It’s been 100 days of unrelenting ignorance, stupidity, drama and comedy. And, no, I am not talking about the new Netflix season. This is about the tenure of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Probably the only thing that distresses me more than the possibility that we may have to put up with this failure of a human being for four years – perhaps eight! – is his strong, continued support of the voters who elected him.
The man said he wanted to disrupt Washington if he got elected, and by any measure he has succeeded in that. But there is a large difference between constructive demolition and ignorant destruction. His actions thus far confirm we can safely assume he is capable only of the latter. This random, oblivious obliteration of traditions, constructs, policies and procedures was expected by most Americans who went to the polls. What else could we have expected from a man so ignorant in the powers of the office he sought or the politics of the position? We would have had to look hard for someone more incompetent than the one who entered the White House on January 20. Yet, just barely enough voters blessed us with this incompetency. But, why?
In an April 27, 2017, ABC/Washington Post poll, after all the lunacy that has happened in the past 100 days, fully 96 percent of those who voted for Trump said it was the right thing to do and they would do it again. Only 2 percent felt they had made a mistake. It makes one wonder at what point would the other 98 percent also admit to a mistake. Does it take the world dissolving at their feet and hot fire at their toes before they recognize the failure? Or would they even then? Is pride just too important in their lives?
Here’s an incredibly negative poll for Trump. Sixty-four percent of Republicans said Trump was doing better in the presidency than they expected! This isn’t a good thing. Apparently, the bar was set so low for his capabilities that only 26% said he was doing about what they expected. Fifty-six percent of Democrats and 34 percent of Independents can believe how badly he is doing compared to their lowered expectations.
So why the continued support? In the face of this debacle, why do his voters continue to support him? Don’t they see the danger we are in? Are they oblivious to the destruction? The short answer is yes and no. They see the danger and destruction, but don’t necessarily believe it’s a bad thing. Some even think he is “correcting” a corrupt system. They see government as this big evil that must be destroyed. Trump, they believe, is demolishing the house so he can rebuild. Sorta like a “FixerUpper” TV reality show.
Let’s examine both ends of the spectrum. When President Obama was in office, Republicans could not understand how we could support him when he was so obviously wrong and destructive. Now the left is returning the favor. I can safely say that at no time did Obama deserve either the whole-hearted support or the whole-hearted hatred he received while in office. That’s a product of choosing sides. So, I can understand Republicans’ support of Trump, to a point. But, at no time did I see in any fashion the utter ignorance, stupidity and drama in Obama’s eight years in office that I’ve seen in 100 days of the Trump presidency.
I am completely exhausted and wish this nightmare would end. So, why doesn’t it? Why does Trump still have such strong support?
On April 29, 2017, President Trump told Reuters that he thought the job “would be easier.” Many jumped on this comment as further evidence of his incompetence. What I saw, however, was continuing evidence of a lack of understanding of the duties of political office by not only Trump, but also his supporters.
I frequently run into absolutists, people who are absolutely certain that political office is a service and political service should be provided free. Anything else is corruption. When it comes to school board or city council members, I have heard the comment time and again that “those people only work two days a month and 2 hours at a time. Why are we paying ’em for part-time work?” The same can be applied to state senators, representatives, congressmen and even governors. Not once do these absolutists research the voluminous number of hours our elected officials must spend going to workshops, lobbying for their communities and schools, reading countless reports, and attending multiple meetings to keep the public informed. Four hours a month? They should be ashamed.
It is ignorance like this that drives voters to believe a highly inexperienced man with dubious intelligence and a penchant for lying could possibly run a government with 800,000 employees, a $1.8 trillion (yes, I said trillion) operating budget and a GDP of 18 trillion dollars. Forget adding in all the other requirements – global leadership, guiding legislative action and national security. Hell, until the population understands that we can’t resolve our problems in a 44-minute reality show we will face constant challenges to “Make America Great Again.” I’ve got news for you: America is already great. And it’s because of this greatness we will get through this debacle.
What we need is less absolutists and more adult education. More understanding of what it takes to run a government. It’s too late for civics classes for adults, but maybe ads, commercial, infomercials, or even an adult “School House Rock”. Anything to wean them off the idea that government is easy, simple and straight forward. Anything to teach them that government in the US means to govern all the people and all the cultures not just the few in your neighborhood or your community. We need to invest more in high school civics classes not less. So future generations don’t have to face the same ignorance that forced us to accept the least among us to govern us. Our country nor the world can suffer this continued ignorance.
What we need, what we really need, is to teach our fellow Americans, everyone from the oldest adult to the youngest new potential voter, our place in this world and our country. We need to move them beyond rhetoric, 140 tweet characters and instant media gratification. We need to make them understand that governing is hard. It is hard at every level from the local school board to the Oval Office. We need them to know we need men and women in those offices who are capable of doing the job, who really understand what that job entails.
We need to grow up and throw out that old Cincinnatus myth. We can no longer simply plow our fields, go fight a war and then return to our plowshares. Our government, whether national or local, needs dedicated citizens, not fly-by-night pretenders. So,let’s get in there and educate. Write, teach and drag the uninformed into the conversation. Engage and don’t back down. Turn off the TV and have a talk. After all, it is our country. And the fight is worth it.