A reader sent me a thoughtful article about Donald Trump’s strategic plan while in office. (Click) Bit by bit, the article dismantles the president’s false assumptions and explains why they will fail. But the assumption that Trump has a plan is, in my opinion, false. I see him swinging from impulse to impulse, the way a monkey might swing through a banana forest, grasping for one ripe fruit and forgetting it as he reaches for another. True, he’s spewing out presidential orders as if they were kernels in a popcorn machine but to what effect? Already he’s had to back track on his travel ban. (Click)
As of today’s blog, I have provided a link for a complete list of his executive orders. (Click) In the main, they may irritate, but nothing is earth shattering. One order reinstates the Reagan/Bush family planning restrictions on foreign aid. Another repeals Obamacare, though the program continues to function with an increased enrollment. (Click) Another withdraws the U.S. from TPP, which was a done deal no matter who won the election. (And I’m surprised by that action, frankly. If Trump believes China is our number 1 threat, then signing TPP would have ringed the red menace within a circle of Pacific Asian nations that had strong economic ties to the United States). Another executive order imposes a hiring freeze within government, an action most new presidents take. He does authorize renewed work on two oil pipelines, the Keystone and Dakota Access, but the final decision on them will probably rest with the courts.
Some articles I’ve read compare Trump to Adolph Hitler. On the surface, there are similarities. Hitler knew how to disrupt with fear and hate. Like Trump, he rose to power fostering a dystopian view of the world, a suspicion of the “other,” and he made certain ethnic people, Jews in particular, scapegoats for people’s fear. But Hitler had a plan, Mein Kampf, one he developed after his political activism landed him in jail for treason. Trump, on the other hand, is not a political activists but a political opportunist. What he does best is bully, disrupt and keep people off-balance. He scoffs at deep study and admits he works from his gut. “…key to the way I promote is bravado.” (Trump: The Art of the Deal, excerpted in The Week, 2/3/17)
One has to wonder how far Trump’s attack mode will carry him. At the moment, his dyspepsia with the media is energizing that industry. The New York Times has gained more subscribers than could be reached with ad campaigns. (Click) Non-profit darlings of liberal causes, like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood, likewise, are rolling in cash. (Click)
I’ve no wish to diminish the threat Trump poses to the country but the dangers stem from his aimlessness rather than from a manifesto. Our great ship of state seems to be set adrift by a captain who is ignorant of the principles of navigation or of any principles whatsoever.
One day, Trump’s sun will rise and fall at the White House. In the meantime, those of us who imagine a kinder, gentler and more inclusive world mustn’t be diverted by his hyperbole. We must go on working for that future.