We've officially entered the Twilight Zone
Trump, is that you?
Not necessarily. But the events of the last 2 weeks have certainly been, well — classic 2020.
You know we’ve officially entered into the Twilight Zone when you log on to your computer after being offline for a few hours and you see Donald Trump calling for $2000 to every American, effectively rejecting the bipartisan omnibus bill (with Covid relief included) — echoing the sentiments of populists throughout the country. Why are our politicians so out of touch? Better yet—in a world where everyone is connected, how can the politicians who argued to keep payments at a $600 minimum sleep at night? In hopes of not sounding too pessimistic, I’ll attribute it to obliviousness. Otherwise, it looks like most of our politicians just sold out our country more than they ever have before. Trust me, that’s a lot.
It’s classic Trump. Golden lighting, golden decor, and that bright red tie. Hate him or love him, that’s his element and he knows you love (or hate) to see it. Subtle enough to seem “presidential” (hey, the bar isn’t real high this year, ok? Calm down)—but still just enough to get the pundits at FOX, MSNBC, and CNN to start shrieking in unison. Diving right in, Trump elaborates on some of the more unfortunate provisions in the recent Omnibus Bill (I mean, why are we spending millions on fish breeding and hatcheries when some Americans have no idea when their next meal is…?) One could argue that Trump is just spewing a bunch of nonsense again to ratchet up his base—and that’s not entirely untrue. After all, he ends the video with a line that his supporters gleefully celebrated and his enemies rolled their eyes at, suggesting that the next administration might be headed by none other than the man himself.
It’s hard to say he didn’t have a little bit of fun at the end of his speech with that suggestion, but all nonsense aside, he’s not wrong when it comes to some of the things we’re spending federal money on. Now, let me be clear — Trump isn’t a fiscally conservative president by ANY means. We’re further in debt now than we’ve ever been before. Moreover, no conservative would argue for sending Americans $2K — they’d rather the country open up entirely. RINO’s like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham back this type of bipartisan bill for the same reason that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer support the legislation—it gives the people assistance (if you can call a one-time $600 payment, “assistance”, that is), but it’s basically the best Christmas gift an establishment career politician could ask for. Spending galore.
What this bill really shows is that the fight is hardly Democrat vs. Republican. In all honesty, it hasn’t been for a long time. It’s starting to feel more like us vs. them, and the people we’ve elected to represent us don’t seem to mind that we feel like this. We knew this was coming, but the last person anyone expected to highlight the absurdity of spending $14M on revitalizing an old Coast Guard ship for Sri Lanka—among many other provisions—was Donald Trump. Nevertheless, it’s 2020, and nothing is normal. But—as I sit here scratching my head at the absurdity of all of this, I can’t help but wonder, what’s Trump’s play here?
Before diving in, it’s important to note that we’ve had legislation such as this pass every year—people are just paying attention because of the political and social climate in the country. Frankly, I’m pleased that people are paying attention. It’s about time. The moral platitudes we hear from those we’ve elected to represent US, the AMERICAN PEOPLE, fall on deaf ears after months of this pandemic with no relief in sight. Pardon us for not being “over-the-moon” when we’re presented with a $600 relief payment while the federal government spends millions of dollars in overthrowing the Venezuelan government (because our country certainly knows who should lead the Venezuelan people, right?)
The American people are kind people, friendly people, a forever-optimistic people at heart. We believe that the best is yet to come—and I certainly hold that sentiment as well. However, after looking through some of the provisions included in the bill—it’s hard to not wonder what the long-term goal is here? Why, after all of the failed wars, missions, and alliances, is our country still paying so much money to other countries when we can’t even manage our own affairs? For example, over 4000 people have been shot in Chicago this year. Why isn’t this an urgent matter to anyone in Washington? Where’s Dick Durbin, the esteemed senator from Illinois? Sounds unrelated, but it’s really not—because it concerns our own citizens.
Americans are getting desperate and I don’t think Washington truly understands what that really means—until the people show up at their houses with guillotines. Do you think the French Revolution couldn’t happen again? Trust me—desperation causes people to do things they’d otherwise consider. Seeing legislation like that of which I’m describing is the recipe for disaster for the United States. This is not acceptable. The American people—white, black, Hispanic, Asian, green, blue, black, and orange—all deserve BETTER.
Let’s take a peek at a few of my favorites in this bill!
$10M for gender programs in Pakistan? Why? Asking the WHY doesn’t mean you don’t think Pakistani people may need help with this issue—but why is it coming from our country? Do we get any say in how this money is spent? Do we get an overview of what’s happening in the country for them to need millions of dollars to work on, frankly, a non-issue at the moment?
Did you know we have something called the “Foreign Military Financing Program” that operates all over the world?
Surprise! We do. I learned that high endurance cutters, once operated by the Navy, are now Coast Guard ships stationed throughout the world. Apparently, our efforts in Sri Lanka require $15M to refurbish this particular vessel. Does anyone know why?
Why on earth are we reimbursing Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman for enhanced border security? Better yet—why are we involved in their border security at all? Why does Jordan get $150M out of the $250M?
There’s that gender-focused funding again—it’s straight out of the United Nations playbook. Sure, on its’ face, there’s nothing wrong with empowering women—but what about the women right here at home? Why do they not matter?
Is the Kennedy Center able to cut back on expenses during a pandemic? One would think that a government that’s been so focused on cutting public funding for arts programs throughout the country over the last 20 years wouldn’t place such importance on sending money to an organization like this — but then I did a little researching. Below, a list of some notable members of the Kennedy Center. I hope they’re pleased about the financing coming their way. I’m sure Covid’s really made visitors come from far and wide to visit, ha. Let me be clear—I’m all for the arts and for funding of creative programs that foster innovation and thought-provoking discussions—but I’m also hoping my government can figure out how to feed the family that’s facing eviction and unemployment, with 2 kids to feed. Call me crazy, but I think they deserve a little piece of that Kennedy Center money.
The Kennedy Center
David M. Rubenstein | Chair | Co-Founder & Exec. at The Carlyle Group
Below are some honorary chairs and notable trustees
Honorary Chairs: Melania Trump, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush,
Members Ex Officio designated by Act of Congress: Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Alex Azar, Mike Pompeo, Betsy DeVos, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, and many, many more.
Sure, a lot of this is just what the wealthy do. They’re part of foundations and boards because they genuinely want to do good for the community. I’m not saying that public funding should be completely wiped. But let’s just face it—all of these people are beyond out-of-touch with the average American. The average American, right now, is feeling pretty damn hopeless. So forgive me, dear leaders, for demanding that you hold off on taking federal money for uniform cleanings at the Kennedy Center so that the rest of us can rest easy knowing we’re worth a little more than $600 per person.
Maybe my sense of humor is a bit dark, but amidst all the chaos, I feel a wave of calmness knowing that with each passing day, the truth of what goes on in Washington continues to come out—one way or another. It’s time to remind these people who they work for—last time I checked, it was the American people. This won’t stand for much longer, and I promise you, it won’t be pretty for those in Washington if they continue on this path. The party’s over folks.