It’s finally over. The electorate has spoken and in a few short weeks, the 45th President of the United States will be inaugurated. The most ill-prepared, inexperienced person in the history of the Presidency has been chosen to lead us. The voters wanted change. And change is what we’re getting. So let’s review what Trump has done, since his election, to prepare himself for this enormous responsibility and to deliver the change he promised.
He has attended two daily briefings about the state of the world and our national security; that’s two out of about 26 – so far. One would hope his interest in the topics might be piqued, but …apparently not.
He is in the midst of appointing advisors and cabinet officials. While he promised his supporters that he would ‘drain the swamp,’ it appears he’s populating it with vast numbers of alligators and other miscreants. He chastised Hillary for her close associations with Goldman Sachs but thus far has appointed a number of key people with significant ties to G.S. and Wall Street – whom he blamed for the “tremendous economic problems and who rolled over the working class.” Key appointments also come from Congress (presumably part of the D.C. swamp) in the form of Jeff Sessions and Tom Price, with more to come. Millionaires and billionaires all. And we should all be worried about the number of generals in leadership roles – after all, since Trump said he knows more than they do, one would hope he would have chosen people who were smarter and more knowledgeable. But perhaps those people don’t exist…we should know by now that nobody knows more than Donald. Take it from him.
And speaking of denizens of the deep, who is more qualified as a bona fide bottom dweller than Steve Bannon, lately from the home of the ‘alt-right’ Breitbart News. It’s been reported that Trump seeks out lots of opinions but tends to select the last one heard. As Trump’s top political advisor, it will be Bannon’s words that will be the last ones whispered in Donald’s ear. Do not underestimate the solace and comfort that hate groups, the sick and paranoid have found in Bannon’s selection. Based on the significant increase in reported attacks on minorities since the election, our home grown wannabe terrorists now feel part of the American mainstream – comfortable coming out to harass and bully and more. And now the man, whose publication the KKK and White Supremacist groups call their home, is mere steps from the Oval Office.
During this period of time, designed to prepare the new president for his awesome responsibilities, Trump has given us a preview of how he will govern. He intervened in the Carrier decision to move jobs from their plant in Indianapolis to Mexico. It’s reported Carrier caved when given the enticement of a 7 million dollar sweetheart deal, but it was most likely their parent company’s Pentagon contract, worth billions, that induced their sudden jolt of patriotism and empathy. Somehow I seem to recall the concept of crony capitalism – ‘government intervening in the free market economy to choose winners and losers’, as a big no-no by Republicans. Suddenly these actions are deemed praiseworthy. Remember when Trump trumpeted taxing manufacturing companies that left the States by imposing a 35 percent import tariff in order to sell those products here? Now all that is past tense. Instead, he and Pence GAVE a subsidy to Carrier to remain – paid for by Indiana taxpayers! Some precedent; one can already see companies lining up to get their share. Well, if the country has to declare bankruptcy because of all the taxpayer giveaways, at least we have a leader well versed in the practice.
The lack of transparency and conflicts of interest in this administration, remain massive problems and they interact with each other. While saving 1,000 jobs is critical to those impacted, one can’t help but wonder how many thousands of American workers would be employed and jobs created if Trump were to bring back HIS manufacturing jobs. Actually, to repeat, one can’t help but wonder, and only wonder, since there appears to be no way to find out just how many people are employed by Trump in foreign countries manufacturing shirts, ties, eyeglasses, perfume, etc. All of Ivanka’s clothing and jewelry is made overseas. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall his suggesting a 35 percent import tariff on those products. He is the first President in recent history not to reveal his tax returns so there’s no way of knowing all the foreign countries in which he does business. Just imagine the outcry if this was Hillary or Obama! One of the biggest legitimate concerns during the election was Hillary’s apparent conflation between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. That pales by comparison with Trump’s estimated hundreds of business activities in dozens of countries – all of which could be impacted by decisions made by government – and whose officials his administration will appoint. And naming his kids to manage his/their business interests is truly hiring the fox etc. etc. He has to completely divest himself and turn it all over to a legitimate blind trust or every decision made by his administration will be questioned and deserves to be.
Another concern remains his ongoing attacks on the press. Banning news organizations, calling out reporters by name and encouraging the crowd to boo the ‘lying press’ are chilling reminders of the actions of totalitarian governments. It was so bad during the campaign that some reporters needed Secret Service protection to escort them out of the venues. Trump went right back to that theme on the first stop of his “thank you” tour. Trump hasn’t had a press conference since he was elected…something he often and rightly chided Hillary for. A free and open press is as necessary to democracy as an informed electorate. There cannot be the latter without the former. Threats and demagoguery is an anathema in a free society and it is appalling.
This opinion piece began with the words, “it’s finally over.” On reflection, it’s actually just beginning. Let’s hope this isn’t the beginning … of the end.
Marsha Shearer is a resident of The Villages and frequent contributor to Villages-News.com