In a recent interview with The New York Times, Steve “Darth Vader” Bannon, Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, said:
“The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
I would add to that the Democratic and Republican party leadership.
Early on, President Trump demonstrated the ability to think outside the Beltway. He recognized what most Americans did, that the political establishment in Washington D.C. and its obsequious media were insular, self-serving and self-preserving, a crowd of co-conspirators that was only getting better at doing the wrong things.
Over time, it evolved into a system, not incapable of, but largely unwilling to solve pressing national issues like illegal immigration, a moribund economy, the declining Middle Class and the threat from radical Islam.
We found ourselves in that unhappy circumstance because solutions benefitting the American people conflicted with the financial or ideological interests of the Democrat and Republican establishments, the media and their wealthy financiers – the oligarchy.
As Lewis Lapham described in his book “The Wish for Kings,” it had become the perception that, it is they, not the American people, who “every four years hire a President.”
We also became the victims of a federal bureaucracy composed of a well-networked, professionally in-bred group of perpetual-presidential-appointees-in-waiting, living in and around the Beltway; Congressional staff lifers and the denizens of lobbying firms, consultancies and think tanks, who recycle the same old ideas packaged in newly-minted buzzwords and acronyms that comprise the conventional wisdom.
They are the commuters in the government’s revolving door, the worker bees of our permanent political establishment, the purveyors of policy common denominators and the architects of the impenetrable intellectual bubble that is Washington D.C., where innovation suffocates and ideas go to die.
On September 1, 2015, at a time when Trump was being nearly universally ridiculed as a presidential contender, I wrote “Stay tuned, the corrupt political-media establishment is about to implode.”
Even then, it was clear to all but the politically tone-deaf that Americans were not only fed up with the incompetence, divisiveness and political correctness of the Obama Administration, we were equally disgusted with the two political parties, who represented only themselves and were identical in their practice of crony capitalism, political expediency and lying.
Donald Trump was elected largely for who he was not.
A healthy majority of Americans still view the main stream media outlets as nothing more than propaganda machines for the establishment using disinformation and manipulation in a fashion comparable with Soviet-run journalism, collaborators in perpetuating a corrupt status quo.
President Trump exploited already-existing sentiments, spawned by non-representative government and an out-of-touch media, but a movement lacking a leader around whom we could rally, someone who would express our views and, if elected, implement those views as policy.
Americans flocked to Trump because the country had a de facto one-party state, where all the traditional means for the people to seek the redress of grievances were blocked by the self-absorbed, unaccountable, permanent political-media elite.
Sadly, little has been learned since September 2015 when I wrote:
“The establishment, its hair on fire, cannot decipher Trump’s appeal because it is divorced from the people and increasingly divorced from reality. And that which the establishment doesn’t understand, it seeks to destroy.”
The situation will not change until the political-media establishment, as Bannon said, begins to “just listen for a while.”
That is, listen not to just themselves.
Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired US Army Reserve colonel, a command and control subject matter expert, trained in Arabic and Kurdish, and a veteran of Afghanistan, northern Iraq and a humanitarian mission to West Africa. He receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.