This has been a horrible year for America. Tolerance has been expelled from Capitol Hill, diversity is being met with derision and empathy is getting harder and harder to find. Every day, those who would see us divided take another colossal swipe at America’s collective identity – and every day, our cumbersome institutions and fleeting democratic principles are being put to the test.
It’s been 365 days since a clueless megalomaniac sailed past a gaggle of dedicated, career politicians and was foolishly handed the keys to the most powerful office on the planet. Here was a man who endorses religious bigotry, incites political violence, condemns equality and mocks the disabled. He openly treats women like pieces of meat, and degrades those fighting for equality – still, America nonsensically elected Donald Trump its leader.
His twisted presidential campaign was one of hatred and fear. Trump’s caricature nationalist agenda vowed to dismantle Obamacare and force Mexico to pay for a “beautiful” border wall nobody asked for. Trump promised us a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, said he would bring coal mining back to the rust belt and give us all tax cuts. He claimed he would tear apart the Iran nuclear deal, declare China a currency manipulator and finally release his elusive tax returns.
Sadomasochism and pie-in-the-sky grandstanding don’t quite cover it.
Trump’s scatter-brained agenda sought to destroy America’s democratic institutions and replace them with a quagmire of plutocracy and ineptitude. That’s why it’s easy to start thinking about where he’s trying to take us as a people and get pretty depressed.
But hey – if you’re desperately searching for a glimmer of hope, there’s plenty to be had watching our President squirm due to a painful-looking case of bureaucratic blueballs.
You see, Donald Trump thought being president was going to be easy. Hell, just a couple weeks on the job, dishevelled and disgraced right-hand man Steve Bannon proudly declared the Trump administration was going to “deconstruct’” the government to deliver on the reality TV star’s populist to-do list. Ten months in, Steve Bannon’s career has shrivelled up and died, and Donald Trump has either failed to deliver or simply given up on every single one of his key campaign promises.
The President’s bigoted Muslim travel ban? Shot down by the courts. His mission to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? Trump’s own party voted him down. Tear apart the Iran deal? Congress won’t do it. Banning transgender troops from serving in the military? Blocked by a federal judge.
It’s almost beyond parody. At this point, Donald Trump couldn’t sell a starving man a half price taco bowl from the Trump Tower Grill. He might sound like a tough guy on Twitter, but the truth is he’s been totally castrated by America’s slow and ham-fisted way of governance – and you know why?
Centuries ago, our founding fathers dreamed up an intricate web of checks and balances designed specifically to protect us from wannabe tyrants like Donald Trump. They compartmentalised the powers of government and split them between multiple branches to ensure no one man could dismantle the democratic freedoms and progress that were so hard won. They created countless long-winded procedures and over-the-top triple-locks to prevent rapid change.
And almost a year into Donald Trump’s train wreck premiership, those seemingly arbitrary governmental processes don’t seem so arbitrary anymore. It’s been a tough couple of months, sure – but zoom out for a bit of context, and 2017 has effectively been one, huge stress test for democracy.
In hammering away at that democracy, our President has unwittingly shown us the cumbersome federal institutions and constitutional frivolities we often dismiss as pointless are actually crucial cogs in a well-oiled administrative machine. He’s unintentionally reminded us why red tape was invented in the first place. And more important still, he’s proven our shared democratic principles aren’t fading into oblivion – they’re emerging from the ashes of a political inferno with new purpose and unbending resolve.
We’ve still got about 1,100 days to go until Donald Trump finally slinks back to his gilded tower and stops trying to destroy the world around him, and it’s going to be a hell of a long slog. I mean, it’s really gonna suck. But the United States was carefully handcrafted to chew up bullies like Donald Trump and spit them right back out – and so long as we place our faith in democracy and stand up for what’s right, our commander-in-chief will continue to stumble through his presidency blind and powerless.
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