I have to admit that I haven’t given Milo Yiannopoulos much attention until recently. I’ve read about him, but hadn’t read his own words before this week, and I had never watched him speak or seen a video of him. His appearance on Bill Maher was the first time I watched him speak about anything, and it led me down a YouTube rabbit hole that lasted much of the night. I watched video after video of him making liberals look like fools. I watched video after video of him using classic (dirty) debate tactics to deflect, to create and smash straw men, and I watched him purposefully go over the top to get attention.
I’ve been relatively quiet lately. I’ve had some pretty horrifying things going on in my life that have captured my attention (an old friend with a daughter who has been missing for more than three weeks). Between that and some actual work I’ve needed to do at work, it’s been hard to find time for this. I also started this to write about the things I think are important, and my comfortable place was always defending things that Obama, Clinton, or some other democrat was fighting for. Now we’re in a bit of different world, and I’m on a less solid foundation. On the one hand, almost everything I’m hearing terrifies me, but I’m also aware of how silly folks on the right looked when they talked about the radical changes that Obama was making to the country. So, just to keep from getting too stale, here’s something that caught my eye today. A perfect case of illogical thinking, that is supposed to be the antithesis of this project. And it all comes from a tweet from President Donald Trump.
Betsy DeVos was just confirmed by the United States Senate to be the Secretary of Education. She was a controversial choice (understatement), and it was the first time in history that a Vice President needed to use a vote to confirm a cabinet nominee.
Once again, the missed opportunity pains me. President Trump could have seen how much resistance there was against DeVos’s appointment, and said something like, “I hear your voices, I know you’re concerned. I will withdraw this nomination because my number one goal is the unity of the Nation.” And the crowd goes wild. The GOP is happy because they don’t have to support somebody like DeVos (who many of them don’t love), and the democrats are happy because somebody like DeVos isn’t in charge of education policy for the country. He could easily find somebody who feels the same way as DeVos about education, but who has some experience in public education, and that’s the ballgame. He gets what he wants politically, and earns respect while doing it.
It’s a win-win, but only if there’s a shred of magnanimity in Trump…and it’s becoming more and more clear that there isn’t.
I, like many people I know, are watching this administration’s actions and getting more and more frightened for the long-term damage it could do. His inauguration speech was a nationalistic cry to the “forgotten” Americans, and a slap in the face to those of us who see how great the country is, and want it to be better for all. It was a speech describing a zero sum game, where it’s us or them, and that made me sad. That sadness has been balanced, somewhat, by the incredible reaction we’re seeing to the surprising win by Trump. From the women’s march on Washington (and the other marches all over the country, even in other countries) to the stories of large numbers of progressives getting more involved to the incredible rallies that are happening at a moment’s notice in response to actions the administration is taking. This all happens, and I watch with some pleasure, but what I feel most of all is sadness. Sadness that our President could so easily win so many people over, and simply won’t. He’s described by those close to him as somebody who craves good ratings. Who wants to be loved. And he could be, with the simplest moves.