The Way We Look to Us All | Planet Waves Weekly | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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The Way We Look to Us All 

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I could not wait for Donald Trump to place his hand on that bible. That was the actual beginning.

Everything we'd seen till that point—the congressional hearings for cabinet nominees, the loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires, the scathing press conference, the striding through factories and "saving" jobs, the pep rallies, the gloating about how we underestimated the gun nuts, the parade of alleged VIPs through Trump Tower, the 4 am tweets cancelling orders for Air Force One—were one long game of make-believe.

Perhaps it's true, as Frank Zappa once said, that politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex. But even in entertainment, there are contractual obligations, there are laws about things like fire safety and taxes, and there are customs. The audience has expectations; and performers, as Zappa knew, must have a commitment to their art.

And then there's the bit about the nuclear "biscuit," the one with the codes, and someone having five minutes to determine whether something is incoming missiles or a flock of geese: That's not exactly entertainment.

This is where the Trump phenomenon is going to get interesting. This is when the reality check begins: when politics becomes governing. When real decisions have to be made, decisions that influence the fate of the Earth and the many of us who live here, that's not a show.

I've been trying to keep the perverse, sadistic side of my nature in check these days. During the campaign, I would console myself with the notion that being president would be the ultimate punishment for a guy like The Donald. I want this experience to be painful for him, and for the people who believed his lies. I want to see these illusions explode.

That is not, however, in the spirit of what's necessary now. It would be playing right into the reality-show aspect of what's happening to watch with glee as the new pseudopresident becomes more deeply ensnared in the webs of lies and cruelty that he's woven around himself, and as it occurs to people who once supported him that he's a con artist. Trump built his political career on the idea that President Obama was born in Kenya, and nearly everything else he said has been approximately equally racist or in some way hateful.

Those who discover the con game will be taken deeper into their rage and cynicism, which already exist in abundance. It will be an ongoing excuse to abandon any notion or desire for progress. It's also clear that the failings of Donald Trump will quickly be blamed on his predecessor, on the "liberal" media, or liberals, or activist judges, or on something or someone. Hey, we didn't elect him—the Electoral College did!

The psychological phenomenon holding up this whole circus is denial. Therapists in the audience are all watching and shaking their heads at the dynamics, mentally scanning through the potential diagnoses. The dynamics resemble those of an abusive, alcoholic environment where the neighbors feel bad about calling the police.

Many are wondering: Is he borderline, bipolar, a clinical narcissist, or DSM 1.001—cuckoo?

We're all supposed to pretend that this one person doesn't really have the ability to blow up the world with one instruction. It's worked well so far, I guess.

Pundits are writing little essays with themes such as, "When we catch him lying, shall we call it a lie, or shall we politely critique it as possibly true but having a few veracity issues, and then tentatively conclude that it may have been intentional?" Then there's the fake-news issue, which is not about phony articles designed to fool people. Rather, the problem is about anyone calling anything they don't like fake news.

This is all painful to watch. It was appropriate this week that the New York Times published a report showing that global temperatures have risen steadily since the late 19th century and have surged since 1980. There are credible analyses that say this problem cannot be reversed and is not going away. All we can do is adapt.

Let the Akashic record reflect that in these days when the complex problems we face are becoming manifest, a bunch of self-serving, self-aggrandizing simpletons are taking control of the world's most powerful nation, its largest economy, and the potentially most significant force for good. Let the record reflect that the new bosses intend to squander even more precious time creating more problems rather than solving anything. Let the record reflect that many people just love this.

Speaking of...

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    • Sep 1, 2017
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  • Larry Beinhart's Body Politic: Is There a There There?

    Why do all the people around Trump get agitated whenever the word "Russia" pops up? Commentators are baffled. What's there to hide? They ask: "Is there any there there?" In real journalism, you can't deduce what's inside the black box of the White House. An insider has to speak or a paper must be leaked. Yet in physics, chemistry, and biology it's quite normal not to have testimony from inside. Scientists look at what's going in and what comes out, then make up a story about what's happening unseen. If it sounds good, it's treated as the truth until some new facts are observed that don't fit.
    • Jul 2, 2017
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    Larry Beinhart reflects upon Trump's decision to fire missiles at Syria.
    • May 1, 2017
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