Yesterday, I was awoken by a nightmare. I had dreamed that President Trump had pissed of some country or another, and they had retaliated by wiping Fairbanks AK off the map. I was listening to the news reports on the radio, and the horror woke me up screaming. I had to go and check on the net to make sure it was, indeed, a dream.
We’ve reached the point where the news is giving me nightmares.
What is even more scary is that reality is more frightening than the nightmares, and that we have created it. Reading the headlines this morning, this is what I see:
- CNN: Trump at National Prayer Breakfast: ‘Pray for Arnold’. Not pray for our nation. But pray for better ratings for a TV show that he executive produces.
- Politico: Trump on combative calls with foreign leaders: ‘Don’t worry about it’. Trump made combative calls to Mexico and Australia, pissing off their leaders, and then said “fuggedaboutit”. That’s not how diplomacy works.
- The Hill: Iran dismisses ‘useless’ threats from ‘inexperienced person’. Iran shoots off a ballistic missile, and Trump “puts them on warning” instead of working with the UN.
- Washington Post: Trump vows to repeal political limits on churches. Warning that religious freedom is “under threat,” President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to repeal the Johnson Amendment, an IRS rule barring pastors from endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Sigh. Now, I can easily see a desire to have churches advocate for candidates. In fact, they are free to do so now. What is at issue is a tax rule: should we be able to deduct funds given to political organizations? There, the answer should be no. That’s what the amendment is: deductability is a reward for spirituality and to encourage giving to help a community, not political purposes.
- TheBlaze.com: Report: White House drafts executive order to expand religious freedom protections. Translation: You can follow your religion to discriminate against me in some ways. Your religion thinks homosexuality is bad? You can deny service to homosexuals. It thinks Jews are going to hell? You don’t have to defend Jews. Thinks blacks are scum? Deny service to blacks. Where does this stop? Is this America.
- NPR: Senate Republicans Bypass Another Boycott By Democrats To Advance EPA Nominee. This country is built on diversity of political opinion, of Congress being able to resist the President. Hell, that’s what the Republican congress did throughout Obama’s administration. But the current actions of the Senate and Congress are suppressing the voice of the minority, and that goes against the founders intent.
- USA Today: Navy: Special forces flew Trump flag in convoy. Where is the allegiance of some in our military? To the Constitution and the Country, or to the President. It should be to the former.
- Time: President Trump Threatens to Yank UC Berkeley’s Federal Funding Over Protests Against Milo Yiannopoulos. The Constitution permits freedom of speech and the freedom to protest. Yet here we have a threat to yank funding because of the exercise of a right.
- USA Today: US eases restrictions on cyber-security sales to Russian spy agency. Yes, just what we need. Permit more cybersecurity tools to be sold to a nation that the FBI and CIA indicates is hacking our computer systems.
- Reuters: US House axes rules to prevent corruption, pollution. Just what we need: more abuse of the environment and the financial systems by corporate entities. Draining the swamp? Helping the workers, not the corporations? Doesn’t seem like he’s doing that.
This is not a Liberal vs. Conservative issue. This is a President who does not understand the Constitution he has sworn to uphold, who is attempting to govern by fiat, who is letting his narcissism and hatreds come out, who is working for personal gain. This is a Congress that has abrogated their duty to provide checks and balances. This is the result of the slippery slope that started with the intense partisanship that arose with the election of Bill Clinton, and continued through the subsequent presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. We are being torn apart.
Yes, I know this sounds like the Republicans sounded during Obama’s turn. That has me even more scared. I had hoped that, despite my fears for Trump, his narcissism would lead him to want to be the best President ever. Instead, it has led him to the lowest approval rating of any President, and we are only two weeks in.
And yet, I know I am lucky. I’m white, Judeo-Christian, and of normative sexual orientation. I work in a field that is a priority for the government. I live in California, which will stand up to Trump. There’s a good chance that I personally would be OK. But this isn’t just about me: it is a concern for the country and all of those would would not be OK.
I don’t know what we can do, other than hope for impeachment and removal, and that the replacement (Pence) understands the Constitution better. But that takes time, and so much damage can be done. This is something the founder’s didn’t anticipate; we need a constitutional amendment permitting a recall and a redo of the election (but even that takes time).
I really wish I could wake up and discover this was all a dream.