January 30, 2017

Trump: Brawndo Has Got What Plants Crave


I've never been one for conspiracy theories, but I've found myself thinking lately that if a foreign power were to destabilize the United States from within, it is difficult to imagine that they could do a better job of it than what we are seeing so far from the Trump administration. He seems to be offering up a dizzying helping of chaos, uncertainty, confusion, and incompetence. It is almost as if he is determined to undermine every institution, destroy our reputation abroad, and bring our democracy to its knees. I can't help being reminded of some sort of comic book villain, and I fully expect him to announce that "Brawndo's got what plants crave" any day now (the source of this reference is the film Idiocracy).

Of course, I don't actually believe that Donald Trump's presidency is some sort of massive conspiracy to destroy America. I'm skeptical of the claims that he is some sort of Manchurian candidate under Putin's command. I also doubt the claims that Trump would not have won the election but for Russian hacking. Not only is it apparent that he has plenty of support among those who voted for him, but some said they were voting for him precisely because they wanted the system to be burned down and chaos reign in its place. Moreover, we are seeing his brand of right-wing nationalism on the rise in far too many other countries to dismiss his victory as solely a product of Putin's design.

I think it is far more likely that we have elected a president with a severe narcissistic personality disorder, a lack of intellectual curiosity, a brief attention span, and unusually poor impulse control. Unfortunately, he also seems to be a president who has allied himself with at least one person who might actually be comic book villains (e.g., Steve Bannon) interested in sowing chaos. And if that wasn't bad enough, it seems that Trump is smart enough to have recognized how to manipulate us through our incessant outrage and failure to do effective moral triage.

I suppose the good news is that we don't have to feel powerless. Those of us who are less than thrilled with Trump can express our discontent, as well as our support for those who are most likely to bear the brunt of his policies. And when it comes to specific policies that we believe are bad for our nation, we can also work to resist Trump.