Thursday, November 17, 2016

About Last Week

We've had a week to process this. A horrific, terrible week in which half the country went through the stages of grief.

Everyone is obsessing over Donald Trump. Trump is coming for the gays!--Trump is gonna deport ya!--Trump is gonna tear Washington down and build it back up right!

The President is a powerful person, but not the only thing we must watch.

What happened on November 8? The Republicans took control of congress and most state governments. That's it.

Republicans stand for the following:

  • defunding government services and privatizing them, claiming that running them like a business and letting competition and the free market regulate them will make the services more efficient and benefit everyone, but really it's just to open a new market for their rich friends to make a profit. Costs go up, quality of service goes down
  • cutting taxes on business, claiming it will create jobs, but really just lines the pockets of their campaign donors
  • deregulation of industry, claiming it frees corporations from the burden of big government so they will create more jobs, but really just increases corporate profit at the expense of workers
  • gutting workers' rights to make us more competitive on the world stage, they say, but just gives business more freedom to outsource and squeeze the American workforce

...and so forth down the neoliberal path. Democrats do many of these same things, too, but to a lesser extent. (I have not forgotten Obama has been pushing the TPP.)

Trump will no doubt throw some of his own agenda into it, and some of those things may actually gain traction. He may be serious about congressional term limits. He may be serious about the Trump Wall/Fence. But all of that has to go through congress, and the old guard is still in office, and they have their own agenda.

America didn't just give power to Trump. It gave power to the Republicans. Don't lose sight of that.

We don't know what Trump will do now, and that depends on the answer to the following question: why did he run for president? It took him sixteen years of trying to run for office to be taken seriously and get elected, but why did he bother? Does his heart really ache for the working class, or did he have another goal? We'll find out whose side he's really on when we see which bills he supports and which he does not, and what his subordinates do.

His recent 60 Minutes interview has calmed some people's nerves, thinking that now he will behave--all that racism and sexism and incompetence was the liberal media taking him out of context and people should listen to him. Keep in mind in this interview he proposed the people protesting his election may be "professional protestors," i.e. people hired by liberal groups to stir the population against him, as if there simply can't be people out there who don't want him to be president. And he only half-assed told his supporters to stop being violent against Muslims and Latinos, as if he didn't believe it could be happening. Between that interview, and others, I am not comfortable.

Maybe we'll get a presidency full of crazy antics just like his campaign, maybe we won't. Maybe he'll be a hands-off president and the real governing force will be the people to whom he delegates power, maybe not. Maybe he will be in way over his head, suffer a nervous breakdown, and resign, maybe not.

Forget about Trump. Stop obsessing over him and speculating on what he will do. His promises are irrelevant. The man himself is irrelevant. Republicans are in power again, and we already know what they will do.

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