This morning I woke up to headlines of yet another cryptic — and since deleted — tweet from our president. You know, the one about the negative press “covfefe.” By early morning the press was in a tizzy and it was the talk of the morning cable shows. This follows a week of national and international intrigue involving the leader of the free world, his wife and entourage overseas, sword-swirling dancers, hands held or not held, white knuckled grips, spurned press aides, Kushner’s Russian roulette, and a suspenseful game of “will he or won’t he” on pulling out of the climate pact (looks like he will).
This makes for a water-boarding like torrent of headlines. It’s reality TV as only Trump can deliver.
But like all reality TV it’s actually a dangerous distraction from reality and we’re being played for fools. By keeping us distracted by the sordid and scandalous, Trump is immunizing his Administration from being held accountable for the day-to-day. And it’s the day-to-day workings of government that actually impact the everyday lives of Americans.
Many Americans can probably name which designer Melania wore in Sicily (Dolce and Gabbana) and how much it cost ($51,500). But do they know how many of us will lose our health coverage under the Trumpcare plan the Senate is weighing (23 million), or how much the Administration plans to gut from vital career and technical education and work-study programs (nearly $1 billion), and how many women benefit from the contraception mandate the administration just rolled back (55 million)? These are just three examples from the past week. Each impacts our ability to stay above water should we get sick and to work and advance our careers.
Another thing you may have missed for the group photo shove heard around the world, last week federal legislation was introduced that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Of course, it was dead on arrival in Congress, even as lawmakers tool with a multi-trillion-dollar tax-cut-for-the-rich bill that wont trickle down to a middle or low-income Americans.
These policies take direct aim at working people and their children. How can we promise the poor and working poor upward mobility when we deny them a living wage, access to medical treatment when they get sick, and the ability to make decisions over their own family planning?
Even so — public opinion polls show Trump mostly holding on to his support from the election. His voters, for the most part, still believe in him. It’s proof the drama inside the Beltway is not what moves people outside of it. Action does. And if Trump can’t deliver on his promises, then he needs to be held accountable to the people who put him in office and will bear the brunt of his policies.
To be sure, Trump’s antics have made mocking him a new national pastime. He’s reviving the dying news business, if nothing else. But he is still the president and has enormous power to enact laws and policies that impact the lives of every single American. Like all bad TV and junk food a little wont kill us — it’s tragic when that sentence has to refer to the presidency — but after the eye roll we need to check him on these things that really matter.