As the temperature heads towards 120° in Los Angeles, I am trying to concentrate on cool thoughts. Having been part of the last generation of paperboys in suburban New York, there are plenty of snowy memories to rely on.
In one of my favorites, I woke up after an overnight snowstorm having to deliver a thick Sunday paper using roads that had still not been plowed. Not wanting to make several trips, I had the brilliant plan of strapping a milk crate to my sled. This worked great for the first half of my route, at which point the sun came out in full force and completely melted the fresh snow. It took me forever to finish my route as I dragged the sled over solid ground.
“Man Plans and God Laughs.”
- Yiddish proverb
After serving our country as president for eight years, Barack Obama now finds himself in an unexpected melt. His best-laid plans have been upended by a successor who has taken every opportunity to roll back the policies that he put into place, regardless of how these policies benefited the country. A worldwide effort to slow global warming (120°!) - abandoned. A compromise plan to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons - also abandoned. A years-long decline in the number of Americans without health insurance - ended with a jump of more than three million in one year under Trump.
Unlike every other president since at least 1968, not one person in Obama’s administration was indicted for criminal activity occurring during his term in office, but this has not stopped his successor from leveling a barrage of false accusations against him. Trump has stated that his predecessor “didn’t make calls” to families of soldiers killed in action, an accusation which has been called “a f------ lie.” Despite a right-wing fake news article claiming in February that Obama was about to be “brought up on FELONY CHARGES”, no evidence has ever been presented to prove Trump’s assertion that he would “tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process.” In fact, even Trump lackey Devin Nunes has stated that if the tweet is going to be taken literally (as opposed to?), “clearly the president was wrong." The same can be said about the claim “that the Obama Administration put the opposing campaigns’ presidential candidate, or his campaign, under investigation.”
While the Obamas, post-presidency, may have planned to “put their heads down and build their ambitious presidential centre” or concentrate on issues like gerrymandering, the chaos of the Trump administration necessitates a different course of action. Yes, it is customary for ex-presidents to steer clear of their successors lest they be accused of interfering with the peaceful transition of power that has served our country for almost 250 years. However, that assumes that the new president will also respect tradition, uphold the Constitution and communicate actual facts to the American people. Given Trump’s refusal to do so, all bets should be off.
Obama told attendees at a recent fundraiser that they must “do more than just mope.” Did he miss the spontaneous crowds who helped turn back the first iteration of Trump’s Muslim ban, the public outcry that forced Trump to pretend that he was reversing his policy of separating families at the border or political newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ historic run for office? No, the left has not been moping, but we also have been lacking support from the top. We could certainly use a Resistor-In-Chief.