On Ivanka Trump, and the Nature of Duplicity.

You may have noticed lately that I’ve been slacking when it comes to the hard-hitting political posts that I favored during my first few months of blogging. Part of that is just due to scheduling; I recently started a new job that is a lot more time consuming than my previous one. The other part thought — and one I shouldn’t understate — is my level of sheer exhaustion with politics as they currently stand in America (and indeed all across the world). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Every morning I wake up and think, ‘there’s no way that they could have done anything WORSE’. And every day I am very, very wrong.

That sense of dread, of shock and disbelief, isn’t the only thing that makes it easy for me to dissociate from the current reality of American politics. The thing is, if President Trump and his administration were doing the ridiculous things that they do, and the millions of Americans who voted for him were starting to acknowledge how totally absurd he and his staff are, I think I’d feel more hopeful. That, unfortunately, is not the case. In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

You see, while President Trump’s approval rating for his first 100 days is the lowest EVER recorded since we started keeping such statistics in 1953 (some sources say 1945), that disapproval comes almost entirely from those who already oppose him. What do I mean? Well, President Trump’s approval rating is at an almost unbelievably low 42 percent (especially for someone who claimed he would try and bring the country together after a staggeringly divisive election). Even so, guess what his approval rating is among those who voted for him. Ready?

Ninety. Four. Perfect. 


Yes, you read that right — ninety-four.

What does that mean? It means that Trump supporters aren’t ready to admit that they’re wrong. It means that those of his supporters who aren’t genuinely malicious (and let’s be real, there are a fair few who thrive on the more insidious portions of Trumpian rhetoric) are sunk so far into their own cognitive dissonance that they can’t claw their way out. These people have put themselves so staunchly on the side of this neofascist ideologue that they are unwilling or unable to extricate themselves from the horrifying statements and actions he and his people perpetrate. That’s where we are. That’s what I find so exhausting.

Still, I have a responsibility — we all have a responsibility — to call this soggy Cheeto of a president out again, and again, and again. If we have the privilege of relative security, of relative wealth, of an ability to speak out without being punished, without being deported or blackballed or silenced, then we must speak out. No matter how tiring or painful or tedious or grinding it is, we MUST speak out. So I’m back. I’m ready. How shall we start things off?

I know! I’ll follow in the footsteps of late-night host and wildly insightful journalist John Oliver. Yes, while his show is raunchy and totally hilarious, it also speaks to truth in a way that few straight news programs are managing. What do I mean? Take a gander at his thoughts on my least favorite couple — Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Hey, John, can you say it louder for the people in the back? We — progressive, compassionate, and (dare I say it) liberal Americans — cannot put our faith in an Ivanka-Jared dream team that doesn’t exist. Ivanka, the carefully groomed offspring of a man about as morally stalwart as a piece of soggy toast, offers no rationality in President Trump’s sea of crazy. And Jared, the bro-iest bro who ever bro-ed, the heir to a morally corrupt and ethically questionable fortune who goes against the most basic tenets of his faith and his culture, isn’t going to do much better. If we’re looking for a set of saviors, these two ain’t it.

Still not convinced? Let’s talk a little more about Ivanka. No wonder so many Trump voters are steeped in cognitive dissonance. Their most poised disciple is the poster child for it. What do I mean? Take a look at this analysis of her book, The Trump Card, from The New Yorker:

When Ivanka was a kid, she got frustrated because she couldn’t set up a lemonade stand in Trump Tower. “We had no such advantages,” she writes, meaning, in this case, an ordinary home on an ordinary street. She and her brothers finally tried to sell lemonade at their summer place in Connecticut, but their neighborhood was so ritzy that there was no foot traffic. “As good fortune would have it, we had a bodyguard that summer,” she writes. They persuaded their bodyguard to buy lemonade, and then their driver, and then the maids, who “dug deep for their spare change.”
I honestly have a really difficult time reading through this paragraph without cringing, crying, or otherwise responding in a visceral, involuntary capacity. Ivanka Trump is so delusional — and has been so supported in these lifelong delusions — that she has literally no inkling of her own privilege. She has no understanding, even as an adult, of the morally depravity required to encourage one’s children to exploit underpaid and overworked staff for childhood whims. She still can’t admit that she her bootstraps don’t actually exist.

So while it might be tempting to buy into her honeyed nonsense words about family leave and climate change, it’s all a lie. Check out her policy suggestions — in between the lies, the concrete policy looks to enact change by (surprise!) expanding privileges for the wealthy and screwing over pretty much anyone else. In Ivanka’s world, the struggles of 3 ultra-wealthy children who’s only lemonade stand patrons were the hired help are the same as children who are so poor they may never have tasted lemonade at all. While on the outside she may be classy, and she may be pretty, her inside is rotten to the core ,and she doesn’t even know it. Let’s not let ourselves forget that.

— S
Day 115: April 25, 2017

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