Here’s What I Don’t Understand: Why Does the Administration Want to Kill Us?
What kind of American future do Trump & Co. actually envision?
Look, I’m not a political analyst. Or an economist. Anyone who’s ever read anything I’ve written knows this. I’m a guy who likes to travel, eat, drink, read, run, and watch TV. Oh, and spend time with his family—can’t forget them.
But still, I’m trying to figure this stuff out—“this stuff” being what the Republican administration is up to. I mean, I see the headlines and read the stories, and I understand those. But what I want to know is: What’s the endgame? What are all these changes to the American system about? What is the Republican (or Trumpian) vision of the country?
Here’s what I see:
- Changes to the Affordable Care Act—or its total repeal—make health insurance (and health care) less available and more expensive. Result: people die.
- Changes to the EPA and environmental law, plus the promotion of coal over renewable energy, result in increased water and air pollution. Result: people get sick and die.
- No real proposals to deal with the opioid epidemic: people keep getting addicted and dying.
- Administration goes after “sanctuary cities” -> illegal immigrants who are victims of crime are too scared to report those crimes -> crime increases -> people die.
- Maybe we mass-deport 11 million people? A lot of them die.
- Tax cuts reduce the federal government’s revenue, making it difficult to provide any services other than military and some other basics.
- Ongoing gerrymandering ensures white majorities dominate state elections, and voting-ID laws further reduce minority participation.
Maybe that’s too dark a vision. Maybe a lot of those people don’t die—maybe they (we) just survive, in poverty. But still, we’re talking about a lot of people. Millions of people’s lives—their literal lives as well as their more figurative futures—are at stake here, and that might be understandable if there were a vision of what’s supposed to come next.
There’s a little hint of that, of course. The tax cuts are supposed to spur so much economic growth that Treasury revenues increase somethingfold. If that were going to happen, I guess it would be okay—people would have jobs, and the government could afford to provide services. But that doesn’t really happen. Here’s the NYT on it:
George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were followed by years of disappointing growth. Bill Clinton’s tax increases in 1993 were followed by a boom that surpassed the Reagan-era expansion.
But at least in the GWB days, there was a sense that churches (and, I guess, “communities”) were supposed to pick up the slack and take care of people in need. Now… not so much. Now the attitude is: Fuck you if you can’t afford health care. Fuck you if you need government services. Fuck you if you want to vote, but can’t afford to make it to a DMV and provide paperwork you can’t afford to acquire. Fuck you if you witnessed gangs committing murder in your home country—gangs who will come after you if you go back.
There’s a difference, though, between the usual fuck you (which I remember well from the ’80s) and this new fuck you. Back in the ’80s, it was “fuck you and conform” or “fuck you and convert” or “fuck you and enjoy the profits.” It was “fuck you and why can’t you just enjoy America’s resurgence like we are?” That sucked, but at least—at least!—it imagined that we could all be in this together (even if we weren’t), that we could all kick some Soviet ass and wear nice suits and get some dope-ass video games for Christmas.
Now, however, it’s “fuck you and leave” and “fuck you and shut up” and “fuck you and die.” It’s not Us vs. Them—it’s Us vs. You vs. Them.
It’s a vision of America not in which you are bent to their will but in which you don’t exist.
The Trump future is an America where tens of millions of people are dead, including many of the people who’ve voted Republican over the last couple of decades. Those people are neither wanted nor needed.
And maybe they’re right. Maybe this country is too big, too diverse, to run effectively. Maybe it needs a paring-down, a culling. This is a huge fucking country! What do you do with all the people with shitty educations, who live in crummy states like West Virginia, who do shit like get addicted to Fentanyl or get pregnant unintentionally or, I don’t know, get cancer? Those people are a drag, un-lift-up-able, and it’s a damn sure bet their kids will be an even bigger drag. Maybe this country’s ideal population is not 326 million but 165 million—which is what it was back in 1955, when this country was great amirite. With just half the population, maybe America can get done the shit it needs to get done, without overtaxing its resources or worrying about the voices of a vanished or inconsequential minority.
I want to ask, “Seriously?” I want to ask, “What happens to all the people who are going to be wounded by your mission?” I want to ask, “Do you really think we can go back to 1950s America?” I want to ask, “Where do you see us all in 10 years?”
But I already know the answer, because whatever word salad the administration tosses together, they translate into English as FUCK YOU.