Author Windsor Mann penned an essay in “The Week” that is haunting in its obviousness, and saddening on an existential-level, for each of us personally and as a nation. The premise is one we all understand, but have a hard time articulating. In essence, “this is unsustainable” has never been more plain, profound, or tragic. Rather than making one feel triumphant, a more-mature sense of responsibility seeps in:
It’s too soon to say when Donald Trump’s presidency will end, but it’s not too soon to say how it will end. It will end in disgrace. And when it does, Trump’s defenders will turn on him ….
….Trump’s post-presidency will be sadder and more pathetic than his presidency. His presidential library will be neither presidential nor a library. His memoir, if someone writes one for him, will be dreadful — ghostwritten, poorly written, replete with falsehoods and errors, and bereft of insights and useful information. His presidential papers will contain such statements as “Horseface“; “trade wars are good, and easy to win“; “a very stable genius“; and “your favorite President, me!” No mainstream public figure will want to be associated with his legacy.
It is obvious. The man who bankrupted himself, then Atlantic City, then the Republican party, will eventually bankrupt the country’s spirit, at least momentarily. There will be no parade, no Hope and Change, just a resolution to move on. And it will be in sadness, at least at first.
But none of that will happen in a vacuum, Trump will do everything possible to remain relevant, more so than even now. But, even now, people are already tired, tired of the drama, tired of the “event” that Trump always insists he be:
On his wife’s birthday last year, Trump called Fox & Friends and rambled for so long that the hosts didn’t know how to get rid of him. After waiting patiently for 30 minutes, Brian Kilmeade politely informed the unhinged man on the other line that he probably had “a billion things” to do that day, his being president and all
So sadly true.
Too often, we get far too caught-up in tracking the Trump movement – because this goes far beyond one man – tracking the Trump movement and its day to day, outrages. No one more so than me. We do not often stand outside the lanes on onrushing outrage, and take-in the big picture, the real “American carnage” already here, to take the long view from where we’ve come, and where we’re certainly heading.
The people who defend Trump have always done so for one reason, they had something to gain from Trump. Once a person leaves Trump’s orbit, whether it is Michael Cohen, or Anthony Scaramucci, that person suddenly steps outside the Trump con-prism to see the world as it exists, not as Trump needs it to be seen. Soon enough, however it all ends, Trump will have no ability to “give” people anything, and he’ll be alone. The only thing he ever cared about, his “brand” will be worth less than ever, and he will scramble every way he can to bring it back, looking ever more ridiculous.
We should have all of this in the back of our minds as we pick a presidential candidate going into 2020. Actually, as some in the Republican party are starting to realize, the Republicans should have this in the front of their minds as they enter 2020, too. We need a leader who is also part healer. This nation has – for now – withstood a wicked gash to its psyche.
Our new leader will have to be able to resist even acknowledging Trump, while also rectifying all that Trump did in our names. It is bigger than rebuilding our diplomatic corps, bolstering the needed administrative state, and reenergizing the collective Western Hemisphere as a force for good in the world. It will be about apologies, humility, manners, and truth. In other words, it will be about real strength, not branded strength. It will be time to make America great again, but more like how your mother would do it.
Indeed, perhaps it will take a mother as a leader, to help us heal.
We cannot know yet. What we can know is that we are not there yet. We just know exactly where we are heading, and it is sad.