This week marks one year since Donald John Trump was elected president. The world’s still here, and yesterday POTUS was deemed of sound mind and body, but plenty of folks still seem upset about it. And why not? The whole thing, from the campaign to this anniversary, has been more than a bit of a merde-show, pardon my French… yet the world is still here, and there’s that mind and body thing.
Only later, once all the accounts are ledgered, will future history be able to tell us then what’s really happening now, just as we are able to look back and down today on what used to be. So, as antidote to the most baffling, divisively popular, potentially disasterous, quickly ridiculous president that fiction couldn’t even, let me shove you into the Wayback Machine to some recent halcyon days of trust and mutual respect. His name was Barack H Obama and he was different than any President before.
I remember him, as you do, pledging during the campaign to bring all the American troops home from Iraq “immediately”. People thrilled to that, the promise of a turnaround from the previous administration, a promise that played no small part in getting him elected. The tide of hopeful enthusiasm at the end of the Iraq involvement made his inauguration a high point in the young history of western civilization. Soon he modified that promise into “looking at” bringing “some” troops home in 16 months. Two weeks later, he said he would look at 23 months. It wasn’t long after that he added 30,000 troops to the Afghanistan front (which may not sound like much, but if each one gave you a dollar twenty five you’d have $37,500).
Like 45, candidate Obama vowed to renegotiate NAFTA: “It is absolutely true that NAFTA was a mistake”. It’s claimed one of his staffers told Canadian officials not to worry because it was just empty campaign rhetoric to gain votes, but the fact remains that when the president backtracked and decided NAFTA wasn’t so bad after all, smarter people than me wondered if and who was pulling strings.
Say what you will about him, President 44 Obama was never one to fear changing his mind if he got it wrong. For example, he loudly decried George W Bush’s illegal wiretapping of US citizens… and then as President voted to legalize it.
And he was a man of his word: Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison, and in his first week he signed an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay prison. That was a big one, a sure sign of positive things to come. It wasn’t til much later we learned his E.O. stated he was considering closing Guantanamo in a year. In the meantime he continued the secret arrest and indefinite detention without trial, as well as the transfer of prisoners to foreign countries for incarceration and torture.
But you can’t say he displayed no loyalty: when British press announced it was releasing secret torture papers detailing how the Bush Administration ordered the systematic abuse of detainees, the Obama Administration, claiming the practices were vital to national security, threatened to cut off all intelligence ties to England.
Throughout his campaign, he pledged refreshingly to keep lobbyists and donors out of the White House. Obviously he didn’t mean
* William Lynn, top lobbyist for Raytheon, assigned to #2 spot in Department of Defense
* Timothy Geithner, president of Federal Reserve Bank of New York (don’t believe the word “Federal” in Federal Reserve, by the way, it’s a private corporation, as federal as Federal Express) for Secretary of Treasury
* Geithner names Mark Patterson, top lobbyist at Goldman-Sachs, as his chief of staff
* Obama appointed top lobbyist for Saudi royal family, George Mitchell, as lead Middle Eastern envoy
* Leon Pinetta, major Wall Street lobbyist, as head of CIA
* Tom Daschalt, top lobbyist for health care firms, to run Dept of Health and Human Services
among others. Good times.
President Obama’s reputation is somehow largely intact these days, as it was then. History clarifies many things : it is already becoming more and more plausible that he didn’t actually destroy the USA. Only with a greater distance of time will we have a clearer idea what happened those days, and then, sometime after that, these here days. As long as you and I aren’t irradiated mole-people and electricity still exists to get information to us, and assuming we’re not ruled by triffids, I’ll be curious to know what kind of world we were living in today.