A government of, by and for the deplorables

Gilbert Schramm is a resident of Newport.

The time has come, the ego has landed.  

Trump is president, and he clearly thinks he is now the sole law of the land. It is time for people to draw the line on this arrogant and false assumption. I sincerely thank the some 1,600 locals who joined millions nationwide to march in Newport the day after the inauguration.  

His apologists continue to insist that we should “give Trump a chance.” It has been several weeks: Trump has already blown his chance. We already know all we need to know.  

Trump’s first broken promise was that he would be “ready to govern on day one.” Instead, he wasted three months of transition time in tweeting and arousing the ire of foreign leaders from Germany, to China, to the Middle East, to Mexico. He has now antagonized Australia. The British just voted to prohibit him from addressing their parliament. When he took the oath of office he had managed to get just two cabinet appointees confirmed: his team failed to get their paperwork filed in time. The monumental ethics problems that have engulfed almost every one of his appointees made their vetting impossible in the narrow time frame set by GOP senate leader McConnell’s bizarre schedule — a schedule designed to push through Trump’s picks without proper examination.  

Trump’s new cabinet breaks his promises that he would “drain the swamp” and “give the government back to the people.” Unfortunately, most appointees are generals and corporate billionaires that personify the military-industrial complex, whose rising power President Eisenhower once warned us against. Most lack any real expertise in the departments they will head. Clearly, Trump has failed in his promise to choose “the best people.” The swamp denizens now control the cabinet.  

Trump disgraced himself at the CIA’s famous wall memorial by blatantly lying about the crowd sizes at his inauguration. He compounded that insult by ordering his press secretary to insist on his lies. His chief surrogate Kellyanne Conway then added to the disaster by claiming Trump was citing “alternate facts.” There are times when the president’s credibility is vital to rallying the nation. Trump has already reduced that credibility to nil.

The first week of government by imperial decree (something he had falsely accused Obama of using) ended in the catastrophe of the Muslim ban and the bizarre restructuring of the National Security Council. In the latter move, he demoted both the leading military figure in the country and the leading intelligence figure while moving his white supremacist advisor Steve Bannon (a man who made his name promoting fake news), into the heart of our nation’s most serious discussions about intelligence and foreign policy. Could anything be more dangerous?  

You can say that Trump is keeping campaign promises: the real problem is that so many of those promises were dangerous, unconstitutional, unworkable and misguided.  

The Muslim ban is an unconstitutional attack on religious tolerance that does nothing to keep us safer. Since 1975, not a single person from any of the seven targeted countries (which include Syria, Iraq, and Iran) has killed a single American on U.S. soil. The odds that an American will be killed by an immigrant are 3,600,000 to 1. But the Muslim ban is not merely ineffectual as a safety measure, it actually makes any existing threat worse. It will be a recruiting bonanza for extremists of all kinds, while diminishing the security cooperation of other countries. That is why over 1,000 state department employees have condemned it.  

Trump himself is already a greater danger to our security than any terrorist. He insists that a president’s main job is to keep Americans safe. Serious enforcement of existing environmental law and the expansion of Obamacare would both do far, far more to save American lives than banning Muslims or escalating tensions with Iran and China.  

All in all, it has been weeks of unmitigated, unparalleled, incompetence — and odds are there is much worse to come. For the next four years, our government will be as deplorable as the ideas of the people who elected it. See you in the streets.

Newport News Times, February 22, 2017, A6

 

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