Monday, January 30, 2017

Someone's knocking at the door, somebody's ringing the bell

I don't think I've ever seen a more unintended, or inspired, call to activism. Donald Trump signs an executive order to ban Muslims from America and that's all we see in the news. Well, it doesn't ban Muslims from all over the world, just seven countries that appear to be sources of terrorism, as the Trump Administration contends. Trump says that it's not even the ban he promised during his campaign.

Thousands of protesters swarmed JFK. Lawyers have been seen sitting on the ground at the airport, typing furiously on their laptops, pro bono to boot, to write habeus corpus pleas to allow the people stuck in the airports to leave the airports. Courts weighed in to halt the detention of travelers. A chorus of GOP members of Congress has emerged, chastising Trump for the ban.

Even so, the Trump Administration reminds us that the Obama Administration selected the countries named by the ban. So no, it's just a coincidence that those countries happen to have no business ties to Trump's empire. The Trump Administration reminds us that Obama instituted a travel ban in 2011 and there was hardly any uprising, rather, it was just business as usual. They think we're all upset because it's just Trump doing it, not Obama. Maybe they're right.

Trump seems to be having a calculated effect on the people: the people are expressing their outrage. Protests are all over the country. People are taking action. People are saying words, really great words, probably the best words that Trump has ever heard, some with four syllables! People are getting involved in politics.

Here is where I get all scientific again. Anyone here remember a guy named Isaac Newton? He discovered an interesting law of nature, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". That was a summation of Newton's Third Law. And Trump is now witness to it. No matter what Trump does, there will be an equal and opposite reaction to it. Only this time, we can see it. With Obama, no on noticed. Well, not very many people noticed. Ok, our mainstream media was content with Obama, so they didn't have much to say. With Trump the clarions call.

As far as the press is concerned, Obama was free to send drones to foreign lands to kill other people. Yet, some people contend he was one of the greatest presidents we ever had. Never mind that in retirement, Obama is setting up a foundation that looks a lot like Hillary's. Never mind that he promoted the same neoliberal economics that gave rise to the housing bubble and took all the credit for "saving the economy". Never you mind that he helped Hillary give us the Trump.

If Trump sent drones to foreign lands to kill other people, it's all over the news. But today, it's the travel ban on Muslims that has everyone up in arms. I say this is good. Did some of the staff in the State Department quit over the Muslim ban? Not as far as I can tell. Many who have quit were upset with the prospect of Rex Tillerson at the helm, but who cares? They just surrendered much of the power they had to influence matters in the Trump Administration and Trump will find replacements who are more to his liking. What will those people do now after quitting the Trump Administration? Write books? Appear on talk shows? Get another job?

Harvard law professor and one time presidential candidate Larry Lessig has a great interview where he explains why Trump is good for democracy. I agree with him. Trump is ringing the bell for all of us. Maybe his presidency is a natural evolution of our country. Perhaps we've been far too complacent, or maybe just too busy to get engaged in politics. Trump forces our hand. Trump requires us to be present, vigilant and engaged.

If everyone went about their business as usual, I'd be worried. But they're not. They're taking time off work to protest, to let their voices be heard now, they're starting to show up.

Trump is an entertainer and as far as I can tell, he will always be an entertainer to me. He knows how to work the media into a frenzy. He knows how to bait anyone if he wants to. Maybe it's just me, but I think Trump is going to tar and feather the GOP before he leaves office. Here's why: many GOP members of Congress disagree with Trump and his ban on Muslims.

But that's not what we hear in the news. Most people will think that whatever Trump does is what the GOP wants, and all they can do is watch as Trump destroys their reputation. And this is just immigration. It's early days still, but I think that in four years, it won't matter who the GOP puts out there, just about anyone else would look better than Trump and his coattails in Congress.

Yes, it's good to see that people are getting involved in politics. Thank you so much, Mr. Trump.
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