|Zump! Zump! Here Comes Trump!
||[Jan. 26th, 2017|11:13 pm]
It was obvious to me (and I said as much publicly) back in Dec 2015 that Trump was going to be the Republican nomminee. That being said, I was much less sanguine about his chances in the general election. The almost playful way in which he destroyed major-league politicians such as Jeb!, Lyin' Ted, and the Little Senator ought perhaps to have furnished a clue that what we were seeing wasn't politics as usual.
The nadir of my faith came a few weeks prior to the election, when the news media started giving 24/7 play to that tape of him boasting about how (paraphrasing) women liked it when he grabbed them by the pussy, because he was a billionaire. Now, leaving aside the truthfulness of the claim for a minute ^1, exactly what about this type of talk makes him unfit to be POTUS? Most men in America have talked this way at one point or another, trying to fit in with the locker-room crowd, or trying to intimidate with their callousness. Few are proud of it in retrospect, as indeed Trump himself wasn't.
So, why do we pretend that this makes any difference to our voting decision? In large part, I think, it's because we understand that a professional politician's loyalty isn't to us, the people, but rather to his party, and that whatever he promises to get elected, it means nothing the day after. We're left grasping at any clue whatsoever to the man's character, hoping that somehow, this time, we may get one with a conscience, who will at least try to do some of the good things that he so freely promised. Did he pay all of his taxes? Maybe he accepts that the rich and powerful are bound by the law, just like the working class. Does he speak and act respectfully toward others, particularly the poor and the powerless? Perhaps this one actually understands that the rest of us are human, just like him and his friends. Indirect, symbolic behaviours aren't much to go on, but they're all we have.
Trump said, early on in the campaign, that he could stand in Times Square, take out a gun and shoot someone, and none of his supporters would care. Hyperbole aside, he was completely right. I recognized that at the time and defended it on Twitter, but I failed to apply the principle to the general election. People don't care if Donald Trump observes the niceties that we so stringently require of a professional office-holder, because he's not a politician^2. He doesn't owe his position to the party grandees who came before, and he doesn't have to worry about paving the way for the junior politicians who will follow. He's his own man. Perhaps he'll cheerfully betray us all, but I don't see that happening. First, POTUS is a step down for him, in many ways. He doesn't need the money, he doesn't need the perks, he doesn't need the political power. His house, his car, and his airplane put the POTUS's to shame. About the only rewards I can see him getting out of this is the gratitude of the American people, and the knowledge that he helped America when we were in trouble. That gives us a tighter, surer hold on Donald Trump's loyalty than we've had on any POTUS since FDR. I think he's going to disrupt the system to just about the same degree.
Now, on to the Inauguration.
The last one I watched was in 2009. As I noted at the time, Obama gave, as is usual for him, a polished, well-delivered speech (public speaking seems to be one of his few real talents), but the parade itself was lacklustre, burdened with celebrities, singers, and even a (sophomorically bad) poet. Trump turned that right around.
First, it was wonderful that it began to rain right as Trump stepped up to the podium. Were it not an act of nature, the symbolism would have been heavy-handed - the past being washed away, and America getting a new chance. As it was, it was just perfect. Even Franklin Graham joked about it.
Trump began his speech in a rather rough and hesitant manner, but then caught fire about halfway through. And what a speech is was! It boils down to "Sucks to oppose America", but the beauty of it was in the delivery, and the details. An absolutely fierce, fire-breathing speech, full of confidence in the future, and in America's ability to overcome any obstacle. It was all the more striking and effective for capping off eight years of Obama's dark vision of a doomed America, with ever-shrinking horizons, and ever-fewer options. This was like the sun breaking through the clouds to shine on the flag. It was everything that I, and lot of others, needed to hear.
Trump's parade was better too - mainly uniformed services, military, police, fire, scouts, with (oddly) a group of farmers driving their tractors that they'd decorated with flashing lights. He'd allegedly wanted tanks in his parade, but had to give that up since they'd have destroyed the pavement. He did have one singer toward the end, performing the National Anthem, but that's pretty much de rigeur.
I'm not sure where the alt.left gets "anti-semitic" for Donald Trump. Is it that he's so close to his Jewish son-in-law,the one he appointed special adviser? Is it his unwavering support for Israel? Inquiring minds want to know!
Equally, I'm unsure where "divisive" comes from. I've spoken English for more than half a century now, and if there's a word in this language more inclusive than "all", I have yet to learn it.
And what's the deal with "anti-gay"? Is it the way he openingly acknowledges his gay and transgendered friends? That rainbow flag he was waving at the convention? His statement that people should use whatever restroom they think right? Again, Inquiring Minds...
It is a profound mystery to me how any American could find fault with the idea of "America First".
I'm looking forward to Theresa May's visit, and hope it will be a productive one. I rather doubt that Angela Merkel feels the same way.
^1 I will note that he's 70 years old, has an orange face and a bright yellow hairpiece, and still managed to get a supermodel for a wife. Twice.
^2 The rules for politicans still seem to be in full effect. A Nebraska (IIRC) state senator just got hounded out of office for tweeting disrespectfully about women. I have no pity for him.