A Needed Reminder For 2018: Trump Is The Symptom, Not The Disease

By Jason Taylor

We said, when they go low we go high, Trump went lower. We said we are better than that. He got worse and was proud of it. We said, America’s reputation is being tarnished, he proved we were right. We were advocates for truth, he lied more. And, we supported those women who were sexually violated, Trump supported a pedophile and called accusers liars. We were called wimps for not fighting hard enough. Now we exaggerate the threat he poses and we are wrong?

You don’t send a boy scout to break up a biker bar fight. The outrage against Trump is totally justified. Every single lie, distortion, alternative fact, insane accusation that comes not just from Trump, but the entire Republican party should be attacked on a daily basis. This is the game the Republicans played with their support of the Tea Party and it worked. When Democrats or “liberals” take the high ground, we lose. Republicans and Trump have made doubling down on distortion or lies an incredibly successful political science event and if anyone thinks taking the higher ground will be an effective tool to oppose this approach they haven’t been paying attention.

Examine the attacks on Robert Mueller. They’re setting the tone for questioning the credibility of his findings.

In political warfare, like military encounters, one must act to anticipate the opposition’s rules of engagement and counter them creating a situation wherein his weakness can be exploited. Republicans and Trump have given the country much to exploit. Sometimes getting down in the dirt with the bully is the only way of getting on a level playing field. Everything from the Russia connection, obstruction of justice, the tax cuts for the wealthy, attacks on healthcare, the vacuum in foreign policy, unqualified judiciary appointments, lies, immigration policy and criminal activity by those in his orbit should be fair game. He’s given us a gift. We should use it and win.

As far as the Republicans go, the best way to counter them is to present over and over again clear policy goals that benefit everyone in this country and not just the already rich. The Democrats have to formulate those policies and spend all their time getting them out in front of the American people — and the media needs to help do that and not just hang on every abysmal tweet that spews forth from the White House. Demonizing Trump isn’t enough — alternatives are necessary and we have a little under a year to get them out there. If you want Trump supporters to stop supporting him, you have to offer them something else to support and there are plenty of issues in this country that already affect every single one of us to pick from.

The shock of realizing how selfish, cruel, judgmental, proudly ignorant we Americans are is not Trump’s doing: he merely took advantage of who we already were. He IS us. Reacting to what he says and his overall ridiculousness is not where our energy should ultimately be directed, true. When we point the finger at another, three other fingers point back to us.

Our past belief that we as citizens have no part to play in changing our culture is ending. That is my hope. We should protest, we should show up, we should demonstrate, write, call, post, debate, run for something, donate. It will sometimes be too much. We have to learn how to do this again. It is not about him, though. That is the mistake. It’s about us.

Trump is so far outside the acceptable bounds of a U.S. president that the liberal response is justified. Legislation can fix some of what he’s doing. But it cannot readily fix what he’s done to the U.S. standing in the world or fill the international leadership roles that others will have already taken over. It will require a leader of outstanding competence to reverse the deep racial and xenophobic animus in many parts of the country that Trump so thoroughly mainstreams and that right-wing media love to fan.

If the Trump administration undoes 80 years of social legislation on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid it will be difficult to bring the country back to a place resembling a major democracy. The extreme income separation already underway in the U.S. will only grow after the latest tax bill has run its course, whatever the very short-term effects might look like; and that is a hard situation to reverse. Beyond that, the daily onslaught of the man’s churlish and childish behavior leave half the country nauseated.

Trump is the symptom, not the disease. The real problem is the polarization of the American electorate, and the hollowing out of America’s industrial base, which is at least partially to blame for the polarization of the electorate. America needs to be a place where a person of ordinary means can look forward to a reasonable life. Simply swinging left or right won’t fix that one; we need a change of paradigm (no, I’m not advocating communism, which is the ultimate swing leftward). If we can’t make that happen, Armageddon is coming.

2018 and 2020 can’t come soon enough. Let’s express and channel the outrage, this man is not who we are.