Donald Trump: The Art of the Steal

So it’s done. Donald Trump is President of the United States of America.

I’m not a fan and haven’t been since a high school teacher assigned his book, “The Art of the Deal”, for students to read.  This was many years ago, but even then I recognized him as an arrogant man full of bragging rather than any particular brilliance. To conservatives, he is God’s gift to unrestrained capitalism — his often deplorable behavior brushed off as the just the eccentricities of a genius. To me, he’s just another bully like the ones who tormented me in those very same high school hallways.

I do hope Mr Trump is successful — conditionally. I hope that his success in political office results in greater prosperity for ordinary men and women. This measure of success will rely greatly on how much Trump and a Republican-ruled Congress beholden to special interests prod the powerful in society to allow their swollen fortunes to trickle down to the rest of us. The American Middle Class hasn’t gotten a raise in 15 years. After adjusting for inflation, U.S. median household income is essentially unchanged since the end of the Reagan administration. The 400 wealthiest Americans have as much wealth as the poorest 150 million Americans!

Despite his populist message — which I obviously do not disagree with — I have worries that nothing will change under Trump in favor of the average American citizen struggling to pay his or her bills; let us pray I am wrong. Why the doubt? Well, for one thing, President Trump’s Cabinet picks have a combined net worth of more than $14 billion, based on estimates from Forbes and other sources. How can they possibly relate to what the struggle is like for most people? What motivation do they have to change any of the status quo?

If the extremely wealthy want continued policies that boost their affluence, they should sacrifice some share of their horde of cash to reinforce the illusion that what’s good for them is what’s essential for the rest of us. Otherwise, they may not find things so friendly outside of their gated communities in four years. Let us pray that the Trump era is NOT another Gilded Age with a cast of new Robber Barons. From the early look of things, the wealthy stand to become a lot wealthier while defense contractors are salivating at the prospect of unrestrained military spending in order for the draft-dodging Commander in Chief to appear tough while simultaneously cowering to Vladimir Putin.

The Russian connection to this election is very disturbing, along with the fact that President Trump refuses to sever business ties that could be used to personally enrich his family by affecting public policy. This is a man who owes foreign state-run banks untold millions of dollars. He hasn’t produced his tax returns, so how can he possibly be held accountable? He’s also managed to discredit the press, which is one of the few entities that could investigate his actions. A president blindly trusted is a corruption scandal just waiting to happen: the Art of the Steal!

Conservatives are, of course, saying that everyone should stop protesting and become unified. It’s a little game they play. Bash Bill Clinton, then imply that it is unpatriotic to criticize George W. Bush. Hold racist Tea Party rallies calling Barack Obama a terrorist, then shush the rest of us for pointing out that Trump is a deeply unqualified candidate with some very troubling issues. It’s a neat magic trick how everything a Democratic president is criticized for suddenly becomes no big deal under a GOP-run White House.

The most disappointing thing about the 2017 election, for me, was that the Republicans were rewarded by the public for their cynical campaign to obstruct President Obama at every turn and do little to help Americans who were struggling. They put their party and their political futures ahead of the interests of their constituents. What incentive do the Democrats have now to play nice and go along with whatever they want?

I actually feel a little sorry for Trump, only because the adoring crowds he is addicted to are gone home, and he will now catch flack and fire from every side, including those same snakes Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. It’s obvious progressives want to deny him a second term, but establishment Republicans have gotten what they needed from Trump (a win over Hillary Clinton and control of the Executive Branch). I’m sure they would much rather deal with Mike Pence than this clown who spouts off his mouth on Twitter and insults GOP Congressmen as they sit behind him at the Inauguration. Trump has pissed off the intelligence community, and he’s badgering industries to do things that might affect their bottom lines. Think about it.

As much as I dislike him, I pray for the safety of our new president and his family. I pray that he’s still alive in four years so Democrats can beat him fair and square based on his record. It would be just like them to paint Trump as a martyr, framing some country we could bomb, while preserving the status quo and having Pence, installed as President, in a position to get a sympathy vote. As things stand, an alive and well Trump running for re-election in four years will have an uphill climb as progressives are now agitated and mobilizing. Trump’s doing nothing to unite the country — just piling on more red meat for his base. Don’t put it past our government to orchestrate a tragedy in order to muscle the opposition to be silent or else look treasonous. That’s the backdoor path to unity, using fear and social pressure to silence dissenting voices and perspectives. How easily we forget the build-up to invading Iraq…

It’s time to judge President Trump, not on how much we dislike Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, but rather, how well of a job he does as the leader of the free world.

One thing we can all agreed upon: the next four years are going to be fascinating to watch.