and he smiled

I didn’t watch Comrade Trump’s speech on Tuesday night. My Trump Tolerance Quotient, which has never been particularly high, was way too low to allow me to watch him speak live on television. I figured it would trigger some sort of unfortunate temporal lobe episode — and who needs that on a Tuesday?

But I consider myself to be a good citizen and a patriot, so I decided to watch the entire speech yesterday morning. The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t really a speech. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. People have been practicing the art and craft of public speaking since the damned Greeks, so we know what a speech is. What Trump did on Tuesday night wasn’t public speaking. It was public reading.

Comrade Trump displays ability to read words aloud.

Comrade Trump displays ability to read words aloud.

It was embarrassing, really. For the most part, Trump just read sentence after sentence. Slowly. Like he was afraid he might leave out a word.

Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.

First off, this just isn’t something Comrade Trump would actually say. This is not the way he speaks. But we can ignore that, right? Because even badly delivered written speeches aren’t necessarily meant to be conversational. But just a few hours earlier this mendacious sumbitch was suggesting maybe those threats and that vandalism were ‘false flag’ attacks perpetrated by Jews in order to gain sympathy or make other folks look bad.

And then there was this:

Dying industries will come roaring back to life; heroic veterans will get the care they so desperately need. Our military will be given the resources its brave warriors so richly deserve. Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, and railways, gleaming across our very beautiful land. Our terrible drug epidemic will slow down and ultimately stop, and our neglected inner cities will see a rebirth of hope, safety, and opportunity.

Right. Also? Shoeless Joe Jackson will emerge from the cornfield to play catch with your dad, Joss Whedon will revive Firefly, fashion designers will start putting real pockets in women’s clothes, that recipe your auntie gave you for okra-jello salad will turn out to be really good, George R.R. Martin will finish whatever fucking Game of Thrones book he’s been working on for the last decade, Michele Obama will punch a Nazi, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team will finally get paid what they’re worth.

It was all pretty much standard issue bullshit. Until this moment:

We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of US Navy special operator Senior Chief William Ryan Owens. Ryan died as he lived, a warrior and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.

I resent this. I resent it, but I know that trotting out victims and widows for a public display of sentiment is, sadly, an established practice now. Every president since Reagan has done it (one more sin to lay at that motherfucker’s feet). But this was a singularly reprehensible moment for a lot of reasons.

First, let’s acknowledge the fact that Chief Owens didn’t die. He was killed. There’s a difference. Second, he was killed on a raid casually approved by Trump, who didn’t even bother to follow the raid in the situation room while it was taking place. Third, Trump tried to shift responsibility for the fuck-up to President Obama and to the generals instead of accepting that as Commander-in-Chief, he was ultimately responsible. In terms of accountability, it doesn’t matter if the raid succeeded in its goals or not. Not every mission is going to succeed. No battle plan survives intact after first contact with the enemy; that’s been accepted wisdom since the days of Field Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke.

But when things go ‘oh shit’ everybody who issues orders accepts responsibility for what happens to the people who attempt to follow those orders. Everybody. That’s just how it works. From the ground up, everybody who gives an order carries the weight of the poor sumbitch who follows the order.

But not Comrade Trump.

Then that reprehensible moment turned into something even more reprehensible. As the long moment of applause began to ebb, Trump said this:

Ryan is looking down right now. You know that. And he is very happy because I think he just broke a record.

And he looked at the widow — and smiled.

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This fucking guy who says he’ll do everything for the military, but refuses to take them seriously — he smiled. This fucking guy who’d spent much of the week dodging responsibility for his role in the raid in which Chief Owens was killed — he smiled. This fucking guy said, out loud and to Owens’ widow, that her dead husband was happy because of the amount of applause generated by his sacrifice.

He said that, and he fucking smiled.

I had to stop watching the speech.

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10 thoughts on “and he smiled

  1. After he got the guy killed and refused to acknowledge his own responsibility for it. There is an “inhumanness” to him that chills me to the bone. I could not watch the speech either. I’m genuinely turning into a hermit now. You’ll find me deep in the desert meditating on some rocks somewhere very soon, maybe baying at the moon, too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think he truly lacks the capacity for empathy. I think he’s unable to put himself in the place of that poor widow, to understand the depth of her grief. I think he’s unable to comprehend what happened to Chief Owens in terms other than as a sort of movie.

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    • I have a filter in my news feeds to skip over articles about the Donald. It failed and I saw this article. Now I know what happened it will disturb my mind. You may find me in a corner of the bedroom, rocking back and forth, mumbling to my self.

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  2. I believe he meant for the raid to be successful and to then trot it out as more grandstanding. As in, “See what an incredible, smart, leader of war, I am? Did I not just do something that Obama was was unable to do? Don’t you all across the globe, feel SO much safer with me in charge now?” I also have come to the conclusion that the “Muslim Ban” was a direct result of the ‘go ahead’ of this mission…because he is afraid of retaliation, and someone from the Yemen attack may have attempted to come after him.

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    • Yeah, I agree with your first point. I think one of his reasons — and maybe the primary reason — he approved the raid in such a cavalier way was to present himself as a tough, no-nonsense leader of warriors. I don’t know that Comrade Trump is particularly bloodthirsty, but I suspect he likes the notion that he has the authority to send troops off to kill people.

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      • And I don’t think he cares if troops die in the process. Narcissistic personality disorder.

        Narcissistic personality disorder is found more commonly in men. The cause is unknown but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

        Symptoms include an excessive need for admiration, disregard for others’ feelings, an inability to handle any criticism, and a sense of entitlement.

        The disorder needs to be diagnosed by a professional. Treatment involves talk therapy.

        https://g.co/kgs/0EN9Cn

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  3. I stopped watching TV in 2003 and did watch it online The Day After. When he mentioned our Prime Minister glamor boy Justin Trudeau I smiled. During his last two years in office I nor any Canadian heard him talk about equality for women. It was breaking news! Do you have any further reading on Field Marshall Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke?

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    • Your man Justin is a massive hit here in the States. During his visit, you couldn’t open Facebook without being buried in gushing posts about him.

      I’m afraid I can’t suggest any further reading on Field Marshall von Moltke. A friend sent me a link to his Wikipedia entry, which is pretty enlightening — and I believe it contained some suggestions for more study.

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