Monday, November 14, 2016

Donald Trump in the White House: The New Abnormal

I belong to that very large group of people who, on the morning of November 9th, woke up stunned, angry, sad and profoundly embarrassed at the thought that Donald Trump will be the President of the United States for the next four years.  The realization that this man, this “leader of the free world”, will now wield a great deal of power in ways which I (and many others) find abhorrent - to order mass deportations, to repeal of the Affordable Care Act (without any replacement), to withdraw from treaties such as the Paris Climate Agreement and NATO, to repeal TPP and the Iran nuclear deal (these are but a few examples on a very long list), is a terrifying thought.

A friend suggested that this is probably how a great many Americans who were against having a black man be President, felt when Barack Obama was elected.  No, it’s not.  It would be if we had an entire race of people called Trumpites whose main distinguishing features were ridiculous hair and short fingers.  Then I would agree. Then, I would freely admit that I am a racist because I would be angry at the thought of any Trumpite becoming President.  It would be a blanket hatred, based solely on physical attributes, nothing else.

No, my anger is specific to this particular person.  I was not swayed by the “biased media”.  I don’t feel the way I do because someone else said or wrote that this man is unsuited for the job.  I’m angry because of what Donald Trump himself said, of what he did up till now, and what he is yet to do.  I do not blame anyone else for my dislike and distrust of Trump.  I own it.

Intelligence and wisdom facilitate comprehension, understanding, and empathy.  In the past year and a half, I have seen no evidence that Donald Trump has the capacity for such intelligence.  There are two schools of thought regarding Trump - one says that he is all those things he has said and shown himself to be -a racist, a misogynist, a bigot and much more.  In short, a dumbass who doesn’t read any books (except perhaps his own), who gets his information from the Internet, who has no interest in social issues of any kind, who does not care for anyone other than himself.  The other claims that yes,Trump has misbehaved in the past, but now he is older and wiser .  Now, he knows better.  As proof, they offer the argument that only he was smart enough to see the anger among working class Americans, to see that it was massive and widespread and that if he harnessed that discontent, it would propel him straight to the White House.  

Fair enough.  This is exactly what happened.   He tapped the resentment Americans felt at jobs lost, at a government which wasn't listening to its people, at the unfairness of income inequality, at the inability of the working class to get ahead so they can make a better life for themselves and their children.  But he also made a conscious choice to go much, much further.  Using poisonous rhetoric, spiteful derision, mockery, and lies, he appealed to the basest of human instincts adding unnecessary fuel to an already existing fire, fuel purposely designed to bring racism, bigotry, and a blanket hatred of anyone “other” back to being admissible in our vocabulary and in our behavior.  The new “abnormal”.

For years, for decades, we worked to stamp out destructive attitudes and prejudices in the hope that eventually, one day, they would be bred entirely out of existence.  We were trying to get there.  Slowly, very slowly, but we seemed to be on our way.  When that hateful monster did, periodically, rear its ugly head, we showed disdain and disgust, at least publicly.  The backlash, if nothing else, maintained appearances, a crucial first step to recovery.  Apologies made were often called nothing more than political correctness, but if that political correctness was deemed acceptable, it was because of our belief that, at least, we were making some sort of an effort to be better.  Baby steps yes, but given time, we would surely improve.

Now, all that could be gone.  Trump has opened Pandora’s box, letting racism, bigotry, misogyny, and hatred out, to be professed and practiced in the open and unapologetically.  The genie is out of the bottle and whichever school of thought you subscribe to, either way, the conclusion is the same.  If Trump is a bigot, racist, misogynist, and dumbass, who didn’t bother (or was not intellectually capable enough) to think about the consequences of his actions, then clearly he is too ignorant to be President.  If he is now older and wiser and no longer a bigot, misogynist, and racist, who only said all those vile things to win the election, then he is, at the very least, a liar who conned and deceived millions of people and used their anger and pain for his own personal gain.  Again, unfit to be President.

Whom did we elect?  Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?  The guy tweeted said that “professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting.  Very unfair!” or the guy who, the next morning reversed himself with “love the fact that small groups of protesters have passion for our great country."  Who the hell is he?  We have no idea who will occupy the White House for the next four years.  None at all.  We know little of his policies (since he constantly contradicts himself), nothing about his beliefs, nothing about his business interests and the potential conflicts these business interests may produce.  If he is faced with a choice of doing what is right for America at the risk of losing some of his investments overseas, which way will he decide?  This is a man whose idea of a Chinese wall is to have his family run his business!  What do you think he will do?  What does a self-absorbed egotist whose social conscience is non-existent, inevitably do in situations where it’s them or me?  This will happen and when it does, he will break the law, he will use his Trumpland reality to justify his actions and will sell this country out.

And lastly, what of the rest of the world?  What of their future?  If we don’t care, then we should.  Whether we like it or not, what happens beyond our borders matters just as much as what will transpire here at home.  The Russian interference in our election process, the contacts between the Trump campaign and highly placed members of the Russian government are not coincidental, nor are they without consequence.  Donald Trump wants to “make America great again”.  Terrific, but  Vladimir Putin wants the same thing, except substitute the word “America” for “Russia”.  This planet is a finite place and if we don’t destroy it in the not so distant future by denying climate change, sooner, rather than later, these two competing powers will clash.  And then what?  Agree to disagree?  With Trump’s and Putin’s egos, not likely!

On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, the Electoral College will vote to officially elect the next President of the United States.  They are the ones who ultimately decide.  Will the popular vote prevail?  Likely not.  Should it?  Yes, for America and for the sake of the whole world, it should.

A. J. Aston

Friday, October 21, 2016

Il Presidente Trump

In 1851, Joseph Marie de Maistre, a French philosopher and politician said: “Toute  nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite” which translates to “Every nation has the government it deserves”.  This may have been true in the 19th century, but in the global village we now live in, elections within powerful countries affect lives far beyond the borders of those countries.  Nowhere is this more applicable than in the United States.  If this country is stupid enough to elect Donald Trump as their President, then we will be made to bear the consequences.  To be sure, the very, very least of our punishment will be fours years of supreme embarrassment and severe chagrin.

But what of the rest of the world?  Without the ability to participate in our electoral process, the lives of millions of people around the world will, nonetheless, be effected by the choice only American citizens will make on November 8th, and surely not for the better.  The extreme turmoil blanketing many parts of the Middle East, the expansionist ambitions of Vladimir Putin, economic problems in several South American countries, the tide of refugees everywhere, the effects of global warming on the entire planet - all of these (and many other) issues will have to be resolved one way or the other.  It will require an expertise which Hillary Clinton possesses and which Donald Trump is entirely devoid of.  Political intelligence, diplomacy, years of experience and, above all, an absolute self-control, are paramount.  At the risk of stating the not so obvious, the United States and Russia are already at war.  The proxy through which this war is being waged, Syria, is but a thin veil which is very threadbare.  One wrong move and the confrontation between two nuclear superpowers will become direct.  And then what?  Trump and Putin will settle our differences over a shot of vodka?  Hardly.

Both Trump and Putin are predators in their own revolting way, but compared to Putin, Trump is a rank amateur and Putin knows it.  He is more than well aware that what happens on November 8th will go a long way to supporting his dream of a global "Russian village" if only Americans would elect the "right" candidate.  That's why Putin is siding with Donald Trump. Putin is not stupid - he realizes that his chances at manipulating Hillary Clinton are all but nonexistent. By contrast, Putin will run rings around the Donald.  Blindfolded.  It is no coincidence that Russia is interfering in our current elections and not, say, four or eight years ago.  Putin looks at Trump and knows a patsy when he sees one.  Never has the opportunity to infiltrate the United States been greater. He’ll just march right in through the White House.  Forget sending spies to steal information, forget hacking the NSA, the CIA or any other letters of the alphabet - been there, done that.  Now he’ll be invited in, red carpet and all.  An afternoon of flattery and compliments, perhaps a gift of a solid gold bust of il Presidente Trump (Trump’s foundation already paid for his huge portrait) and the United States is Putin’s oyster.  If ever there was a reason NOT to vote for Donald Trump, this has got to be it.

A. J. Aston

Saturday, October 8, 2016


It's not that we thought this presidential campaign could not drop to any new lows anymore, what with Trump insisting on "being himself", but this latest incident is not a drop, it's a plummet.  What we are all witnessing is a giant (blond) vulture ripping his feathers out and pecking himself to death!!  

Personally, I feel sorry for the Donald.  Yes, I think this latest fiasco proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that his Icarus flight is being (finally!)ended by none other than a conspiracy by the microphones of this world.  Somewhere in his past, he must have either insulted these sensitive electronic creatures, or perhaps refused to produce them, (even in China), thereby denying life to millions of baby microphones, prompting the species to work in unison to exact revenge on the author of their mass microphoneside. They plotted for years and years, creating damaging statement after statement, making sure it was recorded, and then biding their time until their treachery could come to light. 

The first salvo of their attack was fired by the microphone at the debate.  It suppressed his voice and crackled, garbled his words or cut out altogether, issuing, instead, comments which made Trump appear ignorant, arrogant and downright stupid.  Donald never said half the things we heard - it was the microphone speaking in his place!  With that perpetual pout, who could tell the difference?  

The second step in this Machiavellian frame-up revealed itself last night as the Donald was heard slagging off women and claiming, among other things (ugh!) that, as a "star",  he can do "anything".  I am sure the Donald never said those terrible things, being the fine upstanding, and moral human being that I know him to be.  Please note that I am speaking to you from within the Trump universe where reality is very, very different from yours.  On this Trump planet, the "golden boy" (as we affectionately call him) can do no wrong, and his being made to apologize baffles us almost as much as it does him.

In the coming days, more recordings will be aired, until such time as the media (liberal and otherwise) will simply run out of words.  They will stare silently at the cameras, the mouths locked in a collective gape, preventing any speech at all.  If the past is anything to go by, then these (or any future)revelations will not force Trump to voluntarily step down as the Republican nominee/Frankenstein monster they themselves created.  After all, the Donald knows better and no one can tell him what to do.  He will not allow his own interests to be compromised, the “brilliant” businessman (in his own mind) that he is.  He will never agree to be replaced by Pence, thereby providing refuge to all those miserable voters who, at present, plan to stay home or, dare I say it?, vote for Hillary.  No, in his universe, walking away is unthinkable, ”unthinking” being the main operative word where the Donald is concerned.  Trump will stay to the bitter end, his carcass animated only by all the hot air his putrefaction will continue to produce.

On a final note, I should like to offer my sincere and heartfelt apology to all the vultures of this world.  I spoke in haste, and I’m sorry if it offended any vulture out there.  To me, this is nothing more than a distraction which, after all, happened over ten minutes ago!  Implying that the Donald is one of their kind was perhaps, maybe, vulturist and very unfair.  I shall try to be a better woman tomorrow.  Believe me, there is no one, nobody on this earth who has more respect for vultures than I do!   I'd just like to add that I heard Bill Clinton say much worse things about vultures when we played golf together, and I know for a fact that Hillary has a hat made out of vulture feathers!  it’s hidden in her closet, something we will hear much more about in the coming days when Putin e-mails photos of her wearing it to Wikileaks!  He promised me!

A.J. Aston