Stephen Bannon is a name you have probably already heard and will probably be hearing for the next — and I’m being generous here — four years.
Let’s clear one thing up. Donald Trump is no Niccolò Machiavelli, Otto Von Bismarck or Winston Churchill. He has no talent for diplomacy or tact for politics. He doesn’t read (a big marker of refinement), is weak in his supposed “conservative” convictions and cares very little about reason — a facet of politics and debate that Jefferson, Lincoln and Obama all lauded. Instead, he’s the epitome of the worst kind of social creature — one tethered to social media, biased news sources and attention. Basically, if you took everything crappy about the 21st century and rolled it up into a ball, it would be Trump. He’s an idiot.
Luckily for him (I guess), it’s far more dangerous to have an ideologue in office than it is an idiot. However, if the idiot surrounds himself with ideologues and awards them significant power, then we’re in trouble. That’s where Steve Bannon comes in.
Bannon, unlike his boss, appreciates and embraces social movements and intellectual tides, albeit the anti-Semitic, racist and sexist ones. I could go into Bannon’s personal history, his ex-wife’s disposition verifying allegations of racism and domestic abuse or his sketchy tenure at Breitbart News.
What makes Bannon extremely dangerous isn’t his views, it’s his masterful manipulation of Trump and the power he wields. He, a senior White House official, exercises significant influence over what comes out of the Trump administration. Every order churned out of the White House, Bannon has, in one way or another, jammed his grubby paws into.
His most prized possession, though, is the Immigration Ban, or, what it ought to be called — the Muslim Ban. Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Bannon have all tried very hard to frame the ban under the guise of national security; if we keep people who may pose a threat out of the country, we’ll be safer. Yeah, maybe. But the problem is that people barred by Trump’s order pose no conceivable threat to the security of the United States. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared by Kim Kardashian West, “Islamic jihadist immigrants” kill 2 U.S. citizens annually, whereas lawnmowers kill 69 and guns in the hands of Americans kill 11,737. Hence, if you extend the Trump team’s logic ad absurdum, we ought to ban those things, too.
The Muslim Ban is wrong in any variant, regardless of how packaged or presented. However, the green card clause, which was later removed, was a clause that barred lawful American residents from re-entering the country and caused a particularly poignant reaction, wasn’t supposed to be there. Actually, the National Security Council advised Trump not to add on that cause because it might not be very constitutional.
Do you know who overrode that advice? Steve Bannon. Do you know why he even had the authority to that? Trump put him on the National Security Council.
It’s typical of any administration staff in the White House to have cronies, some more than others. However, the National Security Council is an exception. It is supposed to be non-partisan, and it’s supposed to offer the president practical and empirical advice as it pertains to national security. Therefore, Bannon, according to former acting CIA chief and smart guy Michael Morell “brings politics into a room where there should be no politics.”
It seems like every single day, we’re moving away from the careful weighing and consideration of facts and instead toward feelings based on radicalism and fiction. Make no mistake, you can very well be a far-left progressive and a far-right libertarian radical based on empirical and intellectual truths — both Eugene V. Debs and Ayn Rand did it. But when you start gripping to ideology without any kind of basis whatsoever and tending all of your supposed “non-partisan” departments in one definite direction arbitrarily, then we’re headed down a pretty slippery slope.
Like I said before, Trump is no ideologue. If he was, he’d be consistent for more than a day or two. His cabinets picks, though? They are. His senior advisors? Certainly. His vice president? Yes. The largest bulk of the Trump resistance will have to focus on them. They’re the Oz behind the curtain, the real doers in this administration. And we’ve already started with Bannon and his ridiculous Muslim ban.