Our world seems to have turned into a house of mirrors. It is hard to tell what is real and what is distorted. It seems almost impossible to grasp onto truth and be certain that it is what we have in our hand. People we depend upon to lead and protect us should be beyond reproach. We should be able to trust that what they say and what they do is truthful and in our nation’s best interest. Yet, as we approach the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States I completely lack confidence that he will be truthful and act in our nation’s best interests. While the Obama administration wasn’t without fault, it was scandal-free and fundamentally honest. I am afraid that the contrast we are about to experience will be stark and very unsettling.
From the very beginning Trump has made an art out of denial, obfuscation, deflection and exaggeration. To this day, he has continued this behavior as he held his first press conference in six months. His handling of the hacking issue, the conflict of interest issue and the disclosure of accusations regarding his campaign’s communication with Russia during the months leading up to election day were confirmation that things haven’t changed. It seems that he thinks that if he says it, it is so. He believes that the only truth is his truth. The danger for us is that it is his truth that informs his actions. Even if they are based on invalid information or the complete lack of information, if he believes it, he will base his actions on it.
HIs behavior over the past several months has illustrated a mindset more often seen among children on the playground. Basically he has been saying to us, “I’m going to do what I want the way I want and if you don’t like it, do something about it. I dare you”. The fact is, few have taken him up on it. Most frustrating is that when as a result of extraordinary investigative reporting he has been challenged, the gauntlet has been dropped by those empowered to act. This simply reinforces his sense of invulnerability. He has said things that would have cost others the nomination, and gotten away with them. He has done and said things that would have cost others the election, and gotten away with them. He has done things and said things during the transition that should have at least raised some eyebrows, and gotten away with them. His recent statements about the Intelligence Community and his long-standing disparagement of the Press have telegraphed some very disturbing insights into a Trump Administration. However, why should we expect anything different once he is sworn in as president? It is clear that at this moment he feels that he is free to do or say anything he wants. The lessons of the primary season and the general election have reinforced his narcissism and his self-serving behavior.
However, I believe that all might not be lost. Trump is entering the White house with the lowest approval rating of any new president in history. Even at his height he never exceeded 47% but he is now down to 37%. While most of the Republicans in Congress see this as an opportunity to at long last achieve their agenda, there are a few to whom Trump’s rhetoric and behavior are abhorrent. Additionally, even those who are blind to all else see the potential for major ethics violations by Trump coming down the pike. They have to, even if grudgingly, perform their Constitutional duty and challenge such behavior.
Most of all however, the need to stop Trump before he blindly does our nation serious damage is up to us. He has surrounded himself with novices who will give him bad advice and never tell him he is wrong. We must be loud and decisive as we object to his actions and demand that he change course. The press cannot allow itself to be strangled or shackled, it is the truth we depend on. It is up to the people and press to protect our nation and our future.