Saturday, January 21, 2017

And Now Donald Trump is POTUS

It's something from the "They said it couldn't happen" files: Donald Trump, real estate baron, reality show celebrity, conspiracy theorist and tabloid news regular, has been sworn in as the United States' 45th president. There was no last-minute intervention from earthly or celestial forces to spare the dissatisfied and disappointed from this event, because that isn't how our democracy works. Although Trump's failure to divest himself of his various holdings (such as the DC hotel lease which, as an elected official, he is now in violation of) reflect a conflict of interest (or Constitutional crisis, depending upon how you look at things) that could result in impeachment proceedings (sure, with a GOP congress?) and the investigation into potential correspondence between his presidential campaign staff and Russia may turn up something devastating--Trump is now the president, and will be, very likely, for the next four years.

What does it mean? Well, gosh, it's only just begun, but going from the brief but emphatic inaugural speech--which sounded like the campaign spiel he'd been giving all along, he's doubling down on America First--for a definition of America that I'm pretty sure doesn't mean all of us. I think his depiction of the current state of the country sounds awfully "homeless vets, foreign debts, AIDS, crack, Bernie Goetz"-- a valid criticism of the 1980's, but not really as accurate a picture of today's America. He says he's for the forgotten man, but I don't even know what his cabinet picks or policies will necessarily do for a soul. I'm a little put-out that anyone at all is chuffed enough just to feel name-checked.

As for the festivities themselves, well, it's a rainy Friday in DC, with a president-elect with an historically low approval rating. It was bound to be poorly-attended, relatively speaking.


In a show of insecurity, the new White House seems to have over-reacted to the National Park Service's pointing this out. One might note that, despite not having actually an electoral landslide, and having lost the popular vote significantly, the incoming Administration likes to fluff the size of their "movement". But the pictures don't lie:


Comparisons with President Obama's first inauguration are kind of unfair--in a very fortuitous coincidence, the inauguration fell on the MLK holiday, so there might be something to the claim that Trump supporters are at work today (and also, BTW, Obama did resolve a lot of the unemployment we had back at the beginning of 2009, too, so...) but, yeah. It's January and a lot of working folks start the year with vacation time. Just saying.

Also, there were protests coinciding with this inauguration--some of which got a bit out of hand. Direct demonstration speaks volumes, but I feel like conduct matters (I could be sadder about Robert Spencer being clocked, though, but meh!), and I really don't care for signifying vandalism--what purpose does that serve? Although flaming trash cans and broken windows make for arresting photo images--they don't actually tell a story about what you believe in or are protesting about. If anything, I think they minimize the sympathy many people would have. And that shit is likely to get cracked down on hard, if the new regime's law'n'order webpage is to be believed--and why not? The Trump Administration before the inauguration, hell, during the campaign, waged a public relations war against the media to delegitimize journalists. Do activists think they have more cred, and can't be viewed in a negative light? (Yes, they definitely can.) Think, and do activism smarter.

Anyhow, those are my impressions of a busy mostly-peaceful transition of power in these United States. I continue to believe we are living in interesting times and no, I am not thrilled with all that entails.

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