December 5th, 2017

mad hatter

Trying to figure out Trump

Donald Trump is, well, like no other President we have ever had. Or at least, he allows himself to reveal a character that no other President has ever shown. We've had vindictive, petty, vain people in high office, but most of them have put on their public face when the lights go on. Trump is just Trump, the good and the bad of him.

Trump is like King Ralph, in a way. He is obviously unfit for his office, a fish out of water. Yet he is not playing a farce, but a melodrama. And he not only drags everybody into the ruckus he creates, he gets in the way of the policy objectives he himself wants to follow.

And yet.

And yet, important things are getting done. Things Republicans have criticized Democrats for not doing, things Republicans promised us they wanted to do. Yet they never could get them done. Trump seems to be doing a fair amount of them. At the level of deregulation, at enforcing the law, at appointing judges, at refusing to act beyond constitutional bounds, the Trump administration has done some good things.

At the same time, the Gong Show starring Donald Trump is coinciding with a general meltdown of the political classes. I don't think he's got much to do with this, but suddenly, people are seeing that our political elites are all much of a muchness -- and most of them don't think much of us. Nor is the behavior of the previously sanctimonious up to the scrutiny they have inflicted on others.

So what's going on? I must confess, I really don't know. But I have a theory, or maybe just a metaphor. Donald Trump is like a violent emetic. His presidency is causing a kind of explosive diarrhea-cum-projectile vomiting of the political and cultural elites. He's getting sprayed by it all, too, but their hatred of him has made them all crazy, and lots of masks are slipping. Chickens are coming home to roost. People are no longer persuaded by the smooth words of those who think they know best for us.

So, maybe Trump's administration will be remembered as better than it now appears. I don't know. I know I'm exhausted by it all. I'd prefer a President who had some sense of how to comport himself. But at the bottom of it all, I really think Trump is trying to do it right, and that he really does love his country. If we survive all this, maybe we'll be better for it. And maybe when he leaves office, whenever and however, we will feel, simultaneously, that we are glad that he's gone, but also glad that he was our President.