President Trump responded to Friday’s withdrawal of the American Health Care Act by claiming/threatening that the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare will fail, forcing Democrats to come to the table with the GOP. On Thursday, he gave a bizarre interview where, among other crimes against truth, he claimed that his bullshit claim that President Obama wiretapped him had been vindicated when it had not. Of course, these were just the latest in a bewilderingly lengthy series of bizarre, unnecessary, and counter-productive falsehoods that have helped to make the Trump Administration feel like it’s in it’s second term instead of its first quarter.
President Trump’s lies, are, despite being diverse and profound, not the worst thing about his administration. When he keeps his word, the results can be even worse. He has ripped families apart and moved ahead with his absurd Potemkin Wall. His travel ban makes no sense and causes needless hardships for innocent people. He has proposed taking food from the mouths of some of the poorest and most helpless people in America for the sake of his ridiculous “hard power” budget. He acts like he doesn’t see other people, particularly those who lack wealth and power, as being authentically human. This well-documented tendency has helped fuel speculation that Donald Trump suffers from a serious personality disorder. All these tendencies seem to come to the fore when he can’t get his way.
Despite all of that, I don’t think it makes any sense to blame Donald Trump. In the final analysis, it’s not his fault that he doesn’t know how to relate to the world, or even to objective reality. Projecting childish fantasy and treating the middle class and the poor with contemptuous disregard has worked well for him throughout his life, keeping him in business decades after he should have been driven to the poorhouse. He sells crappy wine and steak, signs up students to a fraudulent “university,” cheats workers and contractors out of what he agreed to pay them over and over again, commits serious acts of violence as a boy against teachers and fellow students, and no real consequences ever materialize. Seven decades of privilege have built a wall between Donald Trump and the objective universe, Affluenza Boy writ large. What did we think was going to happen? Donald Trump as President is a living symbol of the price we pay for our decision to give impunity to the rich. He is our national comeuppance.
It is our responsibility as citizens to demand that the rich do not enjoy undue privilege. It’s on us to punish politicians who strip legal services for the poor so that only the rich enjoy due process while the poor are forced to plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. It’s our job to throw prosecutors out of office who let the rich get away, quite literally, with murder.
We must vote out elected officials who dole out favors for cash, who take outright bribes or whose family members take well-paid jobs for which they don’t have to show up. We have to punish legislators who vote to exempt “investment” income from taxation while soaking workers by hiking their payroll taxes and denying them the benefits they have earned. We have to make it hurt to be a Janissary for the rentier class. We have failed, not Donald Trump.
When we demand that citizens who run for office tell us what we want to hear instead of the often unpleasant truth, we are begging to be lied to. When we demand to be entertained all the time, we are agreeing to be manipulated. When we insist that the governance of a nation of 320 million people (in a world of seven and a half billion) never confront us with complexity or hard choices, we are voting for narcissistic, empty-headed used car salespeople. That’s why Donald Trump is uniquely qualified to be President in Twenty-First Century America. In a very real sense, he is the ultimate contemporary American.
So, the next time you hear of some absurd lie or horrible misdeed emanating from the White House, don’t blame Republicans on the Hill. Don’t point your finger at the media or decry right-wing radio. Don’t look to the Klan or the Nazis. No, instead take a long, hard, look in the mirror. Donald Trump is not some alien monster, installed by shadowy foreign forces. He is us. He is you and he is me.