Squirrel! The Distractor in Chief
Posted on March 20, 2017
POTUS may be the most ineffective man ever to serve as President. His attempted Muslim ban has been thwarted twice by the courts. His healthcare reform bill, touted as a snake oil cure for all that ails us, has yet to gain traction. Hundreds of government posts remain unfilled. Nominees have been confirmed only to resign amid scandal and others have declined appointment.
And then there is Russia. You know, the former communist nation that interfered with our election. The news cycle is a whack-a-mole frenzy attempting to uncover Trump’s ties to Vladamir Putin and Putin’s oligarch drinking buddies. Don’t get me wrong. There is irrefutable evidence that Trump’s inner circle, former campaign officials, and even his son-in-law, are oddly close to Putin’s inner circle. What is not clear is level of Trump’s own involvement, what he know about the actions of his surrogates and whether any of this was a coordinated effort to do something nefarious, or whether it is simply additional evidence of the Trump Team’s amateurism.
Twitter. We’re all going to have to get used to the fact that POTUS tweets. He tweets about meetings with foreign heads of state, about former President Obama, about “fake news”, and even North Korea.
With this much political noise, amplified by Twitter and the 24 hour news cycle, it is no wonder that many feel constantly anxious. I’ve had more than a few friends tell me that they were stepping away from progressive activism because it is “too much” coming at them “too fast.” I certainly have had my own moments where I felt completely bowled over by the pace of this presidency.
Most of the information coming at us is not fully baked. There are very few conclusions on the nature of Trump’s ties to Russia. We don’t know much more than we ever did about the conflicts of interest and potential emoluments. Instead we’re just tired. Exhausted from the siren call of yet another Twitter conspiracy theory.
We’ve got to focus people. There are major policy changes afoot. Instead of chasing every Trump squirrel, we need to stay focused on core progressive issues. This means planning to spend many, many hours on get-out-the-vote efforts in 2018. It means moving past the very natural distaste for calling strangers and knocking on doors. It means keeping your eye on:
- Health care
- North Korea
- The environment and the EPA
- The Gorsuch nomination to SCOTUS
- Job growth
- Vote suppression
We’re now four months in to the Trump presidency and it feels like four years. This is in part due to the millions of squirrels POTUS releases on us daily. Don’t chase them. Like I said, we’ve got to FO-CUS. Educate ourself on these issues. www.strongernc.org has some great materials for North Carolinians. Get involved in your local precinct. Learn how to canvas. Put on your big girl panties and get ready to call strangers and knock on doors. Pay no attention to shiny objects. There are too many vulnerable people who will be affected by bad policy decisions for us to chase tweets, conspiracy theories or partisan red meat. We’ve got to fight what we can and take back seats at the federal and the state level in 2018. It is that simple. Elections matter. Grass roots doesn’t just mean barking back at POTUS on twitter or posting memes, it means getting educated, getting involved and getting out the vote.