The other day the Washington Nationals announced that President* Trump would not be throwing out the first pitch at the team’s home opener. That’s fine: no annual traditions were broken as neither Barack Obama nor George W. Bush were present and accounted for at the start of every season of America’s pastime during their administrations. On the other hand, it did occur to me that I can’t recall a single appearance by populist man of the people Donald J. Trump that wasn’t a highly scripted one where the President* wasn’t surrounded on all sides by either hand-picked White House invitees or campaign-style rallies organized by the President*’s team.
I have voted for both republicans and democrats for President. Previous to my horror at what has become of the Republican Party I had always voted the person rather than the party (No longer: I will vote the entirety of the democratic party ticket moving forward.) and I have to feel, like so many of you, that had I not voted for a particular president, I would have none the less been pretty well gobsmacked in their presence and respectful of the person and the office. Trump? Not so much. I would absolutely delight in telling the $#@%@^&# just what I thought of his $%#%$^ Muslim ban, his $#@%^&*%$ executive orders, his %@#$&# demeanor, and his %#$@^#&%# treatment of the country’s free press and the list unfortunately goes on and on.
That’s pretty sad and I guess I’m supposed to feel badly about taking it to that level but even as I write this post the President* has lashed out at NBC’s Chuck Todd in a highly personal manner this morning on Twitter, so the danger of stooping lower than our President* in terms of decorum is about as minimal as my living long enough to see Trump build a 2,000 mile long border wall.
Donald Trump: A President Encased in His Own Echo Chamber
The real stunner of the Trump ascendency to President and his time thus far in the Oval Office is that the man’s previous ready abilities to appeal to people from across a broad spectrum of America in his former incarnation as an entertainment celebrity, has completely evaporated. It is as though, having found his sweet spot in appealing to that portion of America’s most angry and embittered electorate, he now feels completely at ease shedding his earlier lust for broad appeal and is now hunkered down in a White House echo chamber where the sound of his voice reigns supreme. Absent his lust for celebrity, Trump is now comfortably ensconced as a type of presidential bubble boy, living in a sad, artificial environment completely choreographed by his enablers for his personal comfort where one imagines Fox & Friends plays on an endless loop in the background while he munches away on meatloaf. From his isolation bubble, he tweets out new insults or lies that are justified only by a simpleton’s logic: ‘I’m President and you’re not’ (Try using that one at the pearly gates Don.). When the tsunami of truth inevitably crashes against the bubble, the Trump administration sends out various sad souls to bring forth varying combinations of belligerence and conservative media snippets to justify the administration’s claim that the current president* has an inherent right to be an ass because, well, ‘he’s the President* and you’re not’.
There’s nothing about this guy that I can find likable or admirable. His achievement in attaining the Office of the President is not impressive: it’s sad. His ascendancy doesn’t speak to any remarkable qualities as a man, a leader, or some new form of visionary previously unseen on the American political landscape. Rather, it speaks to the desires of a portion of the Unites States electorate to burn this place to the ground, all logic and human decency be damned.
And yet: I can’t shake the lingering feeling of empathy I want to project towards this miserable man. The instinctual grief one always feels at the failure of another human being to rise above their baser instincts and become a better version of themselves. To learn from past mistakes and perhaps most importantly of all to feel that sense of remorse that comes with the mistakes and to vow to be your best self on the path ahead. Today, our President* is no further along on that mission to become a better human being than when he started his presidential campaign. Even sadder? In many ways he has regressed absent the immediate need to secure votes. He bullies for no particular reason. He lies for no particular reason. He claims victories where no one with an ounce of self-respect and pride in the meaning of the word ‘achievement’ would do likewise.
As much as he can be loathed for the man he has transformed himself into, he can also be pitied for his rank failure to transcend his worst impulses and become a man for whom all Americans, whether we voted for him or not, would at least be honored to be in his presence. At the pace he’s on, it’s hard not to foresee the day he makes it to the top step before turning and waving and then enters Air Force One for the long ride to Mar-a-Lago and his time in exile as the disgraced former president. From one human being to another, here’s hoping he can muster enough humanity within himself in the time he has remaining in office that we find enough humanity within ourselves to answer his wave with one of our own that is not a sea of raised middle-fingers.