Their Incompetence, Our Only Solace
Here’s the thing about writing about this administration: the blunders and corruption move at light speed. We’re already at the day of Trump’s State of the Union address. Blunders and scandals include a typo on the actual invitation – calling it the State of the Uniom address. Whatever. Oh!, and it turns out that for only $35, Trumpers can have their name broadcast on the SOTU livestream. The obvious conflict of interest aside - who knows about the actual legalities of this – it’ll just be one more miniscule thing in an unending sea of corruption and cash-grabs. The scandals, the contempt, the disregard for rule of law here, in general, has become both dizzying and entirely normalized. Trump’s gonna Trump, and holy shit, we’ve become used to it.
I saw some folks mention a while back (Years? Weeks? A few friggin days?) that with Trump’s blusterous move in complaining about immigrants from “shithole countries” in Africa soiling the US with their presence, he supposedly deftly maneuvered the conversation about his mental unfitness for office to his unfitness for office via his outspoken, obvious racism. “Look at how he switched the narrative! He knows,” these people cry, “exactly what he’s doing.”
Except… no, he doesn’t.
This is no master-level chessman, friends. This is Donald Trump – often wily, wholly unconcerned with consequences, innately keyed in to gut-level emotions, yes, and sometimes very clever. But he’s also dumb as hell, intellectually stunted and criminally self-obsessed.
It’s not that he’s deftly switching the narrative like some master escape artist. He’s just a fucking mess. The narrative switches so quickly because one scandal piles on top of another.
There’s no chess game going on here. There’s a vain, narcissistic con man surrounded by a sea of yes-men, all of whom have hard-ons against immigrants, trans folks, and an entire fucking host of targeted, at-risk minorities. A con man surrounded by a great number of forces trying to hold onto systemic power through corruption, force, and money.
A few examples: There’s a number of various super PACs and orgs backed by right-wing billionaires (I’m looking at the Mercers and the Koch Brothers in particular) who know a cash-cow when they see one, who see in Trump a fellow glutton more than willing to place commerce before country, keeping the money-making apparatus grinding on. The Koch Bros are looking at investing $300 - $400 million dollars on midterms alone. How do you combat that?
House Republicans have voted to release the “explosive” Devin Nunes memo about FBI bias in the Russia investigation – but not the Democratic response that contextualizes and counteracts the memo. House Republicans also denied the opportunity to listen to FBI officials that details the intelligence mentioned in the memo. Meanwhile, Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, was forced out of the bureau. The Russian sanctions that were voted into law last year overwhelmingly by Congress, a bill that Trump signed, will now not be enforced, according to the Department of Justice, as the threat of said sanctions is apparently enough.
One has to wonder – after these sustained GOP attacks on the FBI since Mueller’s appointment – how that vote would have gone down were it to take place today. Last year, it was a bipartisan bill that passed overwhelmingly through both Houses. Now, hundreds of those same members of the GOP Congress are attacking, discrediting, dismantling institutions investigating Russia and Trump's connections. Why? What’s changed?
It’s been fucking insane, watching this happen to this country. This slow-motion ruination. Watching GOP members rally around this power-mad dipshit, fawning over him like he’s a king. People like Iowa Senator Steve King really come into his own as a full-blown white supremacist. Finally sloughing the whole charade off.
I mean, we’re fucked. I’m exhausted. This is exhausting. Watching all of this happen, watching these people do this.
Massive voter suppression is still underway, stifling and draconian voter ID laws are still making the rounds.
In spite of successful court victories in North Carolina and Pennsylvania recently, gerrymandering is still going strong.
ICE, as close to a Gestapo as we’ve got, is now jailing and deporting immigration activists.
On and on. The environment, deregulation, women’s rights.
I mean, any single day, you watch the news and then try to go and make your way in the world and it’s exhausting. Your heart gets tired. You get sick being that angry. You get sick feeling that helpless. Their ineptness is, brutally, some of the only solace we get. The fact that they just aren’t that good at this is really our only saving grace.
Meanwhile, what can be done? Long-term, what can be done.
I mean, I don’t have to tell you that, do I?
But here’s the thing – the forces have aligned against us. They have the massive influx of money, they have the influence, the power structures. The mechanisms in place to quiet us. The willingness to lie and deceive.
We’ve got numbers. Really, we do. I believe that.
So here’s the thing – in order to stem the tide of Trump’s administration, to quell the damage, we have to use our numbers. We have to register to vote. While marching and protesting and calling now, we also have to vote in 2018. And we have to help others to register others to vote, and have them vote in 2018. That’s how we do this. That’s the only way. That’s how we fight the Mercers and the Koch Brothers and dead-eyed Stephen Miller and self-concerned Trump. That’s how we gridlock these ruinous policies.
If you’re not registered to vote, please go do it.
If you’ve moved and you’re not registered at your new place, go do it.
If you can donate to Get Out the Vote campaigns, please do it.
If you can talk to your friends and family and neighbors and loved ones about registering, go do it. If you can help them with transportation, even better.
It’s become abundantly clear that voting matters. That elections have consequences. If nothing else, that’s what we should have learned from this.
We have the numbers. Let’s do this.