Referring to Stephen Bannon as President Bannon, as in president of the United States, is quickly being viewed as no joke. Many among us are concerned (extremely concerned is more like it) that the man elected to be POTUS has already morphed into the guy called in from Breitbart to direct Donald Trump in every Oval Office decision he makes. Further, another Trump advisor, Michael Flynn, can credibly be recognized as the real new vice president.
Meanwhile, Bannon, in a move most troubling and unprecedented, has been appointed to the National Security Council. In this position of highly consequential decision-making, Bannon’s serving as the de facto president. After all, Trump has made it plain that he neither knows nor understands policy or government. So, he leans heavily on others: enter Stephen Bannon, Michael Flynn and a whole host of billionaire business folks and military hawks who seek to control the fate of those American working families and the senior citizens Trump in campaign mode promised to protect, aggrandize their already excessive wealth, and lead us into more warring overseas through the propagandizing of “alternative facts.”
We know from his banters and pronouncements during the campaign that Trump has shown little interest in or the understanding of issues such as health care and national security. He blithely promised to do things that were never followed up with the details for implementation. Meanwhile, the real Trump, the man behind the pomposities, has been revealed to us by way of his trite and bombastic tweets that serve only to disillusion, upset and anger all but Trump’s base who support any outrage he throws out.
What’s as troubling as anything else is that direct access of and availability to the Oval Office has been surrendered to a man not elected to anything but who’s well known for his anti-Semitic, racist and anti-immigrant views. These points of outlook have been among those an increasing number of Americans have diligently tried to bury with the nation’s past. Then, too, Bannon has made it clear that his stated goal is to destroy the government we known and to be made over in authoritarian terms where there are no U.S allies, only those others in the world who fear our military might if they do not do as told.
The White House is notorious for serving as a bubble of isolation around the president, a condition well known there long before 45. With the ideological political strategist Bannon as a principal on the National Security Council, while the chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff and director of national intelligence will be invited when their attendance is “relevant,” the National Security Council will simply serve as an echo chamber of the president’s views.
The frighteningly narcissistic Trump distances himself from any but a few views like those of Bannon and Flynn. Knowing what we know about these guys, how can international issues be diplomatically managed? Trump’s need for admiration along with his aversion to critical assessments, like those from reputable members of the press that he obviously loathes, makes for recklessness in virtually every matter domestic and foreign.
Members of Congress in recent years have proven only their ability to serve themselves through acts of partisanship. Only a strongly expressed, well organized and determined opposition by millions upon millions of democracy-loving Americans will be able to halt what looks already to be a disastrous course our new Commander-in-Chief is setting out for us. It’s hoped, although that hope may be entirely in vane, that red state and blue state Americans will act in concert to see to it that we as a nation do not become a country without a viable future.
(Gene H. McIntyre’s column appears weekly in the Keizertimes.)