Trump: Solution or Problem?

President Trump’s supporters clearly feel that if he isn’t the solution to a myriad of problems facing the United States, then he is at least the only one in American politics capable of addressing the issues of a broken immigration system, a weakened military, a hollowed-out middle class, a law enforcement system that’s too easy on “free-loaders,” corporations that send jobs overseas and keep wages low… as well as host of other concerns.

Trump’s opponents seem to see him more as a sexist, racist, narcissist, with the behavior of a spoiled child and the morals of serial sexual predator, who seems bent on destroying democratic values, the free press, and the environment, while handing the government over to business and his rich cronies and minimizing the rights of the marginalized in society.

And a significant majority of both supporters and opponents are absolutely adamant in their feelings and beliefs about Trump.

As in all political polarizations, both sides have at least shreds of proof behind their beliefs, although some of those shreds are pretty small, and a few, especially about Trump’s personal characteristics or the hollowed-out middle class, are anything but small.

But what seems to be overlooked in this polarization over Trump is that Trump is not so much primarily either solution or problem, but a symptom of what’s gone wrong in American politics and society, a personification of political and social intransigence.

It used to be that Americans disagreed over the meaning of facts; now people invent facts, or deny them, when proven facts don’t suit their beliefs or politics.

This hasn’t happened overnight. It’d been a long time coming. When I first became involved in politics, the two parties could agree enough to actually pass appropriation bills before the next fiscal year began. Then it took longer and longer, and they changed the congressional process to give themselves more tine. That bought them twenty years. Now… we’re at the point that we’re roughly halfway through the fiscal without any actual appropriations, running on continuing resolution after continuing resolution because neither party can apparently work out a compromise.

Now… everyone’s blaming Congress, and public approval of Congress is at all all-time low, and no one’s looking at the reason. That reason? Every member of Congress, with a few exceptions, is voting exactly the way the majority of voters in his or her political party in his or her state or district wants them to… because any time they don’t follow the party line they’re likely to get voted out, or at the least, face a contentious and expensive primary.

So don’t blame Congress. We, the people, are the intransigent ones… and unless we figure that out and decide to be more flexible, and go back to accepting proven facts and working out our disagreements on what to do about them, we just might end up with the equivalent of a second civil war (or a third, for those who believe the Revolution was really a civil war).

2 thoughts on “Trump: Solution or Problem?”

  1. M. Kilian says:

    It’s a fascinating topic, and the extreme polarisation is obvious even as an observer. As for the dilemma of using factual evidence as a basis for decision making… Facts, are unfortunately a delicate subject, for the exact same reason truth is.

    The reason I say that is because truth (as opposed to the truth) is (arguably) subjective at best, limited to the information and interpretation available to each person. For example, a soldier who goes to war for his country and kills enemy soldiers may be seen as a hero by people in his own country, and as a monster by people in the opposing country.

    Truth is tricky, because though one might argue that a hero cannot be a monster, that they are for instance mutually exclusive: they are both technically correct, or true.

    Facts would probably not speak to either term however, and focus more on the identification of the man as a soldier, with further rationalising to express their actions an even more convoluted topic.

    As for why I allude to these interpretations is because I would suggest that facts have come to seen just as subjective as truths; academia, mainstream media, government sources, etcetera- have all lost their credibility to some extent in the eyes in at least some of the population.

    And there is good reason for it. Institutions, individuals and just about any source of modern information have all been subjected to extreme scrutiny by at least one party, and with the advent of the information age, all been found lacking by one party or another who are able to communicate their findings.

    There are so many people who simply do not know what to believe. This has been even further compounded by the younger generations who have grown up in environments where they are told they can be anything, yet their contribution to society and therefore worth at least in their eyes is esoteric- unknown to description and hard to understand.

    I could be wrong, but this upheaval of all knowledge in at least the West is what I would attribute to society at current.

    In my personal opinion, Trump, like perhaps all politicians strive to, says what he thinks people want to hear. I think the source of such upheaval is that the larger part of the liberal demographic, who were once counter-culture, are now the establishment.

    They do not realise that there were so many people who disagreed with them, many of whom are rational human beings who have just as much to bring to the table. Too many assume that simply because there is a tacit acceptance or lack of opposition to the government at a given time that they actually represent the majority.

    Here in Australia, I believe there is an enormous number of people who are upset at the current governance, yet see no alternatives without forcefully overturning democracy. Because the parties we get to vote for are essentially the same, and leaders seem woefully lacking.

  2. Jim says:

    When you speak of elected representatives voting the way their voters want them to, two thoughts came immediately to mind. First, to what extent is that phenomenon the result of gerrymandering, or vice versa?
    Secondly, I believe (rather cynically, I admit) that voting patterns are often a result of follow-the-money. So many of our representatives are feeding at the teats of lobbyists, the electorate isn’t represented at all. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m placing no large wagers!

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