Weapons of Mass Distraction
Last night was an incredibly representative view of the dichotomous world we are currently living in. On the one hand, word spread like wildfire of Trump’s possible collusion with a foreign government that resulted in trending Twitter topics like #GoldenGate, #PEEOTUS, and #GoldenShowers. The aforementioned hashtags alluded to BuzzFeed’s dossier compiled by a source claiming to be a former British intelligence offical in which the standout action was that Trump engaged in, well? Less than exemplary behavior while in Russia that involved a very specific fetish and the unhinged execution of said fetish upon learning that his bed is where the Obamas had been in during a prior visit. The allegations are still unverified, and now there are whispers that it started as 4chan hoax created by members of that site.
During this storm of information that may or may not be true, there was one constant: no one seemed to be questioning the actions of the claim, only their validity. Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go low and tweet out a tsunami wave of tweets making light of this situation. That’s what I do: I search out levity when it gets heavy and share. But it was a tweet by Shaun King that resonated in ways I can’t even begin to explain:
What's wild about the Trump prostitution/Golden Shower allegations is that I haven't seen 1 person say they doubt it based on his character.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) January 11, 2017
Trump’s character was never attacked and it feels like because there’s no weight behind his character. There’s no integrity, no compassion, no loyalty. Trump’s entire presence and rise to power has been fueled by hubris, demagogue-like seduction and bloviated promises. That should speak volumes, and it did for me.
In stark contrast, we have President Obama. I did not vote for him in 2008. During that election, I found my interests aligning with a Republican party that has since become a shell of its former self. During his first four years, I saw what his constituents voted and, as an Arizonan Republican, voted for him in 2012. I voted for my president. I voted for a man in which his policies I didn’t always agree with, but his strengths in diplomacy, compassion, loyalty, reason, and logic outnumbered my reservations. Over the last 8 years, I’ve heard many people question his motivations, his policies, his religion, legitimacy and nationality. He has done a yeoman’s job given his inherited circumstances. Furthermore he has handled his position (and the constant challenges raised by impudent detractors) with the utmost grace and professionalism. All of his best qualities he showcased in his farewell speech last night.
In nine days, we will have a president who may be embroiled in one of, if not the largest scandals in recent history. One of the words that keeps making the rounds is “treason.” Dissecting the colloquial definition of the word, Trump’s alleged actions seem to align — he is accused of betraying his country to aid, as former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid referred to Russia, “a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States.” The more formal definition of the word is difficult to evolve into modern standards so the best way is to draw from contemporary case law to glean what the charges could look like. Adam Yahiye Gadahn, the first U.S. citizen charged with treason since World War II, was radicalized in the post-9/11 anti-Islamic social climate and joined Al Qaeda. Gadahn participated in several videos promising to kill Americans, prompting treason charges by the federal government. Gadahn was charged with treason because “[h]e chose to join our enemy and to provide it with aid and comfort by acting as a propagandist for Al Qaeda,” as Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty explained. He later died in a drone attack in Pakistan.
I know that these allegations are just that: based on conjecture until evidence is provided confirming or denying the above. However, it doesn’t excuse the fact that Trump and his administration are magicians perfecting the art of misdirection before he is even in office.
This terrifies me. If you thought previous administration’s refusal of transparency was one of the worst aspects of their tenure, I’m at a sincere loss as to what to tell you what the incoming administration is capable of. Because of this, it’s easy to wallow, to feel despair, anxiety and inadequacy, to just plain hurt. I know because I’m experiencing those as well as my first real winter and feel like I’m facing those feelings in high definition. The only thing I can do, we can do, is find balance.
If you need to get angry, get angry. But then be kind. If you feel sorrow, lean into it, but then seek out contentment. We can start changing our pronouns, like Obama did in his speech last night. We did this. The second we start laser focusing on our own self interests, we lose our way. We’ve got too many counting on us. When one of us falls, we’ll be there to help get back up again. If the weight gets to be heavy for one, we can share the load.
“Because that, after all, is why we serve. Not to score points or take credit. But to make people’s lives better.”