Tuesday, November 22, 2016

OK, it's awful; now what?

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, a man who never met a principle he couldn't sidestep, continues to domineate media attention because, as it seems, the media got so swept up in his headline-grabbing hi-jinx that, well, it's like an addiction. Other news is just news, but Trump is the red-light district du jour.

As it stands now, or seems to, Trump is vetting a number of people to serve in his presidential circle. He has yet to hold a press conference. He hasn't DONE anything, but his possibilities are endlessly rolled around in a salivating media mouth. Once upon a time, news was the stuff that had actually happened. Now, perhaps because of the 24-hour news cycle, it focuses on what might happen as well. Dig my crystal ball!

Ain't it awful? Well, yes it is. But what is "it?"

The media haven't got the backbone to step back from this whorehouse of speculation. No one says, "Hey wait a minute -- what actual-factual damage did NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden do? If you can't adduce facts, it's precious at a minimum to wave the "treason" flag." No one says, "Hey wait a minute -- let's see what anyone actually does before we label him/her/it as a 'terrorist.'" No one says, "Well, what has Donald Trump actually done that warrants the knicker-twisting whines from the liberal side of the aisle" Scoundrels and sociopaths are a dime a dozen and turning the United States into some dollar-store mini-mart is not attractive, but grown-ups don't premise their activities on what might happen. What actually does happen is the point, however unnerving it may be to wait and see.

Locally, Hampshire College has decided to refrain from flying to American flag on the campus' central flag pole. In email, a friend sent along yet another thoughtful screed about how and why Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 election: "What So Many People Don't Get About the U.S. Working Class." The jarring nature of the election lingers among those who thought perhaps principles might carry the day. But principles were given little or no quarter in the run-up to the election itself. Trump, a business-man and showman, brought on the insults and everyone seemed impervious to the good of the country, whatever that might be.

And now Trump is said to be vetting people for jobs that go with the spoils of a victorious battle. They all seem to be conservative in outlook ... and loyal to Trump ... but since Trump has no visible principles I can discern, the whole exercise seems to be one in which communists used to delight: The Cult of Personality.

And still the president elect hasn't actually done anything. And at some point, he will need to make decisions that others can and will critique. Suddenly, what was just speculation will become a bureaucratic reality. Will it be war-mongering, misogynistic, racist, sexist horror in which national or international principle is ignored?

Anything that will lead away from the tendency to suggest that anyone can actually know the future ... well, wouldn't that be a relief?

1 comment:

  1. The working class have also developed a severe suspicion of the press that's a great concern. Just something else to draw them toward Trump. They don't see the alternative of a state run media as a serious risk. They don't see it as the downside of the dreaded socialism they fear.