I am fully aware of the fact that I am at least partly to blame for the rise of Donald Trump. I ranted and raved and subscribed to liberal political magazines and volunteered for and donated to political campaigns quite a bit between 2000-2008, and once Obama won, I stopped worrying. I got a little agitated when Cruz tried to shut the government down and Trump started winning primaries, but I thought for certain that the American people were smart enough to pull us through in the end, and make the right choice for President. I assumed that people would understand that not voting for Hillary meant voting for Trump, no matter how much they despised Hillary. And that people would see just how much worse our country would be under Trump than Hillary. I assumed that the number of people now living in the United States who would make the right decision would far outweigh those who wouldn’t. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote, but I mean to say that I assumed Trump wouldn’t even come close to getting the number of votes needed to win the White House.
I am no longer assuming anything, except that my future and my son’s future will probably be dark and unhappy. I get how everyone talks about getting up off my ass and doing something, but I also lived through the Bush years and watched the results of so many efforts to do and say something to take Bush and Co. down. Even Alex Jones was anti-Bush. Nothing took Bush down except for the charisma of Barack Obama. Nothing changed things this year for the Tea Party set except for the charisma of Donald Trump. Sure, they put some people into other offices, and yes, they got Ted Cruz to pull a stunt a few years ago. But, the crowning victory came once a charismatic personality lent his name to the spirit of the movement if not directly to that particular movement. I wholeheartedly believe that if the woman’s march of a week or so ago had taken place back in August and had made Hillary its figurehead, and she had properly taken the mantle of charismatic leader of that movement, then Donald Trump would not have been elected. Showing that you have strength, voice and power against the establishment on the day after it takes office isn’t as helpful as showing it during the time leading up to the election that will hopefully upend the establishment.
And let’s be clear: Donald Trump is part of the establishment. He is not draining any swamps, he isn’t going to Make America Great again for anyone except himself and his family, and it is even dubious if he will succeed at that given his track record of terrible business decisions and corruption. A best case scenario will be that he convinces Congress to end presidential term limits, and spends the next fifteen years in office living like Berlusconi until he croaks and people finally get a clue and vote for someone more sane. A more likely scenario is that with the coming martial law, Trump will more or less set up a dynasty and his children will rule after he leaves office.
What I am actually witnessing in my lifetime is the process by which the United States of America undergoes what the Republic of Rome did as it transitioned to an empire. My best hope for me and my family is that we are so utterly inconsequential and insignificant that all of the ranting on blogs and Facebook and Twitter and letters to Congresspeople and Editors and marches, etc. will go largely unnoticed. We will quietly live under the radar and cross our fingers that Trump will not set up a National ID system in which you are microchipped or tattooed with a special Mark of Allegiance to the American Way and the Economy and other things sacred, but now utterly meaningless given that the word America is fast becoming nothing more than a proper name. When Trump began saying that if we don’t do something soon, we wouldn’t have a country at the start of his campaign–it was, of course, a dog whistle for racists, but it was also a signal of his real intentions: Donald Trump has no desire for the U.S. continuing to exist as the country of liberties and freedoms we claim to know and love. When it comes to the kinds of Executive Orders he is pushing and the people he is putting in charge, it is not even close to what Obama and past presidents have done in the past.
To be for sure, the Executive Branch has continued to witness more and more power flowing to it, and the efforts of Congress and the Supreme Court to check that power, along with the efforts of States and local governments to check the power of the Federal Government have been slowly eroding over time. All of us citizens are responsible for this, when we take interest only in who will be President and then mostly ignore all other elections and political and government activity. We have all enabled the monster that is Trump to arrive, and frankly, if it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else. Hillary probably would have tested the waters a little less overtly, but she surely would have contributed to the erosion of the system of checks and balances.
Will the ultimate end to the U.S.A. as our founding fathers intended it to work happen during the office of Donald Trump? He is certainly to my reckoning the best candidate we’ve had for this to happen since FDR. However, no one knows what is really in Trump’s heart. I would still like to hold out a little bit of hope that the man is sincere in helping America to return to whatever he thinks it’s supposed to be to make it great, and has enough reverence for our original founding principles that he wouldn’t make himself a dictator, but I am only holding out a tiny bit of hope. I certainly was wrong about Bush being as bad as he ended up being–he was largely more dumb and incompetent than evil. I was definitely wrong about Obama coming next after Bush–how could anyone see Obama coming in an era when everyone equated a man named Osama with Satan, and a man named Hussein with Satan’s best buddy? To have a name like Barack Hussein Obama seemed like the worst possible name to have to become president. At times, I was pretty certain I stood a better chance of being president, simply by virtue of being white and having an Anglo Protestant name.
So, fortunately, I am wrong a lot in my dark assessments of what the future will bring. But, I don’t think I am incorrect in saying that Trump has take abuse of the Executive power to a whole new level, and too many Republicans like Paul Ryan are enabling it because they think they will get a good deal in the end of their deal they are making with the devil. As an aside, I should state that I find it utterly absurd that you cannot directly contact members of the House unless you lie about your zip code–as most of these men and women, especially ones like Ryan, are more than willing to weigh in on national and international issues, it has never really been the case that he simply represents some tiny little backwoods section of Wisconsin.
In a lot of ways, men like Paul Ryan are worse than Donald Trump. Trump is more or less a WYSYWIG–he may have some more evil tricks up his sleeve than the evil that’s come out of his mouth and been signed by his pen so far, but whatever Trump has done or said in the past few weeks has not in the least been out of character or astonishing. Someone like Paul Ryan will occasionally show flashes of integrity and respect for the job that has been entrusted to him, but your average Paul Ryan inevitably caves to men like Trump because at the end of the day he cares more about his job and money than he does about his country. As so-called Christians, I must say that these evangelical types and conservative Catholics have made their priorities very clear: Mammon first, then Country, then probably a lot of other things that they would hate to give up before giving up their faith like Football and Guns and red meat, then Christ. This is not a statement about whether or not I am more Christian than them–I am fully aware of the fact that my priorities don’t always put Christ first–however, I don’t think these holier-than-thou types are nearly as self aware about just how much they put a love of money over even a love of country.
To say that our Founding Fathers would be appalled at Trump is a bit of an oversimplification, of course. Our Founding Fathers were a diverse (in opinions, not ethnic backgrounds, of course) bunch of smart guys who differed on the amount of power the President should have. I am pretty sure that more than a few of them would have been okay with banning Muslims and building a wall–the idea of religious freedom was a lot more narrow in a lot of these men’s minds, and the idea of who was actually fully human was pretty different as well. However, I do think that most of the Founding Fathers wanted what was best for this country in the long time, and they were products of their time. It is easy to knock people who don’t think like you do when they didn’t have the same opportunities for enlightenment that you did. It could even be argued that poor Donald Trump has been sheltered and suffocated intellectually by his own particular environment, and he is in some perverse way a victim as much as someone born in war-torn country trying to get to a better life. Obviously, this is absurd and Donald Trump has had access to the entire world–in his lifetime he could have traveled everywhere and taken dozens of classes to better himself and make himself a more enlightened person. What’s more, his sheltered world is the kind of world not many would object to, were they to find themselves living in it tomorrow.
Really, what am I getting at with all of this? There is clearly a problem now of some magnitude. As a father and husband and citizen of the U.S., I feel that it is incumbent upon me to assess the gravity of the threat and make the best decisions for myself and my family, but not become so utterly quick to run off to some other country to work and live that I turn my back on those who may need some kind of support or advocacy from me. I am not nearly concerned about the threat to my own neck as I am about the threat to my son’s future. I don’t want him growing up in a country where he pretty much sees his best opportunities as being part of the Trump Youth, or joining the Trump Party, or what have you. Of course, if Trump is the Antichrist, then moving to a place like New Zealand only delays the inevitable–we are in the end times, and Jesus will be back soon to set things right.