Approaching Inauguration

The curtain on the long and sad quadriennial spectacle of “democratically” reselecting American executive government is presumably falling with the approaching formal inauguration of the 45th President of the U.S. While past experiences — along with objective fatigue from a grotesquely distended process — would suggest a relatively “business-as-usual” transfer of power within closed elite circles, the controversy and acrimony surrounding the incoming Trump administration persist.

Much of this is currently played out in conjunction with Martin Luther King Day, highlighted by protests against the crude, divisive and often racist rhetoric of the president-elect himself and yet many other reactionary elements inspired and emboldened by it. It has been further stoked by Trump’s insulting reaction to the inauguration boycott announced by veteran civil rights leader, Rep. John Lewis, and ensuing counterreactions. “When you insult Representative John Lewis, you insult America” declared Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, and the boycott is followed by at least a couple of dozen others members of Congress, replete with standard calls to action by liberal (“Leftist”) mouthpieces like MoveOn.

All of this is cascading on the recent press conference brouhaha involving CNN’s “investigative journalists”, the contentious Senate confirmation hearings, and much more. Heightened emotions show people care, and this is one of the prerequisites for real change. However, keeping a rational outlook in this house of mirrors is a must for any true progressive (or even honest American, for that matter): unfortunately, gone are the days of moral clarity ushered in by the Sanders campaign, and the promise of focused action they portended. In many ways the ensuing quandary echoes the main points of Kim Petersen’s just issued excellent piece in Dissident Voice titled “Don’t Confuse the Left and the Right”.

It is clearly inappropriate for Trump to insult Lewis, but the venerable congressman should not insult our intelligence either.  For starters — enough with the Russian “election hacking” nonsense. Ignoring for now the biggest elephant in the room — the endless meddling of the US government (and its alphabet soup of near-governmental organizations) into sundry foreign elections and regimes the world over — the fundamental question remains: what interference? The presented evidence shows that certain whistleblowers — whether Russians, Martians, Wikileaks, whomever — exposed serious aberrations to American democracy and its transparency: the duplicitous Clinton Wall Street speeches (long hidden despite repeated Sanders’ challenges), and DNC manipulations that consistently disrupted the primaries’ level playing field. It has been widely understood that these moves fundamentally influenced the Democratic primary outcome (and the DNC chair promptly resigned over that). It is further self-evident and that the general election’s tone and tenor (regardless of eventual outcome) would have been radically different in the case of a Sanders nomination. Therefore, this constitutes a gross interference and disruption of the American electoral process (independent of anything else that might be wrong with it). Anyone helping expose these trespasses should be lauded, not chastised. Period.

All narratives built on top of this false premise reek of Cold War hysteria and are particularly pernicious today. The combative theatrics at Senate nomination hearings for Secretary of State might be dismissed by some as simply a personal chip on sen. Rubio’s shoulder, or attribute it to his proven ideological blinders. Some might further shrug off the aggressive CNN prodding — more appropriate for crude reality shows than any professional journalism — as a mere rating hunt in the crowded space of mainstrean media. However, when these causes are further taken up by alleged leftist (or even progressive) champions — from MoveOn to John Lewis to MLK Day marchers — it is time for clarity.

There are many issues for which the incoming administration and its chief can (and should be) seriously questioned. The nominal legitimacy of their election (within an otherwise deeply flawed system) is not one of them. Neither is their modestly alluded intent to seek effective detente and more normal co-existence with Russia and others.

There are some things for which the outgoing administration and its chief can (and should be) earnestly credited. Despite the potential advantage of the “historical Black presidency” and wave of enthusiasm riding Obama’s original “Change” slogan — the deteriorated state of race relations is not one of them. Neither is the international role, actions or stature of the United States, despite vows to “reset relations” with Russia and others by the Nobel Peace laureate in charge.

These and many other arduous tasks are bequeathed to the new Trump administration. It is not quite clear how it will respond to them, and there is some hope that popular pressure might exert positive influence. On this Martin Luther King Day and the eve of Inauguration, progressives and other honest Americans are well advised to carefully gauge that influence.

Dr. Radmilo Bozinovic is a computer professional who has worked in the Silicon Valley since 1988. During that time, he has also been involved in numerous public interest projects, ranging from serving on two non-profit boards, to improving language access in state courts and public education. A native of ex-Yugoslavia, he has actively worked to uncover the truth about its civil war and the foreign role played in its breakup, and other conflicts. Read other articles by Radmilo.