Viewing the current path of America, (and the world for that matter), I’m reminded of the 1975 movie, Roller Ball. In it, the world is ruled by multinational corporations that simultaneously entertain and brainwash the citizenry using a futuristic game called Roller Ball. Our free press, (which is actually not free but instead depends on ratings for funding), has been broadcasting the Trump Carnival Show (our Roller Ball) for the past 18 months. This distraction enabled him to narrowly win the presidency in spite of losing the popular vote and to now begin to seed key government positions with billionaire corporate types, a few politicians who unabashedly feed at the corporate trough and retired military generals who chafed at the principle of civilian rule.
Lest anyone notice, Trump himself and these people are the architects of the kind of system that he rails against in his sideshow. The hollowness of such ranting should not be overlooked. The kind of future Trump’s appointments and nominations portend include a return to the system where affordable health insurance is only available to the healthy; consumer protection and environmental resource preservation become secondary to corporate balance sheets; and the civil rights of minority populations become subject to the proclivities of the majority in a bygone era. Abroad, American ideals on democracy and human rights will take a back seat to corporate expansion and deal making. Those who object will face the threat of the American military.
We have seen this play before. There are disturbing parallels between the Trump campaign and the future his success now portends with the post WWI fascist movement in Europe. An interesting discussion of this topic can be heard on the following podcast of the Diane Rehm Show on 12/13/2016.
Another component of fascism not thoroughly covered on the podcast is the slow systematic dismantlement of institutional checks and balances. We see the beginning of this in his repeated claims that presidents are exempt from conflicts of interest restrictions on public servants and the need to seek congressional exceptions to appoint Gen. James Mattis as Defense Secretary since he has not been retired for the requisite 7 years. Trump successfully avoided having to disclose the extent of his tax returns and business connections before the election and just recently, without much protest, postponed disclosing how he intends to avoid conflict of interest issues during his presidency until after he’s sworn in. I suspect that he will attempt to “slow walk” this issue as well, doing only what is absolutely necessary on a case by case basis to placate the divided public. After he is sworn in he will have control of the justice department and can thus limit the extent of any official investigation.
What is most troubling is that it seems that America’s naïve sense of fair play is watching this slow motion train wreck while purporting to give him the benefit of the doubt expecting him to not behave true to form. With Republicans in control of both houses of congress I am skeptical of its willingness to put country before party and do what is needed to protect the country. The public must remain vigilant and keep the pressure on congress to stay true to their oaths of office. When things go bad we will have no one to blame but ourselves for Trump is nothing more than what we’ve seen. The enormity of the job will not change him as President Obama hopes or believes. This job is nothing more to him than an opportunity to increase his wealth and to feed his “yuuge” ego.