The week in Trump: Can you survive another one?
You guys! This is the week! Are you excited? It’s the week the GOP works to cram through their ultra-conservative Supreme Court nominee by gutting the Senate rules (again), belittling their colleagues and (likely) annihilating the filibuster, because they can, and because they no longer care.
It’s the week the GOP attempts to whine about Democratic obstruction of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, when of course they blocked Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland – the far better candidate – for nearly a full year out of sheer racist spite, and because they mean the world ill.
It’s the week countless smart people respond to the fact that the president appears to have been up in the wee hours of the night, yet again, binge-watching ‘Fox & Friends’ like a neurotic grandpa huffing glue, followed by tweeting out Fox’s trademark dumb-guy conspiracy theories as if they’re facts – despite how he, as President of the United States, has direct access to the world’s best intel and either he is too galactically stupid to understand this, or he merely prefers to keep himself and his army of trolls soaked in anti-intellectual slop. Is it both? It’s probably both.
It’s the week we move, slowly, lurchingly, closer to Trump’s elimination, be it impeachment, resignation, arrest for massive tax evasion or obvious Russian collusion, fiery karmic implosion or collective nuclear Armageddon with North Korea and that’s not even really a joke given how two senators, Sen. Ted Lieu and Sen. Ed Markey, have deemed it necessary to actually propose legislation (HS 669) removing the one-man nuclear option from the president’s stubby orange fingertips. They are serious. Because Trump is just that unhinged.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) April 3, 2017
It’s the week following the week when we all were forced to swallow the news that the GOP voted to allow ISPs to sell your browsing history to advertisers without notifying you, because Republicans have officially given up all pretense of moral compass in favor of kissing Trump’s ring of raw, bloody power. Also, money.
(Do you want to protect your browsing history? Block everyone from seeing where and what you’re doing, especially now? Of course you do. Here’s how).
Did you know Trump has left hundreds, nay thousands of positions empty across the entire federal government, with no signs of moving to fill them? Scroll down WaPo’s mega-list, and be severely disillusioned. Do you understand how destabilizing and dangerous it is to have nearly every department in the federal government – Transportation, State, Health, Defense, Housing, Energy, Justice, on and on – hobbled and gutted to the point of near shutdown?
Do you know there’s no one directing the Peace Corps? No one appointed to oversee the Social Security Administration? Multiple essential slots remain empty in Federal Trade, Elections, the Federal Elections Commission, Science, Environmental Quality, et al. The National Park system is in peril. All told, it’s a sloppily calculated recipe for governmental collapse, a pseudo-fascist kleptocracy and a hateful disregard for a well-functioning democracy – all rolled into one flabby, bloated, junk-food eating goliath of dumb.
The times, they can feel gnarled and cruel. What else might happen this week? Sean Spicer gets fired and goes to work for Hobby Lobby? Steven Bannon revealed to be 5th dimension lizard-king? The United Federation of Planets reclassifies Earth as sad globule of a bygone era, soon to be eradicated? The founder of Blackwater held secret meetings in the Seychelles to establish a back-channel between Russia and Trump? (Oh wait). Hey, it’s a fertile time in the downfall of humanity: Anything feels possible.
Is there good news to be found? Sure there is. Dianne Feinstein is voting no on Gorsuch. Rachel Maddow’s ratings are exploding. ‘Full Frontal’ is increasingly essential viewing. Anti-Trump polemics, reports, discourses, jokes, tirades, political screeds, thought-pieces, scathing editorials and high-powered tweets are getting sharper and more fearless. Hell, even Fox News is calling out the EPA’s chief cretin Scott “Screw Your Drinking Water” Pruitt over his claim that humans have little or no role in the climate’s devastating collapse. If that ain’t the devil calling Moloch evil.
Meanwhile, the brightest and most intelligent among us, including media outlets and journos, pundits and activists, filmmakers and celebs, are finding new intellectual footing, are re-galvanized like few times in history, as myriad new voices, companies, ideas are fast emerging to challenge Trump’s toxic narrative.
Will it be enough? Absolutely not. But also: Maybe.
Which is to say: The resistance will not only come in the form of protests, ACLU lawsuits and Democratic re-strategizing. It also comes in the form of weeding out and ferociously defying the voices of hate, of dumb, of fakery and lie, the messages that seek to keep us separate and in a state of low-level, morally weakened panic.
It’s the rule the terrorists know best: To gain new terror recruits, you must savagely isolate them, deprive them of close relations or a sense of shared humanity. You must forcibly violate fact with illusion, dumb POTUS tweet with manufactured truth. As Hannah Arendt once wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism,
Terror can rule absolutely only over men who are isolated against each other… Therefore, one of the primary concerns of all tyrannical government is to bring this isolation about. Isolation may be the beginning of terror; it certainly is its most fertile ground; it always is its result. This isolation is, as it were, pretotalitarian; its hallmark is impotence insofar as power always comes from men acting together…; isolated men are powerless by definition.
Resistance, then, means protesting and calling out lies, but also refusing to believe you are lost and friendless, that no one can be trusted, that humanity is a fractured wasteland of sadness and violence, as opposed to a messy, maddening, gorgeous kaleidoscope of hope and unity shot through with the perpetual, undeniable potency of life. Your choice.
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