The realities of the incompetence of our current regime is shocking and upsetting to me as a twenty-year-old wondering where my adult life will take me. Whether it is Spicer’s “Holocaust Centers” gaff or Trump’s total switch on Assad and Syria, what I keep wondering is where are the experts? Where are the grown-ups?
Trump’s reliance on cable news for his information fills me with existential dread. Our president seems to be operating on the same understanding of world politics as the people who voted him into power. While I totally object to this administration and their policies on a moral and ideological level, what isn’t always made explicitly clear when people talk about the current administration is how dangerous their incompetence is.
Our governance is not a game. Our elected officials’ jobs are to turn our collective beliefs and desires into a national agenda and into policy. This enormous responsibility is so categorically different and exponentially more important than beauty pageants and reality television. The fact is, Trump is not very smart and the smart people he surrounds himself with are dangerous and power hungry. A thinking person cannot possibly believe the infighting in the White House will result in jobs, healthcare or justice. Trump and his cabinet are not qualified to lead our country.
Recently I have wondered how history will tell the story of all of us. We let ourselves be continually outraged by Trump’s actions and garbled words that we read about on our screens and then we get back to what we were doing before. Let me be very clear, Trump should not be trusted with the nuclear codes, the Bully Pulpit or executive authority. Each of these bizarre incidents followed by a non-apology and spin doctoring clearly paints the Trump administration for what it is. We are led by a Christian jihadist crusader for Chief Strategist, the Avatar of wacky Christian fundamentalism as VP, a crony capitalist as Secretary of State and a know-nothing predator as chief executive. What should we expect to happen when we hand the car keys to the worst facets of our society?
Even if you are not moved by the overwhelming moral and ideological arguments against Trump—which, at this point, you better be— we need to start admitting that this is new uncharted territory for our country. I do not care how much you did not like Jimmy Carter, I do not care if the cut of Obama’s jeans made him look matronly to you, we now have a government we should have no confidence in. We are the biggest threat to world peace. The Trump administration’s actions and policies will undoubtedly enact violence on more Americans then ISIS.
White America has a lot of non-problems that privileged people like to pretend are real problems: Trans people using the bathroom, gay people getting married, women having access to medical care or communities having a say in how they are policed. The real problems we face as a country, climate change, mass incarceration, our inherited geopolitical climate can never be solved by a reality television president. We cannot continue being too afraid to work on the problems that matter.
Anti-intellectualism is not radical. We need to pick leaders who are engaging critically with history and asking the questions “what role ought the United States play in world politics?” and “how can the United States better serve all Americans?” I would be lying if I said I have lost all of my optimism. Trump is going to keep blubbering and messing up. At some point, we have to realize as a country that we are the adults we are waiting for. No one is coming to help. It is on us.