to enrich himself, so be it. If he has to let white supremacists be emboldened, great. If he has to act as though the law and the rules don’t apply to him, well, if it makes him rich, fly at it. He hasn’t surrounded himself with people who can make the country work, either. He granted access to American secrets to a man who has been accused of peddling to the Russian government. Knowingly. And then fired the people who tried to warn him that this was a bad thing. His only concern in hiring people is not that they’re good for the country, but that they will fall all over to tell him how wonderful he is. How sickening and loathsome.

Other elected officials are still supporting him, and even using valuable question time in special hearings to pander to a man who “doesn’t recall” being briefed about Russia — in his role as Attorney General! Liar. Other members of Congress and Senate are not facing their constituents, they’re not facing voters, they’re hiding. Staff members are bizarrely putting up with public humiliation and hiding in bushes to support him. WTF?

And so the people who march in the streets against Sharia law (read: Muslims), even though this “law” has zero chance of seriously becoming a thing in the USA, feel legitimized. The people who trash talk women feel legitimized. People who feel like it’s okay to harass and intimidate non-Christians, and to murder people on public transit, are not called out. The people who WANT to see legal institutions crumble, are legitimized. This opens doors for the actual demise of the rule of law. Meanwhile, there’s no movement on the huge divide between police officers and the people they’re supposed to protect, people are dying of drug overdoses in record numbers, and people who have no jobs are still unemployed. The long and often bitter history of the US is not debated and there is no healing, but instead is framed as Republican vs Democrat only, for example, or labelled in trite one-liners that don’t advance any sort of meaningful education or debate.

I cannot pretend to have any idea as to the many, many reasons people voted for him in the first place, except to say that truly, there were likely valid reasons. People very possibly believed, wholeheartedly, and likely with justification, that the current system failed them (or that the alternative was worse). There is a lot wrong with the idea that money controls power, and not always in good ways. And there is a lot wrong with the idea that the only stories that get told are the ones that reflect a narrow centrist politically correct world view.

(I won’t get started on political correctness and what I really see as being a loss of free speech; my idea of free speech means that people need to accept the consequences of their speech, and if it means you go to jail for inciting violence, well, that’s a consequence, and someone having a point of view that is simply not popular is not necessarily inciting violence, and we need to distinguish between those things.)

But this man has set up the country in such a way that now people feel they MUST support opposing viewpoints, at all costs, in order to either support or oppose him. There is no longer rational discussion of policy and politics and programs, the discussion is all about Donald Trump.

That is HUGE.

There is no longer rational discourse. “Liberals” (and “Never-Trumper-Republicans) and “Trumpers” are so bitterly divided that they won’t, they CAN’T, talk.

And so that means that there is a situation in which people are SO attached to their one side or the other, that nothing is really moving anymore. How can a country run that way? Trumpers can’t accept that their president may be destroying the country, because that means admitting they were wrong, admitting defeat. And non-Trumpers can’t admit that there may have been anything valuable in this so-called populist approach, because to do so would mean they would have to accept all the rest of him, and what he stands for, and that is morally and philosophically abhorrent to them. And no one is standing up and saying, “hey, everyone, what if we try this third approach to representing people and sorting out our country’s woes?”

To have a “president” who feels that it’s okay to purposely pit people against each other, is tragic. America really is no longer leading on the world stage. America no longer has moral or even economic authority, and can no longer tell the world what to do and how to do it. That, from a non-American who has at times felt that the USA has overstepped its moral and economic authority, is tragic.

Others are going to step in to fill that void, make no mistake. It may take some time and some practise, but others will step up. Canadians will lead. British and Germans and French will lead.

And NOT because the centrist ideology is the only one from on high that is right and good in the whole world the end. But because there’s decency left. Where we care that people have access to sanitation and birth control and vaccines and health care. Where we care that girls get to go to school. Where we care that disease isn’t going to wipe us all out before civil wars and terrorists do. Where we care about each other.

It isn’t perfect.

Democracy is NOT PERFECT. But for now it’s the best we’ve got, and to see it crash and burn because one selfish, narcissistic, cruel and stupid man feels that “the media” is being unfair to him personally, as if he and that is all that matters ever, is really, really sad. That a great and shining country like America is being brought so. low. is just sad.

I kind of think his voters are maybe still holding out hope that he’s got some decency. Hoping that he actually does care about them and maybe that he actually wants to do good things for them. But seriously, what is it going to take? How far does he have to take the USA down this road before they say they don’t wanna follow? Or, to go in the opposite devil’s advocate approach, what IF the “media” left him alone and let him do his thing? Would he do good? He hasn’t shown me anything that would make me believe he would.

Even if he did have some decency, his other actions have long since shown that ordinary Americans are not his priority. His priority is still making money from his hotels and his golf courses. His priority is spending every weekend on vacation from his hard, hard life. His main concern is firing people who get in his way, giving the Russians free reign, and turning a blind eye to foreign interference in American democracy. His main concern, on the day he took office, was to file his papers and start campaigning for the next election, on the taxpayers’ dime and time. And why?

Because Donald Trump doesn’t care about people other than himself.

To recap, it’s possible that members of Donald’s campaign and / or family colluded with the Russian government to subvert an American election. He has shown zero interest in national security issues except as it relates to his travel ban (which targets the wrong countries). He conducts government by tweet, which would be unconventional, but okay, if he was actually running the country. He has left key government posts unfilled, has tried to legislate hate by executive order, hasn’t managed to pass a single key piece of promised legislation, and conducts intimidation campaigns against others. His attorney general says he doesn’t recall three meetings (though briefly he DID slip and say, “the meeting at the Mayflower,” though I don’t think anyone caught that one), yet can go on and on about others. Invokes Executive Privilege in advance, saying that his president should have the right to decide what he answers and doesn’t, though Trump supposedly never invoked this privilege himself, even knowing what he would be asked at the hearing. Trump’s son-in-law needed money and tried to find a way to get it from banned Russian agencies and banks. He also tried to subvert American security channels. Donald Trump himself invited Russians into the oval office, and cameras, to joke about firing his FBI Director. Then he tries to intimidate said director before and after sworn testimony. By tweet.

There is no justification for whataboutism. None whatsoever. Whatever Hillary did or didn’t do doesn’t excuse Trump from doing what he DID do. Hillary’s emails didn’t make Kushner look to Russia for money. Hillary’s emails never made Sessions meet the Russian ambassador and then lie about it, and Hillary’s emails didn’t make Mike Flynn lobby for the Russian government.

Nothing anyone else did ever, in the history of ever, forced Trump and his associates to act this way.

Donald Trump has brought this on himself.

There is hope, and I see it in the ways that people are still speaking out. Scientists are still conducting research, and somehow, cities and states are still functioning. There are people who refuse to accept that this is the new normal. There are people who care, and who are willing to speak out.

I do believe there is a good America post-Trump. The question is, when? No American president ever will be able to get off with a free ride ever again, and that’s probably a good thing. Checks and balances may be strengthened. And maybe, possibly, there will be a time when Americans start to debate their democracy and start to have those discussions, and maybe there will be three parties, or four, and different ideologies will get fair hearing. And in doing so, the world will step up and *share* the burden, and the US won’t *have* to be the world’s biggest money provider or intellectual and moral strong-arm, and can do good in the world but also focus on its own issues. Others will join in, and this whole idea of democracy will grow and in the end be stronger for it.

Maybe? I sure hope so. But Trump isn’t the man to do it.