First Things First
President Donald J. Trump may have been impeached twice and defeated at the polls after his first term, but that doesn’t mean that Trumpism is over. Far from it. Look no further than January 6, 2021, a day that shall live in Trumpish infamy. The outgoing president wanted to make history and he did, but not in a nice way. Add to this the rest of his legacy: the demolishing of essential federal agencies, the children imprisoned in cages without their parents, the rape of the land, the insanely expensive and illegally financed border wall, and all the rest. Nor should we forget the fact that the 45th President of the United States of America is only marginally literate. But he’s gone now, you say. Yes, he’s practically gone, but that is now a moot point. He has lit the fire in the forest and America the beautiful will never be the same again.
That fire didn’t take long to become a conflagration of white supremacism, neo-nazism, lynchmob values, unjust justice, and dangerous levels of hyper-patriotism. The Trumpists gamed the system to maintain lifetime power, securing three Supreme Court justices, hundreds of federal judgeships and massive tax cuts for the rich. Exceptionalism and lowbrow sacralization became common currency in American government. Trump’s personal pandering to extravagant, born-again rapture sects has converted them into a formidable electoral bloc.
His use of this religious phenomenon to advance his personal agenda is a historically ugly example of political opportunism, cynicism and hypocrisy. All of this reflects ill on the already tarnished image of the United States worldwide. Serious leaders of important countrys around the world–both allies and adversaries– don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This perception of the United States as a laughing stock, a dangerously unstable enemy and a less-than-reliable partner did not go away altogether when a new, “normal,” president was elected.
Trump’s Malfeasance Presidency
The United States government has had mediocre presidents before, misguided legislatures, fanatical figures, and serious spates of corruption. Not many of those anomalies, however, went far beyond passing aberrations. But never has an American regime been so self-consciously aware as that of Donald Trump that its mission was to demolish government and all its agencies, to shatter the very foundations of the country’s normality in order to transfer political power to business interests. These captains of industry have already bought up much of the government piece by piece through lobbyists and the financing of legislators. This corporate money is easy to turn into votes, and those votes into re-election, something that no congressperson can resist. So the United States Congress is severely compromised.
This deference to big business has long been the objective of the American right. President Calvin Coolidge set the benchmark in an address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, D.C. on January 17, 1925: “The business of Americans is business.” Though the library of Congress dresses it up as: “After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world.“
Almost three decades later, in 1953, General Motors president, Charles E. Wilson, followed up with “What’s good for General Motors is good for America, and vice versa.” Again, the Library of Congress offers a more cosmetic version. In the context of a Senate confirmation hearing in which Wilson’s appointment as Secretary of Defense was being considered, Republican Senator Robert C. Hendrickson of New Jersey asked Wilson if he thought he would be capable of taking a decision that would be beneficial to the interests of the United States government, if detrimental to those of General Motors. Wilson replied:
Yes, sir; I could. I cannot conceive of one because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country. Our contribution to the Nation is quite considerable.
Bog-Standard Republican Values
The values of Trump’s America were and largely remain standard Republican conservatism characterized by support for lower taxes, free-market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, deregulation, capital punishment, restrictions on labor unions, and thinly-disguised racism. They oppose abortion and feel comfortable in bed with televangelists speaking in tongues. Today’s republicans don’t talk much about education, environmental protection, social services, equality in all of its aspects, nor good faith in international dealings. Did they forget these concepts? No, they simply omit them as irrelevant.
America’s “strong national defense” sounds dandy in theory but, when the gloves are off, can be clearly seen as simple bare-knuckled militarism and good-for-business imperialism. If it weren’t for their blind trust in the dubious ethos of America first, permanent war and snatch-and-grab economics, they might be able to get away with their bulwark-of-democracy pretensions. But that America-first bias, coupled with the astuteness and cynicism of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), seldom fails when it comes to bribing and threatening the greed-driven governing minorities of resource-rich countries into ceding their natural resources to Uncle Sam.
If diplomacy should stumble the CIA has its own specialist army, the Special Activities Division, a covert paramilitary operations unit founded in 1995 and rebaptized “Special Activities Center” in 2016. It is made up of a selection of crack troops from across the American special forces galaxy. They are not only particularly persuasive but also totally unaccountable, a hermetic cylinder of plausible denial. When politicians affirm that all American troops area being withdrawn from a given country which they haven’t been able to defeat in combat, these are the dudes who stay behind. Being covert and unaccountable they’re ideal for that role.
Here’s a link to a quick overall view of SAD from the Operation Military Kids website. This is essentially a recruiting site for military offspring but it covers the basics in language you can use in Sunday school.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank are renowned for cleverly tipping the natural resources of underdeveloped countries into the American funnel. Their maneuverings provide the underpinnings for maintaining US economic dominance, as well as indirectly helping to fuel Chinese expansion around the world. The World Bank is an American bank with headquarters at 1818 H Street, N.W. Washington, DC. Its pretext of giving while taking has a lot in common with another charitable American Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
One Overriding Question Remains
Trumpism has set the benchmark for greed, mendacity, onanistic narcissism, nepotism, and the worship of the rich. In order for the United States to return to the real world someone has to reverse all those pernicious values. America has a new president. Joe Biden is a product of the normal Democratic party infrastructure. He doesn’t seem to be insane or severely mentally and morally handicapped. His appointments thus far indicate that he wants to be all things to all people. Good luck to him. The concern of Americans–and the rest of the world–is: Will President Biden be capable of burying the perverse values of Donald Trump and his Trumpish hordes and bringing the United States back to normal? Not necessarily great; we’ll settle for just normal.