Contextualizing Trump - By Greer Clem

There are those days where even I don't have the energy to start writing once more about the dangers of this presidency.

There are those days where even I don't have the energy to start writing once more about the dangers of this presidency. It's a weariness that is as threatening as the man himself because it means that he is chipping away the American resolve to stand up for truth and justice. So as I sat staring at a blank Word document, trying to summon forward some grand new idea that would re-inspire both myself and my readers, I began to reflect on how dangerous it is to contextualize Trump.

The media and the frequency of his communication with the public make us numb to just how inexperienced and out of touch he is. We've talked about how Trump's Twitter account and his relationship with Fox News makes everything he says sting less, but we haven't yet talked about the historical context that Trump falls in to. Let me elaborate: Trump came into office after eight years of work by the Obama administration and joint parties in Congress to rebuild the American economy and regain our footing on the international stage. The Obama administration had to clean up our international reputation post invasion of Iraq while combating the rising threat of ISIS and homegrown violence. But let's imagine for a minute that Trump had come into office in 2008 instead of Barack Obama.

Though Trump claimed during the 2016 election cycle that he was one of the first people to speak out against the invasion of Iraq, the actual record of his statements on the subject is much fuzzier. He claimed that Hillary Clinton's endorsement of the invasion into Iraq helped give rise to ISIS and thus made her ineligible to be Commander in Chief. The benefit that Trump received in this situation was once again contextualization. Trump was a private citizen, free to speak his mind, though the record reflects that he alternated between expressing mild support for the invasion and disapproval. He said, "Either you attack or you don't attack," which, aside from a painfully obvious statement with no insight, was a dig at the process of diplomacy which he places no value or interest in. But because he was just an eccentric private citizen, contextually, these comments didn't really matter.

So years pass, the Obama administration rights the national economy, the war in Iraq minimizes, and headlines change. It's 2016 now and Donald Trump is running for president on a platform of draining the swamp and bringing outsourced jobs back to the United States. But let's think about the context: Trump could not have run this platform in 2007. He walked into a presidential election season more stable than when Obama ran, when Bush ran, or even when Clinton ran. In short, context allowed Donald Trump to be himself without fear of real repercussions. It was only after he took office that context became a much more threatening factor; we had to fight to save the ACA, Trump began giving ICE the freedom to conduct raids at will, mass shootings continued to rise. Now the context surrounding Donald Trump is much less stable and, what's more, he is responsible for it. He cannot continue to be himself with no repercussions because, like it or not, he's in the game now. And yet we continue to contextualize his actions, to downplay the words coming out of mouth because we believe that he does not control the circumstances surrounding them. This is a fatal error.

At what point do cause and effect reverse directions? It used to be that Trump did not have the power or authority to generate a wave of response to his idiocy. We judged whatever he said in terms of the context surrounding it. But now he is the creator of context and we cannot continue to excuse or rationalize his behavior based out outside factors. If there is unrest, Trump is responsible. If the political climate is unfriendly it is because he made it so. Trump will continue to contextualize himself and use those around him to insulate himself from personal responsibility. But he doesn't need our help to do so. We in turn must hold him responsible to the environment he creates and use our voices to drown out his excuses. He answers to us, and if he refuses then he must go.

Was originally published at: https://www.nastypolitics.org/

Comments
No. 1-6
isobel_j
isobel_j

Don't lose hope! The midterm results could even energize you more!

Jon Saltzman
Jon Saltzman

Editor

Jon Saltzman
Jon Saltzman

Editor

Hahahaha, I see what you did- you baited me and sucked me into your killing zone! Let's leave the ACA for another day-too much to say today. Look, I'd ask you to consider the places you get your messaging about Trump from. There are MANY more Left-leaning media sources than Right. Fox and maybe Sinclair are the only 2 on the Right. Trump may be a lot of things, but his policies are what put many people on his side: Less government, lower taxes. less regulation and securing our borders. If the Dems keep running on him as a womanizing Nazi who is dumb also- well they will keep losing. Remember, the party you call the party of rich white men is way more than that. How do I know that? First, I look at Political Storm and see that our conservative and Trump support people are also people like "The Conservative Mexican, Truther Talks and Suzzanne Monk. Second, I remember that in the last Presidential Election, The Dem's candidate lost the election because she lost 3 states in the "Rust Belt." Third I know that at the State and local level The Democrats have the lowest numbers of elected officials since the1920's. There just aren't enough 1% ers to make that happen. The Republicans are winning the battle of ideas. After that election, the Democrats did no soul searching, they doubled down on outrage, they led the "resistance," and lurched to the Left. They still see the America that voted for Trump as somehow less than human- they are "deplorable." Prediction: Republicans keep their majority in Congress. And as long as the Dems are the party of outrage only- You'll be seeing President Trump until he leaves office in January of 2025.

GreerClem
GreerClem

Jon, knew you'd have a field day with this one! First, I would argue Trump wasn't a response to Obama and the failure of the Republican party to block his agenda, I think the GOP has used him as such. Trump isn't articulate or aware enough to be a response: my point is that the context of our political society made him seem as though he was one, thereby giving him more credit than he deserves. I think Obama would likely agree with your assessment of the limitations of the ACA, hence the argument that it wasn't perfect, it had kinks to iron out. But it was providing coverage where coverage was not before. It was expanding coverage, and though there are those lower-income, rural Republicans who push back on expansive government involvement, they still want to be recipients of thsoe same programs. They need fixing, sure, but there's a reason they exist. You say it remains to be seen if Trump can work with Congress to pass lasting laws. I think here again you misunderstand Trump who has no understanding of how laws are made and is loyal to no one but himself and money. His sole agenda is to reverse Obama-era policy, even where it has been helpful. Yes, both he and Hillary had their deplorable moments, but only one has been accused of sexual assault by over a dozen women, has proven to be a racist bigot, and does not understand the basic needs of the American people. My fear is that an out of touch Republican-run Congress and an egotistical, selfish president will lead to an agenda that serves no one but the top 1%. Sure, the Left can be pretty condescending and elitist, but is there anything more condescending than pretending you're a party of the people when in fact you're only advocating for millionaires and rich white males? Curious to hear your thoughts so we can spar again! Cheers!

Philip Carino
Philip Carino

He would have never won nor have rabid supporters if he is out of touch. It proves the opposite Greer, Trump definitely knows what he's doing and liberals not figuring this much is their demise. Wake up!

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