Monday, July 16, 2018 11:02 AM
Half-Assing the Presidency (2018Jul16)
When Trump’s cheerleaders say he does things differently, I cannot argue—however, that seems to put an unwarranted shine upon doing things poorly, incompletely, and without any sense of responsibility. Today’s New York Times Arts-Section reports that Trump’s administration has failed to award Presidential Medals for the Arts (or Sciences) thus far, creating yet another gap in the traditions of the White House. This is the same First Family that would have spaced out on the Easter Egg Roll last year, if the Easter Egg manufacturer hadn’t chivied them about their missing pre-order for the special wooden eggs.
The same article points out that Trump has an ‘awkward relationship with the arts’. He can hardly be called a patron (though, if you’re talking over-sized portraits of himself, his fraudulent charity might be interested). Collectible art has become its own investment-sector among the wealthy, but even so, Trump’s base precludes any public support of culture on his part, even if he had the wit to appreciate it. Culture, like science, is way off-brand for this administration.
Trump has no use for diplomacy or, for that matter, any function of the State Department. Even after replacing the top brass, Trump still has no use for the FBI. He gets uncomfortable with all the intelligence services, because they have this theory about the election. Also, they expect him to read this special morning briefing, every morning—and Trump doesn’t like to read—so he doesn’t read it.
Let me preface my next comment with some personal history—when I was little, my dad was fresh from serving as a Marine in Korea. He and my mom had five children, little money, and few prospects. But they sure knew how to work—my parents worked so hard, they worked nearly as hard as their parents had to, during the Great Depression. My parents were good parents—some of my friends’ parents’ behavior made that quite clear (other people’s families are like other planets—and some of them are cold and deadly).
Having said that: when we were very young, my father had the draconian and megalomaniac tendencies of the man who would become a self-made millionaire. He mellowed with time, but back then he could be strict, unreasonable, quick to take offense, and even quicker to lose his temper—a violent prima donna.
Having come this far, I still hesitate to say that Trump reminds me of my dad—it’s not fair to my dad, who was capable of both feeling shame, and seeing reason (eventually). All I’m really saying is: I’m familiar with the psychosis that inhabits the Oval today—I’m familiar with those shell-shocked, bug-eyed kids of his, too. I know when a man is substituting bluster for confidence—and when a man is more comfortable lying than allowing for imperfection.
But I hate to suggest an equivalence—my dad was no coward, no spoiled brat, and several-times-less of a bigot—and he worked his ass off, not just bossing people, but real working. His early parenting style, poverty-stricken and straight from boot camp, traumatized me more than my siblings—and he got better as time went on, slowly but surely. Still, this left me with a horror of people who insist on Authority taking precedence, even over Reason.
Which brings us back to Trump. At first, I felt fortunate—if he was without the slightest experience or in-depth knowledge of government, Trump would definitely do less damage than a real politician could, to forward his fascist deformation of America. Sadly, it turns out, the real politicians won’t behave so outrageously—but they’ll be outrageously silent in the face of Trump doing it. It’s tragic to learn just how shallow their lip-service to public service really is.
Trump’s agenda is two-fold: spoil anything Obama, and pander to the rich, especially himself. He doesn’t know from President—he just wanted to win a contest and purge his racist temper-tantrum. The greatest danger we face now is his growing awareness of and addiction to the immense destructive power of his office. Most people would be embarrassed to be torturing thousands of children and babies—and admitting that they started those internments without any plans to undo their violence. That would give most people pause. Not this clown.
Finally, to anyone who might suggest that Trump’s recent meetings with Kim and Putin are his ‘diplomacy’, let’s make a list of all the things those ill-advised coffee-klatches accomplished: