One morning, Lord Byron woke up and found himself famous. One more recent morning, we awoke and found ourselves infamous: Donald J. Trump had been elected President. Only an atom bomb would be a worse alarm clock.
Now you may ask if one did not vote for him, or promulgate him in any fashion, why would one feel guilty. Because what you are surrounded by, submerged in, taints you. Even the time to be spent deriding and deploring him is humiliating, wasted. And, of course, divisive. In a time of plague, even the rare uninfected are bound to be affected. Trump should have been stopped by a joint effort from all of us, though who knows what that might have been other than the nonvote deployed against him, which clearly proved ineffective. So we are stuck with him, his family, his toadies, his ghastly appointees, for years to come, with a couple of weeks of his presidency already proving poisonous.
His very name might have warned us. Donald, Eric Partridge’s informative “Name This Child” tells me, is “the English form of Gaelic Domhnall, [meaning] world-ruler.” Isn’t that the way the Donald sees himself? As for Trump, it has several meanings, one of them, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a helpful and admired person.” I ask you: can you trump that? Evidently part of the man’s delusional repertoire. Finally, there is “trumpery,” defined as “a worthless article” or “junk.” Which covers him, most of his family, and the whole gang of his appointees. Or would you buy a used car from Stephen K. Bannon, or share the views that Mike Pence, with equal measure of fanaticism and smugness, espouses?
Just look at Trump! Even the hair, which, though purportedly genuine, the seventy-year-old surely has blondined, just as he makes his each new spouse that much younger than himself, as if coiffed could constitute coeval. Next, the face, which I would call porcine if it weren’t an insult to honest porkers. Take the way his mouth purses itself into a horrid cuteness, to accompany the childish vocalism and prissy finger and arm gestures. All of which would be laughable if the accompanying utterance weren’t balderdash or a monstrosity. I can think of only one face equally horrible, albeit in a different way, that of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader.
And what of Trump’s ideas? They run mostly from preposterous to deleterious, with a very rare spark of common sense here and there, though as likely as not an empty boast or promise. And the style? Why, anyone who has read a few good books, which Trump evidently hasn’t, could manage a bit better. But the disheartening thing is that the very grandiloquence and pomposity, snappishness and obloquy are what have turned, even some of his betters, into his defenders, on the naïve assumption that any change has to be for the better. You know the one about the devil we know etc. Still, the majority of Trumpsters seems to consist of uneducated and unemployed whites in the red states, who may well deserve change, but not of this kind.
It is not as if, even so, he had far fewer voters than Mrs. Clinton’s millions. But under the obsolete and absurd system of an Electoral College, no better than the Trump University, the Donald managed to slip in. It should be the eternal shame of the Republicans that they could not come up with a better candidate, although not easy, considering the available field. We did have the overwhelming popular vote, but that manifestly wasn’t enough to get rid of him. So here we are now, at the mercy of a sinister, self-serving sot for years to come. Such narcissism, such egomania, such vengefulness for the slightest disagreement, cannot but wreak substantial harm on this country, this nation.
Our only hope, such as it is, is the courts. The “so-called judge,” as Trump declared the worthy who has been able to foil him, and other judges who joined the opposition, may find ways to curb Trump, but it will be hard. How does one get around a Republican Congress—all who put party ahead of country? One wonders what circle of hell a contemporary Dante would consign Donald to. Meanwhile what is certain is that he is making America grate, nationally and internationally. But what the hell, he is making Putin happy.