Thursday, December 15, 2016

Trump – hopes and fears

I find it pretty hard to find any enthusiasm to write about the forming of Trump’s administration.  Mostly, I find it pretty depressing.  But I will spell out some of my hopes, and fears.


I think the biggest problem in America for decades has been the terrible polarization in the country – right vs left.  As I have written before, I have been a lefty and a righty and back to a lefty now throughout my life.  I was a good man in each of those iterations and I know that very good people are on each side.  I reject the notion that someone who disagrees with my political views and solutions does so because they are somehow bad.

But, something I know from experience is that once you are inside an ideological bubble you can’t see outside of that bubble.  Ideology explains everything, whether you are in a right wing or left wing bubble.  The bubble is made up of beliefs, ardently held.  And everything you see is a reflection back to you in the center of your belief bubble that validates your beliefs.  You are trapped.

So, a huge majority of people in America are trapped inside the ideological bubble of either the right or the left – trapped in dogma.

 These bubbles, these dogmas, are very comforting because you are convinced that you have all the answers.  You think you are thinking about the world, but actually you  are only validating and confirming the beliefs and biases of your ideological bubble, your dogma.

So, I have hopes that the wrecking ball that is Donald Trump might be able to shatter the dogmatic belief bubbles on both the right and the left.  For example, social conservatives and social liberals might just discover that their obsessions aren’t really the central issues of the day, and they may both need to look beyond these ancient and tiresome culture wars to find out what is being called for in today’s world rather than endlessly fight the Boomer Culture Wars.  Certainly, liberals found out that they had been seen as having forgotten about the terrible problems facing the white middle and lower classes.  And, for goodness sakes, are abortion and gun rights actually at the heart of what the country and the world must deal  with?  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  Ideology ad nausem.

Trump’s electoral victory has shown me that many if not most of the conservative sacred cows were pretty much ignored by the actual voters.  And Hillary’s loss showed me that most of the liberal sacred cows were also seen as incidental to the issues facing the people.

So, my biggest hope is that the ideological bubbles of dogma become shattered, or at least just seen as obsolete and essentially beside the point.

Another hope is in looking at the Trump selections.  Some of them are pretty frightening, but most of the frightening ones are scary because they represent views that I don’t share.  Basically, Trump is going for Real Men – Wall Street and military men.  However, from generals to CEOs I have to acknowledge that they are intelligent, accomplished, and successful men.  So, we don’t have Sarah Palin type incompetents in most of the picks – well there is Ben Carson who proclaimed himself to be unqualified to lead a government agency, but I guess he will do so anyway.  So, my hope is that this collection of men, with a lifetime of responsibility behind them, will rise to the occasion of the awesome responsibilities placed on their shoulders.


Ideologically, I am very upset with the selection of Ayn Rand Libertarian acolytes who pride themselves in holding to the principles of selfishness and fierce independence.  I hate that we have people in government who see the world in the black and white uncaring notion that the country is filled with the Makers and the Takers.  Ayn Randism is something I was entranced by in my late teens and early twenties but grew out of.  The world, and its people, are much more complicated that the Randian notion of what it is to be good, strong, pure being burdened by the weak, helpless, and despised.  It is a adolescent fantasy of what life is like and what Real Men are like. It is a philosophy devoid of humanity and caring.  So, I fear the ideologies that drive these men.

And of course there is the compulsive, childish, hypersensitive, ignorant narcissism of Trump himself.  He knows next to nothing about government or the world, doesn’t want to learn anything, and is likely, if unchecked, to make decisions that could be really disastrous – not because he adheres to an ideology that I disagree with, but because of his ignorance and ridiculous grandiose idea about how Amazing he is.

It is a work in process, and I refuse not to be hopeful.  The thing for me to remember is that Donald Trump does not create my reality, I do, and I will do just fine. 

He will have his splash, his moment, and I hope and pray that he does much better than I fear he might, and that he does even better than I hope.