Friday, January 20, 2017

"So help me God."

Unsurprisingly, watching the inauguration from a friend's mercifully-heated flat in Paris does little to dull my apprehension of the incoming administration. Let me be clear: I hope that Donald J. Trump is a good president, because it is in my (and all of our) interest to have a competent and fair-minded leader of the free world.

Given my desire to one day work in public service, maybe I should stop there. Today, I tie up the loose ends of those Trump campaign promises that came due even before his swearing in, and that is all.

16. “I’m going to be so presidential, you’re going to be so bored.” He might also quit tweeting.

Broken. I'm just going to leave these here... a small sampling from the past week.

203. “Drain the swamp” in Washington and “cut our ties with the failed politicians of the past.”
263. “It’s time to reject the political and media elite that’s bled our country dry.”
Broken. This theme has followed us from the Republican primaries all the way through Trump's 9.5-minute inaugural speech. Much of it was effectively target practice directed at the swamp inhabitants with whom he must now work. Given such fiery anti-Washington rhetoric, I'm shocked -- shocked! -- that we have yet to see the other end of such career politicians as Mitch McConnell (Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky's longest-serving senator, who was elected to Congress in 1984 and began his political career as a Hill intern in 1964), Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House, currently serving his ninth term as a member of Congress, and the Vice Presidential running mate of Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential Election), and Elaine Chao (Trump's nominee for Transportation Secretary... and Mitch McConnell's second wife).
271. “I will take care of women, and I have great respect for women. I do cherish women, and I will take care of women.”
Broken. Claire Cohen at The Telegraph has done a remarkable job compiling the comprehensive Donald Trump Sexism Tracker, which includes such inspiring, feminism-positive gems as: 
"You know, it doesn't really matter what [they] write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." 
"You have to treat 'em like s----." (timeless advice on managing one's relationships with women) 
"I have days where, if I come home -- and I don't want to sound too much like a chauvinist -- but when I come home and dinner's not ready, I go through the roof."
275. “The whole psyche [of the United States] will change” on Election Day.
Kept. Conversations following the election often converged on the Five Stages of Grief. I even spoke with one clinical psychiatrist who said the discussion extended far past my group of progressively-minded (i.e. grieving) friends into the world of academic psychology. From a fascinating piece in the Boston Globe:
"In the wake of a historically volatile election campaign, there is ample evidence that the mental health of Americans of all political persuasions has been seriously challenged. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other hot line services have reported huge surges in calls for help. Surveys have shown disproportionate numbers of people reporting emotional distress over the election, with one poll indicating that 90 percent of those saying they’ve been stressed believe this election was more demoralizing than any other they’d experienced."
276. “Whether you vote for me or not, I’m with you. I will never ever let you down.”
Broken, unless his Twitter-labeling of Meryl Streep as a "Hilary flunky who lost big" and "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood" was an ironic form of solidarity. Now, I don't consider one celebrity insulting another a valid argument in itself, so let's talk facts. Trump has already let down the retirement-age voters (Democrat and Republican alike) whose Medicare is now at risk; he has let down internationalists and European allies who see NATO as the primary reason for 70 years of peace in continental Europe; he has let down climate scientists (and human beings whose quality of life depends on climate stability) by removing all traces of climate change from the White House website, instead putting up a promise to drill lots of oil. Also, LEAVE MERYL ALONE.
277. “I will give you everything.”
Broken. "Everything" is, by its nature, a rival good. If Rex from Texas has everything, including certain non-transferable powers, exclusive relationships, and financial resources, then I cannot possibly have those things. Over-promise and under-deliver, am I right?
Donald J. Trump is now President of the United States, and this blog is going nowhere. 

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