My original title for this piece was, “When A Toxic, Shallow, Delusional Nincompoop Rises to Power.” On second thought, it seemed too benign.
My second title was, “When A Hateful, Lying, Unapologetic Misogynist Rises to Power.” Better, I thought, though it wasn’t quite inclusive enough.
How about, "When A Hateful, Lying, Unapologetic Misogynist-Racist Rises to Power” or "When A Hateful, Lying, Unapologetic Misogynist-Racist, Sociopathic Narcissist-Autocrat Rises to Power”? I didn’t like either. Too long.
My next shot: “When An Asshole Rises to Power,” or maybe “When An Ignorant Asshole Rises to Power.” No, forget “asshole.” It’s too vulgar, too angry. Too much like Trump.
And then this came to me: “Our Malignantly Dickish President.” Not bad!
Clearly, Trump is a cancerous tumor upon the soul of America. The only thing uncertain about the “Trump tumor” is whether it is a Stage 1, 2, 3 or 4, but its malignant nature has been confirmed. Therefore, It cannot be allowed to run its course. It must be surgically removed by congress, the judical system or voters. As with any tumor, the sooner it is eliminated, the better the chances for a healthy recovery. The longer it remains, the more damage it will likely do.
The most sobering thing about the “Trump tumor” is this: Even if we succeed at excising it, it has the ability to grow back with more virulent force. That is because the "Trump tumor” itself is a sign of a diseased organism. Like all tumors, it is more symptom than cause. It grew from a swamp of hatred, ignorance, intolerance and desperation. And the swamp will remain even after the "Trump tumor" is gone. We aren’t sure how to drain the swamp because we live in it. Rather than a tumor, Trump may be seen as the monster who fed off and emerged from the muck.
You can't reason with a tumor or a monster, or those who relate to them as benign or positive forces. I am thinking of Mike Pence now and the mere thought of him makes me sick to my stomach. He is the sniveling sycophant waiting in the wings to step out behind the Presidential seal with all his ugly piety and smugness should Trump fall. Pence, with his relative normalcy, could perhaps pose an even greater threat than Trump. Still, we would be better off taking our chances with Pence, because it is also possible that he would neutered, as Gerald Ford was following Nixon.
Here is what we know about Trump: He makes everything worse. He is the gasoline poured on the fires of racism, misogyny and tribalism. He is incapable of empathy. He is empty at his core. He is ignorant, unaware of his ignorance, and destined to remain ignorant. He is incapable and/or unwilling to speak or recognize the truth. He is reflexively antagonistic, full of bombast and bitterness. He is immoral, crude, vengeful, sickeningly vain, in denial of reality, aching for a fight and totally enamored with himself. He is also a clown, a buffoon and a patsy.
I remember as a kid seeing a movie in which a determined aristocrat takes on the challenge of training a chimp to sip tea with the upper crust at a fancy society dinner. The chimp is dressed in a suit and has impeccable manners and everyone in their finery is impressed. “Why, it’s unbelievable, he has trained the chimp!” Except not for long. After a few minutes, the chimp starts swinging from the chandelier and throwing its food and feces around. Everyone in the scene is upstaged by the chimp who is at the center of the mayhem. The chimp is hilarious and entertaining, while ruining the event for everyone, which we as viewers delight in.
Trump is our chimp-president and there are no doubt many people take delight in the destruction he is causing. Like the chimp in the movie, Trump can be trained to a degree. He can be taught to read from a teleprompter or to read a written statement about how he said “would” when he meant “wouldn’t.” But like the chimp, Trump soon reverts to form and starts howling, jumping and hurling his crapola, because that is who he is. We are all characters in the scene with Trump and, like the characters in the movie, we are compelled to deal with him. Expressing indignation and outrage as Trump defecates in the punch bowl is not a solution to the problem. The chimp must be returned to the jungle, or put in a cage and given a banana.
The problem is that Trump is more like King Kong than a chimp. The reality show he is starring in now, while often ridiculously absurd, is not a comedy and it will not end happily for him or his enablers. That said, we are in unknown territory, with a man who can’t stop throwing his own excrement as the leader of our nation.