How to know when things are upside down

I wish this was an instructional manual to help achieve the title. It isn’t. In fact, I have a hard time knowing when things are all messed up, or when my fears are irrational. That’s the thing with irrational fear, it doesn’t subside with reason. That said, I wouldn’t call myself afraid right now, but I am certainly concerned, and really disappointed. The Trump presidency continues to take a toll, with the primary victim being my faith in the decision-making and analytical abilities of my fellow citizens.

Unless your only information source is FoxNews, and more specifically only some shows (like Hannity) on FoxNews, you’re clearly aware that things aren’t going swimmingly for Trump. Whether or not he means well, he simply cannot stop stepping on his own feet, and there is a pervasive lack of message coordination at the White House. Take the firing of Comey as an example. Trump fires the FBI director, the people in the administration responsible for talking with the public made it clear that he was simply following recommendations given to him, based on Comey’s poor handling of the Clinton email investigation. Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that it was all based on Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General, and his recommendation, and Vice President Pence echoed this, saying that Trump was accepting the recommendation of the deputy AG and the AG.

That was on Tuesday (and Wednesday), then along came Trump. In an interview on Thursday, Trump made it clear that he was going to fire Comey all along, no matter what the recommendation was.

“He had made a recommendation. But regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it

And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.”

And things got even crazier because in the midst of all of this, the President had a meeting with a Russian foreign minister. That alone wouldn’t be all that crazy, but the US press wasn’t allowed in the meeting, even though the Russian press was. To add to it all, the Washington Post reported that Trump shared highly classified information with the Russians at the meeting. This sparked cries for impeachment, and it’s hard to not draw comparisons with the Clinton email scandal, and the outrage that people had about the possibility that classified information would have fallen into the wrong hands.

Needless to say, the world feels upside down to me. But to others, this is all an overzealous, pro-Clinton media that is picking apart every little thing and making mountains out of molehills. This is the narrative that Trump is pushing. He recently tweeted that it would be better to not have live press briefings and just send out written statements, all because the level of accuracy expected is unreasonable.

Trump tweet (accuracy in briefings)

Unreasonable? it’s not like they’re being picked apart for word usage or for grammatical errors. They’re being hammered when Spicer (and other officials) say that Comey was fired for the way he handled the Clinton investigation, but then Trump brings up the “made-up story” of Russia when talking about why he fired Comey. They’re being hammered for refusing to comment after the president implies that there are recordings of conversations between Comey and Trump that Comey should be afraid of. Is that making a mountain out of a molehill? The President of the United States is using twitter to threaten the former director of the FBI, who was just fired by the President. Thinking that’s unusual hardly seems unreasonable to me. Asking questions about that hardly seems unreasonable to me.

But how is this not clear to everybody? I can understand that many Americans don’t pay attention to the news. That many Americans might not even know this is happening, so they aren’t upset. But many Americans, including members of Congress, do know this is happening, and don’t seem bothered by it. There are a few ways to see this, some less upsetting than others. Perhaps the republicans in office think this is their chance to get some stuff done, and they want to do everything they can to achieve those goals before the whole thing crashes down (because they know that they’ll get nothing done if it crashes). I’ve heard some republicans say that “a win” in this case is a SCOTUS appointment (which they got) and not having a nuclear war. Pretty low bar, but time will tell if we clear it or not.

The possibility that I like the most (because it helps me feel good about my fellow human beings), is that the elected and appointed officials who are standing by Trump are doing so because they feel a duty to make sure there’s a grown-up in the room. They know if they go against Trump publicly, they won’t be allowed in the room anymore, and they fear what happens then. So they pull up their pants, grit their teeth, and they do what has to be done to limit the damage. Do we punish them for lying to us, and pretending that they support Trump, or do we thank them for enduring the awfulness in order to maintain as much order as possible? I’m sure we’ll make them pay for it eventually, but I think some of them deserve our gratitude, instead of our hatred…some we can probably feel good about hating though. Maybe.


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