How Trump’s calculated criticism of the established liberal elite institutions works for his empire building and con-game.
In the last week alone President-elect Trump has managed to criticize three major established institutions of the liberal elite: the arts, entertainment, and press. He has done so publicly, crassly, childishly, unprofessionally, and unbecoming of the Office of the Presidency… (And, he seems to have forgotten – or more likely, conveniently disregarded – the fact that we have a First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of expression.)
> He bashed the cast of one of Broadway’s most successful play ever, Hamilton, for reading an open letter of dissent in front of the Vice-President elect.
> He scolded one of the most successful late night shows ever, Saturday Night Life, for making fun of him in a parody skit.
> He reneged at the last minute and did not meet with one of the most read newspapers ever, the New York Times, exclaiming that they cover him ‘nastly’.
Make no mistake about it: THIS is what awaits us during the Trump Presidency. Any illusions of normalcy, expectability, tradition, or protocol is out the window.
The only constant will be unpredictability. Yet it is a ‘calculated’ unpredictability. In this most recent case, he very intentionally chose three bastions of culture his opponents embrace and his supporters abhore: Broadway, late night t.v., and traditional press.
So be it. We will have to live with it. We certainly don’t have to like it. But, it is what it is.
Clearly we have a President-elect who rather drive wedges into a divided nation feeding the frenzy of his supporters without making any attempt to reconcile with, unite, and reach out to those that voted against him – incidentally: a majority of voters, by at least 1.5 million votes!
We have a choice to make: Withdraw into other worlds, focus on family, follow sports, enjoy nature, go drinking with friends… We can withdraw and live outside the cesspool that is politics, lulling ourselves to believe that it does not impact us; it will not dictate our lives; it will not force us to do something we don’t want to do… (After all, did not the stock market reach a new record high yesterday?)
Yep. We can withdraw… We can cocoon ourselves in our daily struggles and our private pursuits without worrying about the craziness around us, how others are being impacted, or what is happening around the world.
We can become Trump’s zombies. The land of the walking dead. Sleep at the wheel. Enjoying the moment in our own boxed-in, limited universe.
We can choose to be simply annoyed by the childish act of the President-elect, soon to be our President… We can chalk it all up to his ‘way of getting things done’… We can stand by and be amused – if ever so occasionally slightly embarrassed about what he says, the fights he picks, or the appointments he makes… (We can repeat night after night, as if it was our prayer: It really does not impact me. I have work to get done. I have a life to live.)
> Ultimately, you can choose to simply be a most casual observer of this emerging American tragedy.
Frankly, it is kind of easy to withdraw.
If is easy to withdraw if you are part of the seemingly majority of Americans who does not know an undocumented youth who has become a Dreamer after trusting the Federal government and providing all his/her contact information only to now be in the danger of this being his/her last Thanksgiving in the United States because of deportation threats if DACA goes away.
It is easy to withdraw if you are part of the seemingly majority of Americans who have never met a Muslim family, dined with them, conversed about their journey and aspirations.
It is easy to withdraw if you are part of the seemingly majority of Americans who have no clue that your cousin is gay and he/she had to move away from the family because no one would understand – much less accept – them.
It is easy to withdraw if you have never visited predominantly White. poor Appalachia and know the depth of despair of a family who tells you their only saving grace is now being covered by an insurance plan without regards to pre-existing conditions; and is now hearing that small step forward in coverage is about to be rescinded.
It is easy to withdraw if you are part of the seemingly majority of Americans who have never sat down with a woman wrestling with the wrenching decision whether to have an abortion or not; and instead you want to condemn her and send her to jail instead of seeking to implement – and collectively pay for – policies like prenatal care, universal healthcare for newborns, and early childhood education.
It is easy to withdraw if you are part of the American majority that are ok with demeaning the Office of the Presidency and turning it into a play thing for a show-man, a man who has clearly conned the seemingly majority of America.
However, to many of us, withdrawing is not an option.
We will continue using the arts, entertainment, and the press to fight back; to make our point; to disagree and dissent.
You see, there’s this pesky little thing called The First Amendment that we happen to believe in and even the President of the United States of America cannot so easily dismiss.