D. DRUMPF: CATALYST FOR OUR TIME
Our nearly four years with the unprecedented candidate-President Drumpf-tRump-45, bring three movies to mind for me – The Producers, Sneakers (the original hacker movie) and Galaxy Quest (the Star Trek spoof J.J. Abrams loves). You can get the day-by-day Presidency count from Brian Williams every night on his 11th Hour MSNBC show – as of September 1, 2019, it’s 954 (excruciating) days.
The scene that provides my umbrella for this odyssey comes near the end of The Producers. Zero Mostel’s character, producer Max Bialashtok, sits in the rubble of his theatre, looking skyward and asking, “I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?”
Trump was the wrong candidate and is the wrong President for so many reasons: misogyny & gaslighting; rich-boy entitlement, narcissism & white privilege; support for white supremacy, fascism; divisiveness & propagandizing; vengefulness, immigrant- and race-baiting; faux-patriotism & aiding America’s enemies; failed businesses & trade wars; climate change denial; personal and institutional disloyalty (bordering on treason); dismissal of facts, opposing research & truth; epic dishonesty, religious indifference, and hatred of pet dogs.
With all these negatives, he has become a catalyst for our time. Thanks to the dynamics of 45, he and his supporters, for all the wrong reasons, have confronted us with all the “right” things the majority of Americans (the other 65-70% of us) must now address:
- #metoo, the roles of women in society & embedded misogyny;
- #blacklivesmatter, embedded U.S. racism (from today’s local neighborhoods back to the 1789 U.S. Constitution), police bias & responses to white supremacist riots;
- immigrants’ rights, the asylum process vs. “homeland security,” & U.S. Latin American policy (and international relations);
- news media false equivalencies: “balanced coverage” that makes chronic liars look equal to research, data and facts; #fakenews; & social media hacking;
- nepotism, emoluments, corrupt practices & accountability for public servants;
- undermining U.S. institutions, including courts, intelligence, investigative and policing services; and support and regulation agencies
- the dependably re-elected, legacy beneficiaries of political gerrymandering;
- money in politics, income disparities (& favoritism for the rich), and failures to apply federal anti-trust and state corporate charter regulatory laws, and
- governmental balance of powers, and the structure of the U.S. Constitution – including the continued efficacy of the Electoral College vs. popular votes, 2nd Amendment, embedded racism, and whether or not the U.S. President and any other high-ranking official is governed by the law.
As much as I’d prefer Hilary, If she had become President, it’s unlikely the Democrats would have re-taken the U.S. House, nor won so many state and local offices, nor would so many Republican lawmakers now be resigning. It’s unlikely that national revulsion at 45 would have brought all these “right” issues to a head. Hilary would have been dogged by Republican hounds gnawing at her heels, yapping at & blocking her every move. McConnell would not be known as Moscow Mitch, nor Graham as Leningrad Lindsey.
Looking ahead, I keep in mind the old warnings from Sneakers (1992) and Galaxy Quest (1999), for our future elections:
- Beware computer hacking – warns the villain Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) to the hero Martin (Robert Redford): “The world isn’t run by weapons anymore, or energy, or money, it’s run by little ones and zeroes, little bits of data. It’s all just electrons. … And it’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information.”
- Mind your history: Guy (Sam Rockwell) snatches Gwen (Sigourny Weaver) back from walking into a trap, and barks: “Don’t you watch the show?!”
Let’s appreciate how interesting are the times we live in. And make sure we do the right things – for all the right, and/or for all the wrong reasons.