The popular narrative in recent times that the far right is doing their level best at perpetuating is that the Democrats and the left are a bunch of intolerant, violent, hooligans who love crime and violence. You see, the GOP and Trump can’t pretend that the nation isn’t radically divided. Trump can certainly lie about a lot of things and do it right to people’s faces, but even he can’t tell his base that massive protests over his behavior and GOP politics aren’t happening. But they can tell people that it’s because the Left is angry and violent. And it’s an easy lie to buy into, because the left is indeed angry. We’re angry at how good people are being treated. We’re angry on behalf of the people that politicians are hurting, even if those people aren’t angry themselves. The GOP sell this idea of the liberals and left being the great dividers of that nation, while at the very same time calling democrats criminals who can’t be trusted, calling the media the enemy of the people. And as of last week, it’s pretty clear which side is quick to jump to violence. How many bombs have to be sent or innocent people killed in synagogues before it becomes clear where the problem lies? Even now, conservative media is selling the story that even despite all the violent lunatics who are working on behalf of GOP ideology, it’s the liberals who are really the violent monsters, while encouraging people to deal with liberals violently. Something’s gotta give, and I’m scared of what it looks like when it does.
So after weeks of claiming that the separation of families at the borders was both A) Out of his hands/Not his fault and B) A totally necessary thing, Donald Trump is signing an executive order to end the vile practice that has been the result of persecuting and prosecuting asylum seekers, hoping to find refuge from awful conditions at home. On a near daily basis, Trump has claimed that this practice was the result of legislation enacted by Democrats and that it was on them to fix it. He claimed with vigor that there was nothing he could do. Now, a number of high ranking government officials who know the logistics of this predicament have very vocally disagreed that this was out of his hands. That he could make this go away with a phone call. That this practice was part of a wider protocol to deter immigrant asylum seekers from seeking refuge. Trump vehemently denied this was the case. Then on Wednesday, he went and basically made the call he claimed he was incapable of making. If the weight of that ridiculousness gives you a headache, well, welcome to the United States of America!
Friday really should have been a slam dunk day for Trump and co. He got to welcome home 3 freed prisoners from North Korea, and for even the most disliked of Presidents, and event like that is a banner day. You shake some hands, say welcome home, and the evening’s headline is at the very least positive, if not glowing. But Trump’s people have to defy expectation. They can’t have a normal day. So instead, his staff has to leak that a random staffer at the White House was being glib about the health of John McCain. Again, we are reminded that Trump hires the best people.
Another Senate race has been getting a lot of attention recently. The race out of West Virginia has been quite contentious because of a GOP candidate named Don Blankenship, a coal baron with a sketchy past. Even if his past as arguably one of sleaziest employers in American history wasn’t enough, his adverts and statements have been courting a fair amount of controversy, which is putting a delicate spin on it. Even Donald Trump is, unequivocally denouncing Blankenship, and Trump couldn’t even bring himself to do that for Roy Moore, and that guy was accused of sexually assaulting a number of teenage girls. Despite Trump’s attacks on him, Blankenship is surging ahead in the Republican primaries, ironically, using a number of Trump-like tactics, like embracing conspiracy theories and engaging in mudslinging with colorful nicknames of people he doesn’t like. And considering his ties to the coal industry, an industry that Trump is fighting tooth and nail to save, something about this guy is bad enough for even Trump to want to pull out the rug from under him.
So Trump called Kim Jong Un “honorable”, and…well let’s just say it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I mean, I kind of understand where Trump is coming from on this. He’s acknowledging that Kim has given the appearance of openness and open-mindedness preceding talks between world leaders, and that is not a bad thing, but to call him “honorable” feels like a total slap in the face to everyone who opposes him and to everyone under his tyrannical thumb. Seriously, North Korea is on the constant verge of starvation, citizens have very few rights, they’re encouraged to spy everyone around them, which no doubt makes trust impossible. They have gulags and re-education facilities that are basically torture factories, and at the tippy top of that pyramid is Kim Jong Un, a man who never had to work for anything, is pampered and treated basically like a god. “Honorable” is not a word that feels appropriate sitting anywhere near Kim Jong Un.
Here’s the thing about Hannity and Cohen: I’m having trouble getting too upset about it. Sure, it’s weird that Hannity would use Cohen, considering what his “legal” expertise and practice was used for, and I’d be willing to bet Hannity has some things he’d rather not have disclosed publically, but I really just don’t care much in terms of the ethics of it. Both because I don’t think much of Sean Hannity’s ethics anyway, but also because I can’t apply journalistic standards of ethics to Hannity, as I don’t consider him a journalist. I don’t think many people do. He’s a TV personality that occasionally brings up things in the news, but he doesn’t report things. He editorializes and gives a narrative about it. Usually a scumbaggy narrative that involves slander and defamation. Regardless, it would be like if Jon Stewart and Barack Obama had the same personal attorney when Obama was in office. Sure, some conservatives would probably wanna cry about it, but as Steward himself has said time and again, he’s an entertainer, not a journalist.
I’ll give Trump this: he’s certainly good at keeping people guessing what he’s really thinking. One second, you are just certain he’s sitting in Putin’s pocket, the next he’s throwing around tough boy talk and shooting missiles and imposing more strenuous sanctions, then the next day he’s saying “naw, just kidding, no sanctions.” If I was more conspiracy theory minded, I feel like I could connect some dots here, but I’m not, and I won’t. But I’m certainly feeling the whiplash from his flip flops.
Trump and friends are now floating around the idea of arming teachers in the wake of Parkland. I know it’s not a new idea, but it’s a particularly bad one. Seriously, it’s dumb. It’s a bad idea for a multitude of reasons, where the benefits are haphazard at best. A teacher holding a gun is expected to get into a standoff with a mentally unstable person, perhaps shoot the person, who is hopefully not wearing any kind of body armor, and will hopefully, in a high stress situation, not misfire the weapon, or shoot an innocent person in the crossfire. All of this doesn’t even take into account the idea of having a stressed out teacher having a firearm within reach while thinking about a frustrating problem child who won’t shut up…Just sayin’….
Trump is now using a national tragedy and utter failure in addressing policy, to trash the investigation into Russia. He’s claiming that because the FBI was busy investigating Russia, they somehow missed out on preventing the school shooting in Florida. Beyond being an utterly disgusting way to shift the conversation away from his own misdeeds, it thoroughly, willfully disregards a lot of things, namely that the ENTIRE of the FBI, including the FBI agents in Florida, were focused on the Russia investigation, as opposed to a relatively small team lead by Robert Mueller.
So Trump wants a big, opulent military parade, and I feel almost weird talking about it, because you just know that Trump is looking forward to calling a bunch of people out for not supporting the troops by acknowledging how bad it looks. Because a grand parade for the Military isn’t about the soldiers. It’s a display of power. He’s not celebrating a holiday, or emphasizing a victory. He’s just flexing muscles. It’s a political body building contest. But Trump is savvy and duplicitous enough to turn that on it’s ear and stoke the rage flames from all of those who don’t see this move for what it is. Because the fact is that when people think of big military parades, people think of goose stepping Nazis and whatever that weird march step that the North Koreans do is. Make no mistake, this is just one more divide in the body of bipartisanship.