The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred to conceal its own abuses and encroachments.
– Henry Clay, 1834 speech in the Senate
It’s hard to pick out the highlights of the trump’s endless production of verbal flatulence. Two recent examples offer the opportunity.
The first is his appearance at a gathering designed to assist the coronavirus in its continuing effort to infect the maximum number of people living in trumpland. It was the speech delivered on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Although there were many highlights in the 1 hour 41 minute 20 second speech, the most enlightening was his 11 minute 43 second explanation of events that took place during his June 13, 2020 appearance at West Point to deliver the graduation speech.
In reviewing the speech many in the media world observed that the trump appeared to have difficulty drinking from a glass of water and at the conclusion of the event, descending the ramp from the podium. The trump decided to dispose of any speculation about his health by addressing those issues head on at the Tulsa rally.
At the 21 minute 55 second mark of the Tulsa speech, the trump introduced his explanation of difficulties he encountered when the time came to descend the ramp saying: “[W]e have a great heritage. We’re a great country. You are so lucky I’m president, that’s all I can tell you.” That was followed by a 10-minute description of attending the West Point ceremony: “They make speeches, then I make a speech that lasted a long time. I don’t know, maybe 45 minutes, maybe longer. . . . The sun is pouring down on me, okay. . . .Would you like to salute? Like this? Yes, like this almost 600 times. You know what that is? 600 times. . . . . you do that 600 times, you go home, and you say it’s like a workout without a weight, right? 600 times. . . . I salute for probably an hour and a half, maybe more. ..Think of it, so essentially 600 times.”
That mesmerizing description of raising and lowering the trumpian arm 600 times was followed by a description of his descent from the stage by the steel ramp that was, he said: “like an ice skating rink,” Of the general at the podium with him who was not reluctant to descend the ramp the trump said: “Now he’s standing there, big strong guy and he’s got these shoes but they’re loaded with rubber on flat bottoms because I looked, the first thing I did, I looked at his shoes. Then I looked at mine. Very, very slippery.” As is now well known, the trump got down without incident and as he explained to the Tulsa fan club, “I looked very handsome.”
A few minutes later he addressed the water issue saying, among other things: “I see we have a little glass of water. Where the hell did this water come from? . . . .I look down at my tie because I’ve done it. I’ve taken water and it spills down your tie, doesn’t look good for a long time and frankly, the tie is never the same.” Describing the aftereffects of these two episodes the trump concluded saying: “I have lived with more the ramp than the water, but I have lived with the ramp and the water since I left West Point.” With that the trump went on to other matters to entertain the Tulsa crowd.
Although shorter than the Tulsa speech, the Mt. Rushmore speech was equally inspired. It lasted a mere 41 minutes and 24 seconds. Lest anyone fail to appreciate the joy of living in the United States in these trumpian days, the trump began by saying that the attendees at the event were there to “herald the most important day in the history of nations. . . . every American patriot should be filled with joy because each of you lives in the most magnificent country in the history of the world and it will soon be greater than ever before.” He went on saying: “No nation has done more to advance the human condition than the USA and no people have done more to promote human progress than the citizens of our great nation.” Of course praise for the country was accompanied by condemnation of those who don’t think like the trump. What he calls the left-wing cultural revolution is “designed to overthrow the American Revolution” and “destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence , and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery, and progress. . . .We will state the truth in full without apology. We declare that the United States of America is the most just and exceptional nation ever to exist on earth.”
Readers can decide for themselves which trump speech they prefer. Sad to say, each is equally authentic trump and each describes a country that only the trump and his benighted followers can see. The rest of us can only mourn that the country the trump describes is not only aspirational, but unattainable, so long as the trump is in the White House. Following his departure, it will take years to restore it to what it was before he took office, and even longer for it to become the place he describes.