“How are the powerticians in DC any different?”
This is the comment of a Facebook “friend” of one of my (wife’s) sisters-in-law. Because I can guess how she found the picture on my page that she chose to comment upon, I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she’s sincere, not a troll. However, because she was commenting on my page and not in some public forum, I’ll phrase my answer more directly and less kindly than I would otherwise.
I’m going to assume that “powertician” is either a synonym of “politician” or a subset of “politician,” specifically the “party-first” politicians who seek to amass power instead of more directly serving their constituents. The question was in response to a picture with a slogan expressing my dismay and shame at Donald Drumpf’s popularity. Ironically, the avatar for this woman on Facebook isn’t her face; it’s the slogan, “Life is short, choose happiness.” The cognitive dissonance is stunning.
I see three possibilities:
- “powerticians” refers to all elected officials serving in the Federal government.
- “powerticians” refers to party-centric Federal elected officials amassing power.
- “powerticians” refers to anyone on the national political scene she doesn’t like.
It’s hard to justify the third meaning, since it probably refers to lobbyists and commentators who don’t deserve the “-cians” suffix, but it’s the likely rebuttal to some specific points I’ll make.
Donald Drumpf endorses physical intimidation, vocal intimidation, and even physical violence at his own political rallies. I can’t think of any elected officials or politicians who have done that. Some have tried to defend his positions, but they haven’t actually done endorsed those things at their own events. So, in that sense, “powerticians in DC” are different.
Donald Drumpf endorses discriminating against Americans and non-Americans on the basis of religion, specifically Islam. He’s not unique this way; other Republican contenders for President have taken similar positions, as have many of the more militant Republican members of both chambers of Congress. However, there are at least as many members of both chambers who have rejected his call to discriminate against Islam, most of who will specifically point out that this violates the First Amendment, so often cited to defend their supporters in other contexts.
Donald Drumpf proposes building a literal wall to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Again, some members of Congress agree, but just as many oppose this idea. More to the point, Drumpf is the only person who thinks we should “get Mexico to pay for it,” either through tariffs and seizure of remittances from people in America to Mexico, or through “tough negotiation.”
Donald Drumpf advocates an isolationist, “America First,” foreign policy. While this echoes some of the George W. Bush foreign policy, especially the disdain for our allies when they don’t agree with us, it is hardly the universal attitude among all “powerticians in DC.”
Donald Drumpf has nothing but contempt for the political establishment and our political system. People like Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and even Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi seem more interested in strengthening it than tearing it down. They may seem to “never once care who (they) step on,” but the resemblance stops there quickly.
Finally, the first point of the picture’s message is that Drumpf was born into wealth. While many elected officials are wealthy, relatively few were born into wealth. This applies more to some of the unelected players on the national political scene, such as the Koch brothers. Even there, the most I can say is, “some.”
Finally, I’ll cite some examples of people who I consider to be “powerticians” who are extreme opposites of Donald Drumpf:
- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Islamic member of Congress
- Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who has worked in the ranks of the Senate instead of capitalizing on his show business name recognition to try to ascend through the party hierarchy
- Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who consistently works on issues, not party strength or name recognition
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who may be happy to stoke fears and capitalize on xenophobia, but he’s not the loose bull in a china shop that Drumpf is, running off his mouth and spouting self-contradicting positions
I’m not citing these as “powerticians” I like, merely as those whom I think are distinctly different from Drumpf and so obvious that I can’t understand how someone would sincerely ask, “How are the powerticians in DC any different?”