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The summer of our discontent

August 4, 2017

As time passes, I am becoming more comfortable with Donald Trump in charge. One of the primary criteria by which I judge people (yes, I am a sentient human being and I therefore judge people) is the nature and the identity of their enemies and, as far as I am concerned, President Trump passes that test with flying colors. That Madonna, Mika Brzezinski and Maxine Waters all detest the president is sufficient to keep me on his side. His trip to Poland had the same effect on me as did Ronald Reagan’s trip to Berlin. It was a triumphant reclaiming of America’s leadership role in the Western world and it perfectly contrasted with the weak-kneed puerility of Barack Obama.


Yes, Mr. Trump is in many ways a vulgarian. But I am becoming convinced that much of that is a calculated act. One of the reasons that Reagan was so successful was that he convinced his enemies that he was unstable, which scared the living crap out of them. Mr. Reagan did that on the foreign affairs front and Mr. Trump is doing it on the domestic front. My contrarian self is feeling better with every day that passes and with every “journalist” who gets the vapors.


I readily confess that I am out of sync with much — if not most — of the media. When CNN says “X,” my immediate reaction is “Y,” even if it concerns something about which I have absolutely no knowledge and/or in which I have absolutely no interest. The recent brouhaha about the “Russia situation” is a case in point. I was driven to distraction by the fact that the media (including Fox) obsessed on what I firmly believe was a total nothing. So Putin may have attempted to influence our elections. So what? Anyone who didn’t expect him to make an attempt to infiltrate our election process is a damned fool. Even President Trump’s most virulent enemies (with the possible exception of “Mad” Maxine Waters) acknowledge that Russia had no impact on the election.


In the most recent Israeli elections, Barack Obama made a boldfaced attempt to unseat Bibi Netanyahu. He sent his own campaign consultants to Israel to interfere. He failed. Did the confederacy of fools who constitute Democratic leadership call for Obama’s head on a plate? If they did, I don’t recall.


I am fed up with Dick Durbin, Charles Schumer, Richard Blumenthal, Adam Schiff and other alligator-teared, holier-than-thou politicians whose only current activities appear to be aimed at preventing Donald Trump from governing. They readily admit this. Their call to arms is “RESIST!” And they “RESIST!” unapologetically with every hour that they draw breath. Seven months after President Trump took office, he still has no more than a skeleton crew government. The Democrats in the Senate have availed themselves of the Senate rules that permit up to 30 hours of debate time for each Trump nominee before a vote. They take each one in turn, adjourn sessions after just a few hours and simply delay the process. This is pure playground spite, and the net result is that important government positions either remain empty or continue to be filled by holdovers from the era of Barack Hussein Obama. Does anyone actually wonder where the record number of leaks are coming from? Meanwhile, the incessant whining emanating from Capital Hill continues without remission.


But the Democrats don’t have a monopoly on invidious treachery. The self-righteous Republicans who make their regular way to the cameras concede nothing to their Democratic brethren when it comes to undermining the president. Rand Paul, who likes to play the role of “Tom Swift, boy hero” is nothing more than a rigid doctrinarian who is prepared to bring the temple down on all of us as a result of a self-inflated view of himself as a political philosopher and purist Libertarian. John McCain is now fighting brain cancer, but we all know how he has tried to “stick it” to the president.

The efforts of these Washington swamp dwellers are supported by their acolytes and allies in the media. Like snitches in the schoolyard, print and electronic outlets are falling all over themselves to find new scabs to rip open and new wounds to inflict. As someone recently said, the mainstream press resembles nothing as much as ants crawling all over a sugar cube in their pursuit of ammunition to bring down Trump. I now search for other diversions to wean me from the toxicity that reigns on the news channels. Instead of watching news programs, I have taken to binging on programs like “Forged In Fire,” which has been described as “the manliest baking show of all time.” At least the blue-collared, calloused knife makers produce something of value that can actually cut through the manure that is pervasive everywhere one looks. I would trust each and every one of the blacksmithing contestants on “Forged in Fire” before I would rely on the reptilian leader of the Senate Democrats (actually, I would trust Bernie Madoff before I would rely on Chuckie Schumer!).


Our elected officials are losing the respect of the electorate. Before I stopped constantly watching the news, the steady parade of politicians who appeared before the cameras to spout their talking points of the day (or of the hour) reached the point where I could recite their words without thought — which is exactly the reason for talking points in the first place. If one recites a lie often enough it becomes its own truth, especially if the opposite side is given no equivalent opportunity to respond.


The media has an even lower popularity quotient than our elected officials. I wonder if, outside of the environs of the wealthier metropolitan areas of New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco, there are more than a handful of people who actually believe what they read in the New York Times or the Washington Post or what they hear on CNN or MSNBC. And do not for a moment believe that Fox News is some sort of exception. They are simply not as bad as the others. There appears to be a never ending supply of frat boys and sorority girls who are labeled “Democratic consultant” or “Republican campaign strategist” whose opinions are solicited on air by their earnest looking frat brothers and sorority sisters. Is there anyone, ANYONE, who thinks that the opinions of these children are worth more than a “bucket of warm spit” (to slightly rephrase the pithy comment of a former vice president)?


President Trump has been tagged with the title of “school yard bully” but he is the “bully-ee,” not the “bully-or.” The members of the House and Senate (both Democrat and Republican) have teamed up with the members of the media to gang up on the “new kid” in the schoolyard. I will not label the president as a “victim” (he gives as good as he gets), but while they all mix it up in the schoolyard, we ordinary Americans are growing increasingly furious. When members of Congress return to their districts and hold “Town Hall” meetings, they end up puzzled and/or dismayed when they are shouted down by their frustrated, red-faced constituents. Shakespeare might say today that “Now is the summer of our discontent …”; there has been no respite. The natives are becoming restless.

I am (believe it or not) an inveterate optimist. I think (hope?) that members of Congress (at least those who are titular Republicans) will come to realize just how close they are to the edge of the precipice (i.e. defenestration by electoral means) and will unify behind President Trump. If not, we will end up with chaos that will lead inevitably to a Democratic takeover — and that is a prospect that should drive anyone towards immersion in pursuits like pastry baking — or sword-smithing.


Stuart Kaufman is a retired lawyer, investment banker and businessman. He relocated from New York to Mount Pleasant in 2012. A friend recently told him that he has been a South Carolinian all of his life ... but he just didn’t know it.



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