Thursday, November 24, 2016

Rules don't apply

Dear President-elect Tru–

Sorry, still trying to ease into this odd concept. President-elect Trump. President-elect. Trump.

[Okay …]

Probably doesn't matter, anyway: You won't be reading this. I'm not really writing it to you. On this Thanksgiving morning, I'm not writing to anyone but myself

Dear President-elect Trump,

Are you still running for president? Because it seems like you're still running for president.

It seemed like you were running when you met this week with editors and reporters of what you had called the "dishonest" and "failing" New York Times. You opened the meeting with a long recitation of your victory and how many people came to your rallies and how many speeches you gave in a day toward the end of the campaign. Maybe no one has given so many speeches in a day like that, you said in your superlative best/worst/highest/lowest way.

You told the assembled news staff:
"I think I’ve been treated very rough. It’s well out there that I’ve been treated extremely unfairly in a sense, in a true sense. I wouldn’t only complain about The Times. I would say The Times was about the roughest of all. You could make the case The Washington Post was bad, but every once in a while I’d actually get a good article."
I never thought I'd say this in a literal sense but — who died and made you king?
Did your daddy never tell you he loves you? It's like all of this is about getting approval from someone, anyone, who isn't related to you, paid by you, using you or sponging off you.

It's like you want The Times to run headlines like in cartoonist Jack Ohman's latest lampoon of your ideal newspaper, with a picture of you (natch!) pushing merchandise under stacked banner headlines:
You railed against TV news executives and anchors at a meeting before that, called them on the carpet for not being nice to you. As if.

The meeting with The Times almost didn't happen. You tweeted®™— falsely! — that The Times changed the meeting rules on you, so you canceled. "Not nice," you tweeted.©®

Then you met after all, and ended up calling the "failing" Times "a world jewel."

You demonstrate two points here:
  • You are the archetypal politician, telling people what they want to hear, when they want to hear it, for your own purposes
  • You are indeed, as CNN host Fareed Zakaria pointedly called you, a bullshit artist
You don't care about truth or facts and can't be held down by them. Whatever is, is what you say it is.

Convenient for you, hell for the world.

What does it tell you that you twice demanded an apology from the cast of the "overrated" (your tweet) Tony- and Pulitzer-prize winning musical "Hamilton," which urged Vice President-elect Mike Pence to govern the country for all Americans?

Your bullshit tweet said the cast "harassed" Pence, when the world could easily see, by numerous furtive videos, that the cast stood together in a line and the actor playing Aaron Burr read from a statement, calmly and elegantly.

It tells me you don't understand your new job in this republic. Not the governing part, anyway. The branding part, yes. So far, you seem to regard the presidency as another deal done, prime real estate snatched, the Trump brand elevated big league.

What does it tell you that, while you blustered into the "Hamilton" issue on your own, The Times editors had to press you into denouncing the National Policy Institute, led by alt-right white supremacist leader Richard Spencer, which met in Washington D.C. to hail your victory, complete with Nazi salutes?

You acted as if you didn't know about them, just as you did with white nationalist and perennial candidate David Duke:
"I don’t know where they were four years ago, and where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don’t know, I had nothing to compare it to.
"But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why."
Yes, you had better investigate. Very complicated, this thing.

This all tells me you are fear itself.

And/or you don't know what you're doing. Making America great again, whatever manic and magical thinking that has ever meant.

You've made this country unstable and uncertain, even among those who have voted for you. You don't seem to stand for something, so we fall for anything. Except the wall. Apparently you're still gonna build the wall, and Mexico will pay for it.

Oh, and a tax plan. I read two credible sources on your simplified income tax, with fewer brackets. Married taxpayers with children and daycare costs get tax breaks, not much change for other groups. The biggest tax break would go to the wealthiest .1 percent of taxpayers.

How's that for bullshit?

You just named as your Secretary of Education a woman, Betsy DeVos, who is quoted in the book "Dark Money," that her family is the leading donor of soft money to the Republic Party, and expects influence with her millions, in order to achieve "honest government."

Either that's startlingly refreshing or just plain Trumpian frightful.

Drain the swamp, you say.

Bull. Shit.

Your chief administration strategist, Steve Bannon, champions the alt-right white supremacist movement as editor of Breitbart News, and has said he is a Leninist eager to destroy the state.

Bannon?! You and your chief of staff Reince Priebus told The Times. He's never been anything but nice to us, never said a racist thing to us!

Makes me think of words I came across this week, attributed to poet Michael Rosen:
"I sometimes fear that 
people think that fascism arrives in fancy dress 
worn by grotesques and monsters 
as played out in endless re-runs of the Nazis. 

Fascism arrives as your friend. 
It will restore your honour, 
make you feel proud, 
protect your house, 
give you a job, 
clean up the neighbourhood, 
remind you of how great you once were, 
clear out the venal and the corrupt, 
remove anything you feel is unlike you...

It doesn't walk in saying, 
"Our programme means militias, mass imprisonments, transportations, war and persecution."
You don't seem to see a problem with being president and running your businesses — for which there doesn't seem to be any clear rule because there has never been, well, you.

If someone wants to stay in your new Washington, D.C. hotel — great hotel by the way, built under budget, you never forget to say — because your name's on it, whaddaya gonna do about it, am I right?

If you don't see a conflict with that, if you don't see the conflicts and compromises and limitations and blunders that can cause with this country's role in the world, you are alone. Except for those who are related to you, work for you, use you or sponge off you.

You make children cry. Children who wonder if you, in your caprices, will decide they shouldn't live in this country anymore. Families who wonder if you will subjugate them solely by how they worship.

Your chief of staff, Priebus, said you won't rule out a registry of Muslims, that there are some problems with Islam.

What does it tell you that, at an interfaith Thanksgiving service I attended last week, a member of the Methodist church that hosted the service, stood from amid the congregation with the need to tell a leader of the Muslim community here, "We're with you, we're with you, we're with you?"

What does it tell you?!

You're not ruling anything out. You'll look into it. Deportation? Registry? Waterboarding. We'll see.

President Obama suggested we wait, that the presidency has a way of maturing the president.

Two weeks, wait's over. We joined the American Civil Liberties Union (you actually get a card!). I went to the interfaith service, an idea I've always approved of from afar, since the extreme application of our worship has often resulted in hate and war and suffering.

The fight spreads to too many fronts now. Civil liberties. Freedom of speech. The environment, global warming. The economy. Civility.

A Muslim woman at the interfaith service said, "Maybe some good can from this, in ways that we cannot now know."

I'm awake now, Mr. President-elect. And I hope that's a good thing. I will do what I can to act as a citizen, for the good of this great nation.

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