President Donald Trump's legions of critics will jump at the chance to ridicule and condemn him whenever they can pick apart one of his statements based on the literal or traditional definition of the words or phrases he uses. "Wiretap" and "the wall" on the U.S.-Mexican border are a couple of examples.
Today's post will put on full display my meandering and un-moored mind, which often associates things that otherwise might not be discussed in the same conversation, or pondered in the same thought process. (That's just the way I am -- take it or leave it!)
So, in light of the media's latest pile-on against Trump based on absurd, literal interpretations of a couple of his statements, my mind drifted back to February 1999, during the first couple weeks of my acquaintance with co-blogger K.N. McBride, when we both had started working for the Michigan House of Representatives. It was a heady, optimistic time, as the economy was roaring, Michigan Gov. John Engler was chalking up legislative and policy victories like Alabama racks up football national championships, and dot.com was the rage on Wall Street.
The office we worked for was flush with cash, and had ramped up in personnel and technology. Better yet, we had a tremendous group of people who were talented and did a fantastic job, all the while joking, laughing and shooting the bull. We had a great time. For a few short years, we were among the precious few who, each morning when we got up, we actually looked forward to going to work. And although our pay was not great, it was decent.
During that first month on the job, K.N. McBride and I got into a discussion of televangelists, fundamentalist Christianity and the whole question of faith in God. At the time, he had not yet joined the Roman Catholic Church. He was 25, raised a Protestant, but I gathered, not a gung-ho churchgoer. I was 39, raised a Roman Catholic; at times I grappled fiercely with the tenets of the Church and how they fit into my life, and felt like it was a constant struggle to stay on course.
I wasn't sure of my co-worker's beliefs, but I decided to be candid and let the chips fall where they may: I wanted to do a big-league take-down of fundamentalism and the literal interpretation of the Bible. I didn't talk at length, but I do remember summing it up like this: "When I was much younger and more naive, I was susceptible to fundamentalist interpretations of scripture. I was a hard-ass, if you will. But as I grew older and more schooled, immersed myself in more sophisticated literature, prayed about it, meditated on it, and pondered it at length, it dawned on me: Fundamentalism and a literal interpretation of the Bible are like color-by-numbers or connect-the-dots Christianity: a slap in the face to the Creator. It's utterly simplistic; an insult to His majesty, intelligence and greatness." I was pleased to see that he agreed with me, and said something like, "Yes, I agree." I believe I also stated that since God gave us minds capable of reason and intellectual rigor, He is pleased when we use them to seek out the truth, rather than lazily latch onto a quick, simple security blanket.
So, after that lengthy digression, I arrive at my point regarding the first 100 days of the Donald Trump presidency: The mainstream media is so insanely hateful and disdainful toward Trump, they will grab ahold of ANY opportunity to demonize The Donald.
Dating back at least to the transition period (post Nov. 8), and possibly to the campaign, many in the media have delighted in making fun of the Trumpster's promise to build a wall across the Mexican border. They have worked hard to research, write and publish stories that throw up roadblocks -- geographic or geological challenges, a brutal desert climate not conducive to pouring concrete and having it set up properly, the lack of infrastructure to transport materials and laborers, environmental and regulatory considerations, yada-yada-yada...
Okay, so it is a challenging project. But so was landing men on the moon less than a decade after John Glenn first orbited the earth. With our technology and resources, and the willpower, the job can be completed. And yes, parts of the "wall" may end up being fencing, instead. There may even be open sections where surveillance technology and drones can do the job. So in a literal sense, the critics are probably right: There won't be a "Great Wall of China" type structure. But if the finished product incorporates other elements so that it is not a pure wall, per se, yet is well constructed, well maintained, and has adequate border enforcement personnel on duty, it will be a major improvement over the status quo.
Turning now to the issue of the Obama administration conducting electronic surveillance of Trump and his associates during the campaign and transition period, the media's idiocy started back on March 4. Early that morning, Trump tweeted, "...Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory...." The media immediately began obsessing with the term "wiretap" and how it was a Nixon-era word that applies to land lines.
But as with anything else Trump says, one must consider the context and use common sense in ascertaining his meaning. Trump isn't always the most articulate person, and his speech can be undisciplined. So it's sort of like taking to heart the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law, when comprehending what he means.
In the subsequent weeks, we learned of the FBI seeking FISA warrants to monitor Trump associates, and obtaining one to monitor Trump advisor Carter Page. (Some may choose to believe that the FBI would take this action without Obama's knowledge and consent; I believe that's incredibly naive.)
Additionally, former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who has developed almost as bad a reputation for being a bald-faced liar as Hillary Clinton, was found to have "unmasked" names of Trump associates caught up in surveillance efforts. When first asked about this a few weeks ago, she denied it, but later backtracked when she was caught in a lie. Like Hillary, Rice is a lousy liar. At least Bill Clinton usually showed a little finesse and shrewdness with his mendacity!
The media jackals wish to focus on asinine crap like land line phones (Man, that Trump is a freakin' IMBECILE! He doesn't even know that in the era of email, the Internet and computer servers, wiretapping went out with disco and leisure suits!)
On second thought, many of the reporters and editors who were so petty about Trump's initial tweet probably DID realize he meant surveillance in a broader, more sophisticated sense. But the literal interpretation enabled them to mock and ridicule, being the small-minded people they are.
I've calmed down some since the election and the big media pile-on. Now, I just smile and take pleasure in the fact that Trump is living rent-free inside the heads of these vermin. If they're angry and miserable that he's president and there are millions who support him, then I'm happy. It's just the same way K.N. McBride and I feel whenever our beloved Michigan State Spartans defeat the Michigan Wolverines. The insufferable Michigan fans (and there are legions of them) are angry, depressed and coming unglued. Meanwhile, K.N. and I are raising a glass (or several) and laughing up a storm.