David Remnick’s article in The New Yorker, “A Hundred Days of Trump“, provides an excellent overview of the Alice in Wonderland nature of Trump World as Trump pulls us into his rat hole. Remnick is a must read – the breadth of what is going is unprecedented and extraordinarily difficult to follow. Trump, in fact, is deliberately giving us a full court press – well aware that the public and the media can not effectively defend on all fronts. Where indeed should we focus? But Remnick provides a base, a summary, a perspective; read him to learn what you missed, to connect the dots, to understand that some of it is mindless or meaningless or both.
Here are three excerpts, taken almost at random – the article must be read as a whole but you might find a taste interesting:
“Trump has never gone out of his way to conceal the essence of his relationship to the truth and how he chooses to navigate the world. In 1980, when he was about to announce plans to build Trump Tower, a fifty-eight-story edifice on Fifth Avenue and Fifty-sixth Street, he coached his architect before meeting with a group of reporters. ‘Give them the old Trump bullshit,’ he said. ‘Tell them it’s going to be a million square feet, sixty-eight stories.’”
“Trump appears to strut through the world forever studying his own image. He thinks out loud, and is incapable of reflection. He is unserious, unfocussed, and, at times, it seems, unhinged. Journalists are invited to the Oval Office to ask about infrastructure; he turns the subject to how Bill O’Reilly, late of Fox News, is a ‘good person,’ blameless, like him, in matters of sexual harassment. A reporter asks about the missile attack on Syria; he feeds her a self-satisfied description of how he informed his Chinese guests at Mar-a-Lago of the strike over ‘the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen.’
“In 1814, John Adams evoked the Aristotelian notion that democracy will inevitably lapse into anarchy. ‘Remember, democracy never lasts long,’ he wrote to John Taylor, a former U.S. senator from Virginia, in 1814. ‘It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy that did not commit suicide.’ As President, Donald Trump, with his nativist and purely transactional view of politics, threatens to be democracy’s most reckless caretaker, and a fulfillment of Adams’s dark prophecy.”
Remnick is writing to us as a warning. Our democracy has been failing. Nothing in the American disease of “exceptionalism” protects our institutions against a concerted attack by wealthy oligarchs and corporate enterprises who wish only for stable government slanted to protect their wealth and business interests. The 2016 election represented a major body blow. It is up to us to respond, to demand a restoration to the elevation of public interest.