With Trump’s election as president, it would seem that we have fallen into a political dark age. How long will this darkness last? Why did it happen? What does it mean? And what can we do about it?
The circumstances that lead to this unthinkable outcome are important because we want to know how we can prevent something similar happening in the future. We want to get to a place where we can say with confidence, “Never again.”
I am going to forego a discussion of the reasons Trump won until a future blog. There are at least ten main reasons and collectively they were enough to result in a narrow win in the Electoral College. Trump still lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes.
If you are at all like me, you may be experiencing profound unhappiness, anxiety, and even trauma at this turn of events in our country. It’s tempting to turn the whole thing off, ignore the news, and just hope for the best.
However, it is incumbent upon all of us who see Trump’s ascendancy as the distressing reality that it is to ask ourselves one simple question, “What the fuck?!”
The real tragedy of the Trump presidency would be to fail to see the lessons of his coming into power and become discouraged and demoralized. We might well then become negligent in getting to work to turn our country’s destiny in a different direction.
In calling the time of Trump an extremity, I mean to call attention to the fact that, for better or worse, we have elected someone who highlights aspects of our culture that need to be changed.
If you hold it as I do that humanity is supported by various aspects of a spiritual network that includes our lineage and our spiritual guardians, you might feel as though they have let us down. Why would they let this happen?
My reading is that the election of Trump is a symptomatic breakdown of our civilization. It is a breakdown which forces us out of our comfort zone into a profound questioning of what is happening to us.
In our own personal experience, we encounter these symptomatic breakdowns just at those times when we fail to heed messages from our higher self that we need to make significant change in our lives.
For example, when my father died suddenly, I told myself that I didn’t need to grieve very much, that I didn’t have much unfinished business with my dad. Just as I was having this very thought, I ran through a red light right in front of a policeman.
I could give you many more personal examples. When we can’t get what we need to know through other means, our higher self conspires to arrange some outcome, usually of a disconcerting nature, which forces us to consider the meaningful connection between events and our attitudes and beliefs.
I believe the symptomatic breakdown serves the same purpose for our collective selves as it does for us individually. The spiritual powers that be have conspired to take us to this painful place as our needed wake-up call. We are caught up in a growth conspiracy, i.e., a circumstance that gives us the opportunity to transform and evolve.
Had Hillary won, it would have been business as usual. The progressive aspects of our society would have assumed all was well and have gone back to sleep.
Then, in 2018, the Democrats would have taken another clobbering in the House and Senate and in local races, just like in 2010. The Republicans would have become even more deeply entrenched in the Congress and in the state governments than they already are.
As it is now, the resist Trump movement has awakening many people to take political action who would have remained uninvolved before. People are starting to mobilize in large numbers and Trump has not yet been president for even two months.
I hate it like hell that we have come to the place where we need such desperate measures as electing Trump president. But here we are. We have to put our attention on what we can do to move away from this nadir of political reality.
Trump has the worst approval rating of any incoming president in the recent history of the nation. In many ways, what he represents is the complete inverse of what we need. He is the ultimate negative role model. Observe what he’s up to and then go 180 degrees in the other direction to find justice, peace, and sanity.
Although the Republican Party was loath to support Trump early on in the primary season, once he become the nominee and had a chance to be elected, they jumped on board the band wagon.
90% of self-described Republican voters voted for him and he still has the support of about 85% of those. The Republicans in Congress have to date done almost nothing to oppose any of Trump’s executive orders or cabinet picks with the one exception of his choice of labor secretary.
This means that Trump is the new face of the Republican Party and it will hard for them to disentangle themselves from this identification when his presidency finally implodes.
What we need to be about is creating a world which works for everyone not just for the privileged few. However, Trump is a stand for maintaining the privileges of the few. His slogans of “America First” and “Make America Great Again” embody this idea.
Although we constitute less that 5% of the world population, we use about a quarter of world natural resources and produce the second largest amount of green house gas pollution of any country behind only China. One-half of the world’s solid waste comes from the United States.
Trump’s attitude is we’ll do what’s best for America and to hell with the rest of the world.
This view is incredibly short-sighted. If we do not develop an ecological intelligence about how we impact the planet, we will contribute to making a world that does not work for anyone. Whether we like it or not, whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all residents of one planet in human sourced ecological crisis.
At this moment, the political figures in power are the most anti-science and environmentally oblivious of any in the history of our entire nation. Almost all of these are Republicans. As Trump’s presidency contributes to the relative demise of the Republican Party, the entire world will be served.
Of course, not all people in the United States are part of the privileged few that Trump wants to lead. Make American Great again is part of a campaign of religious and ethnic diversity intolerance. If you’re Christian and you’re white, you’re part of the Trump nation, but not if you’re Muslim, an immigrant, or an undocumented person.
Trump’s triumph in the election was due in no small part to his implied promise to restore white dominance and privilege after a period when a black man was president.
Seeing ourselves as one global family has to start in our own country with diversity sensitivity, acceptance, and tolerance. Whatever greatness American has achieved, and whatever it will achieve, is due in small part to the fact that we are a melting pot of the entire world.
The planet as a whole and the United States in particular is becoming a more tolerant place. Legalization of gay marriage and gays and transgender people participating openly in the military are just two examples. Unfortunately, this tide of liberalization is met with fierce resistance by those in our country and in the world who see this as the disintegration of civilization.
Trump is on the wrong side of history here and his ascendancy will not reverse the trend towards justice, tolerance, and diversity acceptance. Because he is out of step with what is happening nationally and globally, whatever he does along the lines of trying to institute white nationalism will serve to create an opponent process that mobilizes political action not only against him, but against Republicans in general.
We can help define ourselves politically by recognizing what we are clearly opposed to in our country.
The response to his ban on people coming in from Muslim majority countries is one example of this. It’s not a secret that this policy was instituted to be a Muslim ban that could stand up to legal scrutiny.
Although they may not comfortable with him and some of his policies, the Republican politicians have so far fallen in line behind Trump because they share some of the same investment in what could we could call the conservative corporate complex.
To my knowledge Bill Moyers was the first person to use this term in an article called “Welcome to the Plutocracy.”
Corporations are by their very nature and design self-serving entities. They will do pretty much whatever they can get away with to thrive and prosper. All that stands between them and the destruction of our ecosphere through unchecked corporate greed are government regulations and political intervention.
Unfortunately, many of our politicians are mere puppets of the corporations. They are dependent upon them for the money to win their campaigns and stay in office. The corporate corruption of our society extends to people of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
However, the Republicans as the traditionally business friendly party, are ideologically invested in promoting the welfare of corporations even when it results in the detriment of the average citizen and the environment.
Conservatism is a political philosophy which has a long and proud history of trying to maintain certain values, ideals, and principles which are believed to be for the collective good.
But Trump’s perversion of conservatism seeks to conserve power and privilege by using whatever means necessary. It’s an uncompassionate conservatism of diversity intolerance.
One thing that Trump’s presidency does is to highlight the unsoundness of the some of the basic premises upon which the conservative corporate complex depend to maintain their political hegemony.
For example, many people accept the idea that whatever is good for business must be good for everyone. After all profitable businesses result in jobs and employment.
Regardless of what may have been true in the past, this idea is not longer tenable. The profits of corporations are at unprecedented levels while the wages of people who work for them below the level of corporate management have been almost flat since the 1980s.
The corporate bosses and their investors are experiencing tremendous increases in wealth but everyone else is treading water economically.
Trump was able to persuade large number of working class people that he was on their side and that he would be their champion. However, when you look at the people he’s put into his cabinet, what you see is a plutocrat picking other plutocrats to run the government.
Trump made the argument that he was too rich to be corrupted. Rich people don’t need to resort to corruption because they are already wealthy. But the richer you are, the more you have to protect, and concerns about preservation of wealth usually come before a focus on improving wealth inequality.
Moreover, many of the rich become so because they engaged in unethical practices as Trump did when he refused to pay all of his construction workers and manipulated the bankruptcy system to avoid paying the full measure of his debts.
Although there are some very rich people who are trying to improve the welfare of everyone, Bill Gates, for example, it should become more apparent with the Trump presidency that you can’t trust the very rich to take care of the common man.
With respect to the question of how long we have to put up with Trump as president, my reading is about one calendar year. Trump is our most corrupt president ever. He has done and will continue to do many official government acts which support his bottom line.
Just one example is how he goes to his Mar-A-Lago property in Florida on a regular basis. This is using the government for your personal benefit as every visit there enhances the reputation and bottom line of that particular business enterprise.
It will take a while for Trump’s connection with Russian oligarchs to come fully to light. A turning point will be when his tax records are subpoenaed by a congressional committee. The Republican leadership don’t want to blow Trump out of the water too soon because they hold out hope that he will be amenable to their legislative agenda.
But the lies will catch up with Trump and he will be forced to resign. Then, unfortunately, we will have President Pence. By this time though the Republicans will be tarred with Trump’s corruption, lies, and deceit.
In summary, Trump is the vehicle for the opponent process we need and the negative role model to help us resist the environmental, economic, and political injustice that he champions.
However, there is yet another dimension to Trump’s presidency that must be underlined. In addition to the ordinary meaning of political injustice where one group tries to oppress people of lesser power and influence, Trump takes political injustice to levels seldom seen in America.
For Trump is trying to persuade everyone that his twisted and distorted view of reality is what we should all accept and embrace. When you are able to control someone’s sense of what is real and unreal, this is ultimate control. It is what we witness in cults.
Many of Trump’s followers do seem to have a cult mentality. They accept whatever he says as true and adjust their picture of reality accordingly. In one survey, for example, 38% of Trump voters believed that George Soros paid the people in the Women’s March to be there.
Trump says that the reason he lost the popular vote is because there was massive voter fraud, that we face an immigrant menace, and that we’ll be safer if he succeeds in banning people coming in from some countries with predominantly Muslim populations.
But, of course, there was no voter fraud, massive or otherwise. Immigrants actually have lower crime rates than the general population and there have been exactly 0 deaths of Americans on American soil by terrorism from the citizens of any of the countries he wants to ban since 1975.
If he can get enough people to buy into his false reality based on his alternative facts, then this will be more leverage for him to spent more money on defense at the expense of the rest of the budget and proceed unimpeded with his white nationalist agenda.
This tyranny of perception and information control is what Bush used to justify his invasion of Iraq in 2003. Bush managed to sell his fantasy that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that these were a threat to us. But, of course, no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
So, what is that we can do to turn this political nightmare around?
I’m planning to write a series of Trump blogs and I’ll have suggestions in each one for action steps we can take. For now, let’s start with something elementary that is easy to do and also a way to increase our mental health index.
My recommendation is to not look at any live Trump event such as a speech or news conference. What Trump says in these events are often not a reliable index of what he really stands for or what he is likely to do in the future. He doesn’t write these speeches and no one has yet solved the mystery of how Trump’s policy positions, such as they are, come to be in their final form.
To stay informed read commentaries and especially the fact checking segments.
I call for a world-wide boycott for all products and services associated with Trump and any of his businesses. Trump will not remain president for long if it’s clear that this is going to cause his business empire to tank.
Bear in mind that there will be an end to this political wilderness. My reading is that Trump will be a short term and temporary president.