Yesterday was busy. I dropped into a bunch of different stores to check for Star Wars actions figures because they’re the hobby of the guy I care for, the bank, and turned in some paperwork. The snow in Oregon turned to rain the night before last. The ice and snow are nearly gone by now. As I was driving around yesterday I saw a snowman slipping into the mud below. All that remained were the stick arms seemingly desperately reaching for the sky and few more hours of life. The head that had become more of a cone than sphere. The death of a snowman, my love of punny names gets the better of me. For a moment I was entirely in the moment thinking about the dying snowman, but then the dissonance returned. In the morning the Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot, there was an attack in Berlin, and about forty-five minutes after seeing the snowman I got an email alert saying the electoral college officially voted for Trump. The melting hope of Democrats now rests on some even more absurd and unlikely maneuver I didn’t even bother reading the article about. The entire day perfectly encapsulated my reason for writing this blog. On one hand I had specific responsibilities to complete for work, on the other the wider world seemed to be especially chaotic.
I haven’t posted anything for nearly a week, the problem is that I had a really good idea and then subsequently got stuck and gave up. The finer point of the piece is that Trump’s vision for what makes America great is entirely superficial. Increasing the size of the military isn’t about a specific threat or desire to project force for a specific diplomatic outcome, it’s about Trump feeling better about America. Similarly, Trump is obsessed with America being killed in trade. He’s not nearly as worried about jobs as he is the trade deficit. For Trump American greatness is entirely superficial, he wants to feel good when he says he’s an American and his supporters do too. With that in mind you can project that his policies will all be superficial fixes if he does push an agenda instead of succumbing to the Ryan agenda. Trump’s primary example when speaking about infrastructure, for instance, was airports. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I rarely go to the airport. If we invest billions of dollars improving our infrastructure I’m a lot less interested in improving airports, especially the parts Trump is comparing to the rest of the world’s, than I am in the bridges I drive over or the schools my hypothetical children attend. It’s superficial for Trump, he wants to have the best looking airports. He’s not interested in improving the everyday infrastructure the rest of us use. When you start thinking about it there are numerous examples of Trump being more interested in the appearance of something changing than in the deeper problem being fixed. Once you accept that he’s most interested in superficial fixes you can project a lot of terrible policies being enacted. Assuming, of course, those of us who think Trump probably won’t spend much time governing outside of rubber stamping the Ryan agenda are wrong. My prediction is that Trump will go on some dumb Granada type escapade to improve American jingoistic morale, he’ll increase resource extraction and pay through the nose to keep automating plants here in America just to say we’re winning at trade because the trade deficit is smaller. If Trump isn’t the hero to fix these problems, which he won’t be, that’s when you really start to worry. The seeds of a very dark campaign to scapegoat Muslims and immigrants have been planted. A narcissist never fails unless someone is preventing him from succeeding, in their own mind at least. That means Trump will never think, ‘oh well, it was an impossible project in the first place,’ it’s going to be ‘those people over there are to blame.’ It’s all frightening, but clinging to melting snowmen of absurd maneuvers isn’t going to help. Only organizing will, organizing and fighting back.