• Blog
  • February 4th, 2018

PRESIDENTIAL PRATTLE

By Joel M. Vance

I couldn’t make this up if I tried, not that anyone more articulate than a second grader would want to. Below is a direct quote from the president of the United States, the person an uncomfortably large portion of the voting public elected to be the leader of the free world.
If you can read this quote with a straight face and without gagging, more power to you. With this incoherent babble, Donald J Trump has proved that not only is he a threat to the country, to democracy, and possibly to the world, he is a demonstrable enemy of the English language.
Okay, here goes:

“Look, having nuclear—my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart —you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world—it’s true!—but when you’re a conservative Republican they try—oh, do they do a number—that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune—you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged—but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me—it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are (nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right—who would have thought?), but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners—now it used to be three, now it’s four—but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years—but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.“

And there you have it. Any comment would be superfluous. It stands alone, like a dung heap, of tortured syntax, fractured language, and the outpouring of a diseased mind. This is stream of consciousness rambling like the overflow from a sewage treatment plant. I didn’t make that quote up, the Democrats didn’t make it up, Hillary Clinton didn’t make it up and neither did any of the perceived enemies that seem to plague Donald Trump’s paranoiac mind. It is a direct transcription of a filmed verbal eruption by the Clown Prince of politics.
They used to make fun of Dwight Eisenhower’s sometimes awkward locutions, and the malapropisms of George W. Bush, but compared to them Donald Trump is Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln, great orators of the past. Dr. Martin Luther King doubtless is spinning in his grave. Sure, no president is immune from occasional spoken gaffes but Donald Trump has taken the verbal fart to an art form, composed of equal parts self-aggrandizement, shameless bragging, outright lies, and utterly nonsensical babbling.
Just as he has, unfortunately, elevated the presidency of the United States to a kind of sick joke, a daily example of silliness that, in comparison, makes the Three Stooges look like the three wise men of biblical fame.
Just as television viewers of America’s Funniest Home Videos laugh slightly cruelly when some poor sap lands crotch first on a railing while attempting some silly stunt, thankful that it wasn’t us it happened to, we should be laughing at the clown antics of the pretend president, but the penalties for treating his daily bungling as laughable are not funny— they’re terrifying. Trump spends much of his time engaging in “mine is bigger than yours” bragging, which might be funny if he were only talking about his stubby fingers, not about using one of those fingers on the nuclear button.
Trump has managed to gather about him a band of sycophants whose dedication to the Republican Party transcends their dedication to morality or the good of the nation. I can’t help but hope, although I don’t believe it, that at night in the dark of the moon they don’t huddle in their respective beds cringing with shame, wondering what indignity the great leader will heap upon them when the sun comes up.
You saw Paul Ryan and Mike Spence flanking him on the podium as he made his state of the union address, their faces set in a rictus of approval as he made one outrageous statement after another. And Trump had the audacity to criticize the Democrats after his speech during which he vowed to dismantle democracy as we know it for not applauding him. That would be like applauding at a public hanging.
The recent collision between a trainload of Republican Congressman and their families and a garbage truck in West Virginia is filled with bitter irony. The Internet is rife with comments from folks who are understandably reluctant to make jokes about the ironic nature of the collision— a train full of garbage politicians colliding with a garbage truck. And there is nothing funny about an accident which takes the lives of innocent people– predictably enough, some of the more insane conspiracy theorists have claimed that the Democrats planted the garbage truck on the tracks.
From the outset you have to wonder about the motives of the Republicans who feel it necessary to flee from their duties as congresspeople on a chartered train headed for one of the most exclusive and expensive resorts in the nation while, at the same time, they trumpet their dedication to putting more money in the pockets of the nation’s poor and disadvantaged. There is nothing wrong with a retreat, per se, to regroup and brainstorm and seek to find solutions for the many problems that plague the country. But retreats seldom include families and you have to wonder about the necessity of doing it at a place dedicated to luxury for the moneyed class.
It would be nice to know that the Republican congresspeople, instead of blowing big bucks on a luxury vacation, thanks to the generosity of their billionaire donors, would instead make individual retreats to their congressional districts to visit with their constituents and find out what in the hell is going on in the real world.
But the almost Shakespearean tragic aspects of the incident are impossible to ignore once you know the whole story. Many years ago during the height of the Cold War, the administration had a secret bunker constructed beneath the Greenbrier Resort, the destination of the ill-fated Republican train.
The idea was that, if the Soviet Union launched a ballistic missile toward the United States, Congress would load up in a special train and head to the bunker under the Greenbrier, and continue the business of the nation beneath tons of steel and concrete, living in Spartan conditions, sleeping in double-decker bunk beds, and eating freeze-dried survival rations out of cans.
The bunker cost about $14 million to build, which translates into more than $100 million today. The idea was improbable enough in the 1950s when advance warning of an incoming missile might have given Congress hours to escape; now it is even more ludicrous when the warning time is only minutes.
The mental picture of some of the more corpulent politicians who would’ve been involved again raises the specter of Shakespeare— the beefy specter of Sir John Falstaff trying to fit himself into a sagging bunk bed and eating shit on a shingle is impossible to ignore (that’s what the military universally calls chipped beef on toast).
After the fall of the Soviet Union my dear friend Ted Gup, a protégé of Bob Woodward, the Washington Post investigative reporter who, with Carl Bernstein, exposed the Watergate mess and brought down Richard Nixon, blew the whistle in print on the existence of the Greenbrier bunker. Ted was vacationing and stopped at the Greenbrier for lunch and out of curiosity followed through on hints of the then still secret bunker, which had long outlasted any significance. He broke the story in the Washington Post and that was the end of the bunker as a refuge for threatened Congressman in a national missile crisis. Even today, when the bunker has become a tourist attraction rather than a necessity, Ted’s expose incurs snarls of outrage from the bunker tour guides. Possibly the loss of government funding for bunker maintenance has something to do with the outrage, more than any perceived threat to national security.
If Kim Jong Un ever does launch a missile at the United States the usefulness of the Greenbrier bunker is long since done with. The entire idea of a special train, leaving Washington, with the nation’s lawmakers aboard, ahead of an incoming missile, was ludicrous to begin with, and a typical legislative waste of money. Today, the bunker, is a tourist attraction which, for thirty dollars, you can tour, and then return to reality for a gourmet lunch, or, if you happen to be a Republican Congressman, a super expensive vacation. Instead of escaping an incoming ballistic missile, you will be escaping your duties as a representative of the people.
The more Donald J Trump, the pit master of presidential politics, trumpets about “fake news” the more he energizes the nation’s investigative reporters to shovel aside the manure that he spreads so carelessly and expose the truth beneath. Nixon didn’t get away with it and given the dogged persistence of the Washington Post and the New York Times and others who believe in a free press and truth in government, Trump won’t either.
Trump’s concept of a free press is one that flatters him endlessly, and probably is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and has as its most notable spokesperson Sean Hannity or any of the various hand puppets on Fox News and Friends. Trump’s Benito Mussolini-like visage crying feebly “fake news!” To any story that he doesn’t like grows increasingly unbelievable, one would hope, even to his most ardent backers. The truth has an undeniable ring to it like that of fine crystal as opposed to cheap plastic. Whether the truth will out remains to be seen in the coming months as one election after another pits truth tellers against the lying toadies of the Trump administration.

And, we can only hope that the Robert Mueller investigation will result in prison sentences, if not the ouster in disgrace of the seedy band of rascals that has insinuated itself into and corrupted the nation’s more than two century long system of democratic government.

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