Our improbable president, fortified by fantasies of bravery, carries no gun; but if he did, it would be made of stolen vibranium and disguised as a TV remote control. Like other imaginary weapons, it is unaffected by the new tariffs. His most dangerous weapon is his brazen disregard for norms and traditions.
Trump’s policy proposals, if impulsive bullshitting can be called that, are like an exotic fish whose poison either kills you or gives you superpowers. Sit over here, tuck in your napkin, and please pay in advance.
His latest attack on the social safety net is a budget proposal to replace food stamps with what are euphemistically called “America’s harvest boxes,” courtesy of convenient conservatives who demand freedom for themselves and paternalism toward everyone else.
Days before Trump announced his new tariffs on foreign-made steel, former adviser Carl Icahn dumped millions of dollars worth of steel-related stocks. Martha Stewart found herself redecorating a prison cell for lying about less; so let the questioning begin. It’s an ill trade wind that blows no vulture capitalist into the pokey.
Trump’s son-in-law has been making a pile using his White House position. Soon Jared may be breaking a pile, as in rocks. It turns out that the chief White House calligrapher has a higher security clearance than Kushner. That calligraphers require a clearance is a reminder of the robust institutions standing in the Scavenger’s way.
This week on “Chickenhawks Blowing Things Up,” former UN Ambassador John Bolton calls for a preemptive strike against North Korea. He is being mentioned as a possible replacement for H.R. McMaster as National Security Adviser. Apparently, Trump needs a fresh supply of crazy people.
Megyn Kelly, whom Trump said in 2015 had “blood coming out of her wherever,” proves herself tougher on Vladimir Putin than he is, having confronted the Russian despot in another interview. Putin later announced an intercontinental cruise missile impervious to American defenses, but Trump was busy critiquing Alec Baldwin.
Whatever your position on guns, Trump probably embraced it at one time or another last week. His cavalier dismissal of due process recalled the summer day long ago when I first read the trial over who stole the tarts in Alice in Wonderland: “Sentence first—verdict afterwards.” Now our wannabe dictator praises Chinese President Xi’s power grab and says, at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago, “Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day.” He admires the sort of men we fought to protect the world from, while he denounces athletes for kneeling and demands more football concussions.
Elsewhere in American greatness, Trump’s faithful followers pursue their holy war. Couples at a Unification Church offshoot in Pennsylvania exchanged vows while wearing crowns (some fashioned from bullets) and holding AR-15s.
Kim Davis, the county clerk from Kentucky whose defense of traditional families includes her four marriages, has put her name to a ghost-written memoir titled Under God’s Authority. The book description says, “Kim chronicles her dramatic encounters with furious, fist-pounding, homosexual men.” How can a county clerk impose her life choices on others in defiance of the Supreme Court? She seems, in any case, to have missed the Christ who commanded, “Love your neighbor.”
There is no placating Trump’s rabble. People long fed on bitterness and paranoia do not easily change their diet. On November 6 we should deliver them a defeat so devastating that they go back into the holes they crawled out of.
In the meantime, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues, as does the attrition of top White House staff. It appears that a number of Trump associates, some flunking their background checks, may be convicted of conspiring against the United States. That remains to be seen.
America’s crisis of self-destruction ironically coincides with a rare cultural moment as Ryan Coogler’s magnificent Black Panther is celebrated across the African diaspora, whose progeny reach back to the homeland over a void of stolen history as incuriousness, greed, cruelty, and lies hollow out a mighty republic.
In a sense, the idea of America is as mythical as Wakanda. If we do not fight to redeem it, it will disappear like a dream into the mist.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2018 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.