Most of my free time these days goes to the podcast — or, at least, that’s my excuse for why I haven’t blogged regularly in over a year now, and I doubt I’ll be resuming regular blog posts again any time soon. But I felt the need to write something about what happened two weeks ago, about this future that has not yet happened but soon will be, compelled by a vague feeling that I did not want to let this moment of suspension pass without registering my dissent.
If you’re the kind of person that would be reading this blog, you probably already know about the Hamilton affair. To recap, on Friday the soon-to-be Vice President Pence decided to attend Hamilton, a musical about the American Revolution with an emphasis on parts of America that Pence’s stated policy positions would not appear to support. At the end of the show, as Pence was leaving, Vice President Burr’s actor read out a statement while the rest of the cast linked arms behind him:
We had a guest in the audience this evening. And vice president elect Pence, I see you’re walking out, but I hope you will hear us, just a few more moments… We have a message for you sir, and we hope that you will hear us out. Vice president elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us here at Hamilton: An American Musical. We, sir — we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values, and work on behalf of ALL of us, all of us. We truly thank you for sharing this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.
In response, the president elect of these United States took to Twitter to denounce the Hamilton cast for “harass[ing]” the vice president elect, declaring that such public statements of dissent “should not happen.” He then demanded that the cast “apologize!” for voicing their concern that the new administration will not protect them.
Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 19, 2016
You’re going to hear this a lot more over the next four years, but: this is not normal, this is not okay, and this is not going to be okay. Trump’s words are chilling, both figuratively and constitutionally, and although the fact those “words” took the form of a social media rant may add an extra air of dystopian parody to the whole mess, they are no less dangerous for that. But I think what leaves me the coldest, what amplifies those feelings of anxiety and alarm the most, is that Trump spent a few extra precious characters out of his 140 to decry that there were “cameras blazing” when this act of dissent occurred. The cast of a Broadway musical humiliated his proxy, and then that humiliation was broadcast to the world. In the president-to-be’s mind, “This should not happen!”
The Hamilton affair was not, of course, an isolated event. Among Trump’s very first acts as the President Elect of the United States was to announce that protests of his presidency were “very unfair” to him, and to inform the world that those protests were not genuine expressions of disagreement among the populace, but an artificial insurgency funded by shadowy forces, and (somehow also) incited by a corrupt media. In the days since, he has launched a barrage of attacks that have de-legitimized the media, both by directly describing a major media publication as “failing” and “dishonest,” and by making self-aggrandizing and fabricated claims of his achievements, which in turn were picked up and reported on by those in the media clinging to the antiquated belief that reality is a meaningful construct for this administration.
And yes, I agree that the Hamilton affair is only one of many serious and disturbing developments in recent days, most of which are being shamefully under-reported. That does not mean that it can or should be dismissed as a theatrical sideshow, though. A president elect’s expressions of outrage that the citizenry would use the First Amendment in a way he doesn’t like is a big deal. The message is clear: the president will be calling out and attacking individual citizens who expose him to public criticism. Unfortunately, based on the experiences of the past 12+ months, it’s a safe bet that this event’s significance will be mostly overlooked in favor of sensationalist headlines and false equivalencies, and the whole kerfuffle will be forgotten entirely by Monday. And all the other presidentially disqualifying events of the weekend will, somehow, be lost in the shuffle.
That’s where the hopelessness starts to find root. What can be done, when the president himself is understood to be so intrinsically corrupt that acts of his corruption cease to be newsworthy events? And why have so many Republican lawmakers capitulated to this pretense that Trump is an acceptable president, when I still believe, must believe, that they too know the emperor has no clothes?
That last question is mostly rhetorical. The opportunity for unchecked and unpopularly-elected power was too much to turn down, and they have convinced themselves things will go better for them than they did for Faust. They believe that they can channel Trump to serve their own ends; I think they are wrong about that. Either way, they have willingly gambled on this country’s future by supporting Trump in the hopes that, when it all shakes out, they will be able to use this opportunity to further their own agendas while minimizing Trump’s more “awkward” policy positions, even knowing that, should the dice land the wrong way, their support will enable Trump to carry out his unconstitutional goals.
The Hamilton affair is one more warning that our elected officials are wrong to make this wager. Trump’s ongoing series of tweets raging at this display defiance by private citizens — four tweets in total, at last count, with one deleted — is not a meaningless distraction, it is a warning. President elect Trump does not have the capability to tolerate dissent to his rule. Although there are many contenders to choose from, it is this failing, I think, that will be the greatest threat to our nation. The guiding stars of Trump’s life are an obsession with vengeance and an unquenchable need for affirmation by the external world; the danger ahead lies in that the office of the presidency will provide him with nearly unlimited resources to fulfill this first directive, while rendering the second permanently beyond his reach.
Starting on January 20th, Trump will attempt to use the power of his office to enforce a belief that he is a worthy leader. He will not succeed. When he realizes that he will never have the respect of the people, he will settle for having their fear instead. If need be (and it will probably need be), he will try to break the Constitution to protect his own ego.
There is no possibility that Trump might instead do well enough at the job to earn the validation he believes is his due, and therefore have no need to mandate it. Trump has no abilities that are desirable in a statesman, and has displayed no aptitude for government administration. Although his “talents for low intrigue and the little arts of popularity” aided him as a campaigner, it is those same attributes that led some of the founding fathers, in an ill-conceived attempt to prevent a Trumpian figure from one day ascending to the presidency, to place the choice of the executive in the hands of a special group of electors rather than with the people. That it was this subversion of the democratic ideal that ultimately made a Trumpian presidency possible is an irony that has not gone unnoticed, though perhaps some cold comfort can be drawn from knowing that it was not democracy itself that failed here. It was the Founders’ failure to embrace democracy completely that brought us this fate.
If things go as well as could possibly be hoped, the next four years will be a painfully awkward moment in our nation’s history. Things will not go as well as could possibly be hoped. If things go bad — like, darkest timeline bad — we may end up learning the answer to Trump’s favorite campaign-trail question: what do we have to lose? Because there may have been periods in our history where four years of rule by an autocratically-inclined idiot would have caused minimal damage, but those times are long past. Our institutions and economies are too interconnected for us to miss a step and not cause the rest of the world to stumble, and we are now living on a planet that, day by day, is becoming less hospitable to human life.
My hope is that, four years from now, we’ll be able to look back at this post and mock it for being overwrought alarmism, and that our institutional mechanisms for self-correction will turn out to have been more robust than my fears. If that happens, I’ll laugh too, at myself, and in relief. I think, though, that denial of the threat Trump poses is more dangerous than any alarmism could ever be, and the American exceptionalism that tells us this can only get sorta bad, that this can’t actually get scary bad, will drag us down faster than Trump’s petty vindictiveness ever could.
Because it takes no special insight to predict that the coming administration is a threat to this country in a way no other administration has been. Trump’s threats to the First Amendment are only one facet of his manifest unsuitability, as he has spent all of 2016 and a good chunk of 2015 demonstrating. For a heavily abridged sampling,
- Trump does not value the truth, either coming from himself or from others. He lies, constantly, for his own gain; not even his most ardent supporters would (or could) deny that, they just pretend this is a strategy. Which, okay yes, it is, but it is also a terrifying threat to our national security. Our allies cannot rely on America’s word, because the executive is our voice in the realm of foreign affairs, and beginning on January 20, 2017, our word will not be tied to any single objective meaning and will have no predictive value. If you doubt the danger, ask yourself this: what happens when other nations have no idea whether the president of the United States was telling the truth when he said he thought more countries should obtain nuclear weapons, or whether he was telling the truth when he said he thought they should not? What happens when they ask themselves how their neighbors will answer that same question?
- Trump is corrupt. He is going to wield the office of the president for his maximum financial benefit, and is making only the barest efforts to pretend otherwise. I do not think he will continue with the pretending for much longer. He has already begun laying the groundwork for his newest theme: there is nothing improper or even undesirable for a president to increase his wealth through being president, because he’ll be increasing everyone else’s wealth at the same time, too. He is already profiting from being president, by having his financially untenable hotel propped up by foreign dignitaries that feel compelled to stay there in order to curry presidential favor. He has also had the family members that are running his business empire sit in on meetings with foreign heads of state, and is seeking to have his son-in-law get the top secret clearance necessary to be privy to his foreign affairs briefings; this information will necessarily be used by the Trump family to further the interests of their businesses, because it is impossible that they will not take that information into account when making business decisions.
- Trump is supporting a white nationalist agenda. He claims to have been elected due to the economy, but his appointments so far have shared one overwhelming focus: white men obsessed with the national security threat posed by non-whites and non-Americans. Only one appointment so far (hi there, Mr. Priebus) breaks this mold, by being just the regular sort of Republican with no close ties to white supremacists, people that have proposed Muslim registration as a national security measure, and/or Russia. All the rest have openly espoused racism and xenophobia as desirable attributes in a government, or are openly on the payroll of foreign despots.
These are not the kinds of things that can happen to a country and then have everything somehow come out okay. These are the kinds of things that happen to a country just before something very dangerous and undemocratic occurs. I do not know what can be done to stop it, but I do know that no resistance can begin until Trump’s fascism is recognized for what it is.
To those who support Trump, I would encourage you to disagree with this assessment while remaining open to the possibility that there may be genuine cause for alarm. Maintain awareness of what the Trump administration is doing and how that compares to our ideals as a nation, and if, at a later date, you should see something his administration has done that undermines those ideals, then speak out against it, even if you maintain support for his presidency as a whole. And to those who are frightened about what the future holds, well, I am right there with you. All I’ve got is this: as a nation, we are really good at falling down and getting back up again. One of our greatest virtues has always been our ability to come back from disaster, even though as often as not we were the ones that invited it in. There is no reason to think it is impossible for us to do so once more.
For those of us who believe that this country has a promise it has not yet managed to fulfill, there is much to grieve, but America has never been close to perfect. The fact we’re even less close now is not an excuse to give up on efforts to strive in that direction. Our current president will likely come to regret, along with the rest of us, his dangerous expansion of the executive power, but Obama’s words to his daughters on what Trump’s election means are the best chance we have of making it through this intact: “[Y]our job as a decent human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness and respect and understanding.”
Great post. I agree 100%.
Speaking truth to power is never easy. I admire you for doing so and stand with you against the onslaught that will likely come your way. Thank you for closing with President Obama’s words to his daughters – peace to you Susan.
Thank you Susan
Susan, you write with such eloquence and clarity. Analysis has always been your gift and you lay out the case for resistance perfectly.
Thanks, Susan, for your calm and rational insights. (I think you meant to use “unsuitability” rather than “unsuitably” in the sentence beginning with “Trump’s threats to the First Amendment are only one facet of his manifest.”)
Couldn’t agree more.
You’re right Susan, we in europe are baffled, and yep, pretty pissed off that such a man could even have been considered for the job. There has rarely been such a divisive hate-monger, when as a whole we need to unite. And as you point out, all of us are under threat from this man’s utterly unbelievable ignorance about the greatest threat EVER to survival on the planet, global warming. He appears not to realise that the planet we inhabit is round, and that there ARE no walls.
Your analysis is superb, but lets H O P E its incorrect!
British here, after Brexit, super disappointed but not too surprised. Nationalism is on the rise. Last time these things happened we had World Wars.
Thanks for the blog Susan. We live in interesting times, not something I would have chosen for myself and my kids.
You have expressed the world’s fear so eloquently. Thank you.
Thank you, Susan. This was an eloquent post. All of us who care about this country, its citizens and institutions, must use our voices. (Robert Reich has a list of things you can do.) It behooves each of us to speak whether with our bodies at demonstrations, our pocketbooks when we donate, our words when we speak out or call congress, and, of course, with our acts of kindness.
That list is worth sharing, it’s always good to have a list of places where you can get started.
This letter should be sent to each of the electors for each state. The possibility that they would exercise the power they have to avoid aTrump presidency is extremely small. Yet it is there.
Trenchant, poignant, brilliant… I have tweeted it to my senators Schumer and Gillinbrand. I will be mailing a hard copy also.
Thank you Susan. You express so well exactly what I feel. These are not the times that we can afford this reality show president. It is very scary on so many levels!
Thank you for naming the beast. Fascism is on the rise globally and it is already too late to begin calling it out for the evil it is. Countries around the world are already recalibrating their national security strategies in light of the behavior of our pretender to the presidency. The only thing more dangerous than the ascendency of a president lacking any understanding of the role, or the backing of the majority of voters is the failure of all of our other elected official to speak frankly and honestly about the threat to our republic.
Maybe that is partly where we went wrong… Not really as a nation (politicians and media) speaking out against the rise of Fascism and ultra-conservatives in other countries or articulating a response as to why it is so appealing yet dangerous and doomed to failure in the long run
>Maybe that is partly where we went wrong
I agree. This is why I am so disappointed in Obama’s reaction so far. Up to this point, Robert Reich is the only Democrat of any rank who is speaking out clearly about this danger, and calling the treat exactly what it is. I have lost all hope of Republicans ever standing up against this danger, but I certainly expected more from Democratic leaders. I would have hoped that CSPAN would be overloaded with Congressional Democrats speaking out against the global rise of fascism.
Susan — I agree that DT is on a path which, unless he changes it, will be corrupt. Failing to divest the Trump Organization would be a major conflict of interest. Unfortunately, it would also be legal. Divesting would likely not be easy or simple, but it would also be the right thing to do. His failure to do so would provide plenty of ground for valid criticism.
I’d suggest that Trump is not a “white nationalist” . He says a lot of contradictory things, so one can find in his multiple mutually inconsistent statements support for just about any proposition, including white nationalism. But if you apply the same level of factual honesty you demonstrate in your podcasting to it, it just doesn’t hold up. Just to point to one example among many, Trump’s gains over Romney in votes came almost entirely among non-whites. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/11/11/trump-got-more-votes-from-people-of-color-than-romney-did-heres-the-data/
And is he anti-woman? As usual, the evidence is contradictory, you have Megyn Kelly pointing one way, and Kellyanne Conway pointing the other. It seems most likely to me that what he is really against is political correctness. Time will tell.
It is true that Trump has a way of going after critics that is unbecoming in a President. I hope he gets over it. But as far as “free speech” is concerned, that’s less scary than siccing the IRS on your opponents, then claiming there was “not evem a smidgen of corruption” and refusing to prosecute any of the IRS culprits. It’s still going on, and Federal appeals courts keep ruling against the IRS. The ongoing silence from Democrats on the matter certainly doesn’t make the party look like a bastion of support for free speech.
Lastly, the Democrats are willing to overlook membership in La Raza, or friendship with Rev. Wright . . . and are not willing to say “all lives matter”, In the wake of overwhelming white racism, this sort of thing was tolerable for a while, but this election certainly suggests that day is passing. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
It’s too late to divest. Unless he liquidates everything and puts it in a true blind trust (he won’t), the world now knows that there’s no daylight between the Trump administration and the Trump Organization.
The rest of your comment is avoidance of reality. Look at who Trump is picking for his cabinet. Straight up neo-nazis with a fancy new brand name. That the media failed to adequately cover the nature and extent of Trump’s ties with unapologetic racists is not evidence he is not a racist.
Similarly, “but he hired a woman” does not constitute “contradictory evidence that we can’t possibly weigh one way or another,” and a thousand times so when compared against the massive ledger of sexism and sexual assault in Trump’s record. If your view of being against political correctness is bragging about sexual assault and attacking women’s appearance for political gain, then the problem is your conflation of “political correctness” with “basic human decency.”
This is how the next four years is going to go, I fear. Republicans, the only ones in power, are going to watch Trump trample the Constitution and squawk about how it’d be unseemly to stop him because don’t you remember all this bad stuff that some other politicians did? So really all politicians are terrible, and it’s rude and biased to bring up what Trump is doing.
Neo nazis? I don’t love Breitbart, but they are reliably pro-Israel . . .
“They don’t literally want gas chambers for Jews, therefore it is incorrect to call out their promotion of a right-wing nationalist movement with vocal racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and antisemitic views”?
Some of my comments are disappearing . . . I don’t know if they are getting editorially deleted, or if I am making some mistake in submitting them. If the former, just write me at my email, which you have, (the real one, not the one I’m giving to WordPress to spam), and I’ll stop. The charge of antisemitism flies in the face of a lot of evidence, such as winning the Israeli-American vote http://www.jpost.com/US-Elections/Exclusive-Trump-beats-Clinton-in-Israeli-absentee-voter-exit-poll-471561, Jewish Son-in-law Jared Kushner, and articles by David Horowitz. What is incorrect is the making of charges that are incorrect, such as “antisemitism”; it’s just not true.
Thread deleted because there’s no value to the blog in providing a forum for claims that Trump’s exec branch picks haven’t repeatedly and broadly expressed racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and antisemitic views. They have.
Breitbart isn’t so much pro-Israel as they are haters of Muslims even more than they’re haters of Jews. Hitler hated gay people, but he still kept a couple around in his inner circle when they were helpful enacting his pursuit of a “final solution” and European domination.
I have been struggling to deal with the horrible results of the election, and trying to find words to express my fears. You have done it with this post. May I share with friends on Facebook?
Of course. I wish I had something more concrete to offer than “hang in there, everyone, this is going to get rough,” but identifying and naming the dangers ahead is at least a start.
I already loved you, but reading this solidified it. Excellent.
Fantastic piece. The only thing I’d add is the amount of destruction Trump can cause even after his (hopefully) 4 years are over: huge deficit that will get kicked down the road for future administrations and taxpayers to deal with is looking very likely; Ultra-Conservative Supreme Court Justices that will make statements like “money is speech” look incredibly progressive are very possible; permanent and massive damage to the environment are a near certainty at this point; wars and military campaigns that run longer than Trump’s term as well as increasing the disdain of the West among many Muslims, thus increasing the likelihood of radicalization and ultimately the number of terrorist attacks. I’m sure there’s a few I’ve forgotten…
Thank you Susan. This speaks very accurately to what I fear his presidency will be.
A wonderful post ! I’m making donations to worthy causes, such as the Ga Innocence Project and the ACLU. Organizations like those are going to need our support going forward.
I am one of your biggest Undisclosed fans, and I am a fellow fast talkin’ Southern gal. I loved your thoughts post election and wanted to pass along mine as a parent of 2 middle schoolers. I DO think the next generation has the power to break the cycle of hate. Please keep fighting for Joey and Adnan. I loved Rabia’s comment in this last episode “where there is Susan, there is a way.” You CAN and DO make a difference. There are many cheering for you to keep on fighting the good fight. Kristan
Amazing. Well said. I’m right there with you.
There is a petition you can sign if interested – 4.5 million signatures so far, apparently the most popular change.org petition ever:
Thank you. On your team!
Thanks Susan for your eloquent assessment.
I think you’re awesome Susan… I respect your work and your opinions, always have.. as much as I support the 1st amendment, what the cast of Hamilton did was outrageous… Have some respect, are you kidding me…. Whether the people like it or not he was voted In fair and square…. In what world would you approach the president (or president elect) or vice president and disrespect him publicly like that… Putting your beliefs aside, he is one of the leaders of this nation about to take office, show him respect… All these millennials taking to the streets and flexing their 1st amendment muscles are making a mockery of our founding fathers who set this system up…..the election was fair so deal with the fact that the person you supported lost and take to whatever individual issues you have a problem with….I’ll bet half of these people don’t even know what trump stands for, all they know are the commercials they saw on tv…
What do you find disrespectful about the cast’s comments? I’ll admit I struggle to understand this argument. Brandon Victor Dixon’s was carefully, almost painfully polite. The act of expressing anxiousness that an administration will not protect you or others is not outrageous. It’s, well, American. The fairness of the election does not grant Trump a blank check to carry out his frightening campaign agenda, and protests are a reminder that, should he carry out his unconstitutional promises, the people will take notice and will not stand for it.
You mean the ones that show Trump speaking in his own words? 🙂 It’s safe to say though that 100% of those people don’t know what Trump stands for, because no one has a clue what his chaotic, unfixed whims will desire next.
People are scared. Trump’s words have given them reason to be scared. You may think Trump was lying, but I’d encourage you to be more understanding towards those threatened by his rhetoric and who cannot risk being so confident that his promises were, in fact, lies.
Jabbajam – I’m sorry to be the one to inform you but you have a huge blindspot and/or you are a huge hypocrite. I am not insulting you or making up something to take a cheap shot…it’s not even opinion…and thank you for providing the evidence.
You said: “In what world would you approach the president (or president elect) or vice president and disrespect him publicly like that…”
Answer: In Trumps everyday world, he has been insulting President Obama almost daily for the past 8 years. I’m OK with Trump or anyone else criticizing the president on things the president is actually accountable for. I’m NOT OK when someone with a high profile makes up a preposterous claim or criticism that is wrong, that he knows is wrong but he continues to spew at every pubic opportunity he has.
You feel shocked and insulted by the truthful, carefully crafted, respectfully delivered words of the Hamilton cast and yet you have no awareness of the insulting lies from Trumps lips about our sitting president? Have you not heard of the Birther Movement or who it’s biggest cheerleader was? Apparently not so this is your Huge blindspot or you are familiar with Trump’s rude lies and accusation about Obama’s birthplace and then you are Huge hypocrite.
Neither of these is a great attribute….oh, and this last sentence is opinion.
Your Blog is Complete Propaganda! A Complete Lie! You should Retract and Apologize! President Elect Trump is a Honest man and. Is working hard to MakeAmericaGreatAgain! You should be Ashamed!
Thanks for reading! Can you share what you believe the lies in the post are?
Australian here. Truly, my heart breaks for you and all Americans. Even those Americans who don’t know what they have done yet; even those Americans who, like Trump, will make a fortune out of this Presidency; even those fools who protest voted or thought their morality was above realpolitik. But I am a long way away. Trump can’t damage my legal system, destroy my economy (thank God the US President and the US economy does not have the international leverage it once did), ostracise minorities in my name, devalue and humiliate women and corrupt the internal political systems of my country. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about you. it doesn’t mean I am not shocked and heartbroken by the loss of what I thought America was. Even on its worst days, it was better than every day of the next four years. And that assumes you can get rid of him in four years. But, unfortunately I am not immune to his greed and his idiocy. He can warm my oceans, pollute my air, drown our neighbours on their beautiful islands in the South Pacific, drag our military into unplanned and vengeful wars, melt the Antarctic ice raising sea levels along our 26,000 km coastline and destroy this planet which I so want my grandchildren and everyone’s great grandchildren to enjoy. So he is our problem too. Keep your media strong and independent and keep giving us ideas and we will do what we can from as far away as we are. How has it come to this?
I’m also Australian (and a US citizen as well) and I think you may find what happens to the US economy will affect ours. But you are right that climate change is by far the most serious threat of this administration.
Good posting as far as it goes. It should be mentioned that American electorate in America has gone for a crazy such as Trump, only after a 16 year period of persistent failure from both mainstream parties… This 16 year period has seen both economic disaster, and a series of disasterous military misadventures. The electorate’s lashing out is damaging, but predictable.
Nothing in Trump’s agenda will address any of those concerns, though, and to call the past 16 years an indistinguishable blur of disasters that motivated the election of a narcissistic loon doesn’t have any substance that can be proven or disproven. What failures in particular do you think could rationally explain a vote for Trump?
Whatever the initial causes, I think a large slice of the blame will be lain at the feet of a Republican party that, despite its preferences, woke up one day to find that a monster had been nominated as its candidate, but ultimately decided it was better off just rolling with the situation.
No doubt Trump is a crook, but I don’t claim otherwise. The largest slice of blame goes to the democratic party for not winning the election.
Here is a partial list of severe failures of the last 16 years. People aren’t particularly rational, but they don’t vote for extremist demagogues out of the blue!
2008 Financial Collapse
2001 World Trade Center destroyed by El Qaida
2003-Occupation of Iraq was a complete fiasco
Enormous resentment that no banksters went to jail for frauds related to Financial Collapse
Obamacare was a series of half-measures to address healtherare reform, which as Obama’s signature reform has proved highly problematic.
2011 Western intervention in Libya leads to chaos and ruin.
2011 Syria and large parts of the Fertile Crescent collapse into genocidal chaos.
2014 US and Eu interference in Ukraine leads to new cold war with Russia
Median income has been an ongoing disaster. “…this measure was $51,939 in 2013, below the 1999 peak of around $57,000.” From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
As usual Susan a well written and perceptive commentary. Looking from outside in Australia (was in the USA in June/July) 60 million approx voting for each candidate shows a major divergence of views and like our own country many believe politicians don’t reflect the community view. For example in Australia, Federal Government politicians including our own Prime Minister and Deputy are lawyers. In fact lawyers make 24% of politicians while they make up 2% of the population. Personally I was amazed that US citizens would take this sort of risk with a person with no experience in public office to be the leader of the free world but 60 million people represent a big number who think Washington is out of touch and are prepared to take the risk.
Who knew that fear could be so eloquently expressed? Wish there was a way for this blog to be distributed to everyone in the electoral college before December 19. Isn’t it their duty, after all, to stop demagogues from ascending to power? Isn’t it why electoral college was created to begin with?
What happened at Hamilton isn’t strange or surprising. Every dictator’s ascent to power is swiftly followed by repression of artists, actors, poets and writers. You don’t need to dig too deep into world history to find a chilling pattern of suppression of dissent: just within the last century alone that’s exactly what Stalin, Hitler, Franco and Mussolini did. And please let’s not forget Trump’s praised Putin, whose rule has seen countless journalists (and political opponents) murdered, often in point blank range, and in broad daylight. It must be an odd coincidence that all of them had openly criticized,
or exposed, Putin’s network of corruption and authoritarian rule.
As Winston Churchill once said, every dictator carries unspoken fear in their hearts … fear of words spoken by others. Sadly, I believe, Hamilton tweet was a piece of that fear.
If you really feel that way you should sign the petition I linked to earlier:
Sorry, wrong link. Forgot I was on my computer before and just pasted the last thing I copied on this. Here is the petition link:
Susan I cried reading this post. Cried in empathy with the US and the uncertainty you all face with Trump’s administration. I know it goes against what most Americans see as Democracy, but here in Australia 🇦🇺 we have compulsory voting and never more than now have we been more grateful for that fact. Never will a government be formed in this country without the vote of the majority of Australians. I would love to know your view on compulsory voting and how it may have impacted this election. Claire Bilos, Melbourne
Thanks for your sympathies extended to those of us who voted for someone other than Trump.
I fear, with mandatory voting, those who would normally not participate in the election process would vote for the candidate most familiar to them. The one who got the most media, had the best one-liners, left a memorable impression (even if they could not remember if it was a good or bad impression). Thus I think most of those reluctant voters would have voted for Trump if they were forced to vote. This would only encourage more clowns like Trump to run for office. Most of our candidates for public office are pretty boring, which in this case is good thing. Steady and predictable is a positive attribute for a President.
Hi Tim, that makes complete sense. As we are raised knowing that we are all legally required to vote I think perhaps Australians take greater interest in the policies of all of our major and minor political parties. We may not agree with any of them but the responsibility of knowing that every adult will have to cast their vote means that we are all invested emotionally. I can certainly understand that if someone knows they will never have to vote for anyone, they could go their entire lives without ever investing any of their time or intellect in the political process. Regardless of how repugnant I find the man, I hope Trump proves the naysayers wrong for all of our sakes.
Susan, this was outstanding. Thank you.
Bravo. Well said.
Thank you Susan for articulating the concerns of many of us. The frustration and fear I feel daily is palpable and I genuinely worry for our Republic. I try to calm myself and say “Give Trump a chance” but with every day’s headlines, that attempt to calm my fears evaporates.
Thank you for taking the time to draft and post this blog entry. It helps to know I am not alone…
Have a great holiday..
Thank you for putting my sense of dread into words. Very well done.
It wasn’t the Electoral College of the Founders that put Trump in the White House. “Democratic” reforms over the course of our history has turned the Electoral College into a creature of the major political parties, as our entire electoral system has become.
So, this isn’t the gathering of wise (and rich and white) men. Had we stuck with the Founders’ vision a political outsider like Trump wouldn’t have been able to win absent such a landslide popular vote victory that the elites would have been afraid to oppose him.
I’m not saying our reforms haven’t been overall to the good. I don’t think the Founders’ view was best for a democratic republic on that score, But, much like in Athens, Trump’s victory comes from a democratic, populist desire for a strongman, not from subverting our republican institutions.
Susan, great analysis!
Thanks for all of your public work (Serial blogs, Undisclosed work, this essay). I’ll never meet you (left coast here) but I still think of you and the Undisclosed team as my friends (through shared values)
Susan Simpson is my modern day hero!!!
Great work summarizing and publicizing the Buenos Aires fiasco. Kudos.
Thank you for posting this, Susan. I am very fearful about the future of our country and our Constitution.
Susan, this has been my fear, but I’d never have been able to put it into words, much less this eloquently. And I do hope we learn in four years that all this worry turned out to be for nothing and we do look back and laugh. I have so little hope that this is the case, though.
Trump’s inability to control himself on Twitter is beyond frightening. I can’t imagine any president or executive of any company that I’ve ever worked for or any leader of any organization that I’ve been a member, showing this hypersensitivity to criticism coupled with a clear lack of self-control. In just the past month, I’ve now witnessed the President-Elect of the United States make threats to the public at large and resort to derogatory name-calling while interacting with others. And do it in such a drastic, manic fashion that his own staffers had to restrict and limit access to his own account. This is not a measured thinker nor a man that demonstrates patience or a even a moderate level of professionalism that I’d expect from an entry-level manager at any company out there…and he’s soon to be the leader of the free world.
I think your analysis is the tops. We, as the populace, will never be able to give this man what he thrives for. What he wants. What he needs. And what will be the price exacted for this inability?
We have never been more in need of Susan Simpson’s super skills. Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for bringing to light improprieties and questionable acts by Trump and this new regime. Buenos Aires is a start. It’s just over two weeks and this is how far we’ve devolved. Thank you for all you do!!!
You are spot on Susan. You’re a fantastic writer, clearly capturing the crazy place we are in right now. How long until impeachment!
The problem you have is that a man you disagree with for whatever reason appears to have too much power. NOW you understand what it means to be Tea Party. The problem: WE need to quit allowing power and control to accumulate in one centralized place. Government of the people starts at the individual level not 80,000 feet.
To contribute to Jill Stein’s effort to force recounts in three swing states, see http://www.jill2016.com/
Here is the first I’ve seen from someone on the left who gets it, at least partly:
Trump will over-reach too; all Presidents seem to. He, too, will be punished by the voters. I can only hope the right will resist Trump better than the left did Obama. Susan is spot-on about corruption; conservatives had better sit up and listen.
Great essay Susan.
Those who disagree with you do so loudly and passionately and non-specifically. Reminds me of some of the prosecutors in Adnan’s case.
Anyone can state an emotional opinion but as evident here, your critics seem to be at loss when asked for specifics or facts supporting their criticism. Makes me wonder why they like Undisclosed so much because you guys are all about exposing the facts so a proper judgment can be made, independent of bias, emotion and hearsay.
Not happy about Trump as president-elect. Here is a list of things you can do.
example from list:
3. Boycott all Trump products, real estate, hotels, resorts, everything. And then boycott all stores (like Nordstrom) that carry merchandise from Trump family brands. See: http://www.racked.com/…/136239…/grabyourwallet-trump-boycott.
See also: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vu0Y0HvadMgG_LN7dF8W7M66oPCcx_nmSARQWirV7iY/htmlview?usp=drivesdk&sle=true
I would suggest if boycotting a store (like Nordstoms) to send them a short letter telling them why you have begun your boycott and that you will come back as a customer when their store has no Trump family products for sale in-store or on-line.
Thanks for this. I’m in DC and would like to contribute time and effort. If you hear of ways to contribute locally or meetups, please share them, ideally here.
BRA-VO! I knew i liked you. Your tenacity is so inspiring to me in so many ways, through undisclosed and now this. I love the work that you do. I haven’t found my calling in life yet, though I’ve always been told I should be a lawyer, and I’m staring to think that’s a viable option. I thought the justice system was unfair before, but it seems like every day I learn something new that astonishes me. And yes, I foresee many many moral, ethical, social, economical, and political issues to come over the next 4 years. Or…maybe not that long if he does something impeachable right off the bat. Silver linings.
Amen sister! Very well put!
Susan, super fan here…and after reading this I heart your face even more than I did before!
Reading this months later makes it even more striking – how correct your predictions were! Unfortunately, things are shaping up as you (and I) feared. Struggling to come to terms with those around me who just think it’s all okay.
I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?
If Susan was able to devote herself full time to researching and writing about Trump he would be impeached within a few months.
Your indignation is hilarious. The left is simply hysterical and idiotic. Pence should have kept walking and ignored them.
It’s not 4 years later yet, but I’m curious as to whether or not you feel as strongly as you did back in November? I love undisclosed and donated to the GA Innocence Project back in February. I’m listening to y’alls coverage of Adnan’s story, and I decided to come here to check out your blog to see if there were other cases you might be blogging about. I’m glad you are working full time on the podcast, because I honestly think that people like you, Colin, and Rabia are changing the world for the better. I prefer to focus on positive things rather than negative, so I’ve pretty much stopped watching/checking the news except maybe once every week or so. My take on the Hamilton Affair – the cast was rude to call out Pence the way they did. Yes, they had a right to do so and legitimate complaint, but calling him out when he and his family are there on vacation was just plain rude. Trump was equally rude with his tweets, and frankly a lot of his voters are sick of them. How do you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving… I have a lot more to say on the subject, but I’d rather you and others focus on doing what you do best – helping to free innocent people and wake people up to the injustice of our justice system.
My grief at my nation’s self-destruction remains. That’s a hard thing to get over.
…and yet, Trump will 100% be re-elected in 2020.