There Is No Safety in Stupidity

We’ve passed the 100 day mark in the Trump administration, and while there were fears that we would be plunged into an authoritarian state, it turns out that Trump is too lazy and stupid to make that happen.  He has all the makings of a fascist except the part of actually figuring out how to make things happen.  What’s disturbing is that it seems like our greatest bulwark against Trump’s cruelty is his stupidity.  The man is so profoundly dumb that he can’t make anything happen.  There was the fear that Steve Bannon would act as a Svengali and use Trump as a puppet for his white nationalistic goals, but it turns out that since Bannon was also kind of dumb and his initial plans backfired horribly, his role has been reduced.

Some are hoping that this is our new normal: incompetent kleptocracy.  Simply put, Trump, due to his lack leadership and complete disinterest in policy details, will putter around miserably for four years as he modestly enriches himself and his family by going to Trump properties every weekend.  He may even ram through a massive tax cut that would save him and his wealthy peers (I don’t say “friends” because Trump has no friends), but on the whole, the Republic will persevere and we’ll never make this kind of horrible mistake ever again.

That’s comforting, but it’s unlikely.  Remember that for the first nine months of the George W. Bush presidency, he was seen as a largely comical figure.  He almost choked on a pretzel.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone made a sitcom parody called That’s My Bush! because he was viewed as a lovable dope.  Then 9/11 happened and everything got a lot less funny.

So far, the Trump administration has been embroiled in chaos, and it’s all chaos of their own doing.  To assume that this is the new normal is to assume that no external threat will emerge in the next four years.  And it’s possible we’ll get ridiculously lucky and no major threat will emerge until an adult is in White House.  But that’s a huge risk, and to simply assume that everything is going to be okay just because Trump’s first 100 days have been a (to borrow one of his favorite words) disaster is a mistake.

On the one hand, I don’t think we’re slowly plunging into authoritarianism.  I understand the vigilance and I respect it, but I think Trump’s actions over the first 100 days have shown that he’s not playing 3D chess or even checkers.  He struggles mightily with connect-the-dots.  But if a true crisis emerges, that’s when we’ll be in even greater danger.  I pray that day never comes and we can get to January 20, 2021 with a new, compassionate, and sane President.

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 politics

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