Stranger than Fiction Trump
Note: A tad dated but unfortunately still relevant. Now part of book entitled America Votes Obama to Biden Past Trump, a kaleidoscopic view of the Trump phenomenon. The book of thought-piece essays is actually a Hungarian-American view of the Trump phenomenon. Creative problem solving calls for reframing until message makes contact. Here goes.
Stranger than Fiction Trump
The great American humorist Mark Twain was credited with saying the equivalent of the observation that truth was stranger than fiction because fiction had to be plausible. Even science fiction needed a plot and story line that made sense from start to finish or else the reader was leftStranger Than Fiction Trump unsatisfied and the author had a short career. Twain wrote his comment in 1898. By the 21’st century, no such restriction held back the likes of Donald Trump.
Adept as he is with delivery, the barrage of his incredible whoppers leaves no room to discern that the lies defy reason.
Global chaos is the outcome of a US presidency that has turned the US topsy-turvy in the world’s eyes. For one thing, the world is obviously globalizing and the US has led the effort in smoothing the difficult process. Out of nowhere, Trump turns back the clock, scuttles hard won regional agreements and inserts himself as the lone savior in America’s relations with nearly 200 other countries, most of which have learned hard lessons from centuries of conflict capped by two world wars. Even dictators with a stranglehold on their fiefdoms rely on alliances. North Korea counts China as a friend and Russia under Putin sends oligarchs to pick pockets. Whirligig Trump goes it alone in the name of the US, whose people are given a Trump say-so about the outcome. That’s a tall order for America about a leader who dances to a drummer nobody else hears and by outward signs doesn’t seem to exist.
The thought that I’m right and everybody else is wrong is one definition of insanity. Another is to repeat an action over and over while expecting a different result. Both those views could apply to Donald Trump but in the America he has created and with the position he holds, the notion cannot be proven and if it was, the diagnosis would not stick. Throwing mud to roil the waters is Trump’s forte and his saving grace from a verdict of insanity is that he had a common endpoint called greed.
Avarice was defined as extreme greed. Gluttony was defined as habitual greed. Trump fit both those categories with a show of zeal that belonged in the Guiness Book of World Records once he became US president. The extent of damage such pettiness could produce did not become apparent until a global pandemic crippled the world.
Numerous accounts indicated that neither Trump nor his cohorts believed he would be elected President. He was unqualified and the behaviors he exhibited on the campaign trail were antithetical to American values. Neverthess, on a technicality and likely with outside help, he became president with the mighty US powers in hand, Like a bank robber in a hurry to clean up before the bonanza of opportunity was lost, Trump started pillaging America’s great wealth.
The US Constitution was the first Trump victim of his presidency. He skirted restrictions against nepotism by naming family members to advisory positions from where they could parlay their advantage into profits. He dispensed with the emoluments clause by putting business holdings into family hands He then began subverting bedrock American instituions by defunding, demanning and defaming targets, firing competent and experienced civil servants to hire inexperienced strawmen. Finally, a crucial component in the Trump plan to fleece America was the Justice Department,
An ingenious part of the US Constitutoin was the division of the government into three equal branches to act a check on each other. The Legislative branch made laws that responded to evolving issues in line with the Constitution. The Executive branch put those laws into practice and the Justice department mediated the pathway between the other two branches. To implement his ambitious plans, Trump needed the Hustice Department to ruloe in his favour and from the start he engineered that structure.
Trump got off to a galloping start in his presidency by the lack of Justice interference in his systematic subversion of Comstitutional strictures. He then began his war on immigrants and managed to evade investigations into illegal activities that had promoted his election in the first place. Once in the clear, he proceeded to lay the groundwork for his re-election with an attempt to extort electoral help from a foreign power in exchange for the release of aid funds that had been approved by the Legislative branch. Impeachment ensued and Trump skated thanks to machinations by his conservative Republican base.
That exhaustive process for America and the world was barely finished when the Covid pandemic hit and the bull in America’s china shop of democracy was left without cover. The pandemic hit in the election year when Trump expected smooth saidling based on a thriving economy. As the death toll mounted, businesses shut down, society came to a standstill and racial injustice rose to the forefront of attention, Trump resorted to a series of tactics that got him past a lifetime of failures, including six bankrupties that devastated entire industries and cities.
In dealing with the pandemic threatening his re-election prospects, Trump first denied the existence of danger. Then he called for defiance against the dangers, complete with rejection of scientifically proven methods to deal with a biological threat. Finally, he called on followers to prove their loyalty by daring to contract the disease at a rally that gave them the opportunity to refuel on the sense of victimhood they shared.
If the story of Trump as American president were submitted for publication, editors would want questions answered before the work could be accepted as plausibly rendered. Addressing those gaps in the story line called for a deep dive into deep background. But whether or not that work was done before the entire story was finished, the ending already called for a satisfying finish regardless of the horror genre that the story fit into.
Quite apparent from a literary angle, Trump could not come out as either hero or antihero in the story. A hero would have led the country on a campaign to defeat the virus. An antihero, like Trump, would use the virus as a political wedge to divide opponents into smaller, more manageable groups. But no antihero was believable if as inconsistent as Trup, who urged followeres to defy common sense while he himself surreptitiously took the steps to ensure his own safety..