The Carpenter And The Arsonist

One of the challenges that face progressives is refuting the lies of our political opponents. Americans have a very short political attention span, (about 30 to 120 seconds). You can tell several lies in thirty seconds, but it takes much longer to refute them. That got me to searching for an analogy to illustrate the danger that destroyers pose. I think I found one in my family history. Let’s explore.

Many of my ancestors worked in the building trades, (unfortunately their skills didn’t pass down to me), most of them as carpenters. My maternal grandfather emigrated from Poland as a young boy and worked his way through the construction trades to running a successful home building company before he lost it all in the Great Depression. It took time to build many homes that still stand today. Hence my point that it takes a long time to create something good.

One evil person with a match and some gasoline can destroy what took considerable time to build in a single act of arson. Often the arsonist gets caught and punished. Regardless, it takes much time, money and effort to reconstruct what the arsonist destroyed in a flash.

America has had some great builders in the White House. Theodore Roosevelt began the building of the national parks system and was America’s first conservationist President. Franklin Roosevelt constructed the foundation of America’s social safety net in response to the personal and financial devastation in the wake of the Great Depression. Lyndon Johnson added several social safety net programs and saw to the passage of the most significant voting rights protection in our history. Barack Obama laid the foundation for what someday I predict will be a world class health care delivery system.

In January of this year Donald Trump entered the White House. By this time a small but allowed to be powerful faction of Tea Party Representatives effectively held the Republican House majority hostage. Trump’s main concern is how he can use his position for personal profit. He has surrounded himself with people who want to destroy the achievements outlined in the previous paragraph. One of his closest personal advisors was Steve Bannon whose proclaimed mission was to deconstruct government as we know it. Bannon may be gone, and sometimes at odds with Trump on an issue or two, but he is still influencing Trump. Many, if not most, of Trump’s senior appointees are diametrically opposed to the mission of the departments they head. Never have so many foxes been in charge of the henhouses!

Trump will be out of office by January of 2025 at the latest. (Yes, he actually could win reelection in 2020.) My hope and prediction is that he will not last that long. (Remember, I am among the many who said he would never be elected in the first place.) What Trump has already destroyed and what he and his team will yet destroy before they are gone will take decades to rebuild.

The Trump administration is a collection of arsonists and certainly not carpenters!

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