This is what tragedy looks like: A bellicose, belligerent idiot-naif of a president getting cowed and broken in his First 100 Days in office — outflanked and absorbed by the machinery of fascism — with his base singing his praises, as if he were still the anti-establishment person he campaigned as. Only he’s not (aside from the demagoguery). And whaddaya’ know, not only has he NOT “drained the swamp” of Washington, DC, he’s actually elevated some of the worst bloodsuckers and gators the damn swamp held!
To what effect?
— He’s not talking about detente with Russia anymore.
— Or restoring Glass-Steagall, a major pillar of how the United States prevented bank panics for nearly half a century.
— He’s no longer promising to keep the parts of the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obama/RomneyCare) that actually help people, such as the provisions that track what was once known as the “Patient’s Bill of Rights.”
— He’s done saying nice things about Planned Parenthood and the vital healthcare it provides to “millions of millions of women.”
— He’s retreated from his major campaign plank of repealing NAFTA (after capitalizing on the political “gimme” Obama bequeathed him as he exited, allowing Trump to take credit for clobbering the morally atrocious, economically inimical, and politically unpopular TPP).
— And now he’s attacking net neutrality (what an ‘effing jerk, am I right?).
But most significant of all, Trump has gone from the genocidal neocons’ most feared and hated politician to their increasingly obedient minion. First, the MIC eliminated Gen. Flynn (a flawed man who had grown sick of providing al Qaeda with an air force), then they threatened Sessions’ job and warned Tillerson, too, and they have since proceeded to point the Orange Dummy in the directions of Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, and beyond…
Mother of All Bombs away! “WMD” claims (sans evidence) away! Rattle the sabers! Needlessly provoke North Korea and China!
* * *
And the worst part of this tragedy, from my perspective, is what has happened to the former left. Millions of good-hearted, left-leaning, intelligent, and educated Americans have failed to see that what is happening to Trump also happened to “the best president in (their) lifetimes,” Barack Hussein Obama.
But it’s been like watching an instant replay. Deja vu, all over again…
Although 2008 Obama was no Bernie Sanders, his “Hopey/Changey” rhetoric (like Trump’s) did make some in the establishment squirm. Neither Wall Street nor the neocons hoped for the Bush/Cheney policies to change — they simply required a new Charlatan in Chief for those policies to flourish under.
The oligarchs needed a reliable myrmidon and hoped that Obama would be up to the job, but they didn’t completely trust him. Because even though he let a former Citigroup executive select his first cabinet (a parade of scumbags), it seemed possible back in 2008-09 that President Obama actually had an iota of interest in real change. (And for my money, they weren’t wrong: Obama did have that iota of interest… it just never amounted to anything, because he never fought for it. By the time he left office, America’s most vulnerable communities had been devastated, and 95% of economic gains had been sucked up by the vampiric top 1% — the plunder was complete.)
But that’s getting into the minutiae.
Mostly, what close observers witnessed in Obama’s First 100 Days as president is astonishingly similar to what has happened with Donald Trump: The establishment has co-opted our new president completely.
Under Barack, the far-right’s corporatist coup would be consummated. He would succeed where “Dubya” had failed: cutting Medicare and Social Security (making him the first to successfully breach the legendary “Third Rail of American Politics”); transferring $16 trillion to the crooks who’d crashed the world’s economy; normalizing assassination; ending habeas corpus; and all but extinguishing press freedom (prosecuting more whistleblowers and journalists under The Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined).
Today, the same thing has happened to President Trump, a patently irresponsible nitwit, with a “tiny hands” complex, drenched in imaginary Russian whiz. They’ve even got the bozo attacking the journalists at WikiLeaks, an indispensable news organization which he was praising not long ago.
[Since 9/11, our rapaciously corrupt establishment has been courting a new world war, acting with extraordinary aggression, on virtually every front. And now the nominal left is relentlessly prodding Trump to get with that program (like Obama before him), haranguing him to reverse himself on what Noam Chomsky has called “the one ray of light” Trump offered — rapprochement with Russia.]
And because the left has been so ugly and reactionary in its response to Trump’s election — desperate for any way to delegitimize him — we’ve actually managed to get his base to rally around him, just as he is breaking his best promises to them. (Just as the right’s irrational Obama-hatred in 2009 compelled us to rally around our new president, just as he was breaking all of his best promises to us.)
And that’s how we came to be in the political wilderness, my fellow lefties. We’ve been gullibly following the deep state’s playbook, for partisan reasons, filling the warmongering space to Trump’s right, demanding that he succumb to the whims of the Military Industrial Complex. And now he’s buckled, threatening to live up to our worst fears about his presidency (which means he’s finally become “presidential,” in the eyes of our lunatic establishment).
And we “liberals” — including some damn fine progressive organizations and individuals — helped that happen.
This is exactly what TRAGEDY looks like.