Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Will they ‘sit up in attention'?


Playing God is always harder than it looks.

I’ve heard variations on this line for decades. It’s a handy truth to keep around when you run afoul with someone who has illusions of grandeur and wields power beyond his conscience and intellect.

Donald Trump comes to mind. One example. Just look at the way he scribbles his name across executive orders. There’s the half-inch tip on the black felt pen he uses. His script is close to an inch in height. The signature on the document is illegible, mystically inscrutable. But the key element in this repeated bit of theatrics is how Trump grasps the finished document he may or may not have read, raises it above his flowing orange mane, and then thrusts it forward into the TV cameras, into our faces.

I would bet he’s done this imitation of Charlton Heston as Moses and the Ten Commandments at parties for years. He’s probably held up everything from a Trump University diploma to his income tax returns. It’s a funny bit. At least Mike Pence laughs every time this once Golden God of the tabloids does his tablets imitation.

But none of us should be laughing or encouraging this deity in his own mind. This is the man, the president of our democratic republic, who praised Kim Jong-un, the killer-dictator of North Korea, with these very words:

“He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.”

Some Americans are doing this. The Republicans in Congress. Trump is playing God and they “sit up in attention.” It remains to be seen if the American people, (“my people” in Trump’s mind), will do the same in the 2018 elections.

— Gary Daily

Terre Haute Tribune Star, June 29, 2018