Resisting the ‘Trump Normal’
The first step on the road to ruin in a democracy is seduction, a good sales rap, and a charismatic pitchman who convinces us that a secure, prosperous future is possible, but only he can get us there. That's what we're faced with now - a President seemingly ravaged by narcissism and paranoia, whose ego flames with popular passions who seems more concerned with satisfying his "base" than leading the country. Whether or not it goes any further is up to every American– regardless of their political affiliation – who believes in our democracy, our place on the world stage, and our leadership among nations. We are in control of whether this becomes normal or whether we fight back. It’s up to us whether or not we ever wake up, hear about this president inciting violence against journalists, attempting to silence critics, or heaping praise on a murderous tyrant across the globe, and be numb to it.
Despite the outward signs of chaos and disorder, Trump’s presidency has achieved many things that I probably don’t need to list, but I will, because naming the offense, any offense, is critical to the resistance of corruption and demagoguery. This administration has refused outright to implement common-sense regulations that protect us from significant water and air pollution, has overturned vital safeguards, and is working on rolling back even more protections for our health. Mr. Trump and leaders in Congress have declared an outright war on science overruling EPA scientists who have spent careers devoted to the protection of the environment. Scott Pruitt's EPA is doing everything it can to eliminate the Clean Water Rule, that protects streams, wetlands, and drinking water. Trump is stacking federal agencies with private industry insiders, fossil-fuel industry lobbyists and executives, and anti-government ideologues.
Why are they doing these things? This is an important question, but we mustn’t forget the lesson that the simplest explanation is often the best; meaning, in this case: They’re doing this Because they can. For now.
We should remember that as disconcerting as the current state of affairs is, we have been somewhere similar before. Richard Nixon was a leader hell-bent on silencing critics in the press and anyone else who dared tell a truth that might contradict him. Trump shares Nixon’s blatant disrespect for our first amendment and the freedom of the press, but possesses none of Nixon’s shame. Where Nixon declared he was not a crook, Trump famously claimed he could “shoot somebody and wouldn’t lose any voters.” Essentially saying, I could be a crook, a murderer, or corrupt and it wouldn’t matter. This is the point, above all others, that we must prove Trump wrong about, because it does matter, our institutions, and our future matters.
To some degree one can’t blame Trump for feeling that his actions don’t matter, and that regardless of how he behaves he will continue to be rewarded– because that's been the case so far. He was elected President of the United States. On the campaign trail he hosted Saturday Night Live, he joked with Jimmy Fallon and let the Tonight Show host tussle his hair in front of an appreciative live audience. Trump was normalized as a candidate by a media that didn’t take him seriously, and now that he is President the only way to resist a ‘Trump Normal’ is to make sure that we and the media continue to take him very seriously. To scrutinize his every move, to remind ourselves always that this is not normal, and to keep in mind that this will be a long process. The overwhelming likelihood is that Donald J. Trump will serve at least one full term as President of the United States. Many people don’t like hearing that – frankly, neither do I – but it is an important truth. Unless Republicans in Congress change their tune (they are not going to), the President will not be removed from office. So we have to stay vigilant, and check this administration at every turn. We have to fight back and stop his administration's dangerous rollbacks of protections for public health and the environment. We have to join to together to say enough. So join us - make sure you are on our email list, follow us on social media, and help us defend water. If you can afford it, you could even donate to protect clean water. We can show Donald Trump that if he were to stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody that it would matter, because we’ll be watching him - and we'll be taking action.