Growing up, my mom always told me to find a silver lining in stormy skies. I've done my dead level best when it comes to president 45 and here is my top ten Trump silver linings.
1. Let’s start with 45’s silver tongue. It is less valuable than golden but, given that he can whip a sizable crowd into an angry mob, it is notable. He has compiled years of throwing dirt and proven that America has a strong appetite for mud. POTUS likes to sue, avoid taxes, intimidate and embarrass his enemies. Remember the unending line up of his adversaries who he made pay homage to him at Trump Tower? I was even amazed to see Mitt Romney and Al Gore beating tracks through the gilded lobby. It is very valuable for a nation to understand the bounds of morality and acceptable behavior. His gift to us is to have understanding that you don’t automatically look up to a man because he has a title. By his bringing out the worse in us, he’s given Americans pause to better understand who we are as a people. He has shown us what a new normal can be.
Silver Lining: Now we know that gutter talk can go well beyond the locker room and into the highest office in the land.
2. Forty-Five has given us a master’s course on lies and hypocrisy. We’ve all imagined that esteemed elected officials stretch the truth. But, Trump has pulled the veil back on both parties; his own actions have given us the inside poop on an epidemic of lying, arrogance and cynicism in Washington. Sitting watching House of Cards and cable news is interchangeable when listening to fake news from the White House. And what we get new from 45 is a litany of tweets, taking his critics on by constantly changing the playing field with trumped up accusations of the media, political foes, and issues that rally his base like protests in the NFL or attacks on the family of a slain soldier. There are no limits to this president’s ambitions to grab headlines by creating turmoil.
Silver Lining: By having to wonder what is and is not the truth, we are wising up by taking what we hear at face value, usually two-faced value when coming from those in power.
3. Racism and other “isms” are alive and well in America. Those in power hate to talk about it but they use hints of discrimination shamelessly to work up the racial divide. Unimaginable a few years ago, we now allow open shaming on the basis of race, religion, sex, ability and sexual orientation; all too often applauded by 45. Democrats catalogue their peeps in ways that make them easy "elite" targets. Separating us by race and class is doing more damage to the fabric of America and, oh, we now know that the Kremlin is funding a lot of the hate.
Silver Lining: The overt fleecing of minorities has raised the issue of there being only one race, the Human Race.
4. Money owns politics. Well, this is hardly news but the degree to which a small handful of wealthy and influential individuals own our politicians is astounding. A small clique of Republican and Democratic consultants in D.C., not satisfied with raking in obnoxious fees for candidates, lie behind PACs and special party arrangements printing money and destroying the electoral process in the US. It is a tight, closed circle of insiders who play dirty while awash in billions of dollars. The control is so universal that without a party’s and their cronies’ blessings, bright aspiring public servants never have a chance to make a race against an incumbent or even open seats. Add to this, the money shelled out in congressional districts to achieve gerrymandering and we can better understand the political mess we are in.
Silver Lining: Trump and his minions have unknowingly blown the lid off the simmering pot of political consultants controlling America’s elections by tweeting accusations that led to news items and counter claims by all layers in government. We now know how Democrats tried to buy debates and keep Bernie Sanders shy of any shine and how Republicans using mega donors trafficked in false claims on social media.
5. Trump is the leader to deconstruct history. First, 45 seems to have little understanding of history or democratic governance, but that is besides the point. We are told that it is better not to be bother with facts in the "Swamp."We grew up fighting the Soviet threat and spent trillions of dollars and countless young lives fighting Russian influence and allies. Every bit of that sacrifice is up for grabs as we learn that Kremlin secret forces are manipulating our most sacred institutions and American Democracy, perhaps with some level of complicity from you know who. The plot thickens when you add the secret deals of the Dems to undermine the democratic process.
Silver Lining: Coming clean about the level of sophistication of our adversaries and secret deals removes our Pollyannaish view of the world thanks to a president’s sketchy handling of our affairs, palace intrigue, and Democratic cronies trying to hide their shenanigans.
6. History repeats itself. This is a good one. Hello! Do Nazi’s in the streets of North Carolina mean anything to you? Mobs with Home Depot tiki torches might not strike a nerve, but if you take a moment to listen, the hate speech sounds all too familiar and is deafening. Loud, intimidating, secretive, and mobilizing is a large underground ready to strip you of your rights. We are allowing hatred out in the open and people get killed. Americans get killed.
Silver Lining: Remembering that history repeats itself.
7. War and intelligence is costly. Ah, 45 has attacked America’s intelligence, justice and military systems and thrown shade that has given us a view of the bad deal we get by using terrorism as a budget wedge. Perhaps because he hates systems and professional organizations, the president has a disdain for anything but uniforms and soldiers surrounding him. His criticism and take downs, like that of John McCain, have raised important issues about the cost of what we do and why we do it. He calls the justice system a sham, hints at being more able to make military decisions than generals and says diplomacy is weak sign. So, why bankrupt the country and spend trillions of dollars to keep all of this in place?
Silver Lining: Americans can stand back from this Commander in Chief, finally realize that massive outlays in the name of war are bad deals and decide that we need to limit expenditures and balance the budget in a way that doesn't rip apart the fabric of America.
8. Not believing in the rule of law leads to abuse, totalitarianism and anarchy. We have learned that big shots are convinced that there are two sets of laws: one for celebrities, the rich and politicians and others for the rest of us slugs. In fact, a belief that everything was fixed by elites led in part to 45’s victory in 2016. We have come to know that the president sees laws as good for everyone but he and his administration. POTUS loves to call out criminals, suspects and opponents as breaking the law and requiring punishment and even executions. But when the heat get close to the man, he has raged. And in the irony of ironies, victims are feeling empowered to come forward to challenge high profile individuals in business, media, religion, entertainment and, of course, politics. “When you are a star, you can do anything to women…grab them by the P----,” may underlie the house of cards that is truly falling and taking with it the rich, powerful and greedy among us.
Silver Lining: POTUS exploits have longer tails than his politics and odd bedfellows are being caught up in his shadow. From high jinx in politics to sexual abuse, 45's shade reaches under the veneer where issues rarely raised have become fair game. Polls show that more people are realizing the double standard in the land of the free and home of the brave. The next few years will be interesting, indeed.
9. United States of Guns is a new rallying cry of the fear police. It didn’t start with 45 but the debate over gun control is at a fever pitch because of the hot rhetoric that has funded weapons of mass destruction and encouraged military grade weapons on our streets. The politicians keep the issue alive with arguments surreal for a civilized society. In churches, schools, nightclubs, streets, movie theaters, offices – high-powered weaponry mow down everyday people trying to live their lives. Each new tragedy provides a platform for the spineless lawmakers who risk lives in the name of protecting gamers and anti-US nationals. A sad fact is that we have more guns than people in America and stats prove, the more guns, the more killed.
Silver Lining: The NRA is reading the tea leaves that the public is on to them and their heavy handed tactics. The smoking gun will cause a sea change in policy and it will be a reverse litmus test and single issue for voters in future elections.
10. Language, science, education are all under attack. Public education and advances in science and technology, which made America great in the first place, are under siege. 45 crucifies the written and spoken word, while his policies take direct aim at science and our planet’s future hangs in the balance. In the name of cutting red tape and slashing costs, we will lose our world standing and intellectual leadership, take away health care from millions, undermine education for children and strip our nation of solutions to be an intellectual leader of the free world.
Silver Lining: Disasters are proving a strong counter force to ignorant environmental arguments and people are seeing more the link of a sustainable environment to a strong economy and resilient community. Ask a hunter what is going on with ducks or a diver what is happening to our reefs and you will see the fissure.
There has been a complete unveiling of the American ideal. Perhaps we live by different ideals. We are witnessing a great divide among families and friends and we wonder how we got here. This has been brewing for a long time. As a diverse and opinionated nation, we have independently interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and believe it to be in our own self-interest, each of us. For as many people who agree with this assessment, an equal number and even some close friends will read this as wrong headed. Some people think we have not created an unequal standard for work and reward based on race. Others feel that the government is their enemy. War and patriotism are viewed as the same by many and a fog has settled over what constitutes one’s rights and liberties. I argue with people who see victims of abuse as weak and responsible. Definitions of being a good Christian don’t fit any of the Good Book lessons I learned growing up. The Wall builders deny that their families were once immigrants or that their spouse might currently be one. We indeed have hold of a thorny bush.
I have often said to close friends that we haven’t yet experienced our dark ages and wonder if it is written in the cards for great societies to endure. But mostly while in wait for ruin, I am troubled by people selling off our country, cheapening the values that matter and denying us the progress and accomplishment we’ve worked so has as a nation to attain. There is not much that I can do to realize a return to hairstyles of Elvis or sitting on the front porch with my family unit. Each and every one of us has in one way or the other kissed that goodbye. So, this nostalgic yearning for the past is a pile. If you truly want that warm fuzzy feeling, turn off your iPhone, unplug your three TVs, and go out and kill a squirrel with your high-powered gun, bring it home and make a stew.
In the meantime, allow your common sense, compassion, and good will toward your fellow human to take over. Be a peace maker and protect our kids from the onslaught of a bitter world. Get a pet a stare down in the eyes of love and devotion. See things that are different as worlds to explore and not the seedbed of enemies.
If violence, hatred, suspicion, war, anger and lack of compassion for our fellow human don’t jolt us, we just as soon be looking down the barrel of a weapon. At that moment we will all witness the smoking gun.