Trump’s first week in office

I started out writing about Trump’s first week in office in response to his pathetic gag order, forbidding officials from government agencies from information on the problem of climate change, including via social networks, and how that order put those officials, who faced a moral dilemma, in the situation of filtering information anonymously to the media, disobeying the order, or even creating alternative accounts not supervised by the government.

Shortly after beginning to document the subject, I realized that I could not write just about that issue. That the question was not whether Trump issued a gag law, which was lifted shortly after by some scrupulous and sensible government official, but the obvious signs he gave, from only his first week at the White House, of being an absolute fool. A textbook jerk: somebody with an extremely limited vocabulary, unable to form coherent sentences, who does not read books, and believes that problems disappear simply by deleting a web page. Does the president care that Spanish is now the second language in the United States? No problem: he removed the Spanish-language page from the White House website and that’s it, problem solved.

As climate change does not exist either and is “an invention of the Chinese,” he removed all mention of the phenomenon on the website, canceled government-funded research programs, and banned scientists from talking or publishing about it. And as the existence of gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transexuals seems to annoy him, he removed them from the website as well: problem solved.

The problem is not that the president of the United States fails to excite in his acceptance speech because all he can do is repeat false assertions and clichés, falsehoods that do not attract crowds, nor that he is unable to get anybody famous to appear at his inauguration, that he has to hire paid actors to clap as if they were possessed, or later to be demoralized by what the press says and order his spokesman to lie. Declaring war on the press is a serious issue, because the press is supposed to counter balance power in a democracy. Not understanding that a 20% tariff on Mexican imports makes no sense economically and that US consumer will pay for it is serious… but even that is not the most important thing.

The important thing is that he is an imbecile, one of those imbeciles who impose a tariff because it legitimates with one stupidity the previous stupidity he blustered at a rally, and the consequences are of no concern to him. He builds a wall because he said he was going to do it, even if there was already a wall and to enlarge it solves nothing at all. The important thing is the symbol, the paraphernalia, the demonstration of power, the media gesture, the colorful detail. The most superficial, childish and dangerous politician we have seen in history is now at the helm of the most powerful country in the world. A country with much to lose. He is also corrupt, refusing to publish his tax returns, and who has immediately unfrozen the construction of an oil pipeline in which he has a clear economic interest and who has an endless list of conflicts of current or potential interests. No, there is nothing good that can come out of all this.

I’m sorry I did not write about technology or innovation today. I know that the idea of ​​this page is to share ideas about technology and innovation, and that US government policy, whatever the influence it may have — and does have — on these issues, is not something among the topics you regularly read about here. What’s more, given the choice, you’d probably prefer to read about these subjects somewhere else. But as a teacher, as a person, I am genuinely worried about our world. Very worried. So much so that I cannot avoid writing about it. When it finally seemed that things were starting to change a little, and that some people in the United States seemed to embrace sustainability and progress, a corrupt imbecile arrives and sets the clock back several decades. If Trump seemed like a real jerk during his election campaign, now, after his first week in the White House, there’s absolutely no doubt: he is a real jerk. And it’s going to cost us dearly.

We are witnessing the arrival of very dark times.

(En español, aquí)