The UK temporarily suspended efforts to send two prominent ISIS jihadis to the United States over concerns they might be subject to the death penalty. (Guardian)
Culture news. Financial news. Political news. All of it independent of Donald Trump.
We cannot and should not ignore the President. He is regularly making decisions which affect our lives and the lives of those we love. Whether harming our alliances, sucking up to our enemies, initiating tariffs or signing off on regulatory changes, his actions are important.
Many of his actions are, however, fundamentally unimportant. The meeting with the Juncker from the EU was talk with no official agreement. The same holds true of Trump’s summits with Putin and Un. Or Trump’s visit to the UK after the NATO meeting. Or his tweets. They are empty, they are noise, they are sound and fury signifying nothing, designed merely to keep a spotlight on himself. All of the positive effects that have come as a result of any of these have come not from Trump but rather from underlings assigned to produce some sort of concrete result to which Trump can lay claim.
Trump’s idolaters and his detractors alike focus on him because he has made himself the focus of all that is good or evil in the country. Simply put, the man does not have that much influence nor does he deserve it.
We give him the attention, though. In part, here, because this is primarily a political site and that is the common interest of most of the visitors. As Trump attempts to inject himself into every aspect of our lives, we cover it. Trump is like a small child who has decided to repeatedly hit an adult. Depending on the location and the force of the strike, many of the blows could be easily ignored; all of them demand our notice.
In part it’s because Trump pollutes our daily life. From Twitter to press conferences, he or his direct surrogates ensure that every meaningless act or vapid statement gets as much coverage as his influential ones. The President may golf and lounge at resorts very often, but when he is not doing so he is working hard to ensure his name remains in the papers. And on the radio. And the television.
We should not aid him in this. As much as anything else, it polarizes and disrupts the country. On issues, there are thousands of shades of gray. It’s why we have juries. The same action will be interpreted slightly differently by everyone, and we want a consensus before making momentous decisions. There will never be such agreement on a single, simple question such as “Do you like the President?” (no matter who that President is.)
We have to cover Trump, here. Like it or not, he permeates the political scene and it would be irresponsible to pretend otherwise. But everyone should do what they can to separate out the times when discussing him is necessary – such as with tariffs that are actually enacted – vice the times when he’s merely a common point of discussion. When that happens, his irrelevancy to so many topics is revealed.
His irrelevancy is key. Because if he is viewed as the linchpin of the government, his supporters will fight to the last person standing to defend him no matter what depravities he engages in or debasements of the office her performs. That is when reason is abandoned, conspiracies start, and hate blooms.
It’s tempting to dismiss the Demi Lovato overdose or “Papa” John Schnatter being pushed out of his business as “fluffy” news, but they’re not. They’re news, they’re just not Trump news. It’s tempting to let Jim Jordan deflect the reports of his blind eye to sexual abuse or Ocasio-Cortez’s socialism to being Trump-related, but they’re not. They’re just political news. Trump wants to be the center of the world. He is not, no matter how often his sycophants tell us he is.
Trump could disappear for a month and his policies would still move forward. Then his supporters would need to defend the policies, not the man, and some actual rational discussions might ensue. I can hope that it happens.
August is traditionally a time for vacations. Please be traditional, just this once. Go away, President Trump.