Sometimes in life you’re stuck between a bad choice and a horrible one. To impeach or not impeach – that is the question. And, having to choose between Donald Trump remaining president, and a cavalcade of douchelords taking over in his wake are both terrible options.
It’s kind of like trying to choose your favorite Cleveland Browns team – there is no right answer. So, let’s pick one! It’ll be fun!
OPTION 1 – Trump Continues to Be President
There’s nothing else to say right now other than Donald Trump is the stupidest president that we’ve ever had. And, I say that with supreme confidence, despite the fact that I know nothing about like 35 of our other presidents. How can I be so certain? Well, let’s just put it this way – Trump being the dumbest president is like an asteroid headed toward Earth – I’ve never seen that before either, but I’m pretty sure I’ll know it when I do.
Being dumb would be bad enough, but Trump is also such an incoherent, babbling liar that he literally has no idea what’s happening in his own life. For the majority of his political campaign and presidency, he has often appeared confused about the things he’s actually said or done. When you lie so much that you don’t even know what’s true in your own mind – that’s some next-level liar shit. Trump behaves like someone who has 15 different personalities living inside of him and the only thing they can agree on is how much they hate Mexicans.
But, these are all things we know. As cathartic as Trump bashing can be, it might be overshadowing the fact that he’s doing a lot of the work of the “resistance” for us. We love to imagine how his awfulness will lead to impeachment, but we may not be giving enough consideration as to whether or not we actually want him to leave. At this point, pretty much the entire world has realized that Donald Trump’s brain is filled with squirrels – and the isolating effect this discovery is having on his presidency is becoming an asset. If we can get through the next four years without him starting a Twitter battle that turns into an actual battle, we might be looking at a president who is so unpopular, and so incredibly compromised, that he can’t get anything done. And, Trump getting nothing done seems like the best possible outcome right now.
As Trump continues to run his mouth about Russia (while continuing his efforts to hook them up), he seems unaware that this stuff might actually be used to put him in jail one day. Everyone else on planet Earth seems to know that it might. It’s why everyone in Washington continues to inch away from him the same way you do when someone farts in an elevator. In this scenario, Trump got in the elevator on the top floor (a.k.a. the Presidency of the United States) – and eventually everyone will get off on various levels, leaving Donny to wallow in his own stench at the bottom. He’ll be all alone. And, I find myself hoping that the investigation will last the duration of his time in office, so that he can go from being all alone in a smelly lobby to being all alone in a jail cell.
While I’m not particularly excited about hearing Trump blather behind a podium for the next 3 1/2 years (dear god!), his talk is just that – talk. Words are only words and we can recover if the worst that happens to us is our collective embarrassment. Especially, if those words are chosen so poorly that they result in a Trump presidency that’s unable to pass any major legislation. In other words, talk is cheap, but legislation can carry a steep price. And in the grand scheme of things, a Trump administration that’s so toxic it can’t govern is a huge win.
Unfortunately, it’s a victory that I’m far less confident can be won if Trump is impeached and a more savvy (a.k.a. quieter) governor takes over. Which leads me to our second option…
OPTION 2 – MIKE PENCE (OR SOMEONE ELSE IN THE ADMINISTRATION) IS PRESIDENT
Here’s what scares me about Pence – he’ll keep his mouth shut. Pence will get up there and be able to act like an adult, and not only will this be seen as a return to “normalcy”, but there’s a good chance he’ll be praised for it. Knowing how the media (and people in general) tend to react these things, it seems extremely likely that just a shred of outward-facing civility will produce a collective sigh of relief despite the administration’s actions being just as bad or worse.
That’s a huge problem.
Because, while us whiteys might find ourselves more relaxed in our everyday lives – the people who are actually being hurt by this administration won’t be so lucky. Less outrage on a day-to-day basis means someone like that disgusting, evil, little hobbit-fuck, Jeff Sessions will have more freedom to continue his reign of terror on the minority communities of America under his guise of the “rule of law”. We can’t let that happen. We can’t trade our collective mental comfort for a return to a system that sounds nice, but in reality, acts horribly.
This is the main reason why I think we need Trump around. He’s an easy target and the hate he inspires is starting to become a valuable catalyst for justice. The never-ending stream of shit that he stirs produces action and keeps it in motion. Despite everyone pining over how good George W. Bush now seems in comparison to Trump, I’m genuinely starting to prefer this current political climate to the one we had from 2000-2008. It reveals people’s true colors. And, it makes for a much better battleground than the “let’s talk nice while doing horrible things” approach of the Bush era. At least we know where we stand.
People like Pence and Sessions will usher in the return of those old, George W. Bush ways – muddying the waters with some level of “decorum” while doing truly awful things to people with the stroke of an expensive pen. This is an environment that makes it harder to call our leaders out for who they really are, in my opinion. And, if Trump’s cronies become the final iteration of his presidency, I have a feeling that means that things have gotten much, much worse.
Say what you want about about Trump – but his incompetence has actually kept things from getting out of hand so far. It helped the courts strike down his worst executive order numerous times. His lack of leadership kept the healthcare bill from getting out of the House the first time. And, his overall grossness will be a valuable motivator for the fight against any legislation that is to come. That means we can continue to have valuable discussions on how terrible the Trump presidency feels (I’m not discounting those feelings) – but in terms of the horrible acts that have actually been done – Trump has been better for the country than George W. Bush so far.
I understand that it’s only been a little over 100 days and maybe we should give him time – but, real talk – the Iraq War was/is far more evil than anything Trump has planned to do or done. The only reason more people don’t feel that way is because Bush stayed on message about it. Just because W. didn’t get behind a podium and say, “Yeah, we’re totally murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians because I want to make money for my friends in the oil industry,” doesn’t make what actually happened any less horrific. I worry Trump being removed from office will mean the return of a more “appropriate” and banal form of evil that our country is far less vigilant about.
Trump’s outwardly disgusting and vile nature is the thing that (I believe) will ultimately help our country keep our eye on the prize – a victory in the 2018 mid-terms that will put an end to the destructive, authoritarian agenda that has been pushed by Republicans for the last 15 years. The right’s utter lack of caring for the American people has never been put into clearer focus than during the past five months of the Trump administration. Their willingness to look the other way in the face of Trump’s behavior provides a powerful lens – showing a party that only cares about a select few at the expense of all others. It highlights their utter willingness to destroy the things that made this country great in order to preserve a corrupt and imbalanced, status quo. (And yes, I know some Democrats are implicit in this status quo as well. But, also, like – there’s levels to this shit, man.)
Trump has revealed a number of deeply troubling truths about our country, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing if we can overcome them. At least now we can be honest about how much work needs to be done. Don’t get me wrong – I’m still fucked up in the head about the fact that he won in November. Never has something happened in my life that so powerfully deconstructed my worldview. But, the fact that I (and we) had to reevaluate some pretty foundational beliefs about human decency and our inability to overcome tribalism – that’s a learning experience that will probably prove valuable in the long run.
Trump has shown us how susceptible we are to authoritarianism by way of the white nationalist right of America. He’s also shown us that somewhere between 40-50 million Americans (I’ll give independents the benefit of the doubt, I guess) have picked their side and are now willing to abandon all principles as long as their team wins. If you don’t believe me – just head on over to the FOX News Facebook page and witness an insane asylum. There you can find literally millions of people who have become completely untethered from reality. It’s frightening. And, what’s scarier is that until FOX News is exposed as the corporate propaganda network that it is – one designed purely for the benefit of the rich and powerful and hateful – this will not change.
The good news is that this exposure might already be beginning to take shape. Trump is often times so far “out there” that defending him has become a fool’s errand. FOX News’ unwavering determination to do so has started to have a serious effect on what little credibility the network has left. Not only that, but Trump has injected such an insane level of batshit into the conversation that he is splintering FOX’s own viewership – as a certain portion of their viewers now believe that FOX isn’t conservative enough! Hard to believe, but true. (Also, let’s just stop calling it conservatism, and start calling it authoritarianism.)
For the rest of us, the rifts between us are still deep and they will take a long time to heal. But, I guess part of me is hoping that this administration becomes so incompetent that it offers a common enemy for the remaining, reasonable people on the right, and the progressive left – giving us some semblance of common ground to rebuild upon. From there, maybe we can begin to pull the rest of these people back into reality. That’s the baseline, starting point if we ever hope to heal the divisions in this country.
At the very least – Trump has forced everything out into the open. His behavior has made the agenda clear. And, those who side with him and his administration will no longer be afforded the benefit of the doubt about where they stand in my eyes or the eyes of others. My hope is this will ultimately be a good thing. At this point, it seems that’s all we can do – hope – hope and do the work necessary to ensure that this man’s presidency becomes merely a painful setback in a huge leap forward.
When Trump was elected, I never in a million years thought I would say this, but… I’m not sure I want him to go away. At least not just yet. Because, when it comes to his presidency there is one way he’s helped “make America great again” – he’s shown us the lessons we must learn if we hope to do so.