I want to give Donald Trump the benefit of a doubt. I want to believe that most of the wild and reckless things he said were intended to capture the alienated, blue collar vote, which he did. I want to believe that now that he has the prize he will try to be a good president and represent all the people, not just his angry base. He will back away from most of the outlandish things he said—building the wall, massive deportations, huge tax breaks for the rich, climate change denials, trade restrictions with Mexico and China (probably leading to trade wars), curtailing freedom of the press, bringing torture back, outlawing the right to choose, abandoning NATO, encouraging nuclear proliferation, and many others. Surely he will have to do some of these things to please his supporters, but he will move more moderately and try to reach out to Democrats to find some areas of common ground. The remarks he made following his victory were a sign of hope. After all, his election is hardly a mandate since most of the battleground states were very close, and he did not win the popular vote.
The alternative to a moderate, balanced approach is in my view disaster for the country and for our small, blue planet.
We will know what we are in for very soon. It will depend on whom he appoints and whom he chooses as his closetest advisors. So far we have mixed signals. Appointing Priebus as chief of staff sends a signal of a more moderate approach along the lines of what you would expect from a traditional Republican—not to my liking but not doomsday. Stephen K Brannon is doomsday. He is the champion of the Alt-Right. His message is one of hate, dividing the country and promoting right wing extremists. I do not see how these two can work together for very long. Whom will Trump listen to? Who will win out?
The other early warning sign is immigration. Yesterday on “Sixty Minutes” Trump boasted that he would move forward with a wall/fence and deport between two and three million illegal immigrants “immediately.” How this delicate issue is handled could be the whole ballgame. If he sticks to his pledge to focus on the “bad hombres” –mainly immigrants with violent, antisocial police records, this is probably something the country can handle. This is really no different from what Obama has been doing. Very few experts, however, believe that there are anywhere near three million, violent felons who are undocumented living in the U.S.
If he expands the target population to deport the American Dreamers, who have been granted work permits by Obama, we are talking pain and suffering to the extreme. There are over 750,000 of these people, who came here as children and have made lives for themselves. Many are now married and have families. Perhaps as many as two million people would be affected when taking into account spouses and children. I know some of these folks. They love America. They are making a contribution. They are hard working. They are wonderful people. Our businesses depend on them. To start to round them up and deport them would put us on a path not that dissimilar to the path Hitler took Germany in the 1930s. Sure, some will say this is a gross exaggeration and certainly there are some big differences. But think about the damage that this would do to people who are, yes, innocent. Most came here as children with their parents. And similar damage would be done to others who overstayed visas or took extraordinary risks to get to a country which offered them a better chance. They did break the law to get here, but most have now been here for years and have become a fabric of our country. Deportation is not the answer. Instead we need a comprehensive immigration law similar to what the Senate passed on a bipartisan basis. Will that happen?
We do not know the answer to any of these questions, but we are going to find out pretty soon. Those who did not vote for Trump and now fear his presidency—and that is a majority of Americans—will not and cannot roll over and play dead, watching from the sidelines as our nation changes in ways unthinkable. It is not a pretty picture.
11 thoughts on “Early Warning Signs 2”
The most dangerous “early warning” sign is Trump’s choice of Bannon for Chief of Strategy. WE MUST protest this now. Call your Senators!!
Yes, dear Naomi,
This is what we have to do, immediately. It’s on my “action plan” for the day and I urge all of us to call our senator’s, both parties, to voice our opposition to Bannon.
For a well-documented background Bannon, see Rachel Maddow’s show of last night.
Love, Eva (Martine’s daughter)
Yes. I am hopeful that this is nothing more than a sop for the hard right. Trump’s most trusted son-in-law is a Jew. He is married to Ivanka, who has converted. They have two children. To be born a Jew your mother must be one. Otherwise, you are not and must convert. The ancient Hebrews apparently had figured out that maternity is a matter of fact whereas paternity is merely a matter of opinion.
I forgot the part about the Middle East. The so called Arab Spring has been a disaster for the Arab world. Tens of thousands of dead lie in its wake. Maybe strong men are right for some who have never known anything else. Maybe we are arrogant to presume to know what is best for the rest of the world. I hope we didn’t play any part in engineering any of this mess. And like many I wish we had a do over on the Iraq invasion, the quintessential road to hell paved with good intentions.
Protesting to the Senate is meaningless. The two positions in the Trump administration (as opposed to the transition team, which is in chaos) announced so far are Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and Stephen Bannon, Chief Strategist and Counsellor to the President, both of which would be on the President’s personal staff and NOT subject to Senate confirmation. If you want to protest, address either Trump or Mike Pence (as head-of-the-Transition-designate).
I lack Joe’s self-discipline, so have set up a blog trying to track thru the first 100 days, or as long as I can stand. . . Mostly pertinent clips and quips, plus my own occasional snideness: Wake Me When We’re Great Again at — if the URL gets stripped, it’s wmwwgr8a, followed by a dot wordpress and dot com.
Your website is fabulous and everyone should take a look at it. I will be a regular viewer!
The point about Bannon not being confirmed by the Senate is well-taken. Protesting to Mike Pence is a good idea.
However, a mass protest to elected officials regarding this appointment will be meaningful to Trump.
Remember, this is the insecure narcissist who let a contestant’s popularity with his television audience decide whether or not he would say “You’re fired”.
Trump has not shown himself to be very concerned with procedure and rules, nor has he shown himself to be committed to a particular ideology. However he is committed to whatever makes him feel adored. During the campaign, crowds at his rallies cheered on Trump’s hateful rhetoric and he increased it. The election over, Trump witnessed the contrary, mass protests against his hate speech outside his window. Trump responded in kind; in the “60 minutes” interview, saying “Stop it” to his supporters who commit hate crimes.
From whatever source it comes, the more pressure and the more unpopularity regarding Bannon that Trump feels, the more likely he will adjust his decision in an effort to gain approval.
Thank you Uncle Joe. I am so grateful for your wisdom and insights and will share with Jim. I was trying to be hopeful too, and your analysis regarding immigration has me continued to be worried. I am very active on Facebook now and in other ways. I will be protesting, am joining various community groups, and so forth. Never been active in anything like this before but this time it’s urgent. Can’t wait to see you at Thanksgiving! LOVE, Eva
Dad, I am enjoying your transition from happy-go-lucky travel writer into foaming-at-the-mouth political blogger and manifesto writer. Although you may have been happier floating down the Yangtze River or drinking martinis on the beach with old friends in Santa Barbara, the time has come for your eloquence to be put to political end. We need you, your country needs you, to help us make sense of the madness. Keep it coming.
Now you use the “m word,” bringing to mind those great cocktail hours (emphasis on the plural) with your dad on board Second Wind in the BVI’s.
A few thoughts.
I too voted for HRC—and, all the GOP congressional candidates, hoping for gridlock that would tide us over to 2020 and two more acceptable candidates. Basically, I voted for her, whom I found to be very objectionable, to avoid voting for him, whom I found to be super objectionable. Now, as they say, it is what it is. Trump’s campaign rhetoric was over the top, incendiary, egregiously insulting, and boorish. Given time I could come up with other such descriptives. Next to his rhetoric, Hitler’s was diplomatic and Mussolini’s statesmanlike. Now that he is president elect he is dialing all that back. He had to. It was unsustainable and irreconcilable with being president. His dissing of John McCain’s war service and the Muslim soldier that was a KIA were two of the timbers that broke this tired camel’s back.
All that said, I am more at ease with where Trump may take the Supreme Couft than I would have been with HRC, not that I think it should go markedly to the right or the left. I prefer the golden center. Extremes breed trouble be they right or left. Over the past eight years I believe the social engineers got too far out in front of John Q. Public. Not everyone is comfortable with their little girls sharing public toilets with men, even if the latter do feel they are really women. And personally I think prayer in public schools is good. It may well never have been outlawed in the first place had it not been for Madalen Murray O’Hair, a woman who made Trump look like a deity.
Same with Trump and taxes. Our corporate taxes are out of step with the rest of the world. The rash of “inversions” bear witness to this. Business, especially small business, should be encouraged and supported. They are after all the ultimate source of new taxes as opposed to the public sector that simply recycles old taxes.
As for the Wall, a totally preposterous idea. If the Mexicans can tunnel into a maximum security prison, right into the individual cell’s toilet, to spring their violent drug lord, I don’t think a border Wall will slow them down much. I do think we need to secure our Mexican border. But surely there is a better and cheaper way. I mean we put men on the moon, several times!
I noted with interest HRC’s margin of victory in DC, something like 95% to 5%. Talk about lack of diversity! If Washingtonians never have their views challenged it’s because all they hear are the echos of their own. Of course this includes the Washington press corps.
Finally the ACA. From the very beginning I felt it was a mistake to try to swallow the whole thing in one bite. Better to do it piecemeal so as not to overwhelm the system. As it is, it is imploding. I recently heard a presentation by our local hospital. I asked if they had seen any improvement in their indigent write-offs since the ACA and the answer was a resounding NO! The problem? It seems that the plain vanilla policy that the newly insured sign up for to satisfy the individual mandate carries a $5,000.00 deductible, which means it is really no insurance at all. So how well insured are those twenty million “newly insured” and why couldn’t the idiotsia have seen that coming? The spike in premiums in the week or two leading up to the election might well have been the difference. Hillary, on the other hand, prefers to blame Comey.
Maybe DJT will surprise me. Stranger things have happened, like his getting elected in the first place.