I won’t usually write with such a partisan edge, but this time it seemed appropriate. If you agree with my sentiments, please read the book and feel free to pass along this blog post. If you disagree, please read the book and pass along the blog post. Maybe it can contribute to the debate.
Fire and Fury, by Michael Wolff, has distracted me from my writing schedule, and I can’t decide whether or not it’s worth it. I’m the only person I know who was eager to read the book. Not because my friends aren’t interested, but because they’re suffering from Trump fatigue. But I eagerly awaited the notice from the library that the book had arrived in my inbox, and I put projects aside as soon as it came so I could start reading.
The first few chapters held me enthralled. I was horrified and fascinated at the same time, much as I believe it would feel being hypnotized by a cobra. I hadn’t known before reading the book that the entire Trump team thought they would lose the election. Consequently, they didn’t prepare for the transition or even consider that they might (horrors!) win the White House. I eagerly read on, fascinated by the palace intrigue among Kushner, Priebus, and Bannon—Shakespearean in its intensity and complexity, and like the Three Stooges in its comedic value.
Moving into the middle chapters, I began to be a little bored. Same old, same old. Trump the idiot, and his minions the clowns. Several times I resolved to quit reading, send the book back to the library, and get on with my own work. But I couldn’t keep from picking up the book again, and then reading until I absolutely had to quit. Right now, I’m more than halfway through, and I’m not sure I will finish the book.
I probably will, though.
One of the things that has horrified me has been the casual way Trump approached the health care debate. Needless to say, he isn’t a deep thinker, and not much of a thinker at all. So he didn’t care about health care one way or the other. While hundreds of thousands of us were calling our senators and representatives to urge them to vote against repealing and replacing Obamacare, Trump was focusing on something else entirely. Probably why the New York Times didn’t like him, or who was dissing him that day. What got to me about this was how little we the people count to the White House. Trump got elected, and he hopes to be re-elected, and that’s all that matters.
It’s hard to stomach this book, but I feel compelled to know what it says. For more than twenty years, I taught social welfare policy to social work graduate students. I tried to represent to them that social policy was developed in a thoughtful, albeit sometimes partisan way. This book shows that the current administration develops policy in the exact opposite manner: through the whims of a leader with the moral code of a toddler. We should all read this book, even if it’s painful, because we need to know how little this administration thinks of us. Or, well, how little they think of anything of substance.
I’ll probably finish the book, take a few deep breaths, and return to my own writing. I admire Michael Wolff for having the perseverance to write it. I’ll be glad that Fire and Fury has given a narrative to the first year of this ridiculous administration, and it will be a valuable historical document for future generations to read—so they’ll know just how far our democratic government can slide.