Editor's Notebook: Counteract Trump’s crass attacks on our body politic

With every New Year’s greeting, we were fooling ourselves.

Like me, did you often amend what you’d say to your friends, to something like, “2018 has got to be better, right?”


Hoo-boy. Wrong.

As the old year sputtered out and the new one arrived with all of the eagerness of the Cleveland Browns’ first-round draft pick, the POTUS, our Commander-In-Chief (has it sunk in yet?) dredged up more doozies to remind us that the Trouble With Normal is that It Always Gets Worse.

We did not think it possible, did we? That the president’s Tweets and other outbursts could so easily traverse the transom of civility and dignity.

We all know what he said; I’ll just paraphrase:

  1. Our button is bigger than your button.

  2. Steve Bannon has lost his mind.

  3. What we need is some good ol’ global warming. Bundle up!

Starting with number three, does it mitigate or aggravate the sheer inanity of the remark to note that he said so while polishing his golf clubs and getting into Air Force One, bound for his Florida resort?

Presidential pastry tray: “Let them eat cake.”

As for number two, I suppose Trump might deserve some credit for acknowledging what we already knew about the Bunnion, but this public bust-up of the playground’s two biggest bullies is unseemly nonetheless. At what point do we stop accommodating a man bent on retaliation for every perceived slight?

And as for number one, Trump’s priapic political expectoration, this blatant irresponsible act does not so much boggle the mind as dullen the soul. I am sure that presidents since Truman have thought about, perhaps even joked in the West Wing or Situation Room, about how Ours Is Bigger Than Theirs, but for Trump to do so publicly and willfully is the most convincing evidence yet of his unsuitability for office.

The from-the-hip attack on Pakistan this week is just one more example. Not that Trump is wrong about Pakistan, or that Pakistan should not be called to task. But the way our president went about it? This is not a sober, adult enactment of foreign policy.

Holding DACA hostage so Trump can build his boondoggle wall is another petulant impulse disguised as statecraft.

The worst thing about Trump’s ongoing crass attack on dignity and responsibility is that our senses so quickly scab over and each of these outrages becomes normal.

“What the imagination can’t conjure, reality delivers with a shrug,” Dalton Trumbo said 60-odd years ago. In that era, Trumpism’s nasty old uncle — McCarthyism— had reared its ugly head and spit in the face of the nation.

Our shoulders must be tired from either shrugging or carrying this load in the misguided name of #MAGA. But what can be done? Those, such as Rep. Greg Walden, who say they have influence over the president, should take a stand now, and starting with Chief of Staff John Kelly’s call for some sort of intervention.

We can look back on 2017 as the year we all kind of lost our minds and let a toddler loose in the house before realizing we all had a lot more to lose than broken lamps.

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