Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What's In The Stocking?

Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas, the closest historical analogue to Santa Claus. In much of Christian Europe, especially in those places where Eastern Orthodox denominations are strong, tonight children will hang their stockings in their homes, and in the morning will find them either stuffed with treats or filled with coal, depending on how well behaved they have been throughout the year. I had dimly heard of this tradition as a child, but had never practiced it until I married into an Orthodox family in my late 20's (and even then, it was one of the staunchly traditional Orthodox sects that still followed the Julian calendar, so the feast day was celebrating on December 19th). I quickly grew to like and enjoy it, though, and frankly, it's one of a few things that I miss about that period in my life.
And I thought about this tradition as I was reading the news this morning. Today also marks four weeks since Election Day, and more and more, it is appearing that we are heading for chaos. Not over recounts or anything like that, but in the sense "Jesus Christ, this guy really doesn't have any idea of what he's doing." I know better than most that Trump's alleged "business skills" were almost entirely the result of being born rich, but I desperately wanted to believe that there was at least a small bit of substance beneath the bullshit. But it's becoming increasingly clear that he really has no clue about what it takes to govern a country. And the men he is surrounding himself with, the people he is selecting to head government departments, are either zealots whose stated goals are going to cause a lot of friction and problems, or people that are completely clueless about--well, everything.
For those that tend to gallows humor, as I do, there's plenty to laugh about. I'm nor going to do a play-byplay of all the disturbing news since the election; the media is doing that to death. And there's a part of me that is becoming increasingly optimistic about the long-term future of the country, even with voter suppression and outright fraud becoming a larger part of American elections. Why? Because there are already signs that even Neanderthal Republicans that populate both houses of Congress are seeing that this bunch couldn't smell a fart in a barnyard, I think it will be very clear by 2018 that these people can't govern, and if the Democrats can find a candidate that doesn't have a million pounds of baggage in 2020, Trump will be out of office.
I actually think he's not going to run again, because if there is one thing Trump likes and needs more than attention, it is a lack of accountability for his myriad failures. He always, always, cuts and runs when his stuff goes south, and there is a yuge body of evidence accumulated over five decades that he will bail out when things start to go wrong. And there is no way that just about any of what he and the people he is choosing to formulate and implement actual is going to work. And when the failure becomes manifestly obvious, he is going to be firing people left and right, and he will be frantically distancing himself from those policies and ideas. I actually wouldn't be surprised if he changes party affiliation sometime in 2019; one of the few successful changes of party from a sitting officeholder came in Trump's city in Trump's formative years, when John Lindsay changed from Republican to Democrat and won reelection as New York City's mayor in the late 1960's.
We are in for a rough two years, no doubt. All of the noise that Congress has been making for years about repealing Obamacare and other various terrible ideas are going to come to pass, or at least to votes--and when they prove to be disasters, there is going to be little or no place to hide. In much of the country, unfortunately, it isn't going to matter; as much as 3/4 of the House is safely settled into rotten boroughs. But there is going to come a point, soon, when even the most racist, densest,most ignorant, and most hidebound voters are going to see that what they wanted out of Trump either isn't working or isn't what they're getting. And enough of them will change their voting habits.
I think a lot of the country is expecting candy in their stockings this year. I think that there are going to be a lot of people disappointed in what they're going to find when they take it down and dump it out.

No comments: