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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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bobbing in swill of Trump’s lies

Bobbing in swill of Trump’s lies
The name for the Denali peak in Alaska hasn’t been changed back to Mount McKinley as President Trump promised. He also promised to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Now he mumbles about this health care thing for Americans being “complicated.” And last week after ten minutes with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump had this to say about his self-sure belief that China would take care of the North Korean nuclear threat, “I realized it’s not so easy.”
From his pounding campaign statements on Syria and Russia, NATO and NAFTA, to releasing his income tax records and his “Art of the Deal” pledge to “bring down drug prices,” President Trump has flipped, flopped and lied. And we’re barely 100 days into the man’s term in office.
I think it was George Washington who expressed this acid summary of politics in the mid-18th century. He said it was a distasteful exercise consisting of office seekers “swilling the voters with bumbo.” Bumbo is an alcoholic drink usually made with rum or gin, sugar, water, and sometimes spices. Donald Trump, as with the straight-forward truth, never touches the stuff. His swilling of the voters comes in the form of bunkum.
When Donald Trump belly-flopped into the 2016 election he became candidate MOAB, Mother Of All Bunkum. He unleashed a towering tide of invective and promises. Massive and persistent, the media magnified and multiplied the MOAB’s every glowering pronouncement, however inane, every alarming tweet, however false in fact.
So Trump supporters bobbed about in the foam of his lies, luxuriating in the swill of the false, the exaggerated, the ignorant, and the fearfully dangerous. Then, duped and dazed, they reeled into voting booths and elected a sexual predator to the highest office in our fair land.
And now Trump’s frothy bunkum, so eagerly quaffed by 62 million Americans, is running up onto the shores of reality. The dreamy sand castles built out of Trump’s mindless bluster and machine-gun tweeting have washed away. “Make America Great Again” and “Lying Ted” and “Lock her up” and most of what he arrogantly spouted turns out to be without meaning, random thoughts here today and contradicted by himself the next. All just bunkum to be swilled.
It’s instructive to remember that Trump supporters, now uneasily quiet, beached and disillusioned, are not just from land-locked and economically shattered rust belt and coal dust towns located far from the sea. Most of Trump’s 62 million voters have decent jobs, an education, health insurance, and money in savings to go toward the day when Social Security will provide a modicum of security in retirement. When alone, and honest with themselves, these Trump voters admit, “Ah, life has been good to me.”
This bit of honesty is a long way from the bunkum of fear, dread, and failure Trump served up and they heartily swilled. But it was easy.
It was supported by the tribal home brew of Republican Party loyalty, the bitter spirits of racism and misogyny, and the peculiarly American pinch of soul narrowing self-interest.
It remains to be seen how long they will tolerate the MOAB as he fidgets in his gilt and velveteen bunker in Mar-a-Lago.
This originally appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star on April 24, 2017.