Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Trump™ State of the Union 2018

I've made a personal tradition of pouring a whiskey on the rocks and watching the annual State of the Union speech by the current U.S. President.

Sitting through speeches from Bush, and now Trump, have been exercises in tolerance, though it feels like masochism. They're just not believable or wise characters (to anyone who hasn't gulped down the Kool-aid). Sure, Obama was a better speaker and a more thoughtful politician, but his State of the Union speeches were just the same dog-and-pony show. The purpose of this ceremonial speech is to express a vision of this country and society, and ideas on how to move it forward it a positive and realistic way. It's very hard to do that meaningfully or effectively in a 1-2 hr speech that needs to be simplified for the masses.

Trump did a decent job of reading off the Teleprompter, and didn't make a total ass of himself... Woo-hoo! The bar is set so low for this guy, that Republicans were basically applauding him for remaining coherent & finishing each sentence.

Every single State of the Union consists of the opposition party sitting & scowling, while the President's party is applauding & standing. However, the clapping after every line was just getting silly, and the sound of Trump clapping at himself into his mic just felt like it was to feed his ego, more so than in celebration of the content of his speech.

The Democrats are catching shit for not standing or clapping at different parts of the speech. It's hard to react to someone you disagree with, without coming off as a jerk. The GOP dealt with the same optics during Obama's term. The reason for the lack of enthusiasm is not because liberals or progressives don't care about the issues that Trump was talking about. The reason is- Trump is just not sincere about any of it! It's all lip service, & laughably bad lip service, at that.

I mean, let's be honest, the only thing Trump cares about is Trump. The guy is a known fraudster, a con-man, and a shitty businessman who has screwed over countless people, especially entrepreneurs to make himself money. The fact that his supporters have fallen for his ridiculous charade feels the same as when you hear of elderly people losing their savings to an obvious scam.

Then, there is the issue that the Trump administration, despite acting like a force for law & order, are completely subverting the law and national security to empower Russia. Yeah, I know, "NO COLLUSION!"....yeah, ok. Trump's connection to Russia & Putin isn't hard to figure out. As I said before, he's such a shitty businessman and credit risk that American banks wouldn't loan to him. Therefore, he had to go to foreign banks and perhaps less-than-reputable organizations to get financing. He obviously never wanted to release his taxes and financial info because it would make him look bad in some way. Otherwise, he'd be waving it in the cameras and bragging about it.

Now, there are investigations going on and some of his people have already been indicted. The problem for Trump is that he is treating every twist & turn in the worst way possible. Trump is not a genius. He's not even kind of smart. He's a dummy. Sometimes it's hard to know if he's intentionally lying or if he genuinely doesn't know what he's talking about. Thank God, because a smarter narcissistic sociopath might have done more damage by now.

30% of the country and the Republican Party have proven that they'll fall in line behind anyone unquestioningly, no matter how unqualified or incompetent. I wonder who will be next on their ballot in 2020. Jim Bakker perhaps? Ted Nugent? Really, how low can we go here? I'd rather not know...

Ok, now I'm starting to rant. Let me talk about the content of the speech. Oh, wait, there wasn't much more than the typical platitudes, & inspirational stories that politicians use as props. I'll just say that the most disturbing aspects of the speech to me were the blatant authoritarian appeals. He really wants a Trumpocracy, where neither merit nor integrity matter, only loyalty to him.

• Keep Gitmo open!
• We must have unquestioning praise for the military & police forces.
• Cabinet members should be able to fire agency employees for "not being a good American"!
• Let's increase our already bloated military, and start a new nuclear arms race!
• "USA! USA! USA!" (Idiocracy is coming true)

These were a few of his extraordinarily dangerous ideas. I also love the fact that he talks about lowering drug prices, then talks about escalating the war on drugs. The connection & irony is completely lost on him.

Who could've imagined that putting a self-absorbed man-child, reality-TV host, failed casino owner, & product huckster in charge of the country would be a bad idea?

Well, I know I did, even back in 2011!:

 As a postscript, let me also say that having Joe Kennedy III give the Democratic rebuttal shows just how fucked the American political system has become. Out of the millions of people in this country capable of being political leaders, the Dems bring out another Kennedy? Sure he spoke better than Trump and did his best to put on a show, but it all seems so contrived.

We have to figure out how to evolve beyond the limitations of the 2-party system, and the dangers of 1-party rule, if our democracy is going to survive.

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