Today it finally begins. After a weekend spent celebrating the inauguration golfing, a vice of Obama's he has often criticized, Trump will set down to the real work of his administration, or so he claims. This is when the real challenge starts. Will we have the endurance to keep up with him? Will we be diligent these next four years to make sure that the smoked ham and his greedy cronies in the oval office are not allowed to tear this country apart for their own gain?
I don't know the answer to that, and it's keeping me up at night. The persistence of protest in the aftermath of Trump's electoral victory seems to indicate that we've committed to the long fight, but I don't know for certain who else is going to see this through to the end. One thing is certain; Trump and his team will wait for our vigilance to falter. They will wait until they have exhausted the fourth estate and, at that time, we won't be force fed falsehoods but atrocities.
I didn't sleep well last night because I was haunted by the image of Sean Spicer lying to the press and Kellyanne Conway defending him and the legitimacy of the presidency. We are living in a world where the White House press secretary and a senior adviser to the President of the United States can call falsehoods alternative facts and get away with it. The fact that Conway can tell Chuck Todd that it is not his job "to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president" is lunacy. It is absolutely the job of the media to call attention to the crimes against truth that will be perpetrated over and over throughout the duration of this administration. It is the imperative of the office of the president to demonstrate its legitimacy through action not fiat.
These stories trouble me because they feed into the false image of American Carnage that Trump has been fabricating all along. By distracting his constituents and his detractors with fake facts and petty disputes, he is able to carry out his agenda behind the scenes. He is smart enough not to distance himself from the media entirely, but make no mistake that he is waging a war on the media. It will be a war fought in facts and access to them. No longer can a journalist stand by as his peers are disparaged by a despot.
No man is above review in this country, and that is in many ways the spirit of democracy. It is the essence of the first amendment, and we can an must exercise our freedom of speech, of the press, and to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances." But what happens when the President of the United States is the source of those grievances?
We've elected crooks before. The world knew what kind of man Richard Nixon was for years. He spent six years in Congress, eight years as Eisenhower's vice president, ran against Kennedy and lost. Americans were familiar with the character of Richard Nixon, his reputation as a law and order populist, the desperation that would lead him to do anything to secure and maintain the presidency. Like Trump, America begrudgingly accepted what Nixon was when they elected him twice, and so did the media. We have the media to thank for their relentless pursuit of the truth at the end of the Nixon years. When he flew away in his chopper after giving his final farewell, it was a testament to the exercise of free speech, the pursuit of truth, and the proof of concept of the United States Constitution.
Trump is not Nixon. Nixon had the political acumen to remain in office, in one form or another, for decades. Trump is a political novice with an itchy Twitter finger. He can and should be baited. He can be the architect of his own destruction if we let him. We must barrage his ego such that he cannot lie down in peace at night but must instead defend his legitimacy through 140-word attacks on his citizens. We must hold Trump to account for his actions, his entitlement, and his blatant disregard for the institutions of civil society that we hold dear.
We may not get the chance to send Trump back to his tower before the end of his term, but that does not give us the excuse to relax now. He and his plutocracy must be held to account. They must not be allowed to dismantle this grand experiment of democracy. If the Women's March on Washington is any indication of things to come, I am hopeful that we are ready; that we have steeled ourselves for the trials ahead and because of this, we cannot fail.