"The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you."--Terry Eagleton

"...doesn't philosophy amount to the sum of all thinkable and unthinkable errors, ceaselessly repeated?"--Jean-Luc Marion

“The opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice."--Bryan Stevenson

Monday, August 06, 2018

Bizarre is the new black

The President is no longer "bizarre:"

President Trump tweeted Sunday morning that his tariffs are “working big time” and made a bizarre claim that the money raised from these new import taxes will go a long way to helping pay down America’s large debt. (Short answer: That’s not what will happen).

The President is benighted.  The President is uncontroversially wrong.  The President is as dumb as a post.  The President is not engaged with reality.  The President, in Walt Kelly's deathless phrase, should not be allowed anything sharper than a rubber ball.

When Kelly wrote that, he did so in the context of Tailgunner Joe McCarthy terrorizing the nation, with J. Edgar Hoover running the FBI (any complaints one has about Comey pale in comparison, even if the comparison doesn't justify Comey's actions).  But Mr. Kelly could not have imagined the President would be the clear and present danger because he was so disconnected from facts.  Donald Trump simply lives in his own world, and that isn't bizarre, it is frightening.

The way to solve forest fires is to cut down trees.  California should conserve water by damming all its rivers.  Tariffs are not taxes paid by U.S. importers, they are charges levied against foreign companies.  None of these things are even vaguely true.  Their assertion is not bizarre, but baseless.  No one would call it "bizarre" if Trump declared the earth flat and that the sun revolves around the earth; but that claim would be no more valid than what he's said in recent tweets.

Worse, even Trump's staff says to ignore the tweets and the man behind them.  Remember when Trump declared transgendered persons persona non grata in the military?  The DOD quietly demurred that such a policy change would have to go through proper channels, that the President's tweet effectively meant nothing.  And it didn't; no change in military policy was ever made.  Just last week the Press Secretary said the President's tweets are merely his opinion; implying strongly that Presidential opinion is not at all equivalent to Presidential directive.  The President is free to say what he wants; the government is free to ignore him because he's just a blowhard.

Which raises the question:  who's in charge?

When Ronald Reagan was shot, Alexander Haig rushed to the microphones to assure the country that, while the President was incapacitated, he was in charge.  Haig overreached his authority that day, but the intent was clear:  someone was in charge, even if the President was in an operating room, unconscious and unavailable.  Donald Trump seems never to sleep, tweeting at all hours of the day and night; but his own staff seems to think he's not really in charge, and what he says doesn't really matter.  And the rest of us deal with his madness by saying his statements are "bizarre."

What is bizarre is that we are tolerating this.  What is bizarre is that Democrats aren't demanding the invocation of the 25th Amendment.  What is bizarre is that our President thinks tariffs are taxes paid by foreigners and will be enough to reduce a $21 billion debt by levying them on $85 billion of goods.  Is it bizarre that our President is so innumerate?  Or is it disturbing?  Our President thinks trees cause forest fires, and that rivers are a result of bad laws.

What is bizarre is that we can't seem to do more than label the President's tweets "bizarre."


Blogger rick allen said...

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10:57 AM  

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