And so it begins. A new president who vowed in his inaugural address to fight for the American people wasted little time embarking on a Twitter war to soothe his ego at not drawing a crowd as large as Barack Obama’s first inauguration.
The people’s president has shown his true colors as the me-me-me president.
And so it begins: four, maybe even eight, years of living in an alternative universe where facts and realities that do not align with our feckless leader’s views are contradicted by his Twitter feed or removed from public disclosure by cowed government agencies.
Here’s how Politico reported the Trumpest-in-a-teapot brouhaha on crowd size:
A clear signal was sent to federal employees that public dissent would not be tolerated after the National Park Service’s Twitter account posted pictures showing the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was far smaller than that which attended Barack Obama’s 2009 swearing-in.
A memo was quickly sent that agencies within the Department of the Interior were to cease activity on Twitter. The posts in question were deleted, and the NPS returned to Twitter Saturday with an apology.
It read: ‘We regret the mistaken RTs from our account yesterday and look forward to continuing to share the beauty and history of our parks with you,’ the agency said, posting a picture of a buffalo with the message.
What comes next are at least four years of “America First,” an America that in the words of our new president Donald J. Trump will buy American-made goods and employ Americans first before foreigners.
I am trying to imagine the euphoria Trumpsters are feeling with the inauguration of The Donald.
The natural inclination is to compare the ecstasy to that experienced when Obama took the oath of office eight years ago, a time when his supporters felt barriers of inequality would finally be surmounted, prosperity would emerge for all from the financial crisis inherited from Republican mismanagement and benign neglect, and our standing in the world would be restored.
For sure the Obama years did not reap all that was hoped for. But our country still is the greatest in the world which makes Trump’s slogan (Make America Great Again) a dark, cruel commentary on reality, somewhat softened by the weekend outpouring of millions who rallied in cities across our country and across the world in support of women’s rights.
Those swing state voters who fervently hope and believe Trump can resurrect factories and their jobs are to be pitied, not chastised, for their ignorance of economic trends and realities.
Trump is critical of companies that replace factories in the US with plants abroad. But if you believe in capitalism and in the rule of law you must appreciate that Trump is asking corporate executives of public companies to violate their fiduciary responsibilities to maximize the investment of shareholders, a task Trump admitted during the primary season was his primary motivation as a businessman.
So while he may secure public relations points when some high profile companies keep some jobs in America the trend line will remain tipped toward foreign manufacturing. The public might say they want goods Made in America but if confronted by higher price tags consumers will reject domestic products in favor of merchandise made abroad at a fraction of the labor cost.
And, since Trump is against a higher minimum wage, he will not make it any easier for workers to afford higher priced American made merchandise.
Trump’s inaugural speech lacked flowery passages. It was meat and potatoes. Nothing wrong with that. Trump campaigned and won on bleak messages, so it would have been out of character for him to turn poetic on his big day. He even showed some decency by abstaining from declaring he would repeal and replace Obamacare, perhaps in deference to the presence of President Obama seated directly to his left.
But he did begin the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act by signing an executive order later in the day. How he will manage to replace Obamacare and sustain comparable coverage at a lower price for the more than 20 million Obamacare participants is a challenge I hope he can meet for the sake of all the people he says he cares about.
One can be unhappy with policy decisions on healthcare, the environment, global alliances and more, but respectful that in a democracy the victor gets to set the agenda.
However, a much deeper problem is the erosion of truth, the falsification or denial of facts for the purpose of self-aggrandizement, the degradation of opponents, the manipulation of public opinion – all tactics autocrats practise to consolidate power.
They are not an impeachable offences but they are the very foundation of what may come later. It is like what happens with credit card fraud. First, perpetrators use a stolen card to make a 99cent charge. If it gets approved and undetected they move on to larger, fraudulent purchases.
Trump is testing how far he can go in stretching, nay creating, the truth and in painting the media as corrupt and liars. It will not be enough for journalists to call him out. It will not be enough for Democrats to say the emperor has no clothes. Those dissenters are to be expected.
The truth must be defended by Trump’s staff—those White House staffers who wI’ll be called upon to trot out his absurdities and fabrications—and by vice president Mike Pence and Republican senators and congressmen who should care more about our republic than for the man in the Oval Office. They, after all, took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.”
For the last 19 months we have watched as Trump campaigns and now governs. For him it always comes down to size. The size of his hands. The size of his penis. The size of inaugural crowds.
As Trump himself would tweet, the situation is SO SAD!
I am really worried that thanks to the Trump ‘America First’ policy we might get back both Nigel Farage and Piers Morgan – and that’s just for starters – a real ‘switch off’.