Of all the boasts, bluster, lies, twisted use of the English language, the prolific use of superlatives like fantastic, great, excellent, greatest, and on and on, the most inaccurate and misleading word in Trumpworld has been use of the word best. We were going to have the best health care, the best immigration, the best wall, the best Cabinet, the best of everything. Instead we are saddled with incompetence, ineptitude, disdain for intellectual curiosity, and a zest for division captured under the mantle of deconstruction of the administrative state. Tension is the new barometer by which we measure success: racial tensions, cultural tensions, economic tensions, international tensions, and political tensions.
It turns out the best of times has ignominiously morphed into the worst of times in virtually no time at all. We have no discernible legislative accomplishments. The prospect for meaningful tax reform is being subsumed by an ever widening and aggressive investigation into what amounts to little more than treasonous and other criminal actions on behalf of the Trump campaign to swindle the American people by aiding and abetting Russian interference in the 2016 election. Yes the administration is chipping away at regulatory disarmament and certainly is influencing the landscape in our judicial system, but that would have happened in due course as it has for centuries. If David Halberstam were alive today he might entitle this Cabinet The Worst and the Dimmest. We have actually sunk below deplorable and the term dumbing down is in need of redefinition. Of course since Trump has made it abundantly clear that he alone can do the job it only makes sense that he would surround himself with a crew that poses no threat to his perceived infallibility.
Trump is a very dangerous individual who happens to be custodian of the nuclear codes. He is childish and vindictive with the attention span of a three-year old and no grasp for either politics, policy, government, decision-making or deal-making, his supposed trademark qualification for the position he now holds. His political appointments, to the extent that he has made any beyond the most essential senior level jobs, represent a menagerie of unqualified political hacks who either have no appreciation for managing government or represent a radical contempt for the very functions they are in charge of. Trump has shown throughout his life aptitude for cosmetic improvements while neglecting structural integrity. The man is as phony as a three dollar bill and his shiny monuments to success are bound to cascade under the weight of a spectacular collapse. Of course, it will then fall upon those who survive to rebuild the foundation.
Deconstruction of the administrative state is the equivalent of an improvised explosive device (IED) placed strategically to inflict maximum damage on the organs of government that are designed to protect and promote public health, safety, and welfare. It is fair to say that many of those in positions to ostensibly promote the betterment of the nation are in fact jihadists bent on destroying those they are supposed to protect. But while Trump conducts his assault upon foundational reality, he is assisted by a cadre of enablers who are every bit as culpable for the damage that is being inflicted upon a nervous populace.
Many took some solace over these past nine months in the fact that there appeared to be some “adult supervision” in the form of military men who would not allow Trump to actually upset the delicate yet stable world order that has existed since the end of World War II. The generals were supposed to protect us from our President. Now to many of us this was an uneasy and scary arrangement but it was the only thing we had to go with. Nervously many, including the author, wished that sanity would somehow prevail over the childish antics of the President. Unfortunately hope is diminishing rapidly and at this juncture our only hope is a former FBI Director appointed by George W. Bush with the backing of the Federal government intelligencia. That is how desperate the situation has become.
When General John Kelly assumed the position of White House Chief-of-Staff just three months ago it appeared as though he possessed the gravitas to both counsel the President and argue respectfully but forcefully for the principles that guided a career that saw him reach four-star general status. In short order those hopes have been dashed. He has wilted under the pressure of the job and the persistence of a boss whose vindictiveness is only surpassed by his ignorance, arrogance and narcissism.
You may or may not have been a great military man, but this politics gig is not for you Kel. Your mishandling of the advice you gave the President regarding the notification to Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow and your smear of Congresswoman Frederica Wilson are ample evidence of your political ineptitude. Sure it may have ingratiated you to your boss but is that really why you have toiled all these years in public service and achieved one of the most important advisory positions in the United States government? To merely kiss butt to the President?
You have now compounded your rapid fall into disrespect by rendering your opinion on the role of slavery in the nation’s greatest conflict, the Civil War. By foolishly offering that our inability to compromise on this issue led to the greatest loss of lives we have experienced in all other wars combined exhibits a monumental distortion of history. And speaking of monuments, your defense of honoring those who defended slavery, such as General Robert E. Lee, shows a callous disregard for both the United States and the inhumane conditions attendant to allowing certain individuals to own others.
You are a product of a generation of military men who grew up either directly in or under the shadow of the Cold War. Would you also defend allowing statues of Lenin and Stalin to have remained in place as the Soviet Union disintegrated under the weight of glasnost and perestroika? I visited the Soviet Union in its closing days in 1991 and walked amongst the monument graveyard where monuments of great Soviet leaders had been laid to rest. They were viewed by those who had suffered too long under Soviet domination as enemies of the state. Should the Russian people have been forced to pay homage to statues commemorating the deaths and misery caused by these individuals?
In the same way those who led the Confederacy in the 1860’s were enemies of a United States of America. Your portrayal of General Lee as an honorable man is in direct contradiction to the facts that he was not only a slave owner but a rather ruthless one at that. I would make the exception that battlefield national parks are places where monuments to those who fought there are acceptable recognition of events. However, paying homage to leaders of those who fought to preserve slavery in town squares and other public places is an insult to the nation’s rejection and revulsion with a practice that is barbaric and simply un-Christian.
General you have once again overstepped your bounds and authority and have proven that you are in over your head. Retire gracefully and with some shred of integrity in tact. In fact at this juncture it is probably required that you leave your position and assume one that actually reflects a commitment to the ideals the country stands for, the ones that you and your son so bravely fought to protect. But continuing to enable a madman under any pretense is quite simply cruel and insults your service to the nation.