National Monument Fail

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were designated national monuments because the landscapes and cultural significance of those regions are unique in America. A monument is defined as “an outstanding, enduring, and memorable example of something.” That’s exactly what those regions are. They are outstanding, enduring, and memorable examples of the unique American Southwest landscape that Native Americans called home long before Europeans arrived.

Donald Trump, who has ostensibly never set foot on a non-urban landscape in his life, and the corrupt Republican Utah politicians who listen to oil and gas companies more than their constituents (or, apparently, Utah’s healthy tourism industry, which would benefit greatly from these areas remaining national monuments) are forcing their myopic, foolhardy ambitions upon us by announcing and supporting, respectively, the intention to reduce the sizes of those national monuments.

Trump’s intention to shrink those national monuments is misguided and emblematic of his steadfast determination to undermine the carefully considered decisions of prior administrations, seemingly more out of spite than any carefully considered reasoning on his part. His remarks1 made it clear that he either didn’t know that hunting and cattle grazing are, in fact, allowed in Bears Ears2, or he did know and he lied to make it appear that he fixed something (that didn’t need fixing) to obscure the fact that this gesture is actually about opening these areas for commercial mineral exploration.

Hopefully, legal action will successfully prevent this latest travesty perpetrated by the Trump administration from becoming reality.

Footnotes

  1. “Families will hike and hunt on land they have known for generations … .  Cattle will graze along the open range.” Source: “Remarks by President Trump on Antiquities Act Designations,” Whitehouse.gov, published December 4, 2017, https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/12/04/remarks-president-trump-antiquities-act-designations.
  2. “Bears Ears National Monument: Questions & Answers,” U.S. Forest Service, accessed December 4, 2017, https://www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/bear-ears-fact-sheet.pdf. In case the previously referenced Bears Ears document is deleted from the U.S. Forest Service’s website, you can access a copy of the document here: https://theanalitica.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/bear-ears-fact-sheet.pdf.

A New Strategy For “Resisting” Trump

Theodore Roosevelt, in his famous “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” speech at the Minnesota State Fair in 1901, said, “If a man continually blusters, if he lacks civility, a big stick will not save him from trouble.”

Donald Trump continually blusters, lacks civility, and his “big stick” (his Twitter feed, and his ongoing campaign rallies, sans a campaign) will not save him from the trouble he causes for himself over the course of his presidency.

Donald Trump’s self-destruction is the only cure for the scourge of his presidency. Impeachment, censure, combative rhetoric, and other stronghanded political maneuvering from his opposition will only embolden him and his base. We need to let Trump, himself, make the rhetorical missteps to fracture his support.

Trump has been careful not to significantly harm himself politically amongst his base, but shareholders of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (NYSE: DJT) and creditors of other businesses he has taken through Chapter 11 bankruptcy know that failure, betrayal, and profiteering are in his DNA.

The rhetoric from Trump’s opposition in both parties is often centered around a desire to shut him up. Instead, we need Trump not to shut up. We should encourage Trump to give in to his basest, most despicable, most narcissistic instincts to further expose the hypocrisy and self-serving fraudulence at the root of his presidency.

We do, however, need to strategically direct Trump’s reckless bellicosity against his base’s interests. With great care, his opponents may be able to guide the boorish septuagenarian into a box where his only option is to punch his way out in ways that harm his political interests.

Surely, Trump has been steadfastly beholden to the will of his base, but he has lived a life of privilege that is antithetical to the ideals he represents to that base. His natural instincts are to belittle the very people who most support him. Let’s encourage his natural instincts to emerge.

So, I say, rant on, tweeter-in-chief. Your base is watching.

Manufacturing in the United States

While the number of people employed in manufacturing jobs has declined consistently for decades (most due to automation and other technological efficiency improvements), automation continues to add jobs in robotics, engineering, computer science, et al. Companies don’t want to eliminate jobs, they want to produce and ship products more efficiently—same as always.

The concept of a factory, itself, was also borne out of a desire to produce products more efficiently. Factories and other bulk manufacturing processes once eliminated the livelihoods of people who produced goods one at a time. (Anybody know any blacksmiths these days?) Efficiency is progress. Progress is good.

Progress has always made certain economic activities obsolete. People must adapt by growing skills and adding knowledge. The economy will move forward with or without you. Education, training, and re-training (oft-ignored) are keys to ensure everyone participates in a healthy, growing economy. They should be the policy focus, not protectionism.

Donald Trump indirectly forcing taxpayers in Indiana to subsidize those Carrier jobs is, ironically, a very liberal tactic. A thousand people keeping their jobs is never a bad thing at its most superficial face value, but the way in which those Carrier jobs were maintained is troublesome in a world where resources are scarce.

Should we subsidize every manufacturing job that becomes obsolete? We literally can’t afford to do that. So, where does it end? Why were these 1,000 manufacturing jobs chosen over 1,000 jobs in any other place? It doesn’t seem fair. I surmise that these jobs were chosen as nothing more than an opportunistic publicity stunt in a state recently governed by Trump’s running mate.

President Trump

I’m not surprised that Donald Trump won the election. This result is about the intense hate many people have for Hillary Clinton (even if unfair or unfounded). Even those hopeful for a Clinton victory knew that the hate was there and possibly more prevalent than they could comprehend. It’s also the result of the fearful, hateful, uneducated, and uninformed factions of this country voting for the candidate who appealed to their fear and hate.

But Trump will disappoint his constituents. Trump will appease only Trump. His narcissism has been on display to the public for over thirty years. Who expects him to change? Who expects him to be magnanimous? It’s not happening.

My hope for the next four years is that this experiment perpetuated by the underbelly of this great country will get tested and exposed as completely inadequate in addressing the needs of his constituents, and the country. Perhaps if this Trump experiment fails spectacularly, we will be able to seize the opportunity to return to the healthy political debate and decorum we’ve had for hundreds of years before this year.