Over the last weeks, since Trump was inaugurated, we have seen large protests in Washington of women objecting to infringement of Roe v. Wade, and we have seen a right wing, lightweight instigator (whose name will not be printed here) converted into a social media star by protesters objecting to his appearance at UC Berkeley. Last night, we saw a large group of rabbis protesting the President’s immigration directives barring refugees from those countries too poor to have Trump hotels.
These protests – like the online protests over Betsy Devos’s complete and utter lack of qualifications for the job to which she is ascending – are misguided – not because there aren’t important issues, but because they are in themselves flights from facing the real issue before us. They are fodder for the media and for a public at large unable – and unwilling – to cope with a reality far more vital to the survival of the country and so complicated that even the most profound economists and philosophers are having a difficult time grasping them.
Yes, Trump’s success in gaining control of the US through a coup that was backed by a foreign adversary is a reality. The coup was powered by a puppet pitting people against each other (women versus men, the rural and poor versus the urban and sophisticated, whites versus blacks and everyone else). Trump’s immediate actions, all catering to the base – or bases – of his support, are pretty awful, but to protest them is a waste of energy and a deflection of focus.
The reality is so much more serious. The US now has a President who has been determined by scores of professionals to be seriously ill. The man’s actions will cause havoc to the environment within the lifetime of people who are alive today, and certainly within the lifetimes of their children and grandchildren. Everything he says and touches, nationally and globally, reflects his own demons -- his own self-interests, not those of the country or even his own children. He is a threat to global stability by allying with Russia over our NATO and Asian allies, and by undermining the economic world order.
The focus needs to be on a demand of Republicans in Congress – John McCain, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, and others – to stand up on principle and to act to remove the danger the country is facing before the serious consequences of Trump’s assumption of power come reigning down on all our heads. They know all to well from their own direct interaction how serious the danger is, yet are allowing themselves to be satiated or appeased through small and inconsequential actions by the President (such as the nomination of Gorsuch).
All of us need to face reality here, realize how critical is the moment, and call it like it is. Everything else is like operating on an ingrown toenail when the patient is dying of a heart condition.