If you watch late night TV, you’ve surely seen the ads for products ‘not available in stores.’ If you’ve ever bought one of these highly-touted items, there’s a good chance you’ve been disappointed. They seldom work the way they’re claimed to work in the ads, or you find yourself roped into an auto-ship arrangement that takes some effort to extricate yourself from. You quickly find yourself suffering ‘buyer’s remorse.’

The many voters who, out of anger with the dysfunctional system that American politics has become, voted for Donald Trump, the quintessential outsider; an angry, politically-incorrect, non-politician, who promised to ‘make America great again,’ if they are capable of looking at the situation rationally, are probably experiencing a bit of buyer’s remorse at this point in the Trump Administration.

Trump made some wild promises: he’d build a wall between the US and Mexico and make the Mexicans pay for it, Obamacare would be abolished and replaced with a much better system, and he’d renegotiate multilateral trade agreements to favor American workers and products; and he would secure America’s borders from all the bad guys out there; oh, and all of this would be ‘so easy.’ He would just apply the ‘art of the deal’ for which he’s famous as a businessman, and things would just fall into place.

Then, reality reared its ugly head. During the first two months in office, Mr. Trump has been getting a lesson in American politics 101, to wit, governing a country is not as easy as being the host of a reality show. In a system where each branch of government is independent of the others, and each has its own interests and operating ethos, you can’t just say ‘you’re fired,’ and get your way. Bullying only works so far, and often has a tendency to backfire on the bully.

The Administration started off with a travel and visa ban, focusing on six (and later, five) predominantly Muslim countries. Interestingly enough, none of the countries on the list have been the origin of terrorists who’ve conducted attacks in the United States. What ensued from the hastily issued executive order was chaos at airports and condemnation from within and without. Finally, the initial order, after being struck down by the courts, was reissued, and, guess what—the second order was also drubbed by the independent judicial system.

Not to be defeated, Trump and the GOP decided to tackle the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare. An alternative piece of legislation was quickly cobbled together, and it quickly ran into the buzz saw of special interests and political agendas, and it wasn’t just the Democrats in congress who shot it down. The House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra-right wing GOP legislators who didn’t want Obamacare amended or improved, they wanted it gone, defected from the party and voted it down. It wasn’t enough for them that the proposed legislation would only deprive 24 million of their constituents of health insurance. Trump blustered and threatened, and it backfired. Congress shelved their legislation legerdemain for the nonce, and Trump said, ‘forget it, we’ll keep the ACA for now.’ Now, he’s in a pissing contest with the Freedom Caucus, a situation that can only end badly for both sides.

Part of Trump’s ‘make America great again,’ campaign is a robust uptick in defense spending and drastic reductions in spending for the civilian side of government. The State Department, for instance, has been targeted for more than 30 percent budget cuts. Foreign affairs accounts for only about 1 percent of the budget, so maybe the Pentagon can buy one or two airplanes with what’s being taken away from that account, but the long-term cost of further weakening our ability to conduct diplomacy hasn’t been calculated. Further, the proposed budget cuts are already being objected to by many GOP legislators in the Senate, so the budget has about as much chance of being passed as a snowball has of rolling through hell without losing weight. I predict another round of conflict between Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue, and you know who’ll win that fight.

As for the wall; after bragging that he’d make Mexico pay for it, he came to a kind of compromise; we’d build the thing using American taxpayer money, and get it from the Mexicans later. Good luck with that one. Heck, just getting the appropriate land agreements along the border will be like pulling hen’s teeth.

If the first two months are anything to go by, things are just going to get worse. Unless the White House gets it through their heads that this is not a reality show, there’s no director to yell ‘cut’ and order the actors to toe their marks and recite their lines. Instead, there are three independent branches of government, each insisting on maintaining the separation of powers, we’ll just see an unending series of gaffes and conflicts, and the American people will be the losers. As for me, I can’t help but wonder if the people who brought this upon us are suffering any form of remorse.

Published by Charles Ray