Planes, rockets and big water

Nov 12th, 2017 | By | Category: 2017-2018, Opinions

By Jessica Weiss
Staff Writer

In an anticlimactic turn of events, our president has found himself in another round of scandals and funny quips. This brings us all closer to our self-destruction and the truth that the administration seriously has become careless in covering up their inadequacy.

First on the list, “Rocket Man” and a bombastic speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Oftentimes, presidents at the General Assembly give speeches themed around united action, stressing the need to strengthen the ability for the United Nations to act during international crisis and emphasizing the leadership role the United States plays in the body.

Or that’s the way things used to work. I first began to realize this historic position beginning to change when I attended a Model United Nations conference in Shanghai, where the student playing the role of the United States took on what she thought the position of the U.S. was post-election.

Speech after speech, I watched this vivacious Chinese student blast the Paris Agreement and the United Nations itself, thinking not only of how embarrassed I was as the only American in the room, but also of the implications of one of the most powerful countries in the United Nations diverting so much from its traditional role.

Now of course, as a representative from Willamette University, I did my best to explain that we enlightened college students for the most part do not have aligning views with these positions, but what I could not deal with were the questions if I was at all worried or fearful of the future of our country.

And this was way back before when our president was not saying that the U.S. “will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” in front of an organization with a charter preamble that literally starts with the line: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind…”

After calling North Korea’s leader “Rocket Man” and claiming that he is on a self-serving “suicide mission,” the President followed with this Tweet: “Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!”

At the point where someone we democratically elected is Tweeting a literal threat of genocide, I do not know if it would even be appropriate to give a hot take of: “I am scared for our future.”

What is extremely sad is how quick this got brushed over with more “garbage truck on fire” type stories. Which takes us to the next on the list: the apparent need for everyone in this administration to fly for every personal occasion on taxpayer money with blatant disregard for covering it up. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is actually not the first to fall victim to the “private jet on taxpayer dime” scandals, although surprisingly (or not so much), he is the first to get the boot.

Towards the end of August, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin grabbed headlines when his wife Louise Linton posted an Instagram photo of her walking off a government plane. She had tagged a list of designers, including names like Hermes and Tom Ford, which caused some jaw-dropping reactions. Things get even better when a user from our great state of Oregon commented on the questionable nature of the photo: “Glad we could pay for your little getaway. #deplorable”

Now you think upper level administration and their families would be used to public disapproval, but Louise Linton actually responded, like any good government official’s family member would, with: “cute! Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol,” plus a few kiss emojis tagged onto the end.

She later deleted the post and apologized, after learning and then having to admit that she did not know her husband had actually requested to use a military jet to fly them both on their honeymoon to Europe. We seem to really be keeping ethics groups on their toes in recent months.

These past few months have really led to the ultimate dissociation for myself, where the process of reading a story and then telling myself that it is time to take a break for the day and wallow in endless embarrassment and disengaged disappointment seems to be one that exists on repeat. But are we even surprised anymore?

 

jweiss@willamette.edu

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