19 March 2017
After fifty some days of the presidency of Donald Trump, what can one say but, "Oh my!" I don't know where to begin commenting on the changes I see. Part of my difficulty stems from being of an age that society relegates to the sidelines, for the most part, leaving only commentary and observation to be the only functions appreciated.
At 72, I can no longer avoid the reality of being old. In my sixties, I could imagine that those television ads about strength and vigor were directed at me, too. Those ads promoting arthritis and other pain medications were for old folks, even though the actors therein were in their late-forties. My mental self-image continues to confound society's: I think as if I were 37 still. What to do? I do enjoy napping more than before and I appreciate not having a tight schedule for my days. Nevertheless, there is this overshadowing fact that I am in my seventies and society considers me to be peripheral to the mainstream, no longer a gym enthusiast or a national figure in higher education and health care administration.
It is with this existential awareness that I observe the Trump Administration. There are plenty of liberal sources declaiming the evils of the manner in which Trump has staffed his cabinet. In a manner recalled from childhood, Trump decided to "get back" at the individual departments that his base debases. The EPA and Energy Department are two of the most obvious, with long-time political enemies of their regulations being put in as director and secretary. What better revenge than to put someone in charge of the very thing they despise! With juvenile delight, Trump manages his staffs through particularly insidious manipulating of selective meeting invitations, listening to Bannon and Miller, ignoring traditional and internationally recognized protocols of including cabinet secretaries in his face-to-face meetings with foreign dignitaries, and tweeting nonsensical comments around his own communications staff.
Even the way he schedules his travel between the White House and Mar-a-lago communicates a distance from the everyday work of being President. Without appointing deputies to his cabinet secretaries, and displaying a disconnect between himself and those secretaries already in place, President Trump sort of hangs out there in suspended reality that gives the impression of being disconnected from his own administration. Because of the 2016 election results, I don't see an opportunity for changing this disconnect before the 2018 elections.
The Republicans seem unaffected by the town meetings that various groups have insisted upon. After all, most of those attending voted against the incumbent, viz. winner. Why should the representative in Congress pay attention to those clamouring for input into their agendas when the Speaker can affect their daily lives more directly than the voters? Hopefully, the spirit of objection and rallies against Republican incumbents will last for the next two years and result in changes to the partisan make-up of the House and Senate. A vote is the remaining tool I have to affect the national agenda. Perhaps the power of the pen can resurface in this country to allay some of my fears and qualms.