Continued from previous posts.
Policies and democracy. Trump worries me and many others, and our main concerns are in two areas:
Policy content. He – supported by his cabinet and the Republican congress – are likely to implement policies that erode social safety nets, transfer what’s now publicly and collectively owned to private corporations, and tends to benefit people like them (billionaires) at the cost of regular people.
Democracy. Trump’s m.o. is to (a) deny the truth of something easily verifiable, and (b) turning it back on the other (blame, name calling). This erodes the democratic process, norms, and unwritten rules built up over decades and centuries. His authoritarian and bullying tactics belong to the world of old-fashioned kings and dictators, not a democracy.
What we can do. So what can we do? We need to be what we want to see in the world:
Emphasize facts and reality.
Act with integrity and uphold democratic norms and processes. Support order instead of his chaos.
Support forward-looking policies and what we want to see in our society. Remember and develop our visions of the society we want to have.
Remember that a majority of people in the US support liberal policies – when these are presented outside of party politics. Remember that Trump got only a quarter of the votes, and less than half of the votes cast.
Focus on the issues and not his personality. Hold the media to a high standard of accountable reporting. Act with sanity and maturity.
Collapse. Many have predicted the end of the US empire and Trump is actively engaged in making it happen. It doesn’t take much to predict it right now, it’s happening right in front of our eyes. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What’s more concerning is the possible collapse of western civilization as we know it. The current version of our civilization is, as we all know, profoundly unsustainable. It can’t continue. The only question is how it will end and what will come instead.
If we take it seriously – far more than we have up to now – we can still create a relatively graceful transition to a more sustainable civilization. If we continue on our current path, and Trump even wants to reverse it, the transition may be in the form of a far more harsh collapse.
Trump as a useful idiot for Republicans. Many, including me, think that the Republicans will keep Trump for as long as he is useful to them. As soon as he becomes too troublesome – either in terms of damaging the Republican brand or by being too unpredictable and unruly – they’ll get rid of him. A Pence president won’t do the public any favors, but to the Republicans, he is far more predictable and in line with the Republican agenda. Robert Reich posted about this earlier today.
The upside. The possible upside of Trump and a Republican congress is that more people will wake up to what’s really going on. The Republican agenda is to line the pockets of the wealthy at the cost of ordinary people. And that’s what Trump is in the process of doing as well.
Even better would be if more people also wake up to the need and great benefit all around from creating a culture that’s aligned with ecological realities, but I doubt if the Trump situation can do that. Someone like Elon Musk are more likely to open people’s eyes.
A test. The Trump presidency is a test of sorts. It’s a test of our character. Again, it’s an invitation for us to be what we want to see in the world.
A mirror. At a more psychological level, Trump serves as a mirror. He serves as a mirror of what lurks in the US population. And he serves as a mirror for each of us. There is a simple way of exploring this.
Write a list of what you see in him. (He is… He should…)
Turn each statement around to yourself. (I am…. I should….)
Find three or more specific examples of how each statement is true for yourself – in this situation and other situations.