Michael Wolff’s alleged exploration of the Trump administration, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, is now a best-seller. The most explosive claims documented by Wolff center around the dysfunctional personality of Donald Trump and a band of political characters that seem to treat him with kid gloves. They tell him what he wants to hear to his face to hold onto their paychecks while jeering behind closed doors, making him out to be a deadheaded emperor with no clothes.
Donald Trump, who is often found tweeting at the break of dawn after clearly having watched a stream of Fox News clips, is currently being assessed by the public, or—more specifically—his mental health is being assessed and has been called into question on numerous occasions. This accusation has incensed him to such a degree that it has driven him into describing himself as “a very stable genius”. So not only is Trump a national embarrassment, but he’s become senile and incapable of doing his job.
But that isn’t the story here.
This is all absurd theater, a frivolity that serves no purpose and creates no substantive answer to what must be done not only about Donald Trump. Moreover, it creates no substantive answer about what must be done to stop the whole ideological and political process that has created and fostered him, his class, and those who hang on his every word.
The story is about the fashioning of a self-described resistance movement out of the shadows of an astonishing political loss, and how those still reeling from this loss have chosen not to become an opposition but instead a submissive and formulaically “bipartisan” stunt group without so much as a doctrine by which they abide by. Their political platforms are either non-existent, or so loosely defended that they may as well be.
Look no further than to how George W. Bush has been lionized, his memory called upon for comfort, in a post-Trump hellscape. The Bush administration rained chemical munitions, including white phosphorus, across Iraqi cities that indiscriminately killed untold civilians, many of whom were denied the chance to escape the bloodletting. Moreover, white phosphorus (or ‘willy pete’ in the euphemistic jargon of the military) causes cancer and birth defects and might be in part responsible for the spike in those maladies in Fallujah after 2004. Worse, the United States is still using white phosphorus in Iraq as late as last year.
There’s the Bush administration’s use of torture against the people of Iraq at places like Abu Ghraib that has been rewritten or ignored as an example to be followed for the treatment of Muslims based entirely on a short speech delivered by George W. Bush soon after September 11. Decades of military occupations carried out by past and present administrations have wrought purgatories, and mass graves that litter the earth, and yet the culprits are indulged and feted by self-styled “resisters.” If the heaping reverence of George W. Bush weren’t so common, the inanity would be too much to believe.
There is something rotten in your politics (and rotten to the bones) if the existence of Donald Trump has moved you not towards defending the most vulnerable but glorifying the source of their ongoing torment. The communities that have been left to pick up the pieces after political wins and losses, who have been promised the minimum and given even less, are being tokenized, their struggles weaponized, and then despite all that they relinquish they’re then extorted into lining up at the voting booth to give a spiritless politician another chance. It’s like it’s 2006 all over again.
The threat that Trump’s administration poses immigrant and undocumented peoples has been one of the leading points of concern for the resistance brand. And yet past Democratic support of the Secure Fence Act reminds us that not only have Democrats yielded to Republican demands on immigration, but that many of them have done so while fully aware of the consequences of such measures. The Secure Fence Act, signed by George W. Bush in 2006, is a part and parcel of the depraved American immigration system, and has brought untold death to the borders. In trash bags, disposed of like garbage, the remains of unidentified immigrants were discovered along the US-Mexico border by forensic anthropologists. According to archaeologists and a team of researchers, over one hundred of those recently found were likely buried in the last 10 years.
The accountability being demanded of their Republican colleagues is even absent from their own camp. The common argument being advanced is that they must they split a number of the proverbial babies and to do otherwise would be mindless and unstrategic, promises be damned. Doug Jones, who beat out, by the narrowest of margins, a man accused of sexually abusing young girls, and who has previously said that Americans should move on from allegations of sexual abuse directed at Donald Trump, used his first Senate vote to affirm Trump nominee John C. Rood, a senior executive at military weapons giant Lockheed Martin, for Secretary of Defense for Policy. This won’t be the last of the capitulations from Jones, and his legacy will follow that of other Democrats who so often choose the cheap game of reaching across the aisle instead of standing on principle.
In many cases, people like him just end up pulling out a chair for their Republican colleagues.
Even now, in the shadows of these realities, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and Senator Mark Warner, among other Democrats, are trying to save Jeff Sessions from resigning from his position as Attorney General. “I voted against Jeff Sessions and said he never should be there in the first place, given his record on civil rights, on immigration, on so many other issues,” Schumer told CNN. “My view now is very simple: nothing, nothing should ever interfere with the Mueller investigation.”
This is taking place while the Department of Justice under Jeff Sessions has sought to recriminalize marijuana in states that have legalized it, provided cover to murderous and murdering police departments, and cracked down on dissent in the wake of Trump’s election. How you can sit back and defend keeping a man who shares a name with and a fair quantity of the politics of the first president of the Confederacy and still be considered any kind of defender of marginalized people is a question that remains unanswered.
All marketing and campaign embroidery out of the way, the Democratic Party is ineffectual as an opposition, but authoritarian as a Republican accompaniment. They have long been the gravy to the conservative mashed potatoes, fleeting outbursts aside. If Jeff Sessions, a man once described as being, “more dangerous than Donald Trump,” is salvageable for the sake of a dead-end investigation, then I think it’s time we ask what exactly is being resisted here, and why the struggles of marginalized communities are nothing more than sideline concerns to be trotted out when the campaign repository of pigeon hearted representatives need filling.