Out of the Blue: Wait, he said what?
May 5, 2017
I let go of it last weekend, that idea that at some point the current president of the United States will say something that will give his supporters pause.
This is a guy who has created a persona for himself as someone who will say anything and everything in an effort to win contests and lasso cable news headlines. But I'd thought in my lingering case of election shell shock that once he became the leader of the free world, DJT (Donald J. Trump) would act 'presidential' and not let offensive drivel come out of his mouth.
Today, on May Day, I cry "uncle."
I don't know how long this distressing carte blanche will last, but the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie Winner (Ghosts Can't Do It – 1990) ostensibly can say whatever inane, bozo things he wants and face no repercussion for it.
I don't know if it's still emboldened never-Hillary sentiment or something more unseemly than that, but the fact that we as a nation of people aren't calling this guy to task about his comments is distressing. Heck, he's even still getting rounds of applause from his base as he flip-flops on "the wall" and repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — it just doesn't matter.
Let's stage a quick recap of DJT's greatest hits as foot-in-mouth spokesman of the American people. We all know where it's OK to grab women as long as you're a star. The exact quote, again: "You can do anything." Then there are the criminals and rapists Mexico sends our way. He's called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Oh, and for what it's worth, if he wasn't Ivanka's father, he'd be dating her.
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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan even blasted the guy last year when DJT argued that a judge presiding over a lawsuit that involved Trump was biased solely because of the guy's Mexican heritage. Ryan referred to the remark as "the textbook definition of a racist comment".
Does that make Donald Trump a racist? And if he isn't, the question is begged: Can a person who isn't racist still say racist things in public without condemnation? In any case, Ryan appears now to be playing along with the Trump circus complicity, giving the impression that yes, the guy says racist things, but that's OK.
And over the last weekend of April, this hiding-in-plain-sight discrimination bubbled up within the Trump stream yet again. This time Prima Donald had his sights set on a reinterpretation of history where if he himself could have gone back in time and interfered, he might have made America great again back in the 1860s.
In an interview, DJT was prompted to say this: "People don't realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don't ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"
Attempting to keep my boiling underwater reservoir of snark at bay, let me brainstorm where the guy might have been going with this. Could he be trying to evoke a philosophy of nonviolence? The Dalai Lama has said that all forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups, and persons. Is DJT making the case that not taking up arms is the way to go? As someone who expressed boastful glee about dropping the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever designed, I doubt this.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author Jon Meacham tried to unpack DJT's insane comments this week, stating that very basic questions could be asked about where one might land in terms of choosing to go to war or not at the time. America, as a country, was indeed expanding in the mid-1800s: Would its new territories allow slavery or not?
"The expansion of slavery caused the Civil War," Meacham said. "And you can't get around that. So what does Trump mean? Would he have let slavery exist but not expand? That's the counterfactual question you have to ask."
Ah, there it is – "counterfactual." DJT does not give a rip whether what he says is truthful or not: it just needs to make for great reality TV. Some of us are trying to force his hand, to insist that what the leader of the free world says should be backed up and qualified even just a little, but that quest for logic is full on idle. Let him speak his mind as long as he's shaking up the status quo, right?
After all, this is a guy who stated at Georgia rally last year: "Belgium is a beautiful city."
Wait, he said what?
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a founding member of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at email@example.com.