by Leon Rosselson
Original Posted on Medium
Another headline featuring Donald Trump’s antics. Another email from Daily Action asking me to express my opposition to the latest example of Trump buffoonery. Another sombre article by the Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland warning us of the dangers of the Trump presidency. And now, I read, there are three (what? only three? he will be so disappointed) shows about Trump at the Edinburgh Festival. This obsession with Trump is becoming unhealthy. What’s more it’s a diversion — which, maybe, is the point. The underlying message of this daily focus on Trump and his Twittering is that the Trump presidency is the problem; that all would be well if only Trump were replaced by a more, plausible, presentable president who plays by the rules. And that the previous presidency was, by contrast, a time to be cherished, an example of American democracy at its best. True, Obama caved in to the Wall Street bankers (and to Netanyahu), dropped bombs on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, deported more undocumented migrants than any other president, persecuted whistle-blowers and pursued an assassination policy of drone strikes that killed untold numbers of civilians, including children. But he did it with such style.
Should the Republican establishment decide that Trump’s delusions are becoming counter productive, the next in line for the presidency is the eminently presentable, plausible, prayerful and ever so pious Mike Pence. Yes, that Mike Pence, the one who says that smoking doesn’t kill and that global warming is a myth, the anti-abortion, tax cutting, Bible reading, pro-gun, homophobic, Islamophobic, fanatically Israel supporting, fossil fuel loving, public spending hating, evangelical born again Christian conservative who cannot be alone with a woman who isn’t his wife because women are temptresses and believes that ‘God created the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that is in them’ because the Bible says so. The very embodiment of a Handmaid’s Commander.
So take your pick: Trump or Pence. Or…? Because the problem isn’t Trump and it isn’t Pence. The problem is America. The problem is America’s dysfunctional political system in which the two mainstream parties represent a remarkably narrow, remarkably similar range of views. The problem is America’s corrupt electoral system in which voters can be disfranchised for being poor and black and money wields undue influence. The problem is that America is a plutocracy. The problem is that political decisions are largely decided by the economic elites. The problem is the Pentagon and the CIA. The problem is that the military-industrial complex has a far greater grip on policy-making than when Eisenhower warned against it nearly 60 years ago. The problem is that America is spending $600 billion on armaments, overwhelmingly more than any other country, and that it is the world’s biggest exporter of armaments — $38 billion to Israel alone. The problem is that America needs wars and wages them endlessly, as well as subverting and overthrowing democratically elected governments which it sees as a threat to its hegemony and propping up dictators who can be relied on to act in America’s interests. The problem is that America is the most powerful country on earth and, for that reason, the most dangerous.