The truly frightening thing about the Trump Administration is the damage it inflicts upon the United States both domestically and internationally may be irrevocable. The damage might have been mitigated if Congress wasn’t run by Vichy Republicans, but, alas, that’s just not the case.
With Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords, the United States has now begun a dangerous, unprecedented journey into unprecedented and turbulent waters. What’s worse, for the residents of Trumplandia, they see Trump’s decision to pull out of the accords as yet another campaign promise kept.
All of this is pretty surreal to me. The very people who 20 or 30 years ago would have called for the head of anyone who so willfully played into the strategic aims of the Russians, now applaud someone who seems hell bent on completely upending some pretty core beliefs that the people we once considered the Part of Reagan were supposed to hold so dear.
Again, I have to reflect on how similar all of this is to Vichy France. This is a truly bizarre situation politically and it’s even more bizarre given that it takes four years to get out of the Paris Accords and we won’t be officially out of them until the day after election day in 2020.
What concerns me the most is that while we’re all so busy falloning over the latest comical screw up on the part of Donald Trump, we’re going to totally miss the significant, long-term damage Trump is going to inflict upon us. The only thing I can compare this to is a even more damaging version of the Reagan Revolution of 1981 that caused so much harm to the American middle class.
We may very look back at this period as the moment when not only did America grow sicker, poorer and less educated, but we lurched towards an semi-imperial autocratic form of government, with the Constitutionally mandated open presidential seat every eight years being the only thing the only thing that prevent us from conspicuously no longer being a republic.
The truly horrific quality to all of this is there a slow-moving train crash quality to it all. We can see what is happening, but because of the callow, complicit nature of the Vichy Republicans, there is little, if nothing, we can do in real terms to stop what we’re seeing and experiencing.
With America in retreat, there now exists a moral power vacuum. A land rush is now happening as different regional powers struggle and jostle to figure out where they stand in this new reality. Even if the United States at some point in the future came roaring back through effective leadership, the damage is already done. And that doesn’t even begin to address the chaos we’ll have to live through should the DPRK attack South Korea or Russia attack Ukraine in a general war.
So, this has stopped being funny to me. I’m not saying I won’t laugh when Stephen Colbert tears into Trump during his monologue, but we’ve reached the point where there is officially a serious edge to things. We have a mad, tyrannical emperor on our hands whose only check is his own egregious incompetence and active malfeasance.
If there’s anything we can do to fix this situation, it is to actively use our rights while we still have them. Don’t rage, engage. Keep fighting the good fight. Don’t lose hope. I would like to think that the American spirit is stronger even than a president with unchecked power because of the surreal obsequiousness of his party.
Americans aren’t Russians, so you can spout all the political theory you like at me about how easy it will be for Trump to inflict a “managed democracy” on the United States through the tried and true methods of a modern autocracy, I just don’t buy it.
I’m not saying that Trump will be impeached. Nor am I saying that even if he is impeached that he will be convicted. I am saying, however, that while I honesty do fear for the fate of the Republic, that I fear my long-standing worry that Trump is an existential threat to its continued success is being realized, I also have an innate hope that we’ll bounce back a lot quicker than anyone might expect.
I just don’t see the American people standing for the dystopian reality that is too easy for me to project. It just seems like something’s gotta give eventually. I don’t know what it will be, but it seems like even if we’re living in an autocracy now, that the traditional ebb and flow of American politics will simply be too great for it to last.
We survived the Civil War, we survived Prohibition and we’ll survive this.
Shelton Bumgarner is the Editor and Publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.