Team-building, Trump-style

This article was published December 18, 2016  in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It seemed worth saving here for future reference.

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By TIM JACKSON Special to the Democrat-Gazette

It’s still a little early. However, what America is going to look like when it’s great again is starting to come into view.

Here are some highlights:

A nearly 60-something white billionaire whose children never saw the inside of a public school is now going to be in charge of the nation’s public schools.

A 60-something white guy who was going to eliminate the Department of Energy if and when he became president in 2012 and assuming he could remember the name of that agency is now going to run the Department of Energy.

By the way, the Trump transition team asked the Department of Energy to provide them with a list of all their employees who might believe the scurrilous rumor that the planet’s climate is changing. Science schmience! Team Trump doesn’t want to fire those people; it just wants to get to know them a little better.

For a little variety, there’s a 40-something white guy who’s going to run the Environmental Protection Agency. His greatest qualification is that he likes to sue the Environmental Protection Agency. As Oklahoma’s attorney general he lamented that Texas was ahead of him in the number of suits filed against the EPA in favor of the fossil fuel industry that keeps Texas pumping and Oklahoma shaking.

Treasury, Commerce and Labor are being headed up by a 50-something white multimillionaire, a 70-something white billionaire, and a 60-something white multimillionaire, respectively. The first guy made a ton of money exploiting the debt crisis of 2008. The second guy “loves” debt, which is just the kind of predilection Tea Party conservatives crave. The third guy has been in a lot of lawsuits with the agency he’s going to run–which seems to be a trend in the Trump cabinet.

A 69-year-old white guy who couldn’t get confirmed as a federal judge 30 years ago because of his alleged racist tendencies is going to be the nation’s chief lawyer in charge of making sure everything is fair and legal for everyone. On a related note: Any of you that lost it over the nation electing a man named Barack Hussein Obama have a problem that our next attorney general is named Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III? No? OK. Just checking.

Then there’s Ben Carson. Dr. Ben Carson is going to run Housing and Urban Development because … well, I don’t know why. It might be the most tone-deaf pick of the litter but I can’t tell if it’s patronizing or just ridiculous, to use a favorite word in the president-elect’s vocabulary.

Back to making America great again, international style:

A 60-something white guy who runs one of the biggest oil companies in the world doing billions of dollars of business in Russia while hanging around with President Putin is The Donald’s pick for secretary of state. Which reminds me of two great moments in history:

• 1987, Ronald Reagan standing in Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

• 2016, Donald J. Trump holed up in Trump Tower: “Vlad, who do you like for state?”

(Friendly word of advice to Mr. Tillerson: Mr. Trump doesn’t take daily security briefings because they’re “too repetitive.” I suggest when discussing matters of state with the president you might want to mix things up a bit by using puppets and maybe some funny accents, just to keep him interested.)

So the “again” part of Make America Great is really starting to make sense. The prevailing vision of America for which we embraced Mr. Trump in a landslide (kudos to DJT for keeping that lie going) is one where things go the way an elite group of 60-something white rich people think they should go. Whew! Just in time because we’ve never tried that before.

The president-elect promised to shake things up. The American people would be wise to be on guard for what looks like a shakedown. On the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, I was hoping that in the worst-case scenario the president-elect would be playing Jack Nicholson’s version of The Joker to our nation’s version of Gotham. Today, it’s looking more and more like we’re going to get the Heath Ledger incarnation.

Tim Jackson of Little Rock is a registered Republican, an evangelical pastor, and a working filmmaker.

Editorial on 12/18/2016

Print Headline: Team-building, Trump-style

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