The First 48 Hours

trump-inaugurationWell, that was one hell of a weekend. We have a new President and maybe, just maybe, we have a new counterculture as well. That’s probably the wrong word to use, since the Trump Administration’s #1 takeaway from its first few days in office ought to be: geez, there are more of them than there are of us. Maybe it’s the Trumpkins who are the counterculture.

It sure sounded that way during the first few moments of Donald J. Trump’s presidency. After acknowledging the four former Presidents in attendance, he essentially told them: by the way, all y’all suck. Trump’s America, on their watch, has devolved into a land of carnage and tombstones where vicious foreigners steal our jobs and try to con us into believing the climate is changing. In other words, he was talking to his base — which still believes crime and unemployment got worse under President Obama (they both declined, along with the uninsured rate). He wasn’t finished, of course, and the next morning took issue with estimates of the size of the crowd, thought to be about a third of the one Obama drew in 2009, and slagged the “dishonest” press for having the temerity to report it.

That yuge crowd and dishonest press stuff came during a visit to the CIA, where the spooks seemed puzzled at the lack of attention in their new boss’s remarks to, well, to the CIA. After all, he’d been slamming them for weeks. To make matters worse, while he was at Langley a crowd was gathering to protest his ascension and his disdain for women’s rights. Joined by quite a few men and boys, the marching assumed Obaman proportions, dwarfing the inauguration with three times as many people. And that was just in Washington. All over the country — all over the world — similar protests erupted, surprising officials everywhere with their numbers. Not just New York, L.A., and the other big cities, but all over. A thousand in Jackson, Mississippi, as red a place as you can find. Twenty thousand in Phoenix, not far behind it in redness. Forty thousand in Austin, twice what was expected, more than that in San Diego. Five thousand in Birmingham, Alabama (they expected 200). Healthy six figures in Boston and Seattle — even “several thousand” in Knoxville, Tennessee. Three hundred in Tel frickin Aviv!

Trump couldn’t know the extent of the demonstrated fervor against him while he was still obsessing over the size of his, um, crowd, but as the reports poured in from everywhere — the numbers above came spontaneously from Facebook friends — it looked more and more like a massive repudiation that made the hoity-toity inauguration weekend its bitch. (I refer of course to the canine connotation, women’s rightists.) Trump was so embarrassed by photos proving that his audience was a mere fraction of Obama’s that he sent mouthpiece Sean Spicer down to the press scrum on Saturday night to spit out as many falsehoods as he could manage. The Times did a nifty summation, finally calling false even in its headline reporting on a one-way “press conference” during which Spicer took no questions from reporters. According to the Presidential press secretary, it was the largest inaugural audience ever, period (it wasn’t); the DC Metro had more riders than for Obama’s inauguration (it didn’t); special floor coverings initiated this year made the audience look smaller (they use them every time to protect the grass); and new fencing and magnetometers kept people from the Mall this year (nope, same security as before).

Kellyanne Conway, the most beleaguered spin doctor of our time, basically gave up the game Sunday on MEET THE PRESS when she called Trump’s own statements about the media ginning up a conflict between him and the intelligence community “alternative facts.” My absolute favorite one was, when I began my inaugural address it stopped raining and became sunny, then when I finished, it started pouring. Everybody there knows that it drizzled throughout and kept on drizzling after the horrific oratorial train wreck was over. It reminds me of that old punch line from the man whose wife catches him in bed with another woman: “Who you gonna believe: me or your lying eyes?” We are left to wonder, why even bother lying about something so insignificant as the weather? Is the President’s truth toggle stuck on OFF permanently? Or does he live in a fantasyland where the sun was indeed metaphorically shining during the eighteen minutes the entire world was focused on him? It’s only a matter of time before Kellyanne tells us those agita-making crowd shots were Photoshopped by the dishonest media.

Remember now, all this happened just in the first 48 hours. Trump intimated that he’ll start really signing stuff today, Monday, which he evidently considers to be his first full work day. Over time it may sink in that the Presidency is a 24/7 gig, but don’t tell him yet: the more Donald Trump is out of the office, the better.

So, people had some fun and Trump Hulked out, just as they’d hoped. What comes next now is: what comes next? The demonstrations on Saturday were as much a form of personal catharsis as they were a bold statement supporting what the Wonkette calls the “vagenda.” Trump & minions have been dramatically reminded that most voters disapprove of him (see: popular vote). But it falls to the opposition to keep the pressure on. The left couldn’t sustain Occupy or Black Lives Matter, but it is still possible to change things from the ground up. For proof, and to learn a few important things for the game plan, those who oppose the Conmander-in-Chief should carefully study, and then improve on, the most successful populist anti-POTUS movement of the 21st century:

The Tea Party.

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4 Responses to The First 48 Hours

  1. onewithclay says:

    Counterculture aside, my takeaway from all this is Mocking Is Bad, Lying Is Bad, and Pretending Is Bad except for no-action-required daydreams. When a (wo)man’s word is once again valued highly, then there will be no room in elective office for all the lying liars that now pestiforize our government. So we individuals have our work cut out for us, hugely challenging work: Be honest ourselves. Hardwire dependability into our actions and our expectations. Resist the so-tempting urge to mock, ESPECIALLY those you oppose. This will be nigh-impossible for the exceptionally clever, like you, Tom, but meeting that challenge AND demonstrating your sterling wit may just amp your blog-cred. In the word of Stan Lee, “Excelsior!”

    • Tom Dupree says:

      Point taken, and a moratorium on mocking is probably a fine idea. But you’re right, sometimes I just can’t help myself. For example, when a guy in public life, even if awkwardly attempting a joke, implies that God made the sun shine for his oration and then brought the rain again afterward, then I believe he’d be fair game even if he weren’t the President. (Unless he had some kind of disability or psychological handicap. Then it would be cruel.) Calling Donald Trump a racist xenophobic narcissistic sociopath is not mocking, it’s reporting. (Calling him “Conmander-in-Chief” is ridicule. But hey, if he can dish it out…)

      I agree with my wise friend Elizabeth Bourne on two vital points. (1) Lay off Melania and Barron. They had nothing to do with this. (2) Don’t say anything about Kellyanne Conway that you wouldn’t say if a male were in her place. For example, I saw plenty of snark about the outfit she wore to the inauguration. NO FAIR. Men aren’t subjected to that kind of bullshit, even given the absurd length of Trump’s neckties. (Damn, there I go again.)

  2. Doug Ross says:

    Tom I fear you had better pace yourself. It appears Trump intends to supply you enough material for twice a day posts.

  3. David E. Buck says:

    I’m really liking your reactions, Tom. We can never give up the quest for justice and equality and protection of the earth.

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