In trying to make any sense out of what President Elect Donald Trump has said, it is helpful to first remind yourself of this widely shared view of his basic character. Even within his own party, Mr. Trump is thought to represent much of what is crude, arrogant, garish, and classless in our country. While that might possibly be OK, it is also generally agreed that he has little respect for or even knowledge of American governance. The same goes for American science. And I am sorry to say that all of this is, perhaps why so many Americans voted for him and that is not OK. None the less, Mr. Trump won the election and he will be the next President of the United States of America.
Mr. Trump’s ascendance to the Presidency will be accompanied by several precedents – one of which will be immediately apparent in this blog. That is the use of unusually coarse and exaggerated language in describing events, people and places. Thus, for example, I could begin this post by congratulating our President Elect for “schlonging” “Crooked Hillary” – all made more impressive by Trump’s notion that he did this in a political system that is “horribly corrupt”. I suspect that some of his followers are now looking forward to watching President Trump “lock her up” as he promised to do. While his kindred spirit, Vladimir Putin of Russia, would thereby be impressed, its hard for me to imagine that Trump would actually do that.
Similarly, I doubt, as well as hope, that many of Trump’s outrageous claims and promises will amount to much. He obviously knows how to work an intellectually challenged crowd. One simply has to exaggerate and tell fibs. I would therefore not be surprised if Trump supporters will have to be contented with a few meaningless triumphs – such as their feigned relief in knowing – for the first time in eight years – that they will have a President who was born in this country and whose skin color is more to their liking. Nevertheless, I am very concerned at the moment about one inevitable long-term effect of what just happened.
Even long-standing civilizations eventually fall from positions of dominance for various of reasons. The Roman Empire collapsed due to war, overexpansion and rampant corruption. The British Empire dissolved due to cultural arrogance and imperialistic hubris. And sadly, the USA is presently devolving from a Democracy into an Idiocracy. Ruled by fools, what we wish for is increasingly unaffected by the realities of our existing conditions. The very best example of this concerns the issue of climate change. Thus, the USA may become the first world power to crumble under the weight of its own stupidity.
While there are countless reasons why many of us are concerned about the leadership (or lack of) our President Elect will provide, I will focus here on my own major concerns related to environmental and energy issues. On that front, Trump has promised that he will essentially ignore those concerns and undo all of the advances President Obama has made in these areas. That is, he has said he will cancel our commitment to the Paris Accord concerning reductions in greenhouse gases. Instead, President Trump has said that he will open up federal lands to additional oil, gas, and coal extractions. He has said that regulations and oversight by the EPA is unnecessary. He has said that he will scrap pending efforts to tighten methane controls on domestic drillers. He has also promised to pull back on the Clean Power Plan for reducing CO2 emissions at power plants. I also fear that he will give a green light to the Keystone XL pipeline project thereby opening a new long-term flow of Canadian tar sands oil to the world markets.
While the CEOs of the fossil fuel corporations are absolutely ecstatic about these unexpected turn of events, it should also be noted that these measures fly in the face of the recommendations of our nation’s climate scientists. Does President Elect Trump really have a better understanding than professional scientists of Mother Nature and of the forces She has set in motion in response to the changes mankind is making to Her atmosphere? As ridiculous as that notion is, our ruling Republican Party, its President Elect, and a huge portion of our voting public apparently think so.
In response to this and other anti-intellectual currents rising to the top in the USA, Ian Gurvitz has recently written a book appropriately entitled “Welcome to Dumbfuckistan, the Dumbed-Down, Disinformed, Dysfunctional, Disunited States of America”. While the vulgar name Gurvitz has applied to a large sector of our country might be offensive to many Americans, no apologies for crudeness to Mr. Trump and his supporters should be required. Instead we should just add this new label to the rich list of terms our President Elect has brought back into public usage. Because of the frank assessment this book provides concerning our degrading nation, I highly recommend it to all Americans.
In short, with Gurvitz’s Dumbfuckistan soon to be ruled by a scientifically illiterate fool, the damage done by this election, in the words of environmentalist Bill McKibben, “will be measured in geologic time”. I will add that the greatest losers in this election were our non-voting children and the yet to be born. All of this gives new meaning to the expression, “God Bless America”. And while you’re at it, God, please help us with our multitude of dumbfucks – especially those of the self-righteous variety who claim to be seated at your side.
In spite of the pessimistic view I have provided above, there is, nevertheless, always hope that things could change very quickly. For example, there is a real possibility that Candidate Trump will change many of his views abruptly, even before he becomes President Trump. This thought is consistent with Trump’s behavior in the past. He is a self-absorbed predator who doesn’t think he owes anything to anyone. During his long business career, he repeatedly “stiffed” his contractors and material suppliers through clever use of our bankruptcy laws. Thus, when he gets into the oval office next January, I doubt that he will feel any obligation to honor any of the commitments he has made to others. Donald Trump is clearly not a stupid person himself even though he has shown himself to be a master at getting the support of those who are. This remote possibility of Trump’s future involvement in the fight against climate change was the theme of one of my previous posts concerning a President Trump (see it in the March 2016 archives). As unlikely as this more progressive view of Trump might be, there’s no harm in crossing one’s fingers. Of all of the issues on the table, only the Climate Change Problem needs to be addressed immediately. All of the others can be addressed and solved in due or even overdue time – if our life sustaining physical environment doesn’t slip away. Who knows – maybe Trump will start learning a bit about the Father of his party and be inspired by how Lincoln saved the United States of America in the nick of time. The fact that he has so little regard for what’s left of today’s Republican Party is encouraging.