Quote: A politician is a man who will double cross that bridge when he comes to it (Oscar Levant, Memoirs of an Amnesiac, 1965)
In the news Trump touts economy but payroll tax discussion reveals recession fears (Kaitlan Collins, Maegan Vazquez and Donna Borak, CNN, 8.20.19)
In context: The world today is definitely new but certainly not brave.
The US Constitution took years to formulate. Today, US President Donald Trump rocks the global markets with a vexed tweet, then settles them with a new tweet when media feedback shows his first tweet misfired.
Twitter Trump has the world sitting on a sandbank waiting to drop into the abyss due to a global warming that the US President denies. Perhaps he really is ignorant of the facts. There is little time for in-depth study after golf, tweeted personal threats and kudos to State enemies.
Even Trump supporters admit they’d like the President to curb his tweet greed. Few others state the obvious. Donald Trump has usurped the US Presidency and the country. Trump’s beliefs do not constitute the official US position on issues. But as in all his shady failed business ventures, Trump has hijacked a faulty system. In this case, he has exploited the twilight stage of social media to create a mirage of success.
Twitter is a great avenue for self-expression. It is a sloppy medium for official business at the level of the US Presidency.
That situation is ideal for Trump. He tweets a declaration that is unconstitutional. Proof of transgression comes through the Courts. That time-consuming process gives Trump ample opportunity to tweet more directives to adjudicate. The entire government is tied up in a knot of legal traffic jams. As that goes on, the media loses track of Trump trick strands. Some of those fall by the wayside. Others slide through sight unseen thanks to threat and con tweets.
The most common adjective for the Trump presidency is “unprecedented.” With Twitter, a more accurate description for the Trump tenure is “unpreSIdented.”
Politicians in service for the public good may at times tell lies for political expediency. The businessman Trump admittedly lies as a routine negotiating tactic, as he recently bragged with regard to two phone calls from China that had not been placed.
The Twitter Trump situation is not only unprecedented but downright bizarre. Trump tweets his fleeting thoughts with no input from the established information structure regarding the country’s official position. Then, since he lies at a record-breaking rate as a bargaining chip to get a deal, it is impossible to unravel the winding trail of what is America’s official standing on any matter.
Even more to the point, there is no reason why America should go through such gyrations to figure out its own position relative to its leader. By definition, a leader leads. There is no way to follow a dizzying trail of lies tweeted in an insomniac spasm.
America’s Founding Fathers did a great job in exercising wisdom and forward-thinking to make sure that their experiment in democracy endured. They did not, however, foresee an elected leader bereft of the most basic standards of morality. Nor did they anticipate the worldwide web, the information superhighway and a social media network that would be exploited by the amoral person heading the country.
Still, while the Founders did not see into the present where lies could be spewed with unregulated authority from the Presidential pulpit, they did see into the human soul and declared all people to be free in the pursuit of happiness. The question for modern America is simple, whether happiness is possible with a leader who is proud of his prowess in telling lies.
Lies serve numerous purposes, none beneficial in the long run. An occasion lie may get a person out of an undesirable dinner date, but an inveterate liar like Donald Trump lies because the truth doesn’t matter. Achieving a goal is all that counts and the goal of a businessman like Donald Trump is personal gain. That is a petty ambition in which details like the truth are inconsequential. Trump wants to amass wealth and get the best deal at the cost of another. The US before Trump had higher ideals. It wanted to lead the world into greater and greater prosperity.
Twitter is the perfect obfuscating tool for Trump. The twitter feeds are short, no thinking required before airing venom to the world. Trump can also lie and threaten to his heart’s content. He can even delete tweets before they get to the official National Archives.
With Twitter Trump, 250 years of US constitutional norms are out the window. There is no telling what recorded facts are real or untrue. At present, there is no telling what comes next for Trump, the country or Twitter.
As for historians. good luck. Remember to pop antacids before working on the Twitter Trump era.