Rather than elect Hillary Clinton, a minority of American voters wielding a majority of Electoral College votes decided to toss a hand grenade into our democracy in the belief that blowing it up would make needed improvements.
How’s that going?
Well, the first British politician the president-elect contacted wasn’t England’s prime minister, but to Nigel Farage of the right-wing, proto-fascist U.K. Independence Party. They talked, not about how President-elect Donald Trump can help Britain or its actual elected government, but about how they can help each other. The UKIP, for reference sake, is not even England’s major opposition party; it has only one seat in parliament. If the first American call of England’s new prime minister wasn’t to the White House but to the Green Party, wouldn’t you find that insulting, or at least odd?
Similarly, Trump’s senior advisor, Stephen Bannon,who, let us note, has never worked in government but did successfully run an anti-Semitic and racist website, reached out to Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a leader in France’s far right, kinda-Nazi party, about working together before the incoming Trump administration reached out to the actual French government.
So let’s just be clear about what’s happening here. The first major contacts that America’s president-elect made were not to foreign governments, but to foreign opposition parties that have a history of racial animus, one of which — the French National Front — has in fact been frequently associated with French fascism.
So after beating the fascists in World War II, America is now supporting their political descendants in Europe against the very governments we fought to preserve. When you consider that a Trump surrogate went on Fox News and said they were using the Japanese internment camps as legal precedent, you have to wonder if we’re not so much re-legislating the 1960s as re-fighting WWII. Did we get it wrong last time?
While all that was happening, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that a 12-year old girl in Colorado was approached by a boy who said, “Now that Trump is president, I’m going to shoot you and all the blacks I can find.” In Georgia, a Muslim teacher was passed a note from a student that read, “Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore. Why don’t you tie it around your neck and hang yourself with it off of your neck instead of your head.” The note was signed “America.” In all, 437 separate incidents like these were reported between the election and Nov. 14.
In response, Trump says he’ll nominate Jeff Sessions to be attorney general, a man who opposes hate crime protections and once said he used to think the Ku Klux Klan was okay until he discovered that some of them smoke pot.
Now comes word that Trump is trying to circumvent anti-nepotism laws to get his son-in-law a position in the White House. Because that’s the problem with America today, not enough politicians giving their family members political jobs.
Oh yeah, and Trump asked the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, one of the big banks that nearly destroyed the global economy in 2008, to serve as treasury secretary. Which is confusing, because I thought Trump was angry at the big banks on behalf of the American people.
CEO Jamie Dimon turned Trump down, though, so Trump is now considering Seth Mnuchin, a long-time Goldman Sachs executive. You know, the people so toxic that Clinton should never have ever given a speech to them. Mnuchin was CEO of the bank IndyMac, which fraudulently foreclosed on thousands of homes during the financial crisis.
We don’t know why Dimon said no, but we do know that senior figures in the Republican national security establishment are warning their colleagues to stay away from this administration because it is angry, arrogant and rewards loyalty over competence.
All of which is to say that if you can judge a man by the company he keeps, our president-elect is moving very fast to surround himself with Wall Street opportunists, nepotistic family members, people who make money building megaphones for racists and foreign opposition parties who think Adolf Hitler wasn’t such a bad guy.
Two questions about this. First, on a scale of one to 10, how great are we feeling, America? Second, is it too much to ask the Republican Congress to reject administration appointees who are obviously crooks or monsters, or do we not do that now?