I spent the day yesterday in somewhat of a mental wilderness. For some reason, I just couldn’t catch my “wordsmithie” mojo, as it were. During the course of the day I opened up my laptop several times to write and each time I tried, I got nothing: Zero. Zilch. Nada. In spite of all the political news of the day—cabinet confirmations, Great Britain going absolutely H.A.M. on our new Commander-In-Chief, and the continuing global outrage at Trump’s travel ban—I found no visceral inspiration among the various newsworthy fare. Everything was there right in front of me, so much to pick from, yet, I felt as though there was nothing of real substance. Not that the stories I read didn’t or don’t matter and aren’t invaluable to their intended purpose of informing the people, because they definitely are. What I mean to say is, I wanted more, a deeper dive into what all this frenetic signing of executive orders and dispensing of presidential norms actually means. So I thought on this for a while …
And I will tell you now, the picture that the facts painted for me shook me to my core and threatened to unravel every last fiber of my being.
When I think about Trump’s modus operandi, the manner in which he accomplishes things, it is indeed an interesting thing to observe. He’s like an angry bulldozer that actually manufactures controversy and anger just so that he can bulldoze. But for however misguided he may be, one should not confuse this for insanity or any level of mental incompetence. Consider his bid for the presidency; it was filled with outrageous moments, crude remarks and bigoted, polarizing statements. Yet, in spite of all the reprehensible behavior, he sits now at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the most powerful man on this planet. During the 2016 election, he was simply masterful at directing the public to take his detestable antics into account in order to distract from his quite apparent lack of political substance. Every single time he said or did something considered outrageous by the media or political establishment standards, that was the story of the day. It sucked all the air out of the proverbial room. And by this methodology, Trump was able to affect the sleight of hand that swept him into the Oval Office.
Tax Returns? Nope, don’t have to show ’em. Sexual assault? Get out of here, that was just “locker room talk”. No, of course I’m not racist, you heard me say that I was sure some Mexicans were good people, right?
So not only were his antics outlandish, his responses to the questions surrounding them were equally beyond the pale. But every juicy, ugly and salacious detail was reported by the press. In terms of ratings, it was like the gift that kept on giving.
And it still is.
After only one week in office, Trump has literally upended Washington with the same seeming carnival barker strategy: a flurry of controversial executive orders, the unjust termination of Sally Yates, a 30-year veteran of the DOJ and the announcement of Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch to distract from the debacle that is the muslim travel ban. But to what purpose? What is Trump’s end game? For what is he setting things on fire to distract us from? All we have to do is look just a tad closer to see …
Trump is surrounding himself—his most inner of inner circles—with individuals that share a certain far right nationalist mindset. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is on record as calling Islam a “phony religion” and a “vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people” that has to be “excised”. Steve Bannon, White House Chief Strategist was recently elevated to a position on the National Security Council, a move that members of Trump’s own party maligned, particularly Republican Senator John McCain when he called Bannon’s elevation “radical” and “a departure from any National Security Council in history.” This advent with Bannon is particularly concerning as 1) it’s unheard of and unseemly for a member of the political arm of an administration to be a part of a segment of government that is designed to be non-partisan, 2) it takes away decision-making power from General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff whom Sen McCain also said is the most important decision-maker on the National Security Council. The article further reported that, as it stands now, General Joseph is being shut out of critical meetings, Bannon’s presence is permanent whereas Joseph’s is now optional. With Bannon in this role, Trump has strategically placed a very narrow-minded and dangerous ally in a position of immense power, which, of course, expands Trump’s stranglehold on our government.
But again, everyone reports on what Trump is doing but very rarely is anyone asking why he’s doing it. So, yes, there’s been much reporting on the documented bigot, anti-semite and alt-right evil genius Steve Bannon being a heartbeat away from the Oval and elevated to the NSC. Lots of talk about the travel ban, Jeff Sessions’ history of racism, Gen Flynn’s history of islamophobia and so on and so forth.
But no one is asking why.
So here’s my two very well thought out, fact based cents. Steve Bannon, a man with extreme alt-right nationalist views sits on the National Security Council. Gen Flynn, who is quite apparently islamophobic is now National Security Adviser. Jeff Sessions, who is known for not always being kind to people of different ethnicities will soon be Attorney General. Trump has alienated and offended just about all of our allies, yet, he is so desirous to make nice with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, our biggest military and idealistic rival; with a stroke of a pen he handed China—arguably the world’s strongest economic power—the keys to the Asian Pacific regional kingdom and a monumental strategic advantage when he withdrew hastily from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Now China, who isn’t exactly a friend to America, can quite literally write the rules of the economic road there and that spells more power for another of our rivals.
Trump isn’t just moving pieces on the board—although this is what he wants us to believe—he is changing and remaking the board itself. But again, to what end? I believe that, by placing his alt-right buddies like Steve Bannon in key positions, he is working to centralize power around himself as he simultaneously works to isolate us from the rest of the world, particularly from our allies. I believe Trump is doing this for an aim greater than that of serving the people as president of the United States of America. I believe he is doing it in the hope of one day becoming the ruler of America. Yes, I said it. Trump is setting things in place now so he can’t be questioned, I mean, one would think that there’d be a law on the books that would prevent any president from placing a partisan friend of theirs on the National Security Council but there isn’t. But the question is, If Trump’s aim is to serve the people and the very purpose of the NSC is to have a non-partisan, objective approach to our National Security, why would Trump act against the interest of the people and place someone loyal to him in such a position of exceptional and far-reaching power? I believe in my heart of hearts that Trump is setting the stage for a coup of sorts, so he can one day take hold of this glorious republic, this sacred democracy and strangle it until it morphs into a dictatorial, self-contained, close-bordered, fearful state molded in his own image. And in the true fashion of a fascist dictator, he won’t suffer anyone who dares to defy him. Just ask former Attorney General Sally Yates.
Alarmist? Crazy, nut job conspiracy theory? Over the top? If you are reading this and considering any of those things about what I’ve proposed, please read about Adolf Hitler’s Rise to Power, in it, you will find some startling similarities to not only the political maneuvering between Hitler and Trump but also their personal perspective and ideologies. In any event, let’s not only focus on the outrageousness of the 45th President’s actions, let’s ask ourselves why, beyond the obvious reasons, those actions are even taking place. For how can we effectively interpret how the game is being played if we don’t know the game we are playing? Trump, for better or worse, has elevated his game, it’s far time we did the same. Until next time …
Think Passionately. Disrupt Strategically.
-A. Lawrence Haskins
United States Congress: (202) 225-3121
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