The new year had barely started when the world got new grist for the ‘Trump-is-crazy’ mill, one of the few American industries to experience a boom since Trump became president.
Michael Wolff’s profile of the current White House, “Fire and Fury,” is filled with rumors and backbiting. But the book, and the president’s unhinged reaction to it, provide new evidence that Trump is cognitively and emotionally unfit for office.
Wolff got headlines, even in the august New York Times , for saying Trump has “less credibility… than anyone who has ever walked on earth.” Hard news becomes indistinguishable from hyperbole and high school gossip. That’s understandably irresistible for a lot of people. And a person’s sanity becomes existentially important when they hold a nuclear button, regardless of its size.
But the deeper forces of history move on, and we ignore them at our peril. While the nation obsesses about Trump, he and his fellow Republicans are radically rewiring our political and economic order. The tax bill they passed at the end of last year proves it.
Years are arbitrary divisions, of course, but they’re a useful reminder to note our individual and collective progress – or lack thereof.
There are always end-of-year retrospectives. But how does the Trump era look from a centuries-long perspective on our nation?
200 years ago, at the start of 1818, President James Monroe was about to claim the continent for American military expansion. General (and future president) Andrew Jackson invaded Florida during the so-called “Seminole Wars,” a military incursion against indigenous people and the Spanish colonial government there.
There was a growing belief in the federal government’s ability to accomplish things. Close to my own childhood home, a major infrastructure project was kicked off in 1817 when construction of the Erie Canal began in
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