Email #59, Subject: “government establishment”?

Although a majority of voters are not optimistic about President Trump’s ability to run the country, a majority still approve of his message. I just read a survey that reported that 72% agreed with this passage from his inauguration speech:

“For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now because this moment is your moment, it belongs to you.”

This confuses me because the GOP has controlled the Senate for the last two years and the House for the last six. You personally have been in office for a quarter century. You’ve been Chair of the House Judiciary Committee for three years, after already serving as Chair of the House Agriculture Committee while President Bush was in office. You are a leading and long-standing member of the establishment.

The President is identifying you and other current GOP leaders as the small group of flourishing politicians reaping the rewards of government. Is this why you are so hesitant to criticize him? Your balanced budget amendment would block his Great Wall and infrastructure plans. His claims of massive voter fraud are widely dismissed, but you support them. Even though his failure to release his taxes falls far below the “highest standards” you have previously championed, you have said nothing about his conflicts of interest. Is your strategy to so align yourself with the President that you avoid the criticism of his populist message?

Chris Gavaler

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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