Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Repeating "We are SO screwed..." over and over is not a success strategy

“Now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like."                                                                                                     — Michelle Obama

     Oh, I don't know about that.
     Yes, the brittle fraud we elected president has been scraping together a rogue's gallery of right-wing goofs and fringe mediocrities as his Cabinet.
     Yes, he has been as manic on Twitter as ever, firing off poorly spelled salvos at all who dare question him. Yes, he has been willfully blind to Russian meddling in the U.S. election, leaping to slam our intelligence agencies while making goo-goo eyes at Vladimir Putin.
     Pretty grim. With the promise of more grimness to come, as every closet bigot, neighborhood bully and tin-hat lunatic feels emboldened to strut his stuff in public, praising Trump all the while.
     But how does recognizing this translate into lack of hope? Just the opposite. Hope is required now. The first lady gets that. "Hope is necessary," she continued, pouring out her heart to Oprah.
     It sure is. Merely repeating "We're screwed" over and over is not a success strategy.

     Four reasons for hope:
     1. The Curse of the Outsider. President of the United States is the first elective office will Donald Trump hold. You know who that evokes? Jane Byrne, whose only elective office was one term as mayor of Chicago. Remember Jane? She won by opposing insiders like Ed Vrdolyak and Charles Swibel then, once in power, panicked and ran into their arms. We're seeing that already with Trump. Just because he thinks governing is easy won't make it easy...

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  1. Wise words, especially in the final paragraph.

  2. I couldn't agree with Neil more, but I still have this nagging discomfort with criticizing Trump before he does anything. After all, what would we have expected from the Trumpites had Hillary been transitioning into post she was born to possess? Constant harping, dire predictions, nasty reminders of her supposed flaws and mistakes. Isn't that what we're doing? Insofar as Trump has jumped the gun by talking to Taiwan, ginning up a fraudulent solution to Indiana's loss of jobs, and exposing his insecurities with his incessant tweets, he's fair game of course. But I'd feel a little more comfortable giving Trump some rope to hang himself with, while retaining the "hope" that he governs more wisely than he's given us reason to think he would.


  3. Probably a good idea to give him a little time to learn that governing a country is quite different from running a business. We can only hope things turn out the opposite of the little rhyme John Wilmot, 2nd Duke of Rochester inscribed on the bedchamber door of his friend Charles II of England.

    Here lies our sovereign lord the King
    Whose word no man relies on.
    He never says a foolish thing
    Nor ever does a wise one."

    The king took it in good humor, saying "The words are mine, the actions those of my ministers." It's a tactic we might expect from Trump if thing go balls up.

    Tom Evans

  4. Are we to overlook his sheer awfulness?

  5. The historical parallel I like is McCarthyism, which buried and paralyzed our political discourse for four long years. Joe McCarthy was, if anything, even more of a loutish bully than Donald Trump, and at least equally shrewd in manipulating the media. But he was undone by his own character flaws--a fate that seems inevitable in retrospect. May it be so for Trump also.

    Bitter Scribe

  6. Jane Byrne did not have the nuclear codes and the people she aggravated were not likely to reorder the worlds military and trade alliances. That said, I sure hope trump upholds his promises to the working people and stand up to the Republican congress..... but I doubt it because the Repubs can impeach him from day one.

    I hope I can be effective in doing something to modify the course of future events and hope you are right about history and the Hammer .

    1. Metaphors are lost on some. I'm not saying that being president and being mayor of Chicago are the SAME. I'm saying that novice politicians have trouble getting anything done.

  7. Will Trump be a bad president? Good president? Or a lazy president catering to his mob on Twitter while Pence and his "billionaire's club" Cabinet turn this government into a bigoted plutocracy? Which president is better for the rest of us in the long run? It's hard to know what to hope for.

    Can't wait to see you on WTTW tonight, Neil, regarding your book.

  8. It's been a year and I'll say this; he's not worse than I thought he'd be. Of course the way I had it figured, there should have been mushroom clouds dotting the globe by now.


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