Thursday, January 19, 2017

Goodbye, Normal Society?

Tomorrow, Vulgarmort ascends to the position of Commander-in-Chief... that's a pretty bizarre notion in and of itself. I'm an unabashed liberal, I believe that a good, competent government that provides checks on corporate power and ruthless individual behavior is to be desired... I also firmly believe that a society is to be judged by how its least fortunate residents fare- there are plenty of failed states in which there are very rich individuals and families. Tomorrow, though, a thin-skinned oligarch who is completely amoral and has a tenuous grasp on reality, will become the most powerful individual on the planet, and he is surrounding himself with other oligarchs, both related and non-related. In disquieting fashion, he even stated that he is going to stage Soviet-and/or-North Korean style military parades- he's not even hiding his desire to be a tinpot despot anymore.

The really bizarre thing is that my day-to-day existence really won't change at all, even though the United States of America has been kidnapped by kleptocrats and replaced with some sort of Changeling America. The Days of Dubya were surreal enough, but the coming administration is going to be some sort of grotesque farce. Still, though, tomorrow I will head off to work as usual, on Saturday, I'll get up early and take the subway to Manhattan to teach. I doubt the mood on the train will be as bad as it was post-election, and our conversation between classes will probably be similar to the conversations we've had for the past three months. Still, something has fundamentally changed. We will have a president who picks fights with actors on a social media app, a president who blithely talks about disbanding treaties that have held for over half-a-century. Everything has changed, but the routine for me will be the same, with some unsettling exceptions... occasionally, I will have to have conversations with immigrant, Muslim, and LGBTQ friends that I've never had to have before, even in the worst days of Bush 2.0. I've had those conversations in the past three months, but now the challenge is to back up reassurances with actions if need be. Tomorrow, everything changes, I know it intellectually, but it will take a while before reality sinks in on a 'gut' level.


mikey said...

I think the important thing to keep in mind is that he's not going to get along with a number of congressmen, even in his own party. He only has a 2 seat majority in the Senate, and the likes of McCain and Graham don't really like him. It will be hard for him to accomplish much, with Senators protecting their federal funds and the tea party resisting anything that requires spending. The intramural fighting will only increase - Russia is less popular with Americans in government than he thinks, and China is more popular. There will be a limit to what he can do, and in his frustration his furious outcries will only incite his opposition. Meanwhile, the lunatic fringe he has named to his cabinet will regularly say stupid things that cause many congresspeople's heads to explode.

My biggest concern is Iran. With his positioning the US government in lockstep with Netanyahu's Likud, and a generalized hatred of Iran as the boogeyman, it will be easy to end up with a confrontation, cheered on by the Israelis.

Oh, and don't forget that the governments of both Mexico and China will set out from day one to humiliate him on the world stage, and as time passes he will create other implacable enemies, particularly in Europe...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

War with Iran was my biggest concern as well, then he tweeted about how he wants to re-up an arms race.