Imagine, in a Different Dimension . . .

posted by
December 8, 2016
Posted in The Inter-Rationale

I started writing this, not knowing if I had a column in progress or just my second-ever attempt at writing . . . “speculative fiction,” kind of an inverse version of “It Can’t Happen Here,” by Sinclair Lewis. I’m still unsure, but here’s the premise: What if Donald Trump were not the second coming of Hitler, Satan’s sidekick, or even just a very distasteful “sexist, racist, homophobic, sex-offender,” as one songwriter friend has put it? What if somewhere inside that crusty shell, there was a man with a heart, a desire to do good, and even a vision for how to get back to liberty—someone we all missed, just as we missed his viability as a candidate, and then the “surprise” victory (which had only surprised the media, the Democrats . . . and us ideologues)? What would that mean about interpreting his moves?
Here was my STIMULUS of sorts: Cato's David Boaz' comment about the Carrier crony-welfare deal: “It’s the president of the United States, the man with the biggest microphone in the world, who just might suddenly one day single you out for abuse,” said David Boaz, executive vice president of the free-market Cato Institute. “This is like being Tylenol and discovering someone has poisoned your product. It’s a sudden shock that will cause companies to be more conservative, more cautious. It hurts the broader economy because these companies won’t be seeking to maximize their own profit and solvency.”
As you’ll note, he’s partly bemoaning the idea that a president would take this route, while I’m seeing the right kind of person making very good use of such a path. I’m not wild about the idea that it's Trump doing it, but I have no problem with this being the new medium for direct contact to the public (no media shields, no prebaked speeches or soundbytes, just what is on my mind today). We went from fireside chats on radio, to email with Obama, and then the beginning of social media thru Facebook ...
Trump just moved it to the next level: short blips of random thoughts, with others then doing your distribution, individually. . . . Imagine how that model could work, under a (very loosely held) leadership both sane and benign, and not really interested in power, since it's a short-term job, revolving among all or most of us.
Here are five ways in which I could see a light shining through at least some of his actions over the last—hard to believe it’s only been a month! I’m only going to start each topic (this is intentionally a first draft), because I see this as an organic document for feedback. See if you can imagine even one of them, and then ask if a person with that motivation as well as some integrity were to do that, could you support it as a positive step?

I. The Covert Decentralist
Let’s start with the Twitter stuff, since I’m already there. Maybe his real motive was to push back on the federal level to decentralize power, as he turns Twitter into the true fireside-chat descendant, where ideas flow out, get hyped or rejected, and policies grow roots, and then grow from them instead of in spite.
Imagine how powerful this method becomes, as ideas compete in their market, first virtually and then literally, until policies blossom everywhere. Any political or ideological entity seeking the next step has to consider what capturing those channels and really learning to write brief comments with a consistent focus could mean.
I’ll let you continue on this track. . . .

II. The Master Negotiator
How about the theory advanced by Libertarian Party National Chair Nicholas Sarwark, over two weeks ago, whereby Trump puts forth an extreme option for each Cabinet appointment, then slides back to someone less horrific to all parties? My favorite case is going on the Secretary of State nod, from John Bolton and then Rudy Giuliani, to Mitt Romney, to . . . an Exxon CEO? In so doing he took us from a neocon warmonger, to a neocon of slightly less madness, to a master negotiator of sorts (Olympics, Romneycare, etc.) . . . to probably going too far, and into too-conflicted territory.
Are we now going to see backing off from the more recent choices as well? Are Trump or his people that clearly in control of this, despite the outward appearance of the figurehead? (And are Kellyanne Conway an undiscovered political genius, with an ability to herd that motley crew?)

III. The Undercover “Small Government” Agent
What if he were looking at the Cabinet as a chance to shrink government, and so appointed skeptics, instead of insiders, in order to get a real evaluation of what should be cut and which first, to mitigate pain for those now dependent on them?

Consider everyone from Education (homeschooled and homeschooling mom) to HUD (grew up in projects sand moved well beyond them, even if all he really knows about is neurosurgery) to Labor and Small Business Admin. Those latter two, with a Hardees CEO and a WWW promoter, seem crazed at best, but how about a CEO who has not only improved its food, but extended to customers (variety, auto-kiosk option with discounts, consistency and solid service) as well as employees. (I’ve known a few who work that game, and found few with delusions of burger-serving into their retirement days.)
What a perfect person to represent the labor side, but have no interest in expanding his own fiefdom’s reach. Or if that wrestling promoter really could show small businesses how to focus and grow, and would fight for simplification of their lives, so they would come to her events. [I could go on with the EPA choice, but will leave it for adds …]
I’m also rather intrigued by his Defense choice thus far. “Mad Dog” Mattis, the erudite well-read warrior, might indeed be a remake of Patton (at least the George C. Scott version), and so might actually detest war—and be someone NOT focused on where the next one should be, but on ending those we have and returning to peacetime. I have no idea if that optimistic vision might come true, or if we’ll find ourselves in the same seconds-to-midnight scenario I had expected from the true warmonger upon her coronation.
Again, your feedback is welcome. . . .

IV. Unsuspecting Anomaly
Say there’s a businessman worthy of the name, who has taken some chances, tried some routes, and now holds (at least as equity) more wealth than he himself really wanted. And he gets talked into a run for President, possibly even with the initial encouragement of a longtime friend who used to hold the seat. And then mountains move and somehow he gets elected, and now, time to find enough competent people to fill a Cabinet and then . . .
This one is not all that hard to believe, and was even part of the myth during the campaign. The thought that Donald Trump really did not want the job would be a comfort, since it might mean he’d at least begin by trying to make the job simpler. And consider the list of things he ran off in NPR interview a day or two after the election, which included everything from term limits for Congress to deregulation of the economy (the two-out-for-one-in approach) to the pledge to go over all of Obama’s executive orders and reverse them. (Now if he were to extend that back to about Reagan or more, and then pledge not to add any throne-layers back . . .) Yes, there were some horrific things about immigration and walls and other crap, but those nuggets kinda shone through.
Your turn. . . .

V. The Mask Comes Off, and Reveals . . .
What if there is actually a decent human being inside there, even if he has shown at times in the past a voracious, sex-crazed reptile, and seems clueless what the fuss is about? (I’m still trying to figure out just how certifiable some of his behavior is, since often he does hit every nerve at once.)
This one might be beyond the ken of a lot of progressives—hell, for a lot of people from all directions it may send you screaming into the streets again. The focus now, however, has to be on the policies that might emerge from his administration (No, Bambi, there is not a chance in hell she will ever ascend the throne, and almost as little that some other guy besides HIM will be there. Get that into your head.)
Feel free to spin off any of these, or add your own in the Comments.  

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