Dear Readers, there are so many things to be outraged about these days that I have ranked them. Do with this what you will. Next week I’ll post something adorable, I promise.
Here’s my breakdown of things that are happening:
Things that are not actually Trump-related.
I won’t lie. It fills my heart with sadistic glee to hear rumors that the Trump staff can’t find the White House light switches. How I love to imagine that they are all working in the dark, possibly with the aid of candles.
However, according to the copy of Time Magazine that was so thoughtfully placed in my doctor’s waiting room today, we can’t actually use this as evidence that Trump and everyone who works for Trump is incompetent. Apparently, there’s no good orientation to help the transfer between administrations. Every new administration ends up with staff that doesn’t know where the bathroom is or how to find ballpoint pens. We can’t pen this on Trump’s crew being idiots.
Outrage level: Surprisingly unwarranted.
Things that are Trump-related but are irrelevant.
I don’t care about Trump’s hair or skin tone or appearance in any way. I don’t care if he can or cannot spell (I have bias since I can’t spell either). I don’t care what job Melania used to have and although I do worry that she might be abused it’s not something I can do anything about. I don’t care what anyone on Trump’s staff looks like or what odd habits they may have. OK, I do care – that’s a lot of gum, Sean. But they don’t affect anyone’s ability to govern.
Outrage level: Not worth it. These kinds of things may have a certain hypontizing effect, but they are a waste of outrage.
Things that are reprehensible but sadly normal for a Republican administration.
Now we get into things that require action. We have a Republican congress. Of course we are losing health care and women’s reproductive rights and civil rights for people of color and the LGBTQIA community. Of course the most vulnerable populations are losing funding. Of course the separation of Church and State is threatened. Dust off your signs from the Bush and Reagan years. As they say in Battlestar Galactica, “All this has happened before and all this will happen again.” Doesn’t mean it isn’t important – these issues are literally life or death for many people in our country and abroad. Call, protest, write, and look out for each other and for crying out loud vote in 2018!
Outrage level: Return to Bush years outrage levels. Unpack old protest buttons. Never give up, never surrender.
Signs that the end days are seriously nigh.
I’m not going to say that these are signs that we should panic, because panic is not useful. These ARE signs that our democracy as a whole is under attack. Man the barricades (figuratively speaking) when you see:
- Attacks on the system of checks and balances. When Trump thinks that the job of the Legislative and Judiciary Branches is to rubber stamp his orders, that’s not normal.
- Hate speech. Attempts to ban, deport, or target specific groups of people. Increased hate crimes. The rise of white nationalism and white supremacy. This is not normal.
- Attacks on the press. I’m referring to Trump’s belief, and his staff’s repeated insistence, that the job of the press is to speak in favor of the president. The press functions unofficially as a fourth piece of our country’s checks and balances. They do not serve the president – they are independent entities. When the President expects the press to be his servants, we have a problem.
- A President who admires dictators and strongmen. Trump seems to have a long list of leaders who he disapproves of as “bad people” but admires for their ability to “get things done.” This list includes Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Vladimir Putin, and Rodrigo Duterte. I’ll say one thing for Trump – he’s not cagey. He’s telling us quite directly that he likes leaders who ignore checks and balances, human rights, legal procedures and the democratic process in their efforts to accomplish their agendas. He also admires leaders who use power to get more power, and money, for themselves. For Trump, business conflicts of interest are a feature of his presidency (for him) not a bug.
Outrage levels: Maximum
Actions you can take? Call your Senators. Be active in local politics. Help elect Democratic politicians in 2018. Write letter to your representatives and to your local paper. Subscribe to a newspaper. March. Volunteer. Remember that alcohol and hand sanitizer can remove hate graffiti from many surfaces. Be a decent human to other humans. Speak up. Persist!