Jan. 20th, 2017


Jan. 20th, 2017 10:51 am
monk222: (Default)
A foggy morning. If only the sun would come out early and stick around, I might yet get these cats out. Meanwhile, this fog only adds to the wet dankiness. ... ... Pop claps and cheers as Trump takes the oath of office. He is a good measure of the lowest common denominator. He always favors the Dubyas and Trumps, and no doubt Reagan - like he is white or a millionaire, or someone who likes to think that he is. ... ... Someone on Twitter noted that the government's webpage on climate change is gone now. Daimon says, "See it was a hoax!" Oh, brave new world. "You always said the world needs a revolution!" Yeah, but not a right-wing fascist revolution - another FDR/LBJ, not another Mussolini/Hitler. ... ... Thomas Paine: "From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step." [World as Will and Representation] ... ... Hmmm, I see that Netflix's "House of Cards" is still a thing. Season five is coming up. Reality seems to have outstripped that show. I remember when I was anxious about ever getting a chance to watch it. We were late coming to Netflix. But then the show became a feminist Robin Wright show, and the show lost me. It was a pretty good first season that was worth the hype. ... ... Pop is leaving with Kay to stay at her place overnight. So that is a bit of a break going my way. It's only one day, but it means I can get in a wank and a shave. I need both pretty badly. Pi says, "A shave! You usually only shave after you have achieved your Grizzly Adams face." I know, but with a new razor I have decided to upgrade my shaving policy. I'm trying for once a week, or at least every other week. I'm seeing how it feels: if it works for me. "And is it working for you?" I think so. But it's early days. ... ... David Brooks: "We’ve never had a major national leader as professionally unprepared, intellectually ill informed, morally compromised and temperamentally unfit as the man taking the oath on Friday. So let’s not lessen the shock factor that should reverberate across this extraordinary moment." I don't think you have to worry about that. A lot of us liberals literally see the end of the world, or at least the end of humanitarian government. Trump, not too surprisingly, actually gave a strongly populist speech anent class issues: the people have been forgotten by an arrogant political ruling class, and he is going to fix that! I suppose it's possible we could be surprised, but given his cabinet appointments and the things said during the transition, it looks like Trump is ready to lower the boom on the lower half, as he shatters into pieces the dam that had been holding hard-right Republicans back from realizing all their dreams of tearing apart the net of social and environmental policies that have the made country a halfway decent place to live in. Now they control both the House and the Senate, along with the Court, and now they have Trump, who looks like he is more than happy to lead the way to that plutocratic dream of a despoiled country and a broken people but, oh, what grand estates! ... ... Ann Coulter: "Libs upset there's no inaugural poet. I'm happy to fill in. Roses are red violets are blue, Trump won so screw you."
monk222: (Default)
Old Policraticus of LJ's Debate days posted a thoughtful message for Trump's inauguration. It's worth keeping.


I did not vote for Donald Trump. Nor did I vote for Hillary Clinton. I stood aloof this cycle, unwilling to lend my endorsement to any candidate. I could not lend my support to either of such a despicable pair. God help us.

That being said, because I am a Republican of a libertarian-ish bent, there was something not unpleasant in watching House Clinton come up short in November. I confess the Schadenfreude was strong. Few cliques of smug, self-righteous, preening snobs have deserved their come-uppence more justly. And that they received it from the very hands of voters they have taken for granted for a generation made it even more delicious. Despite my dismay at Donald Trump's vulgarity, ignorance and braggadocio, I have to admit I began to really root for his success. Partially because our country desperately needs effective leadership, but also because having a successful Trump presidency will really but the boot in those who have presented themselves for so long as our moral and intellectual superiors. Watching the condescending faces of the MSNBC and CNN reporters fall into confusion and sadness on election night is something that needs to happen again, and again, and again. I'm not sure those emotions are entirely creditable on my part. But there it is.

So far, I am guardedly hopeful. His cabinet appointments have been not terrible. They are evidence of an Administration that is seeking real substantial change, if not radical change. He has chosen people with real world experience, not necessarily people steeped in government. Since that is the very platform on which Trump ran, I think this is refreshing. It looks like he wants to keep his promises. Will it work? Well, about that I am not very optimistic, since bureaucracies and the beneficiaries of bureaucracy are deeply entrenched and will howl mightily with every attempted change and doggedly obstruct even the most modest alteration of the status quo. Like Trump, cabinet secretaries will have to learn that the ways of Washington are very different than boardroom. Will Trump be able to be a steady, forceful hand? Or will he descend into Trumpian caricature? Before the transition I would have thought, "you can't treat the government like a game show, he is going to tweet himself into irrelevancy." Now? Its anybody's guess. I have been so comprehensively and uniformly wrong about Trump from the moment he rode down the golden escalator into our lives till 11:30 PM on November 8th, I now feel that he is as likely to be another George Washington as he is to be chosen form of Gozer the Gozarian.

I do know this: We have fetishized the Office of the President for too long in this country. For my whole life, and long before, we have been heaping more and more power and authority on the person of the President and giving a wink and a nod to behavior that would have sent men like Washington, Jefferson and Madison to the barricades with pitchforks and torches in hand. A lot of folks on my Facebook and elsewhere are acting as if we have truly elected Gozer. That what is at stake is the fundamental survival of our republic. I think this is overblown hooey. However, if you do believe this, does it change, even a little, your former support for the way we weaponized the Executive Branch of our government to do the heavy lifting that was to be handled by our Legislature? President Obama famously quipped that if the Congress was going to be "obstructionist" he had "a phone and a pen" and could legislate by regulation from his desk in the Oval Office. And he did. Many of my liberal friends cheered this when it should have raised the hackles of any person who loves this country. Why? Because now Trump will do the same. Only the opposite. I love this country. And I adore our Constitution, warts and all. Let me say that the separation of powers and the equal nature of each branch of government is not one of the warts. With the 1st Amendment it is the bedrock that has allowed our country to stay free. If the President can't get the votes to pass his agenda, that is a feature, not a bug. That is our system of government working exactly as it is designed to work. Failure of the President to pass his agenda is not the failure of the government. He must work with the Congress as an equal, not rule by diktat. The President is not a king. Maybe, just maybe, we can start remembering this as a society. Maybe the calls for deference to a president's agenda and the will of the people who elected him will be muted. Maybe the press will start doing its job again. Maybe we will start to remember that federalism isn't always a bad thing and that if people in California want to do thing differently than folks in Texas, maybe that is OK. Maybe we will decide that vesting so much power and authority in the Federal government isn't always in our best interests. Can Trump make real liberty fashionable again?

If Donald Trump can do this, then I think he will have done our country a great service, even if he didn't mean to do it



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