Friday, January 20, 2017

Political Meanderings

I have written previously about my concern for our Democratic Republic under the presidency of Donald Trump. Some post-election posturing interests me. Some post-election behavior disturbs me.

A member of the US House from my state of Minnesota chose to boycott the inauguration because of Trump’s attack on Representative John Lewis. I support, even encourage, this decision. 

But I do not support John Lewis’s assertion that the Trump presidency is not legitimate, and giving that as a reason for skipping the inauguration. Russia may or may not have interfered with the election; their interference ( were there any ) may or may not have had an influence on the outcome. That influence may or may not have gotten Donald Trump elected. Whatever the facts of those matters, Donald Trump got elected and was inaugurated on schedule. We have to deal with that.

Like it or not ( I don’t ), believe the Russians were involved or not ( I think I do ), the reality is we have Donald Trump as President and a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. While I definitely believe we need to resist him and at least some of his agenda, I also believe we need to stay on speaking terms. Getting in his face and calling him an illegitimate president gives him the rationale to tune out Lewis and his kind ... Patriots. Protestors. Civil rights leaders. Democrats. Blacks. People he dislikes.

We need all hands on deck; don’t disqualify yours.

A few disturbing things ... lots of room for pause
Meryl Streep’s, “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” caused a Twitter outburst like that from a petulant child. The outburst reminded me of some of my childhood’s least eloquent comebacks, “Yeah … well, your mother wears combat boots.” The outburst included a denial of doing something that I saw done. President Trump appears to me to be petulant child, unable to even admit his behavior.

His nominee for Department of Energy made a real suggestion in 2012 or so to eliminate the Department. I heard him, during the hearings, say he did not know what the Department does and he regrets the suggestion.
So … he didn’t know what the Department does but was brazen enough to seriously suggest eliminating it; this is demonstrably terrible judgment.

The nominee for Attorney General included, in his list of cases best demonstrating his qualifications for the job, four cases for which he was, at the very best, supportive of the attorneys who pursued the cases. He may have been dishonest in the way he represented those cases to the hearing; in any event, this is thin evidence of experience recommending him for the job.

The nominee for the Department of Education is unfamiliar with the raging education debate about standardized testing’s measuring a student’s growth versus proficiency. I am unaware of this specific controversy and don’t know what the correct answer is. But I’m not seeking approval to manage the department. I am unqualified; I suspect the nominee is, too.
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