With Trump, we’ve all Entered the Dark Dimension of Dormamu

By James A. Haught | (Charleston Gazette-Mail) | – –

Existentialists contend that humanity has a streak of irrational absurdity that defies logical understanding. The Donald Trump presidential victory rouses that feeling.

Ever since election night, I’ve felt like a Franz Kafka character caught in incomprehensible circumstances that make no sense.

Whatever possessed 61 million Americans (one-fourth of voting-age adults) to trust their nation to an off-the-wall kook?

Republican leader Mitt Romney called Trump “a phony, a fraud.” Republican leader Bobby Jindal called him “a madman who must be stopped.” Republican leader Jeb Bush called him a “jerk.” Republican leader Lindsey Graham called him “a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called him “a serial philanderer, and he boasts of it.” Former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge called him “an embarrassment to my country.” Republican executive Meg Whitman called him “a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears.”

Yet Trump is preparing to install his national administration, and most news media treat it as normal.

Will he be the worst president in U.S. history — even worse than George W. Bush, who started the needless Iraq War on false pretexts? So far, the 2017 prospect looks ominous:

Trump vows to appoint Supreme Court justices who will make it a crime again for desperate girls and women to end pregnancies. He vows to find and deport 11 million undocumented Hispanics. He vows to halt America’s participation in international efforts against the menace of global warming. He vows to give the wealthy a colossal tax break, which will force cutbacks in people-helping programs. He called for a ban on Muslims entering America. He vows to kill the Affordable Care Act that provides health insurance for 20 million.

Trump is filling his incoming administration with known racists like Jeff Sessions and Stephen Bannon, plus a loose cannon like Mike Flynn. Romney, who called Trump a phony and fraud, is under consideration for secretary of state.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

Does America face four ugly years that will reverse human rights progress and damage the national safety net? With Republicans in complete control of Washington, how much harm will occur?

Already, House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to turn Medicare over to commercial insurance corporations. All other advanced nations have liberal democracies that protect citizens. Will America lose standing in this regard? Or will reality convince the GOP that it can’t undo a century of hard-won progress?

At least, everyone should hope that Trump doesn’t start an unnecessary war, as Bush did.

America is the strongest nation on Planet Earth, with the most powerful economy. It can endure almost anything. Presumably it will suffer through the coming four years in some fashion. Hold on.

(Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached by phone at 304-348-5199 or e-mail at haught@wvgazettemail.com.). Reprinted with the author’s permission.

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7 Responses

  1. I still find it incomprehensible that people could look at this man, and, even in response perhaps to whatever their current state of suffering or ethnic resentment, think it is a good idea to make him President. I want to go back to look at Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the underground for reflections on a similar situation.

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    The Chilcott report posts a great big warning to the UK. We will not get involved in US wars of choice unless it is in our interests.

    President Trump’s (get used to saying it. he won fair and square) election will mark the beginning of the end of the American Empire and the Return of History. A “Singapore Moment” where everyone saw that the white man has feet of clay.

    As a Distinguished Professor of History I look forward to your balanced evaluation of the phenomenon.

    Sir Lawrence Freedman’s view is here

    If crises can be avoided, the emphasis for U.S. allies should be on patience. After all, it will take much of the next year before all the new administration’s key posts are filled with political appointees and are confirmed. Over time, Washington’s bureaucracy may get the new president under control so that he learns not to make impromptu commitments and waits until he has been properly advised on the implications of alternative policies. Candidate Trump proposed a series of radical and disruptive initiatives, but, as with his predecessors, President Trump will discover that he is more constrained than he imagined. On this optimistic view, there will be more continuity than currently expected.

    We shall see. From the early days of the postwar order, allies have worried about the possibility of an American president with Trump’s worldview. The only hopeful way of thinking about what awaits is as a test. If the global order can survive Trump, it may be that it can survive anything. link to foreignpolicy.com

    Isaac Asimov in his prescient description of world progress has a chapter on the emergence of the Mule.

    Lets start from there.

  3. The thing that I believe is important to understand about Donald Trump is not that he will run the country badly. The fact is that he’s not going to be able to run the country.

    This is a man who knows nobody in government, and who has alienated or disgusted all the qualified people- such as they were- who would normally populate a Republican government.

    This is a man who has never shown any interest in anything outside of his area of expertise- construction. And who knows absolutely nothing outside that area. Worse, he has no friends who do.

    As a result he is not appointing third-rate people; he’s appointing virtual vacancies. These people are in no way capable of understanding how to make the organizations they now head do anything at all, so they will collapse into paralysis.

    Trump’s management style will be chaos. No one will be in charge. There will be no decisions on anything.

    He never really wanted to run the country. And now, he won’t.

    • sorta like the offspring of Republicans, fresh out of college, appointed to run Iraq in 2003.
      They all pretty much sought out Iraqi counterparts to tell them what to do. None of these counterparts knew anything about governance.
      It turned out as should have been expected.

  4. Here’s a sobering thought:

    Imagine Trump and his administration in power during the Cuban Missile Crisis…

  5. “Existentialists contend that humanity has a streak of irrational absurdity that defies logical understanding. The Donald Trump presidential victory rouses that feeling.”

    The Donald Trump presidential “victory” is not due to absurdist existentialism in defying logic as a system but more due to experiencing the full effects of the “dumbing-down” of America in real time, an intentional multi-decade process.

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