Living in Society

A Grand Tour

Photo Credit – Getty Images

The 45th President ends his first overseas trip today with G7 meetings in Sicily. He became exhausted due to his busy schedule according to reports.

I enjoyed his time away although the trip has been an unmitigated disaster.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel’s headline conveys the sentiment: “Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse.”

What remained unsaid in the news coverage is Trump’s embrace of the Saudis — a nation that beheads people as a form of capital punishment and ranks low on indices that measure the treatment of women — because of their oil reserves. Our president is all about petroleum.

Trump criticized the German trade deficit with the United States, saying, “(Germany is) very bad on trade,” according to Gary Cohn, his top economic advisor. Is there a country he didn’t criticize? I don’t like Trump representing my interests abroad because what he said and is saying is as disconnected from my life and interests as a zebra in a zoo is from the wild.

While he’s been away, the media churn about Russia continued with some new revelations. There is plenty of information available, and the narrative changes frequently. Could Russian operatives have influenced the 2016 election to the tune of a couple hundred thousand votes in several states? Of course. Is the Trump administration trying to derail, divert attention from, and bury the Russia investigation? Yes. Until a small number of paid reporters ferret out the story, there is little to do but wait and work on electing new candidates in the 2018 midterm and 2020 general elections.

The president plans a rally in nearby Cedar Rapids to send Ambassador Terry Branstad to China. I won’t be adding my presence to the spectacle. It is a diversion from what most needs doing.

U.S. citizens are vulnerable to the whims of the current Republican ruling elite. Because of long libertarian investment in politics, it will be challenging to unseat them. Doing so seems unlikely in one or two election cycles. What’s needed is community organizing where we live: seeking common ground with neighbors and defining our connection to the broader world in a way that short circuit’s the presidents uninformed approach. That is Democracy at work, something we must nurture. It protects us from vulnerability.

My plan for today is to forget about the grand tour, get out of the house and take in sunlight. We gain strength by shining light on our lives.