|Killer Clown Fills Souter's Space.|
Will it be duly marked that The Donald's last act on this globe of sin was to retch lies? A curious legacy for the man who bragged he'd drain the swamp only to become its most notorious cayman. Not a surprising legacy for the most sedulous of the Birthers, the most obscene of the "Climate change is a hoax" pretenders, albeit the most successful. His quarry being bayou bound gators dragging their knuckles on the ground like so many Neanderthals: "Trump's Chumps", as Bannon likes to refer to them (in private of course). For four decades he has enrapt them with coo and bellow, up and down the rust belt of what's still naively referred to as the Republick. Wherever the dispossessed gather and the bilge of reactionary venom pools and festers, and Baptist pastors sing the hymns of the sanctified to men weary and heavily laden with intractable debt, their wives as full of bile and boredom and as fecund as the shad, there the indefatigable Donald sets up his traps and spreads his bait.
He knows every country town in the South and West and can crowd even the most remote of them to suffocation simply by snapping his moral majority whip. The city dwellers, for the most part transiently bemused by him during the campaign, at the first stiff breeze saw right through the lack of substance of his thinly disguised buncombe and have now vowed to Resist! him.
But despite the leftist gallery's jeering at him at every opportunity, of which he provides a banquet's worth with a regularity atwitter with possibility, out where the grass grows high but is never smoked except during a prairie fire (the number of which his policies promise to provide a growing number), the horned cattle dream away the lazy afternoons while men still fear the powers and overreach of Washington politics and it is out there, aswirl in dust storms between the desiccating corn rows, that the old pussy-grabber's puissance will hold up till the end.
There was no need to send out the Bush beaters to drive in his game, the opposition did a sterling job of that. The news that he was giving a rally was enough. For miles the RV dust would choke the highways and fill the Walmart parking lots. And when at the end of the day, he rose to the podium of a packed stadium to discharge his Message there would be such breathless attention, such a rapt and enchanted ecstasy, such a sweet hurrah of hosannas, one would think his resounding Jericho trumpet would crumble his cherished Wall before it was even built.
There is something peculiarly fitting that the avatar of urbane elitism should garner his acolytes from one-horse towns in Midwest pastures. The man feels at home in such simple pseudo-Christian environs. He likes people who swat freely and are not debauched by the refinements of the toilette. The man who kowtows to Wall Street is happy to make his political progress, up and down the country's Main Streets it has raped, surrounded by gaping primates from the upland valley of the Cumberland pass, adorned with either his baseball cap worn like a Michael Moore doppelgänger, or his bald head adorned with a frisson of hairspray and peroxide as meticulously scaffolded as a pre-Raphaelite fresco undergoing delicate restoration. Thus accoutered and on display is obviously what makes him happy. He likes doing the Clinton (Bill, not Hillary, never Hillary) of prattling on to the tune of cocks crowing on a dunghill while he slides down the heavy, greasy victuals of the farmhouse kitchen. He prefers country lawyers to their urban litigious-happy counterparts as well as country pastors: all Red country people, really. He likes country sounds and country smells, a stranger though he is to their labor-intensive, sweat-producing regimens.
I suspect that this liking is sincere - perhaps the only sincere thing about the Donald. His nose shows no sign of disdain when a yokel in faded overalls and yellowing tanktop accosts him in a crowd, seeking to hear him rant one more trumped-up reason why he will "Lock Her Up" if elected. The simian gabble of the cross-roads is not gabble to him, but the wisdom of an occult and superior sort. In the presence of city folks, he is palpably uneasy. Their reasoning, I suspect, annoys him, and he seems suspicious of their overly delicate manners. He knows that all the while they are not-so-secretly laughing at him - if not at his crackpot pronouncements, at his outrageous, unkeepable promises. But the hayseeds never laugh at him. To them he is not the huntsman but the prophet, and toward that end, as he gradually reveals his boredom with mundane politics and his penchant for the stealth approach to geopolitical rapaciousness, the profit he plans stands in startling relief against the prophet they sought.
But, that matters not a whit, as the unbesmirched legacy of GW, the greatest calamity to befall the Republic testifies, and whose ascendancy into the Bible-belt's firmament has remained sacrosanct. But what of more urban regions? I believe there's an abundance of evidence that there his image is of a far less flattering sort. He has lived too long, and descended too deeply into the mud wrestling of his early TV fame to be taken seriously thereafter by fully literate people, even of the kind that write Texas schoolbooks. There'd been a scattering of sweet words for his inauguration and his manly attempts to "act Presidential" by firing missiles into mayhem. But the act is all-too-quickly exposed as being exactly that, an act, the minute he is alone with his phone, just a tweet away from ruining his lawyers' day. The best verdict the most unbiased editorial writer can dredge up, save in the humorless South, is to the general effect that his imbecilities should be excused by his earnestness - that under his clowning, as under that of a juggler who drops a ball twice before succeeding to dazzle the crowd with his legerdemain, there lies the zeal of a steadfast soul.
But this is apology, not praise; exactly the same thing could be said for his disastrous Republican predecessor. But the truth is that even The Donald's sincerity is exposed as self-serving grandiosity when it is subject to what, in other fields, would be called definitive criticism. Was he sincere when he shouted at rallies that Obama was a Kenyan, or when he admitted that he was, of course, a true American. Is he sincere when he rants that Climate Change is a hoax, or when he appoints the CEO of the company with ready-made plans for drilling in an Arctic made ice-free by Climate Change to be Secretary of State? Does he mean it when he says, "You can just grab their pussies ... you can do anything", or when he calls an ex-President a rapist for doing far less than that? Does he mean it when he says "America First", or when he cries crocodile tears over the death of a dozen foreigners while supporting the NRA's revulsion for any restraints on the proliferation of the weaponry that each and every year kills thousands of American children? And is he sincere when he condemns what he calls Obama's military involvement in foreign wars, or when he demonstrates himself to be a tinpot Dictator, escalating tensions and increasing deployment in every theater where our Armed Forces are at risk?
This talk of sincerity, I confess, fatigues me. If The Donald is sincere, so was his previous incarnation, P.T. Barnum. The word is disgraced and degraded by such use. The Donald is, in fact, as the defunct Trump University illustrates, a charlatan, a mountebank, a zany with no sense of dignity. His career has brought him into contact with the most successful men of his time; he prefers the company of ignoramuses. It is hard to believe, when you behold him strutting the stage at his rallies, that he has traveled, that he has been received in civilized societies, that he is a holder of fine estates. He seems, in the milieu of his stadium rallies, only a poor clod like those around him, deluded by childish theology, full of an almost pathological hatred of learning, of all human aspirations (outside the mindless accumulation of money), of all beauty, of all fine and noble things: in short he seems to have nothing that differentiates him from the Muslim Terrorists that he so masterfully stokes the fear of in these gullible gatherings of Trump's Chumps.
He more personifies the peasant come home to the barnyard. When you imagine a gentleman, you imagine everything that he is not. What has animated him from end to end of his grotesque career is simply ambition - the ambition of a common criminal to get his hands on the collar of his jailer, or, failing that, to get his thumb into their eyes. He was born an heir apparent, and, freed from the tyranny of need burdening his fellow travelers, used his abundance of leisure hours to develop his roaring voice and snorting persona to perform his one-trick-pony act of inflaming half-wits. His whole career has been devoted to raising up those half-wits against their betters, the better that he himself might shine. That is why what moves him, at bottom, is simply the hatred of the city dwellers who have laughed at him so long as they did so publicly when President Obama made him the butt of his jokes at the White House Correspondents' dinner.
He lusts for revenge on all of them. He yearns to lead the anthropoid rabble against them, to punish them for their dismissal of him by, using the same ploy as the Muslims he so derides, attacking the very vitals of our civilization. But he goes beyond the bounds of any religious fanaticism, however inordinate. When he begins denouncing the notion that Nazi's are evil, that the overabundance of CO2 in the atmosphere has any human origin, even some Republicans are agape, at least in private. When he extols the virtue of Putin, salivating at the monetary gains he has been promised, even while Putin bombs the soldiers of whom he is the Commander-in-Chief, he is so careless of appearances, so disdainful of anyone thinking they can put any restraints on his behavior, that he writhes and twists like a trout on a cruel hook as he tosses about in a fury of malignancy, bawling against the very elements of sense and decency like a man frantic - there arise snickers among the chumps, just not yet loud enough to drown out the hosannas.
And it is on this hook that it looks like The Donald will commit his sewercide. He swaggered across the rust-belt stage planning his rule, but he seems destined to stagger off it to the jeers and catcalls of his deluded flock; little more than a character in a third-rate farce, witless and in poor taste. It was apparent to everyone who watched him mumbling the oath of office that his best days lay behind him. Even when he returns to them in his regular appearances it is as a caricature of himself, as he continues to do what he does best: deriding the achievements and smearing the characters of others. But that only magnifies the fact that he is now, for all his pumped-up fury, definitely an old man; and this is no country for old men. Especially ones beginning to display, as he does, a vague unpleasant manginess in his appearance; he now seems somehow dirty, though a close-up camera shot shows him to be as carefully shaved, as meticulously coiffed, as thoroughly pancaked as any other actor, while still clad in immaculate, expensive, elitist suits, his hair, despite the most strenuous attempts of professional hairdressers and the most assiduous application of salon product, is disappearing from his chrome-dome pate and must be swooped up from behind his ears in ever-more intricate wisps-of-will, as expensively perfumed as a Courtesan's, its swirling strands delicately held aloft at stratospheric heights, the sham of the man ensconced on his head in the form of the sham of this toupee, albeit one woven from his own dwindling mane. The resonance, though, has deserted his voice; what was during the campaign a bugle blast is now become reedy and quavering, even as his face has become hard. Although the malicious animal magnetism still radiates like heat from a stove, firing his eyes into blazing points of hatred, glittering like occult and sinister gems, so that to come under their gaze is like coming under fire, the line of fire is becoming obscured, his friendly fire proving t be worse than enemy fire, coming as it does, from one promising he "has their back" only to riddle it with bullets.
Thus he continues his fight, thirsting savagely for blood. All sense departed from him, snapping right and left like a dog with rabies, he descends into demagoguery so dreadful that his very own cabinet and phalanx of lawyers blush. His only yearning seems to be to keep his yokels heated up - to lead his forlorn mob of imbeciles and deplorables against a foe among whose ranks any sane person would know he should be numbered. There he stands, in the glare of the world, uttering nonsense a child of eight would laugh at (until the child realized the world he would be thereby left would be roasted like a marshmallow on a spit).
And, as during the campaign, his foes seem to be, alas, not very alarmed, insisting still that the whole tragedy is instead a comedy. Even Hillary, who knows better, yields to the prevailing spirit, claiming the US is energy independent in order to disguise the Climate Change Denial of the elitist jet-setters who burn up everything the miners she deplores dig up as quickly as it sees the light of day. But as the too-artful Hillary leads him on, he will trump her act, because she still has no alternative to offer to quell the rampant combustion of everything in sight to an ash heap. So The Donald will continue to rant against it, to rail for America First, to bellow in his cracked voice to "Lock Her Up!", as he prepares us for the final slaughter.
He came into life a spoiled bundle of petulance and entitlement, and became a knight in spineless amour, discarding like used tissue women he periodically grows weary of, but he will leave it a disgraced and discredited mountebank. A President without precedence, a politician who pulled his own party's platform right out from under himself and replaced it with an empty stage to strut upon, on which:
He allows no other players:
They have their exits, but he's stolen their entrances;
But one man in his time plays many parts:
He's the whining school-boy, full of strange oaths
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel.
Seeking the bubble reputation
In fair round belly
With eyes severe
Full of his part.
A walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then his herd's no more: his tale,
Believed by only idiots, was full of sound and fury,
Yet all it signified was nothing.