Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Good Riddance to the Sickness that Is Trump

January 20, 2021

 

Just about anyone who has lived a while on this earth  can remember a time in their life when reality seemed so overwhelming and  out of control, when events seemed to be  spinning at such a speed and attacking from so many angles  that it was all you could do to hold on to your sanity by filtering lots of it out or just not letting some of it in. 

At such times  things are pushed away to be dealt with at a later date when it is possible to take it in.  Then, after a while, you look back and wonder:  were things really that crazy ? Did that really happen?  How did I survive ? 

One such moment came to me today when, contemplating the end of Trump, I  suddenly remembered the infamous April 23, 2020 press “bleach” briefing — and also what came after it. To recap: After hearing of a study that found that disinfectants and bleach can kill Covid  when it lingered on certain kinds of surfaces, President Trump used his Trump brain to publicly  ponder the possibility of injecting  bleach and disinfectant into the human body to address Covid 19.  

What the President of the United States said was this: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. “

Like much  of America, I watched helplessly as Trump once again spoke with both enormous confidence and astonishing ignorance about a subject of which he knew absolutely nothing.     By this point in his presidency, Trump episodes of talking out of his ass were legion: he had pontificated imbecilicly about Frederick Douglass, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, you name it.

But the bleach injection idiocy,  partly due to Sarah Cooper’s hilarious spoofs on the moment,partly due to increasing disgust at Trump’s frivolousness in the wake of a deadly pandemic and partly due to the fact that this time he was talking about something that could potentially kill someone   proved a much bigger and more embarrassing story than did Trump’s earlier idiocies. 

Trump understood this and, as is his want, he fought back with his usual weapons: lies and repetition and more lies and repetition. The talk about injecting the bleach, Trump insisted straight-faced  the next day, was sarcasm. He was asking reporters a question sarcastically, he said, “just to see their reaction.”  That the incident  was caught on video made no difference to Trump, who later repeated the line about sarcasm in one of his debates with Joe Biden.  

Like the rest of an increasingly exhausted and demoralized America, I didn’t give either statement another thought. 

Until today, that is.   Until today when I considered the fact that in the past four years  it had become perfectly normal that the President of the United States could do things like  

a) muse publicly about injecting disinfectant into the human body to cure a deadly virus ravishing the nation he was obstensibly governing 

b) lie about the musing and claim he was being sarcastic 

c) find sarcasm (even a lie about sarcasm) an appropriate mode of communication while addressing the nation about the deadly virus ravishing the nation.  

I had not really thought about all that – not the full and abject horror and danger such a reality  merits — until today when I began to realize what a ceaseless psychic assault the Trump presidency has been.   And I suppose I could begin to fully realize this  only because it finally ends tomorrow.  

You know you are living in an age of absolute spiritual and civic degeneracy when incidents that are absolutely crazy and  deeply repulsive  are barely noticed and scarcely remembered a few months  or even days later.  And for the past four years such things have happened on a daily basis.  

Such a world is exceedingly if insidiously perilous.

I have no illusions about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.  I know who he is and what they are.  That said, I know that from tomorrow at noon  things will be better, if only because we will not have a sociopath in the White House nor a man who believes that every situation and relationship at every moment should be viewed as a transaction.   Because of those facts alone, four years from now, on the day before the next inauguration, I do not expect to be asking myself in horror: were things really that crazy ?  Did that really happen ?  How did we survive ?  

An Open Letter to Trump’s Betrayed “Patriots” 

January 11, 2021

This is an open letter to any and all of the “Patriots” who attended President Trump’s “Save America March” on Jan 6., especially those who smashed down doors and windows and rampaged through the Capitol believing you could overturn the results of the election and hand Trump the presidency. It is even more so addressed to the (as yet) relatively few whose involvement in the frenzied attack has seen them lose their jobs, be arrested for federal crimes or remain on the run from the FBI.   

My questions are simple and are asked in complete sincerity.  How does it feel to be completely and utterly betrayed by the object of your affection and devotion?  How does it feel to have sacrificed your livelihood and freedom for a person who could not possibly care less about you and who turned on you with no more thought than to swatting a fly?  

I ask specifically about the turn of events that took place between January 6 and January 7, 2021.   To wit: Encouraged by President Trump and others, you journeyed to D.C. from all over the country and on Wednesday morning gathered with thousands of other like minded souls  at the Ellipse.  There you heard a series of speakers repeat to you an enormous older lie within a preposterous newer lie:  the election was stolen but Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the results and restore Trump’s rightful  second term if only he mustered the courage to do so.   It was your job to encourage Pence  to do so.   Alternately, if Pence proved a coward…   

Speaker after speaker put forth one variation after another of this demonstrable nonsense until at last the Great Leader ( who is somehow also the Great Victim) President Trump himself arrived and spoke for two hours, bellowing on about the same.   At one point he said,  “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard, ” a sentence and sentiment that was made absurd by the belligerent and crazed  words that followed, including, of course, a  multitude  of lies a sample of which follows:    

“When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.”

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. … 

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. …

“You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen. These are the facts that you won’t hear from the fake news media. It’s all part of the suppression effort. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it. …

“We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  

 “Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you.…”

“And I’ll be there with you.”  

Of course, Trump had no intention of joining his rabble army on their March on the Capitol  and immediately slipped into his armored limousine to watch the fun and games on TV from the safety of the White House. 

 For me, out of all of the lies Trump told you that day, that one is the worst as he pretended to solidarity and to place  himself at the same risk he was demanding from you.    

At any rate,  within an hour many of you were smashing your way into the preposterously ill guarded Capitol Building,  soon to be roaming the halls, some of you taking selfies like drunk teenage tourists, or wrecking offices or defecating in the hallways, while others engaged in far more sinister endeavors including searching for Mike Pence in order to hang him.    Meanwhile, the man you did all this for watched you on TV, lamenting to his aides about how “low class” you looked while doing absolutely nothing to stop or even address your rampage for over two hours, as images of the chaos shocked and horrified the entire world.  

As you rioted , certification of the Electoral College was on hold – a fact that I am certain brought joy and hope to the heart of your leader – because the legislative body of the United States had been driven from our Capitol.  

Finally, only after President-Elect Joe Biden appeared on national television and demanded President Trump order you out of the building did the President release a video that must rank as one of the most insane statements ever made by an American President.  Largely ignoring the absolute chaos in the Capitol, even in the midst of a world-shaking event, Trump’s statement is made up exclusively of lies about the election, or commiserations of your “hurt” and “’pain” coupled with entreaties to “go home in peace” as you continue to rampage with absolute impunity.  As if talking to children the President of the United States adds that he “loves you” and informs you that you are “very special.”   

Twenty four  hours later Trump speaks to you again and — poof! — there is no talk of  “very different rules”,  “of courage”, “ of showing strength,” and “having to be strong”, “of taking back our country,” of “never  giving up or conceding”; of “stopping the steal,” “of not taking it anymore”, of “fighting like hell or not having a country anymore” , of “your pain” and “hurt “of being “special”  or of his “love.”   

In the place of love and your special place in American history, instead, your leader says this: “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.  America is and must always be a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”

Overnight, without warning,  the same man who urged you to travel to Washington to save democracy was now unambiguously declaring to all the world that you have defiled democracy, that you do not represent this country and that you, not he, will pay for the terrifying, criminal spectacle he orchestrated  for his sole benefit.  

This from the man who the day before proclaimed “I’ll be with you.”  

Hearing these words last  Thursday,   even after four years of listening to this person, I will confess to being stunned by the absolute contempt showered upon you by one to whom you, in turn,  had showered with loyalty. Stunned, that is,     by the enormity of his betrayal.  

In my experience, few if any wounds are as profound, as confusing and as crushing as that of betrayal. Thankfully, I have not known betrayal often, but so painful are its memories, I hope to God to never know it again.  

I wonder if you know it now, now that you have been identified and fired from your job, or fearful of being identified  and fired from your job; or thinking over last week’s adventure from a jail cell; or awaiting a knock on the your door. I wonder  if you recognize it for what it is ?  If you realize that you are hardly even a human being to this man ?  That you are no more than a thing to be used and discarded as you have been so used and discarded? 

I understand the futility of these questions I ask yet I am compelled to ask them.  I also understand that within the agonizing realization of betrayal is the emancipating possibility of clarity.

Like it or not, you are my fellow countryman and I am yours.   I need to understand you as much as humanly possible.     More importantly, you need to understand you. We need to understand each other.    If we cannot,  we are bound, in time, to rip each other’s throat’s out.  

Election 2018: Revealing the Soul of a Nation

November 5, 2018

I cannot remember how many times I’ve heard politicians and talking heads crowing hysterically of how the election we were facing at the moment was the most important of our lifetime, destined, one way or the other, to move the nation in a radical new direction. No doubt, in the past 40 years or so, certain elections have resulted in profound redirections of America – both Reagan and Clinton moved their respective parties to the right in ways that seemed unimaginable before they pulled it off — if largely in terms of economic policy, even if economic policies were always fig-leafed with moral platitudes.
Tomorrow is different.
So different that such past proclamations in my lifetime pale in comparison.

And the difference is moral and spiritual.

Tomorrow ’s election differs solely because at the center of everything stands the figure of Donald Trump and all he embodies and radiates.
As far as I can see, Donald Trump is far and away the vilest, most ignorant and most despicable person to have ever ascended to the presidency. (Both Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson were, in some respects, similar in kind but not in degree, whereas a figure like Nixon looks positively enlightened in comparison to Trump. ) Trump has proven again and again and again and again that he is a man without knowledge, without discipline, without compassion, without respect, without class, without humility, without a shred of honesty, and without an iota of empathy. In short, he is a man without virtues of any kind, possessing only an animal like cunning for locating and exploiting the weaknesses of others. All great con artists possess the same trait. On a personal level, this makes Trump, minus a miracle, a man who is beyond redemption.

And yet, somehow this very man unquestionably moves the hearts and commands the loyalty of millions of Americans who find humor in his cruelty, wisdom in his vulgarity, solace and hope in his ever-expanding mendacity. In two years in office, he has succeeded in completely debasing almost everything he comes into contact with, beginning with the English language, following with political discourse and ending with the office of the Presidency itself. Just two days ago he declared that American soldiers should fire bullets at (phantom) civilians should they throw rocks at them. So thoroughly has Trump debased the political discourse that this statement, one of hundreds of outrageous statements Trump has issued from the White House, came and went with barely a notice.

Above all, Trump has debased his supporters even as they believe he has uplifted them. Not, of course, the corporate titans who profit so enormously from his reckless tax cuts and suicidal deregulation. These overlords understand that the essence of Trump is, was and ever shall be a vulgar con artist playing the rubes for all they’re worth, but they are happy to go along with him for the enormous benefits he brings them. No, I am speaking of the hundreds of thousands who wait all night for his endless rallies, cheering madly as he demonizes helpless asylum seekers, laughing when he mocks traumatized victims of sexual assault, raging when he leads them on chants against the media or to build a wall or to lock someone up without trial or conviction. In these crowds we see the result of Trump’s one undeniable talent: his ability to cunningly locate and brilliantly animate the basest impulses in the human species: racism, greed, violence, xenophobia, cruelty, and above all fear of the other. But this Pied Piper of baseness does not merely animate these impulses. He somehow deludes his followers into believing these primal, savage impulses are valorous, even heroic, and of course, patriotic.
It is a remarkable and horrific talent, amplified into absolute nightmare by the office of the presidency, allowed to proceed unbounded by an invertebrate Congress in thrall to Trump.

It is also one that is dragging the country into an intellectual and spiritual cesspool that cannot be calculated and does not appear to have a bottom. The horrific spectacle of bullet ridden worshipers gunned down in the midst of their service in their Pittsburgh sanctuary by a fellow American who saw them as Other, motivated by his belief they were guilty of aiding desperately poor asylum seekers, is the defining, if unspeakable, image of this moment. And it did not proceed out of thin air — even as it is becoming the very air we breathe.

I have no illusions concerning the Democratic Party. The Democrats have proven themselves hapless, cowardly, and, in terms of corporate obeisance and war mongering, absolutely corrupt. Their abandonment of working-class America opened the gates for the seductive fantasies of Trump to millions who have lived in near despair for decades ( and, will continue to live there when they realize how profoundly their messiah despises them.) Furthermore, one would have to be a fool to think that the Democrats offer any real solutions to the horrific problems of deindustrialization, automation, worker rights, cruel, impossible rents and the ever more obscene disparity between wealth and poverty. With few exceptions, they have learned nothing from Trump’s ascension.

But for all of that, they do not think it is funny to laugh at people in pain. They are not white Supremacists. They do not think it fine to throw people off their health insurance. They do not think poor people should starve to death in the streets. They do not think that Donald Trump is President because God put him there. In short, while they are inept, they are not insane, nor anywhere near as morally and spiritual corrupting as is Trump. Moreover, they are the only force that can rein this person and his people in and halt the ever descending debasement of every aspect of American life. They are for buying time and working for real change.
Tomorrow I will vote for them.

America is sick. Very sick. Trump and his followers are not the cause but symptoms of this sickness. But together they are making America sicker by the day. What tomorrow’s election will reveal is the depth of that sickness in the soul of the nation and if America, like Trump, is beyond redemption.

Arming Teachers: Trump Proposes Making an Insane Situation Even More So

February 22, 2018

One week after the most recent American school slaughter, which left 17 dead, Donald Trump took time off from writing appalling and infantile tweets to gather together teachers, family members and survivors of the recent horror at the White House. In what was billed as a “ Listening Session,” Trump sat silently, wearing an expression meant to signify some approximation of empathy while holding a cheat sheet of handwritten questions and sympathetic expressions, including one that read “I hear you.”

The televised event was difficult to watch. Survivors and parents of the dead from multiple school shootings in the past decade or so, including Sandy Hook, alternately pleaded with or demanded that the man who declared that the “American carnage” would stop on his Inauguration Day use his immense power and influence to finally do something to end the insanity of allowing the sale of weapons of war that lead to yet another completely preventable bloodbath, this time in an American high school.

When at last Trump spoke, he babbled on incoherently about hero football coaches and “cowardly” gunmen. Gone for the moment was Trump’s previous concern for the mental health of the shooters, which was all he talked about when discussing the last few mass murderers. Then, as casually as if the idea just welled up in his brain, Trump floated the following astounding proposal: to allow teachers and school administrators to bear arms with which to shoot down future would be mass murderers before they rampaged yet another American school.

“That,” said the President of the United States, “might solve the problem.”

It would and could do no such thing, of course, as it doesn’t even begin to address the problem on any level, even as it pretends to answer any number of questions that haven’t been asked, principally, why can one purchase a weapon of war? True to form, Trump, the con man par excellence, played the grieving, still numb crowd like the master card artist who tells his mark to pick a card, any card, while cleverly slipping the very card he wants you to have into your hand.

Trump then asked the group what they thought of the idea, acknowledging that it was “controversial” but only one of many that his administration would be “looking into.”

While Trump’s exceedingly dangerous idea (instantly echoed by the NRA, who likely first vomited it up) would do nothing to stop the problem of a lunatic with a weapon of war in a school, and very likely exacerbate it, it would certainly help to solve Trump’s problem- he whose campaign received no less than 30 million dollars from the National Rifle Association, and also the problem of every one of his confederates who is owned, body and soul, by said organization, and have been busy dissembling or hiding or crowing all over the country.

Those who are crowing are crowing the following: “the solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” which is, of course, the logic behind Trump’s proposal, even as it is proven to be an infantile, macho fantasy – a lie and a blood-soaked lie — on an hourly basis in the most murderous nation on earth.

Without outright declaring it, the proposal states the following: there is nothing to be done or nothing that should be done legislatively to end the outright insanity of selling weapons of war under the pretense that they are somehow protected by the Second Amendment.

This afternoon, amid more banter about homicidal “cowards” going into “gun free zone schools” as if “going in for an ice cream cone, ” Trump came out with a full-throated endorsement of the idea.

As a public school teacher who has chaired safety committees and Building Response Teams for years and participated in many an, albeit, non-lethal emergency situation, I have tried to imagine how such an arrangement would work, never mind work well, and I cannot. By definition, there is simply no time for retrieving locked away weapons so as to shoot down would be mass murderers. Moreover, of the hundreds of teachers I have worked with and known, I can think of no one, myself included, who could instantly transform into what amounts to a member of a SWAT team. Although I’m certain there is a minuscule percentage of teachers who might feel comfortable doing so, I am absolutely confident that the overwhelming percentage of teachers would not and could not react in such a manner. You would not ask the same of doctors or nurses or architects or whomever. That is not why they became teachers. Only those who have no idea of what sort of people become teachers or how schools are run or what a school emergency looks and feels like could conceivably come up with such an insane solution to such an insane problem.

As a public school parent, I am filled with rage and disgust that we have so defiled and degraded our political reality that such proposals are even being discussed.

What Trump and the NRA are saying to America is this: there is nothing that can be done to stop such situations and all we can do is prepare for our worst nightmares, always and everywhere. Deal with it. What they are doing with this lunacy is solving their problem and not the unspeakable reality of American children being gunned down in their classrooms and hallways. What they are revealing is that they could not care less.

A Horrifying Continuum:Trump Encourages Police Brutality.

July 29, 2017

Another day, another deranged declaration from our diseased Commander in Chief and with it yet another effort to divide America between those who adore Trump and those who are disgusted and alarmed by him. On that level, at least, the speech to a group of Long Island law officers could be said to be a rousing success, not unlike his grotesque babbling to the Boy Scouts, his “slice and dice” oration in Ohio, and his whimsical ban of transgender personnel in the military that took place earlier in the week.

Ostensibly, the visit to Long Island and the speech to law enforcement was about Trump’s plan to “eradicate” the notoriously violent gang MS-13, who in yet another example of blowback, emerged out of America’s savage policy toward El Salvador under Ronald Reagan, and are responsible for several brutal murders in the area. But, as with everything this man speaks of, the visit and the speech were really about Trump and his base.

Thus, the purpose of the visit was largely to plant or reinforce in the mind of the American public the idea that American immigrants are made up not of the millions of hard working, decent, and law abiding peoples that have built and rebuilt the country since its founding, but horrific criminal organizations such as MS-13, and thereby build support for the Trump administration’s expansion of it’s mass detention and deportation agenda.

Addressing the law enforcement officers, the President of the United States said the following: “When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’

Implicit in the words is the belief that the president has the power to simply negate protocol and the law. Implicit in these words is the message that the accused are guilty until proven innocent. Implicit in these words is a message that the President of the United States approves of police brutality.

Once again, there is no precedent for a president making such appalling statements.
Disturbingly, the statements were met with vociferous cheering from the law enforcement officers present, this at a time in which reports of police brutality, especially against people who happen not to be white, are a ceaseless national disgrace; and to be sure they were cheered just as enthusiastically by Trump’s deranged supporters across the country.
And that, I fear, is the point. In his first Inaugural Address in 1861, peering out at a nation enthusiastically set to slaughter each other wholesale, Lincoln implored and beseeched Americans to contact and embrace the “better angels of our nature. ”
Such is what great leaders do.
Conversely, like some demonic cheap rent parody of an anti-Lincoln, Trump has, from his incredible emergence as a politician, continually urged and encouraged the exact opposite of Lincoln’s sublime exhortation. To wit, he has ceaselessly, recklessly, and with absolute immunity encouraged, explicitly or implicitly, Americans to not merely embrace but valorize our basest and most brutal impulses: greed, mendacity, jingoism, violence, racism, xenophobia, vulgarity, and cruelty.

Yesterday’s remarkably repugnant statements are merely part of a continuum that has stepped up in the past week to fever pitch; merely another attempt to rile up his base and divide the nation into two irreconcilable camps: supporters of Donald Trump and The Enemy who is everyone else. There can be no middle ground because there is none meant to be. And there is no purpose, political or otherwise, other than the apotheosis of Donald J. Trump.
This is our current civil war: the dividing of Americans against the “better angels of our nature.” And, as this is all that he can understand, this is what Trump desires. This is what happens – what MUST happen—when a nation invests a toxic, malignant, astoundingly ignorant mega-narcissist with immense power. Trump does not know how to do anything other than what he is doing and is wholly, characterologically incapable of learning or even conceiving of anything that does not glorify Trump. Trump is narcissism incarnate. Trump’s war is not about Conservatives against Progressives, or Democrats against Republicans or any other recognizable political affiliation. Trump has no more loyalty to Republicans as he has to anyone or anything he has ever been connected with.
Trump rants and raves about “ loyalty,” a word in understands to mean subservience to Trump and his family and nothing more. Trump’s war is about the domination of his “movement” which consists entirely of the cult of Trump. And as he is increasingly showing, he will do and say anything to “win.”

Further, with the cowardly refusal of the members of the United States Congress to unambiguously condemn the purposefully divisive, anti- democratic, and vile statements of this ridiculous and all so dangerous figure, it may only be the beginning.

In the end, Trump will fail and fall but he will not go easily and the damage he and his will do in the process may be enormous.