Simple Don

I’ve maintained all along that a big part of Trump’s appeal to his base is simplicity. Who doesn’t like simple? I admit that there are many times when I’ve felt frustrated by our government’s inability to get things done efficiently and have thought that the people we elect to serve often over complicate things. The truth is many of the issues we face are complicated. Who knew? Not Simple Don.

Let’s start by looking at his solution to the “opioid epidemic”. In his speech on the topic last week he offered a solution that his base can get behind: “teach young people not to take drugs — just not to take them.” It’s so simple it’s child-like….and it’s been in effect forever. We have had drug awareness education in public school all of my life and I’m pretty old. Virtually every drug user and abuser knows the dangers of taking drugs and it clearly isn’t enough to stop us. Human beings have been destroying ourselves forever with one substance or another and we have always known about the dead end street that addiction offers. “It’s so simple”, he said, “Just don’t take them.” Problem solved!

I would point out that Nancy Reagan proposed this approach 35 years ago and America decided to snort Peru and Columbia in response. As long as we had a solution in place called “just say no” we were sure the world was going to improve while we did nothing substantial to address our collective demons. That’s part of the danger of simplistic solutions. They offer a false sense that problems are being solved when they are not.

In many ways the naivety of Trump’s approach to drugs is symbolic of his brand of politics. We have an illegal immigration problem, we’ll just build a wall. We have terrorism, we’ll just bomb the shit out of them. We have a lunatic dictator threatening nuclear war, we’ll just threaten back and brag about our nuclear capabilities. We have a simpleton who is incapable of recognizing complexity running our government and that suits his cult just fine. That is likely because many of them are just worn out by the slow pace of politicians guided by ideology trying to solve intricate issues. That sums up the lure of populism.

His cult is slow to notice that his simplicity isn’t working. During the electoral cycle he promised health care reform, repeal and replace was a day one initiative. He claimed he had a plan that was going to be bigger and better than anyone could imagine. When pressed for details he offer the standard “wait and see”. Of course he had no plan. He never does. He’s hoping the best and brightest would have that plan ready to go. Of course they didn’t. Health care is complicated. Who knew? Not simple Don. Now he blames his own party for not being able to deliver on his empty promises. Nothing is ever his fault. In Trump’s world responsibility means taking credit for anything that goes right while denying any ownership to what goes wrong.

Most people on both sides of the aisle agreed the Obamacare was flawed and needed fixing. Imagine if we had an honest leader who didn’t make false promises of a quick fix and got both sides together to take a methodical approach to solving the problems within the health care law. Instead of looking to blame his own party for not getting things done, he might actually deserve credit for leading both parties to a happy compromise. Too simple? Maybe that’s because ego and vengeance drive him to erase the name Obama from the American consciousness. That’s okay simple Don, we’ll let you call it Trumpcare if you manage to get something done. Just remember, when we call it Trumpcare you will have to be responsible for all the good and bad of it.

I’m not dismissing the cult’s inability to admit fallibility on the part of their hero. Many have surrendered their minds to the Trump surrogates who have brought lying not only to an art form but have managed to deliver those lies at a pace never before known to man. Still, it is important to understand how the lure of simple appeals to the Trump base. Indeed simplicity is at the heart of a lot of evil. The whole concept of scapegoating is built upon it. In a free society, we cannot assume the right to deny the uneducated a voice. Unfortunately we have witnessed what can happen when the uneducated unify that voice in a hopeless desire to simplify a complicated world. Maybe we can tell them to learn. If only things were that simple.

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