The world continues to watch the Trump era unfold, many of us with bated breath. We’re only a little over a week(!) into his presidency and, with rare exceptions, the streets are mostly filled with peaceful protesters and dissatisfied dissidents. Not only do some Americans believe that Trump’s presidency is illegitimate, but terrible brand reinforcement from the White House, in addition to an endless flow of questionable Executive Orders, has caused an eruption of public furor not seen in at least a decade.
To be perfectly clear, the Democrats and Trump-haters need to get over this idea that his presidency is illegitimate. The argument borders on the Trumped-up notion that President Obama’s birth certificate was a fake. (As an aside, remember when Obama released his birth video? Amazing.) And regardless of FBI Director Tim Comey’s announcement of further investigations into the Clinton email scandal or possible Russian involvement in the election, the actual political damage is near impossible to quantify. After all, this is politics: all the sleaze, dishonesty, and mudslinging one can handle. Anything short of treason is political – good luck proving a Trump-Putin conspiracy, and it is not an act of treason for the president-elect to suggest he knows more than the electorate. Eat your heart out, Joy Behar. Trump won. It’s over, Jill Stein. Time to move on, Michael Moore.
However, that does not mean that the American electorate must accept anything and everything that comes out of Trump’s mouth or Twitter account. Any centre of power and authority should be challenged and held to account with great aplomb and unending veracity. This is what the “left-wing” media continues to do with facts and accountability, though the President, the Press Secretary Sean Spicer, and political adviser Kellyanne Conway continue to insist that any negative press coverage is actually Fake News that does not take into account the “alternative facts” that are the real fact-facts.
Millions of people, both domestically and internationally, have marched against the White House’s newest administration. From the Women’s March on Washington to the protests over bans against immigration and travel from seven specific Muslim countries, the anger is palpable. And rising. Again, this all happened in the first week of his presidency.
The best protest sign so far: “Don’t blame Trump – He did everything he could to prove he was unfit to be President.” The best financial outcome thus far: the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has raised $24 million dollars online (six-fold what the organization normally makes in a year through online donations). The Attorney General of Washinton State suing the White House over the immigration ban: priceless.
Equally hilarious (read: sad and embarrassing) was one of President Trump’s first official Twits as Commander-in-Chief. When surveying the massive crowds for the Women’s March on Washington while Spicer and Conway defended their use of “alternative facts” to legitimize claims that the inauguration crowd was the biggest in history, Trump – in childish anger and bereft of wisdom – tweeted, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote?” This is the President of the United States: churlish, dismissive, and trite. He might be right – Trump didn’t win the election so much as Hillary Clinton and her supporters lost it – but grow up.
About an hour and a half later, someone tweeted out the following on behalf of Donald Trump: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.” How is it known that Trump did not make this tweet? It is coherent, befitting of a president, the syntax is near-perfect, and no one was offended by it. Again, his Twitter account should be suspended or run only by White House staffers: it is merely a conduit through which Trump can embarrass himself and degrade the Oval Office whilst sitting on the toilet.
Speaking of degrading the Office of the Presidency, Trump has started maneuvering, via Executive Order, to build the wall instead of bridges to Mexico, which immediately ended in Mexican President Nieto cancelling his trip to Washington; banning Muslims from entering the United States, which caused Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to offer a helping-hand to those negatively impacted by the order; breathing new life into the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act (often chided as Obamacare); bullying multi-national corporations with tariffs, trade barriers, and taxes; creating further insularity by abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and now training his business-eye on Wall Street to ease the “restrictive” Dodd-Frank Act that was passed by Congress, following the 2008 financial implosion, to reform businesses and banks, alike.
All of these acts are in an effort to carry out the populist platform that Trump campaigned on for eighteen months: bring back good-paying jobs to US soil; defeat ISIS and Muslim extremists, which has already resulted in a highly-decorated Seal Team 6 member being killed in Trump’s first actionable foray into international intrigue; take on China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran all at once because American swagger, bravado, and no-brains is back in town; stop Mexicans from illegally entering the country with a multi-billion dollar wall, even though they sell ropes and ladders in Mexico and El Chapo has unwittingly shown the Mexican people that they can build tunnels; help veterans more; help the middle class more; and open America for business more (well less, but internally more. Right?)
It’s still unclear how Trump is going to fund all of these “great” ideas, or how revoking Obamacare or building something new in its place is better and cheaper for the middle class, or how the US can build cars, iPads, iPhones, shoes, and a host of other products cheaper than international competitors. One thing seems absolutely certain: the short-term political gain for Trump will not offset the long-term losses for the American economy, democracy, and the country as a beacon of hope and moral authority to those that only dream of living in what was once an open, diverse, and welcoming country.