OpEd: The dizzy dean of distraction

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We have a new dog. The idea of adding to the family has been percolating for a long time. We finally found what we were looking for in a shelter over near Glens Falls. It's an adjustment, not unlike when my son and daughter became part of the household. And Carolyn and I were a lot younger then.

My wife gets up earlier than I do in the morning. She turns the radio on while she is getting ready for work and takes Max out. I can't tell you how much I look forward to my first question being, "Was Max a good boy in the yard?" and not "What idiotic thing did Trump do now?" when I get up.

It's worth all the times when Max isn't a good boy.

No one asks me if I have any trouble finding subjects for my columns anymore. Small wonder with the Master of Mayhem at the helm in Washington. Writing about Donald Trump is like writing about individual bricks lying in the street after the San Francisco earthquake. There's just no end of material. By the time I've written a piece on the latest outrage, he's committed half a dozen more.

I am a firm believer in the president's inclination to toss out idiotic suggestions or mean girl accusations in order to distract the country from the fact that: 1. The law is getting too close for comfort or 2. He's made another huge blunder. An awful lot of people mistake the trait for some sort of calculated shrewdness. I think that it's just a knee-jerk reaction from a person who has a lifetime of lousy decisions behind him. Real shrewdness might not be a wholly admirable attribute, but, even at its worst, it requires an intelligence that Mr. Trump sorely lacks.

As I'm sure it is to a lot of people, the intricate mechanism of what we call the economy is largely a mystery to me. That's why it is so important that the men making the decisions concerning the economy know what they are doing. It is one of the major reasons we should have been a lot more skeptical about Donald Trump's ability to oversee a country with the largest economy in the world. Despite all the self-serving crowing about his deal-making prowess and a cheapjack television program that cashed in on the fallacy, Mr. Trump has an absolutely dismal business record.

Trump has pinned his hopes for reelection on the fact that the U.S. economy has been the one thing that has remained relatively solid throughout the turbulent period of his presidency. In almost every other aspect of his tenure in the White House, he has remained hugely unpopular. The strong job and growth numbers are probably the result of President Obama's recovery efforts after the last Republican president nearly destroyed the country's economic foundation, but Trump, of course, will never concede that painful jolt of pragmatism.

Lately, however, there has been increasing skepticism as to how much longer this "everything's coming up roses" economy can sustain itself. Trump's mean-spirited trade war with China has negatively impacted major American industries and decimated small farmers in the heart of what used to be Trump country.

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So, it's time to start rolling out the distractions and, if the economy starts to really slide downwards, it is probably safe to say that we ain't heard nothin' yet. That is probably far too flip a remark to make in reference to what this man is capable of doing if he feels threatened.

I'll bet you thought that there was going to be some snappy punch line when you heard that Trump was interested in buying Greenland. Or maybe you didn't because there can't be too many people outside of his granite-headed base who would put anything past the man. I understand the idea has been ricocheting around in the vast empty spaces of the president's mind for a while. At one point, he spoke wistfully about trading Puerto Rico for the island off the coast of Denmark.

Certainly the folks in Greenland didn't see any humor in the insultingly arrogant proposition. Denmark's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, responded by calling it an "an absurd discussion." Ms. Frederiksen should pay more attention to emanations from the Oval Office if she wants to grasp the full scope of the word "absurd."

"Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland," she said. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously. Thankfully, the time where you buy and sell other countries and populations is over. Let's leave it there.

The president, utilizing all of the diplomatic prowess that he has displayed since his election, called Denmark's prime minister "nasty." It's a term he often uses when women show indications of not knowing their place. Tinfoil majesty is easily crinkled.

I'm not sure how Mr. Trump planned on paying for the nearly 850,000-square-mile island but, if his past business deals are any indication, I guess we would have declared bankruptcy at some point and left some other poor sucker holding the bag. Thanks in part to Mr. Trump's honored position among the well-compensated legion of climate change deniers, the country is melting anyway.

Much of the credit for the island's diminishing size must also go to David Koch, who, I'm sure, bears a lot of responsibility for inflicting Mr. Trump on us, too. Koch, along with his brother, did more to compromise the future of this planet than any person who ever walked upon it. He died on of cancer on Aug. 23. If there is any justice in the afterlife, I hope David Koch wakes up and finds himself chained to a tree on the northernmost part of Greenland, doomed to spend another miserable life watching the water creep closer and closer.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Journal.


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