Originally Published – 5/28/18
By Nick Licata
Dear Urban Politics Reader,
The political environment in many of our cities, large and small, has been impacted by President Trump administration’s policies. Consequently, I feel it is useful to comment on and distribute information on the administration’s policies.
I am a Trump Addict –And so are others
Addictions sap away your ability to lead a normal life and over time you need stronger doses to get your rush. The nation is currently in an opioid addiction epidemic that cuts across party lines. But the bigger addiction that has swept the country is with Donald Trump. And it too cuts across the political spectrum. It is not limited to the 80% of the white evangelists who are committed to him hell or high water, it seems just as firmly anchored within the liberal community. Let me describe my experience.
I have voted in every presidential election for the last 50 years. Afterward, I read about his policies, what he said in speeches and said in interviews. Regardless of the political party, each would give a rational explanation for what they were doing; so rational, as to be boring. As a result, like many others, I drifted away from watching the evening TV news. I am now addicted to watching it because Donald Trump became president. Like a locomotive crashing into a granite mountainside, my boring, orderly world of normality was demolished.
Like the vast majority of Americans, I was lulled into being satisfied by a proper decorum that had framed political discussions for the last couple of generations. Then Trump came along and ridiculed both the Democrats and Republicans in a manner that he sharpened as a reality TV host; making seemingly off-hand outlandish statements and ridiculing “losers”. If you could prove you were not a loser then you could be his apprentice, as a number of his former Republican competitors did after he won the Republican nomination. Trump’s America is now divided into two groups, the apprentices and the losers; Trumpeters are the designated apprentices and the rest of us are losers.
While the losers are focused on exposing every single Trump lie, misstatement, and exaggeration, all dutifully recorded by journalists in a collection of over 3,000 Trump statements since election day, the top Trumpeters are quietly dismantling protections that past administrations had instituted: providing safer drinking water supplies, protecting national forests and parks from mining, protecting access to voting in elections, protecting students from being scammed by for-profit colleges, prohibiting needlessly higher prescribed medication costs, and a host of other laws that allowed a better quality of life than in the past. But addicts don’t notice the diminishing quality of their life if they get their fix.
It doesn’t seem to matter to either the conservative evangelist or the liberal professional that Trump’s Make America Great Again means we are now back to a culture of “Buyer Beware” where each of us is now free to seek out a better life without government protections, i.e. interference.
And why aren’t we able to grasp the details of what is happening around us? I suspect it is because many are like me, glued to our TV watching and listening to the knights of the political roundtables as they endlessly analyze what Trump’s tweets reveal, what his press secretary’s answers reveal, what each and every utterance by his cabinet members and advisors may reveal.
Admittedly, there is something in these erudite explorations that really hooks me, and seemingly many others as well given the skyrocketing viewer ratings for MSNBC and the CNN. Not to mention Trumpeter Fox News, which has the largest audience. Our addiction to Trump may be compelled by our growing dependency to know how will this all end? Who will go to jail? Will anyone go to jail? Who actually helped the Russians influence our national election? How many songbirds will it take to nudge Congress to take some definitive action?
I sense a national yearning for some closure, to break from our Trump addiction, some way to pull us away from the tube. Perhaps the sideshows, like Stormy Daniels’ licentious tale, will all be linked through some overarching scheme that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will finally expose. Until that happens, the story continues to grow more convoluted and more gripping than the Game of Thrones. Are we all just waiting for winter to come?
As each day begins I realize we are in a national reality show, even when the TV is turned off. And yet, it is too hard to walk away from it without grabbing the remote. What did Trump tweet today?
Nick Licata is the author of “Becoming a Citizen Activist” and founding board chair of Local Progress. Read his essays at becomingacitizenactivist.org