Ulmer: Political distractions becoming too thick to track

Ulmer: Political distractions becoming too thick to track

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Both my loyal readers might admit that there have been a few times when I’ve stumbled into an accurate statement/postulation. For instance I just read that someone is surprised that we Americans have paid for 100% of our president's tariffs and although I hate to say I told you, so but way back before the tariffs were implemented, I told both of you that China and the others wouldn’t pay the tariffs, you and I would. And today the facts finally confirmed 100% of my postulation.

Then there’s the infamous border wall that Mexico was going to pay for, and my notes indicated that you and I’d pay for that, too. Both of you know that I’ve been ambivalent on the wall construction, but it seems to me a lot of folks fell for all the political bluster on that one.

For brevity sake I’ll just focus on one other burr that’s under my saddle: the snide campaign insinuation that our new president would be too busy to play as much golf as his predecessor. The math indicates that he’s played three times as much golf in three years as his predecessor did in eight years. Promises made, promised delivered, huh? The burr in my butt on this one came when I remembered that all of President Trump's golf has been played on courses and resorts that he owns.

Then to add saddle sores to my burr-rubbed butt, his administration is presently hiding the costs (costs of our president’s entourage that you and I pay to his resorts) until after the next election. So not only won’t we see his taxes, his health care plan, his infrastructure plan, and a host of other things that exceed our ability to track, but worst of all he’d like us to wait until after he’s reelected to expose the costs he’s imposed on us so far.

I don’t know about you, but my experience indicates that most of any of a politician’s success is based more on luck than skill. Therefore, it’s my estimation that our economy has a life of its own and it’s never been well connected to whomever our president is, for instance among many other things he can’t control the price of gas at the pump.

However given that our constitution does provide our president broad powers in our foreign relations, he does have great influence in the world around us. As such probably my biggest umbrage toward our current president centers on what a rotten role model he is.

He reminds me of the book "The Ugly American" where the rest of the world is repulsed by our audacious pride. Like it or not, our allies are presently wondering if they should have anything to do with us. Abandoning the Kurds, Iran’s nuclear deal, turning Syria over to Russia has our friends wondering if they can trust us anymore because we are refusing to keep our promises. There are more ugly distractions than any of us can track and it’s my opinion that way too many of us have become complacent about all of this.

Maybe it’s because the fog of political chicanery/distractions has become too thick to track, maybe it’s because we’re more worried about our activities of daily living, maybe it has something to do with how well any given spin fits our preconceptions or maybe it’s the divine winds. But whatever it is, it makes me fear for our future and wonder if our shining city on a hill hasn’t lost its luster.

The sad part is that we can do better. Despite all the political hoopla going on around us, the last thing I think we Americans want to be known as is ugly and that is pretty much dependent on whomever we elect as our leaders.

I'm hoping that we really can do better than what we’ve done so far. 

Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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