Saturday, December 16, 2023

Flashback 2015: America would survive Trump ... right?

   An email notified me Friday 
that someone had "upvoted" a post of mine on Tremr: Is Donald Trump the President America Deserves?
     Tremr? It didn't ring a bell. These social media platforms come and go. You're not supposed to click on such links, but I clicked anyway — I couldn't imagine a scam that narrowly focused. There was a brief essay written eight years ago, by me, apparently. And here's the odd thing. Its general tone — Trump would not be the end of America — was the exact point that readers were making yesterday on my Mailbag post about the dangers of a potential second term. But those I was pushing back against; I'd come full circle, 180 degrees.
     For a moment, I wondered if perhaps I hadn't written it, that it was somehow assembled by AI. "Deep Freudian bunkum." Did I really write that phrase? Checking my email, there is a note from a Trent McNish on Dec. 2, 2015. "We run a weekly debate, kicked off by a respected journalist or author, and next week we’d really like to run something on the theme of your article," referring to something I'd written in the Sun-Times about newcomer Trump that previous July. I can't quite make out what Tremr is now — something of a ghost ship, a charred, sailless hull bobbing on the great debris ocean of the internet.
     It's interesting to read the piece again, just as a bit of Trumpalia. My suggestion that Ben Carson or Ted Cruz would be worse isn't embarrassing — the truth is unknowable, and I do believe that Cruz would have been more methodical, less self-obsessed and blundering, and therefore could cause more damage. 
    Anyway, enough prelude. I return you to that innocent time in American life when the presidency of Donald Trump was merely speculation. Although, in my defense, America DID survive Trump. So far.
     It's December. 
     Which means the nightmare sideshow of the Republican 2016 presidential campaign has been in full swing for about five months now, every minute of it starring that improbable figure yanked from the deep Freudian bunkum of the United States, that supercharged Id with its own jet, Donald Trump. 
     The laughter that the media and fellow Republicans greeted Trump with, the teeth-gritted, can-you-believe-this-guy amazement has long ago shifted into a cold river of panic running through the soft underbelly of Conservative America. 
     And while history tells us that the early primary darlings flame out and just become bad hangover memories, this field of candidates is so sub-par that comfort is hard to find.

 (Not) The Worst of a Bad Bunch
      The awful truth about Trump is that he isn't the worst running. By far. 
     Donald Trump is Solon the Lawgiver compared to Ben Carson, the doctor who went from being the deracinated pet black man of the religious right to leading the polls along with Trump, his eyes at half mast, murmuring his near-insane pronouncements which, devoid of fact or even sense, were seized on as glyphic truths by his fans.  And neither of those two men approached the hellish unfitness of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a demagogue from the Joe McCarthy mold, hated by Democrat and Republican alike in Congress, a fraud hiding his Princeton and Harvard roots, his banker wife, behind a smokescreen of false populism. 
     Mustering bravado last July, I came up with an approach to observing this ongoing canard without chewing my paw off to escape. I blustered that, if one of these guys became the president of the United States, we would deserve him. 
     It was my way to sop up spreading panic with a display of courage. 
     Maybe it was no more than a facile line, a way to anticipate living with the crushing understanding that a nation of 310 million people had selected a Donald Trump - or a Ben Carson, or a Ted Cruz - to lead it for the next four years. Because how bad would that really be? 

America Would Survive... Right? 
     We survived eight years of Ronald Reagan, and he co-starred in a B-movie with a chimp and had a wife who consulted swamis when setting the presidential schedule. 
      We survived eight years of George W. Bush, a man who resembled Alfred E. Newman, physically and intellectually. 
     If Hillary Clinton self-destructs - as Clintons are wont to do - we'll survive whatever boob the Republican Party designates as heir. Or is that being glib? Is that an insult to the thousands of soldiers killed and hundreds of thousands of civilians butchered in Bush's ill-advised wars. 
     I guess what I'm asking is: how much does the president really matter? All bad presidents have good qualities: Nixon created the EPA, Reagan ended the Cold War bloodlessly. And all good presidents have their bad qualities. Barack Obama deported a huge number of illegal immigrants and failed to close Guantanamo Bay. 

     Does it matter who wins next November? And if Donald Trump squeaks into the Oval Office, won't that be what the country secretly wants, needs, and deserves? Discuss.


  1. If he wins, it would be an unmitigated nightmare. This nation already will never be the same because of him. Another term and he will be our dictator. He’s even said so, and I don’t think he was kidding or joking. I pray for this nation. We are at an epic crossroads.

  2. In the early Thirties, the Germans thought Herr Hitler would save them from the chaos they were dealing with...depression, deep political divisions, leftists and rightists battling to the death in the streets. They got the order they wished for: The New Order. That did not end well. For them...or for the world. We are headed down the same road...and it ends at a cliff.

  3. Does it matter who wins next November? Absolutely and unequivocally. With one, the economy continues to improve and we get further beyond the trauma inflicted by TFG and his cohorts and acolytes. With the other, we get to watch that same bunch gleefully destroying the great American experiment of democracy. I'm old, and I never thought I'd see the ruination of my country .... until that dreadful dictator wannabe rode down his golden escalator into infamy.

    1. I'm old, too...eleven weeks before Election Day, I will be 77, and like the rest of us, I'm seeing things I never thought possible. I keep chanting my mantra: I'm glad I'm not 26, and it's a good thing my time is short, and I won't be around when the poop hits the propeller for real. Easy to say in one's geezerhood.

      But my mother lived to 92, and my grandmother to 87, and if I'm as hapless as my beloved Cubs, I'll face the regime of Donaldo Trumpolini...and possibly another ten or fifteen more years of this American a codger with a walker. Or worse. Oh, for joy...

      Or perhaps, when push comes to shove...literally...I'll last about a week.
      No...make that a day. Or two. Maybe three...tops. The Orange Guy has mentioned campgrounds for the dissenters and the renegades. A heads-up, Agolf: This is one Jew who will not be going quietly. You heard it here first.

    2. At the risk of being an optimist, let's play a game I call "Do the Math." So if you are 76 now, you were 26 in 1973. And how did things look that year? Between Nixon going down for Watergate, Vietnam grinding toward its bloody end, Weathermen bombings, I'd say there was plenty of reason for despair. One thing about bad times is that, if you can't avoid them, then you have to go through them. Maybe this country hasn't hit bottom yet, and we need to plumb the very depths. You might need your mom's longevity yet. I'm figuring, with my genes, I'll probably reach a point where I think it's the 2020s for the rest of my life. There are worse fates.

    3. 1973? Tough year. Long story short, I lost my partner (break-up) and spent parts of that year in three different states. When Vietnam "ended" with a cease fire, and the war was "over"...I drank a toast with my the end of the war years--and to the end of hippiedom. Which it was.

      Spent most of that year living in Florida. May as well have been another country, put it bluntly...nobody I encountered really gave two shits about Watergate. The word was never even mentioned. Everybody I encountered was too busy partying and living "the Florida good life" one of them put it. The night Nixon resigned, I attended a big blowout of a party, celebrating the event.

      Will I make it to ninety? I smoked for 32 years, starting at 13. I'm already paying the price, according to my doctor, for starting so young. I was warned that Covid would make me very sick, or worse. It did. Almost three years later, I still cough a lot and have a lot less stamina. But I survived. So many others weren't as lucky.

  4. It's amazing how many points in this older blog are spot on.

    1. Amazing? I believe you've been around for EGD's whole ten years, Private. If most of the points made by our esteemed host weren't spot on, we wouldn't still be reading them, would we? ; )

      That said, the version of America that has survived the Biggest Loser's term is hard to be very happy about, I'm afraid, as noted in several of these comments. The Supreme Court majority that his election enabled, alone, may be enough to handicap the country for a generation, regardless of what happens in the next election. How many women have died and will die because of its dismissal of Roe v. Wade and the ongoing crusade to deny them reproductive health care?

  5. Totally agree. And the possibility of Trump being elected speaks volumes about America already being a failed democracy as evidenced in its colossal failure to educate a majority of its population in the critical thinking skills and values needed to support and provide the active participation and safeguards the systems, processes, and values a democracy requires for its ethical functioning — the gerrymandering, exorbitant millions required for political campaigns, unreliable and unprincipled media entertainment sources masquerading as truth tellers, and educational and parenting systems that fail to provide the requisite skills and emotional intelligence are just a few of the foundation elements missing in our pseudo democracy. And don’t forget Steve Bannon, the evil mastermind behind Trump.

  6. And to this day I hope desperately that the American people are not as stupid as I am afraid they are.

  7. I usually have no idea what makes a politician good or bad, which is why I usually don't care who's in office.

  8. Feeling superior to Trump supporters or predicting dire consequences if he's elected, though accurate, probably doesn't get Biden any votes. Biden needs to get the word out on what he's accomplished.

  9. My mother, who died in 2020 at age 93, watched Trump and his gang from the escalator ride to election with a focus we had never seen. When asked why, she explained she had seen it before in Hitler, Musollini and WWIi.


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