Entering the year, the signs were there, This was not going to be a good year.
Now, Eugene Robinson, an editorial writer for The Washington Post, confirms what you already knew deep down in your soul. His title says it all:
Robinson takes into account the fact that at least a few people were willing to give the yet-to-be-inaugurated President Trump the benefit of the doubt at the beginning of last year. While many of us feared the worst, at least a few still believed that he couldn’t really be that bad, could he?
Well, at least in one way, Trump has exceeded all expectations: he’s worse than we ever imagined. As Robinson explains:
Did you ever think you would hear a president use the words “very fine people” to describe participants in a torch-lit rally organized by white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan? Did you ever think you would hear a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations thuggishly threaten that she would be “taking names” of countries that did not vote on a General Assembly resolution the way she wanted? Did you ever think the government of the world’s biggest military and economic power would reject not just science but also empiricism itself, preferring to use made-up “alternative facts” as the basis for major decisions?
Yes, worse than anyone could have possibly imagined unless they are a particularly inventive author of dystopian fiction.
While the description “narcissistic and shallow” was fairly universally accepted as applicable to Trump before he took office, Robinson goes on to say, people thought that he might accept a mantle of responsibility and “grow into the job.” Instead, he went the other way.
“By all accounts, the president spends hours each day watching cable news, buoyed by the shows that blindly support him — “Fox & Friends,” “Hannity,” a few others on Fox News — and enraged by those that seek to hold him accountable. His aides have had to shorten and dumb down his daily briefings on national security in an attempt to get him to pay attention. Members of his Cabinet try to outdo one another in lavishing him with flowery, obsequious praise that would embarrass the Sun King.”
“Trump and his enablers have waged a relentless war against truth in an attempt to delegitimize any and all critical voices. He wields the epithet “fake news” as a cudgel against inconvenient facts and those who report them. Can a democracy function without a commonly accepted chronicle of events and encyclopedia of knowledge? We are conducting a dangerous experiment to find out.”
Robinson cites the spinelessness of Congressional Republicans for failing to “restrain an out-of-control executive,” the nepotism of Trump’s stocking the administration with incompetent and inexperienced offspring, and the topsy-turvy situation we now have with military generals are keeping “this rash and erratic president from careering off the rails” rather than the more typical scenario with civilian control of an adventurous military.
In an effort not to ruin everyone’s Christmas, Robinson ends on a positive note, discussing the Resistance, the Woman’s March, and subsequent Democratic victories in formerly Republican strongholds, saying that those races “were not about D’s vs. R’s. They were about sanity vs. insanity, reason vs. chaos. They were about Trump, and he lost.”
His closing paragraph is a veritable mission statement for 2018:
“So Godspeed to the Mueller investigation, but let him worry about that. The rest of us — Democrats, independents, patriotic Republicans — should work toward the November election. Our duty is to elect a Congress that will bring this runaway train under control.”
The only appropriate reply to that sentiment on this Christmas Day is “Amen, brother, Amen!”