The Wannabe King’s Speech
The American Hatriot gave his big boy speech before a joint Congress on Feb. 28th, long pants, long tie and everything. It’s not called a State of the Union in a president’s first year, because he’s only been in office a few weeks and is still finding his footing. Of course that will be true for Trump every year. “Surprisingly presidential,” gushed The Washington Post, which shows how far the bar has been lowered. The most presidential thing he could do would be to resign. I couldn’t help noting similarities with the Oscar-winning 2010 film, “The King’s Speech.” Colin Firth played England’s King George VI, who had a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush played the voice coach who cured him, while forming a close friendship. It’s very good, historical inaccuracies aside. Here at home we have a president who is unable to form a coherent sentence, and his Geoffrey Rush is Steve Bannon, who puts the words into his mouth. Basically, he’s Trump’s brain, as Karl Rove was to George W. Bush.
To his credit, the Great Pretender began by denouncing the waves of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks across the nation. That’s ironic, because those are his supporters carrying out the attacks, feeling legitimized by his racism and bigotry. “Trump offers up a more hopeful vision,” wrote The New York Times. Wow. That wasn’t my impression at all. Much of the speech seemed to be centered on death. He talked about two of his props for the evening, widows of men killed by illegal immigrants, and what a terrible tragedy it was. He introduced a new office called VOICE — Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement. Illegal immigrants are responsible for a tiny percentage of murders in the U.S., but who cares about facts? He made clear his attitudes towards immigrants and refugees: “It’s a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially.” That’s a far cry from Emma Lazarus’ inscription on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .”
He talked about rising murder rates (actually, they’re declining), mentioning Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore, which is code for inner city blacks. Then he called attention to the widow of William Ryan Owens, in a place of honor sitting next to Ivanka. She was his main prop for the evening [Note: Ryan Owens died in the botched raid in Yemen on Jan. 28th, for which Trump had given the go-ahead order over dinner, and then wasn’t even the Situation Room when it went down. Hours before this speech, on Fox News, he blamed the Generals. “They lost Ryan,” he said]. With everyone standing, he led the long, drawn out applause, while this poor woman was clearly in great pain. He said, “And Ryan is looking down, right now, you know that? And he’s very happy because I think he just broke a record.” Was he implying that Ryan was happy because he got the longest applause of the evening? A record — that’s called winning! It was ghastly, and should have shown anyone with a functional cerebral cortex what a classless lout this ass-hat truly is. Comic John Fugelsang, who I’ve found to be an astute observer, tweeted his perspective: “Donald Trump just got applause for a widow he created.”
What made Trump so surprisingly presidential is that he wasn’t speaking off the cuff, his preferred mode, when he just says whatever pops into his head with no filter whatsoever. This was different, in that he was reading, or something close to it, from a teleprompter. The man is functionally illiterate. The expression “Reading is Fundamental” never applied to him. The reason he doesn’t read books is that he can’t. So he went on, ploddingly, slowly, deliberately. Sprinkled throughout the speech were little pieces of jingoistic cotton candy. Towards the beginning, he said, “Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice — in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present.” (I think up to the present would have been better) “That torch is now in our hands,” at which point I thought he was going to say “and we’re gonna burn it all down,” but no, he said it would be used to light up the world. Not with nukes, I hope. They would light it up real good.
There was this one: “We’re going to stop the regulations that threaten the future and livelihood of our great coal miners.” That’s a nice break for an industry threatening the future and livelihood of all other life forms.
“Dying industries will come roaring back to life.” What, of their own accord, like the Phoenix rising from the ashes? Again, more empty promises with no details. A hundred years ago they used to tar and feather snake oil salesmen like him.
This one made me throw up in my mouth a little bit: “We must build bridges of cooperation and trust — not drive the wedge of disunity and division.” Does he even listen to himself?
Towards the end, he had the bald temerity to say, “The time for small thinking is over.” I jumped up and cried, “So, then, your leaving!” No such luck, though. He continued, “And the time for trivial fighting is behind us.” In your fucking dreams, pal!
“America will be empowered by our aspirations — not burdened by our fears.” I’m damned if I know how he can say shit like this with a straight face.
Here comes the closer: “We just need the courage to share the dreams that fill our hearts.” And you are the wind beneath my wings. It’s called laying it on with a trowel. The only things missing were Tinkerbell and a unicorn farting out rainbows. Show some more flags! Rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air. Sometimes I wonder if America is still capable of a gag reflex.
He also found time to reiterate his mob boss threat to other NATO countries that haven’t been ponying up their protection money.
Good Lord, I asked myself, how did I end up in Opposite Universe, where an incompetent idiot who stands and reads from a teleprompter is somehow surprisingly presidential? A 4th grader could have done it. This orange flim-flam man wouldn’t make a good pimple on a bad president’s ass, which is why when he does something even remotely presidential, it’s a surprise. As a businessman, though, I think he would be great running a Burger King franchise, because this guy can really cook up some Whoppers. If this was presidential, I’m the Duke of Paducah.
There’s always a rebuttal by the opposing party at the end of these speeches. Generally it’s one of the bright lights of the party, their rising star. This time, though, it was former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. It looked like he was in a dimly lit cocktail lounge or restaurant dining room. I swear to God, folksy charm turned up to 11, this is how he opened: “I’m a proud Democrat. But first and foremost, I’m a proud Republican. And Democrat, and mostly American.” Hit Off button. Are you kidding me? This is what the Democrats answered with? I mean, the puck was right in front of the net, all they had to do was kick it in, and they brought out this guy? Where was Gavin Newsome, Julian Castro, Tom Perez, Bernie Sanders, or even Chuck Schumer? Maybe the Democrats have just given up. But then they rarely miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Oh, well. I must remind myself that the time for small thinking is over. I just need the courage to fear the burdens of sharing, as I drive the wedge of division through the bridges of our empowering aspirations, while at the same time preventing the torch of truth, liberty, and justice from catching my pants on fire.