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Thursday, July 20, 2017


Without rudder or keel

by Tom Sullivan

Our ain't-right president's hair-raising New York Times interview yesterday demonstrated for the nth time how unfit in every way Donald Trump is for the job he won last November. Trump is as Jack London might have described him:

... a magnificent atavism, a man so purely primitive that he was of the type that came into the world before the development of the moral nature. He was not immoral, but merely unmoral.
He has neither the skill nor the time for legislating. He will not lift a finger to pass the legislation he demands from his own caucus. He has no respect for the institutions of the government he took an oath to preserve, protect and defend, nor for the oath itself, nor for rule of law he believes himself above. In the interview, he all but formally asked for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not covering his rear on the Russia investigation. After months of whining about White House leaks, Trump leaked it in an interview with a newspaper he famously loathes rather than confront Sessions personally, man-to-man.

Donald Trump wouldn't have any class if you gave him a room, thirty students, and a chalkboard. So when a dumpster fire gif was the first to appear in my Twitter feed this morning, it seemed only appropriate.


But Donald Trump is merely a symptom of a country that has lost its bearings, a ship without rudder or keel. A new poll from Public Policy Polling finds that only 45 percent of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians he publicly admitted having. Thirty-two percent don't believe the meeting happened and 24 percent are not sure. No, Not Sure is not their names.

A large fraction of our neighbors, in many places a controlling fraction, has abandoned the very notion of pluralism at the heart of the American experiment. As if e pluribus unum were some sort of crypto-Kenyan incantation against their personal freedom. For many across this country yet unconscious of it, metastasized capitalism and Randian teen fantasies of male dominance have brewed up a debased America that serves patriotism à la carte, an America for me but not for thee. Where government exists to stay out of my life and to keep Others in their place. Donald Trump is their patron saint.

Cooperation and communitarianism is replaced with dominance politics, not only among conservatives, but a sliver of the American left that has abandoned faith. Among Christian conservatives who long ago accepted as dogma that the country and its framework were handed to them by the Almighty, their own religious liberty is the only religious liberty government exists to protect. Recognition that non-Christian faiths and non-faiths fall under the same constitutional is "increasingly cast as bristling religious animus or even hate speech."

Across the country, GOP-led state legislators have abandoned any pretense of regard for equal representation, opting for voter suppression tactics and radical gerrymandering to keep democracy from unmaking their rule. Inside the Beltway, the anti-vaxxers of public policy with their crackpot economics and science denial, have set about deconstructing the state that nurtured them.

The Trump administration and its enablers have climbed out on a limb and begun sawing it off. The question at hand is whether the falling branch will take the rest of us with them.