I have a friend who sees every action by President Trump or his advisors as an immediate slide of the country into autocracy and dictatorship. We’re being tied to the railroad tracks, the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train, and no one will or can save us. The problem with that fear, however, is that it isn’t true.
First, the image of the damsel tied to the railroad tracks may be how we feel, but it wasn’t an actual silent film trope. It was a myth. As that article notes, “As a method of murder, this seems so melodramatic and old-timey that it must have originated back in the days of the silent film. But that scene rarely ever occurred, and probably not in the way you think it did.” To me, however, what stands out is a subsequent note:
“It’s really a tricky subject because people have this incredibly specific trope in mind (villain in top hat and mustache, screaming female victim, said villain tying or chaining said victim to tracks),” says Fritzi Kramer, creator of the silent film blog, Movies Silently. “But then when they are told that it was not actually common in silent film, they quickly grab for something, anything to prove that it happened.”
This is what is happening with many of us since the inauguration. We see or hear something outrageous the administration has done, it reinforces our belief that Trump is a Facist or wannabee dictator, and we “quickly grab for something, anything to prove that it happened.” Just as the far right did with Obama, we see rampaging Facism in everything: The President, through his executive orders, wants to be the Supreme Dictator. We must recognize that reaction is fear talking; fear of someone of a strongly different political ideology and approach taking power, and fear that our system of government will crumble in the face of the Powerful President.
The reality? Resistance is working.
Through our marching and boycotts, through our putting real pens to real paper and writing letters, through our calls, and through our passion, we are slowing this administration. They have had to rethink many plans. As the aforelinked Vox article notes:
Trump is getting things done, but all presidents do that. Look at what he’s not getting done. A Republican-controlled Congress bowed to public outrage over an attempt to water down an ethics office. Trump dramatically downscaled his own executive order barring entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. He’s having unprecedented difficulty getting his Cabinet nominees confirmed, even though the Senate’s rules have changed to make confirmations easier than ever. Conservatives in Congress have put their big plans to privatize Medicare and public lands on hold. And the drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act is running into very big trouble.
None of this is based on the discipline and self-restraint on the part of the White House. It’s thanks to bold acts of resistance. The result is lives have been saved, many more lives have been demonstrably improved, and the proven template for future success has been created.
The courts are listening, and standing up for the Constitution. Businesses are listening, and indicating the impact of the actions the White House has taken or will be trying to take. Congress is listening and there is increased resistance.
It is having an effect. The New York Times is reporting that this is causing the administration to change how they are doing things: [Note: You’ll be seeing more NY Times articles, as I subscribed to support journalistic opposition to the administration, and publishing the truth.]
But one thing has become apparent to both his allies and his opponents: When it comes to governing, speed does not always guarantee success.
The bungled rollout of his executive order barring immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, a flurry of other miscues and embarrassments, and an approval rating lower than that of any comparable first-term president in the history of polling have Mr. Trump and his top staff rethinking an improvisational approach to governing that mirrors his chaotic presidential campaign, administration officials and Trump insiders said.
Chris Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and an old friend of the president’s, said: “I think, in his mind, the success of this is going to be the poll numbers. If they continue to be weak or go lower, then somebody’s going to have to bear some responsibility for that.”
“I personally think that they’re missing the big picture here,” Mr. Ruddy said of Mr. Trump’s staff. “Now he’s so caught up, the administration is so caught up in turmoil, perceived chaos, that the Democrats smell blood, the protesters, the media smell blood.”
One former staff member likened the aggressive approach of the first two weeks to D-Day, but said the president’s team had stormed the beaches without any plan for a longer war.
Those who know Trump well are spreading the word of how the impact if affecting Trump. Howard Stern, who is a close friend of Trump, is saying that Trump will hate being president and the role will be detrimental to his mental health:
“He just wanted a couple more bucks out of NBC, and that is why Donald is calling for voter fraud investigations. He’s pissed he won. He still wants Hillary Clinton to win. He’s so f—ing pissed, he’s hoping that he can find some voter fraud and hand it over to Hillary.”
Of course, that won’t happen. Hillary will not be in the White House. But as Donald becomes unhinged, as he attempts more and more unconstitutional actions, as he continues to go around Congress (which is pissing off Republican leadership), the talk of possible Impeachment will increase. People will investigate the in-capacitation provisions of the 25th Amendment. Congress will strengthen their resolve.
Our job: Keep it up. We need to keep making the point to the Republican electorate that Trump has sold them a bill of goods: he’s not giving them what they promised, and is weakening America. More importantly, we need to make clear to the Republicans in Congress that their jobs are in jeopardy if they support him. Right now, Congress is not resisting because they don’t fear the general election; they fear the primary challenges. We must make clear they will be challenged — by other Republicans — if they don’t stand up for Republican principles and just roll-over to Trump.
We also need to keep pushing for consistency in Congressional action: if you would have resisted Obama on it, you must resist Trump. Insist on ethical appointments, ethical behavior, and no conflicts of interest. Fully investigate all nominees. Investigate bungled military operations and appearances of malfeasance. To do that when Obama was President and then not to do it for Trump says one of two things: (1) either you investigated Obama solely because he was a Democrat, which is putting party above the country, or (2) you investigated Obama solely because he was Black, which is racist. I have yet to have a Republican give me a good reason that Trump should be treated any differently.
For us Democrats: resist however you can. March. Write. Call. Boycott. Lower those ratings. Challenge those orders. Mr. Trump must come to realize that there is a power that is superior to that of the President — the Constitution, and the People will stand for the Constitution.