The Trump presidency has magnified and intensified the sorry nature of this state.
The United States of America is in an apocalyptic state. That state must be deconstructed because it threatens the future of our citizens, country and the world in which we live.
Some might blame this apocalyptic state on the Trump presidency. This would be incorrect.
As evidenced by the recent moving forward of the hands on the Doomsday clock, the Trump candidacy and presidency have magnified and intensified the sorry nature of that state.
The apocalyptic state was created, however by a variety of factors. They include:
- A problem with the U.S. Constitution. Having two senators from each state regardless of population gives disproportionate influence and control to small states versus large states in the policy-making process and the senatorial allocation carries over to impact the electoral college vote count in favor of smaller states as well.
- A dysfunctional U.S. Congress. By all accounts, the last three Congress’ (112th, 113th, and 114th) have been among, if not, the most ineffectual and least productive in history. As importantly, when legislation is passed, the vast majority of it reflects the interests of lobbyists, special interests and the wealthy rather than the concerns of the average citizen.
- Ignorant and apathetic citizens. It is well documented that a large percentage of Americans know very little about government and those in governance. This lack of understanding combined with a lack of participation allows a minority of voters to determine nominees and winning candidates for office. For example, less than 30% of registered voters participated in the 2016 presidential primaries.
- Political polarization. Staunch Democratic and Republican voters used to be relatively close in terms of their positions and viewpoints on issues. This has changed in the past decade and now they are light years apart. Moreover, they have little to no regard for those in the opposite party.
- Democracy at risk. Many millennials don’t hold our U.S. democracy in high regard or as the essence of the nation’s being. They don’t bleed red, white and blue and the flag that they could salute migh even have a hammer and sickle on it.
- Negative perceptions of our institutions. Research study after research study has shown that Americans have gone from embracing all of our institutions from government to big business to the media to almost no faith and trust in them.
- Economic inequality. The distribution of wealth and earnings in this 21st century has reduced the middle class and transformed the gap between the rich and the population at large into a gulf.
- Diminished hopes and dreams. The American dream has been the stuff of legend. Now many Americans report it is becoming a legend and the next generation in their families will not be better off than they were.
- The changing nature of work. Robots, automation, digitization and other 21st century forces are eliminating blue collar, white collar and middle management jobs at an accelerating pace. The meaningful jobs of the future will go to the more educated and those with special skills. This will be a small percentage of the total workforce. The question is what to do about it.
- Culture clash. A segment of society which is primarily of white, Anglo-Saxon, European, Protestant heritage feels disenfranchised and disadvantaged. Their perception is that the government deck has been stacked against them in favor of people of color and different identities. As the book title puts it, they feel like “strangers in their own land.”
- Global Corporations. Big businesses headquartered in the U.S. that ship jobs overseas, shelter profits offshore, and who are willing to change their allegiances for tax advantages almost overnight tend to be the rule rather than the exception.
- The fear factor. America used to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Over the past few years, it has become the United States of Fear and homeland insecurity as we fear Muslims, immigrants, and those different than us in this country and around the world.
- Internet disconnection and the unsocial media. The internet and the social media which were ostensibly going to bring us closer together have become tools (think Facebook postings and Breitbart News) to promulgate “fake news” and to drive wedges between, among and through us.
That’s more than a baker’s dozen of apocalyptic factors. Without much trouble, we could easily add another baker’s dozen and then some.
But, the point is that the apocalyptic state existed when Donald Trump rode onto the scene on his not-so-white horse to exploit those underlying conditions and to appeal primarily to white voters who felt ignored and betrayed by the existing system and the elected officials involved with it.
He might have accomplished this because he was astute at reading the tea leaves. Or, should we say the tea party’s leaves?
It could have been that he was in the right place at the right time. He was a “popularist” meeting populists – an insider by most measures, but an outsider in things political at a time when being an insider there was a disqualifier.
No matter what the reason for his ascendancy, Trump is now the head of this apocalyptic state. In the biblical times of the New Testament, the four horsemen of the apocalypse were Conquest, War, Famine and Death. In these times, they are President Trump, Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and Steve Miller.
These horsemen are there to deconstruct the administrative state. They are aided and abetted by Kellye Anne Conway and Sean Spicer who are creating a “surround sound super structure” to muffle and distort the “white noise” of the deconstruction. And, cabinet heads whose values and beliefs run counter to the agencies they head such as Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency who advises us fallaciously that there is no agreement in the scientific community that carbon dioxide has a major effect on climate change.
Deconstruction is oppositional thinking and action. It is directed at turning things inside out. Where there is order bring disorder. Where there is certainty bring doubt. Where there is calm bring chaos.
The four horsemen of this apocalypse are galloping together in their deconstruction efforts with the 3 D’s as their primary weapons:
- Disruption – challenge the conventional wisdom and the existing perception of the truth and reality regardless of the facts
- Diversion – if the disruption is challenged retaliate by changing the subject and the story line
- Denunciation – attack and criticize anyone or group who questions the validity of either the disruption or diversion
Deconstruction of the administrative state worsens the apocalyptic state and if successful could turn the apocalypse into America’s Armageddon.
Realizing this – what should be done to interrupt and stop this deconstruction?There are numerous strategies that can be employed and actions that must be taken. We will identify and discuss them in specific terms in future blogs.
For now, let us identify the overriding requirement and the essential focus for deconstructing the apocalyptic state.
The requirement is for all hands on board in an unofficial alliance against the apocalyptic state and those who would deconstruct the administrative state. That alliance must include concerned citizens of all persuasions, principled politicians from both sides of the aisle, organizations and groups from across the societal spectrum, and, yes, those “enemies of people”, the traditional media. The work of the members of the alliance can and should be done independently and interdependently as necessary.
The essential focus, however, must be the same. That is to speak truth to power even – and most especially – when those in power do not speak the truth.
Because here is the truth, while it is not perfect – far from it – the administrative state, the bureaucracy, the government – whatever you call it – is not the root of all evil. In fact, it is a bastion and means for trying to make America work for all Americans and fulfilling the charge in the preamble to the constitution to “form a more perfect union.”
The citizens of the United States recognized this when they pushed back strongly and voiced their strong opinions against and after the government shutdown of 2013. They have raised those voices again in the marches across the country after Donald Trump’s inauguration as President and in town halls to protest the replacement and repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Those leading the charge to deconstruct the administrative state are listening to only a few voices and to those who agree with them. All voices need to be heard to make America work for all Americans and we need an agenda to “reconstruct” the administrative state not to deconstruct it. (See our earlier blog on this.)
The only way that we can get there is through the deconstruction of the apocalyptic state. That will protect the future of our citizens, country, and the world in which we live. It will put America first, keep it great, and make it even greater.