By Mike Orlock
It was Nieitzsche who said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” And the always acerbic H. L. Mencken once observed, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want…and deserve to get it good and hard.”
My feelings regarding the looming presidency of Donald Trump lie somewhere between these two cheery bromides. The optimist in me leans to Nietzsche, one of Adolf Hitler’s favorite philosophers. After all, following der Fuhrer‘s administration, look how Germany has prospered in the last half century. Sure, they may have had a few dark years there in the 1940s, but things seem on the uptick these days. Even if “The Donald” turns out to be “The Bust,” we may have to wait only a decade or two before we’re whistling on the sunny side of the street again, right?
The pessimist in me, however, thinks that Mencken might be closer to the reality of things. Based upon what I have seen and heard in the President-elect’s first post-election week, I think anyone who cares about some of those cherished American ideals we love to point to as proof of our “exceptionalism” is in for a serious reaming.
Consider some of the following: In response to questions that his victory in the electoral college but impending loss of the popular vote puts him in the same position as George W. Bush, seeking to bridge a divide in the electorate that might temper some of his more extreme positions, Trump scoffed at the notion that his wasn’t a landslide victory. Maybe that’s why he intends to leave much of the work in Washington to his “staff” and continue doing rallies around the country, feeling the love of his supporters in his never-ending campaign to make America great again. (Idea for Team Trump: start charging for tickets with prices comparable to the Stones and Beyonce; that way he can actually work on deficit reduction during his proposed 2017 U.S. Tour.)
Speaking of Washington, that “swamp” Trump has pledged to drain, I find it both interesting and ironic that the team he has assembled to accomplish this campaign promise is a veritable Who’s Who of Washington insiders and lobbyists. Trump seems to think his logic here is, like every thought bubble emanating from His Imperial Orangeness, brilliant: who better than the alligators to know all the secrets of the swamp? Yes, and who better to trust with protection of the chicken coop than the foxes who routinely raid it?
With regard to some of the ugly incidents that have taken place throughout the country following this incredibly negative campaign (which Trump, by the way, doesn’t regret one iota because he won), protests in major cities and some vile attacks on Muslims and immigrants, Trump’s take is that it’s unfortunate but some of it might be the fault of “professionals.” The people who are doing these things should (and I quote) “stop it.” Enough said. Now that he’s unified the country, he can get busy preparing to govern the world’s most complicated economy and culturally diverse society with the same flair and authority that made him a star on “The Apprentice.”
He still maintains that “The Wall” between Mexico and the United States will be built, although he’s no longer sure that Mexico will pick up the check. He’s also not sure if it will be a wall or a fence, but believe him, it will be beautiful, folks, this is what he does for a living. However, some of his surrogates have recently suggested that The Wall “The Boss” is talking about is more metaphor than mortar: think Roger Waters as architect and Pink Floyd as construction company. (Another Idea for Team Trump: Roger Waters and Pink Floyd, reunited, as the opening act for the 2017 Keep Making America Great Again Tour. You can probably double ticket prices and get to that balanced budget and deficit reduction in half the time.)
As for such mundane things as healthcare reform (of the reform known as Obamacare), banking reform (of the reform known as Dodd-Frank), infrastructure renovation (which has languished in Congress since President Obama had the audacity to propose it), foreign policy, terrorism, poverty, racism, climate change, pollution, disease, etc, etc, etc…don’t sweat it. He’s all over those things, big league!
Yeah, these next four years are going to fly by. To quote Trump’s own campaign anthem, “It’s the end of the world as we know it…”
Sturgeon Bay, WI