So, Time magazine, ever in search of buzz, this week named Donald Trump Person of the Year. But they did so with a headline that read, “President of the Divided States of America.”
The demi-fascist of Fifth Avenue wasn’t flattered by that wording.
In an interview with the “Today” show, Trump huffed, “When you say divided states of America, I didn’t divide them. They’re divided now.” He added later, “I think putting divided is snarky, but again, it’s divided. I’m not president yet. So I didn’t do anything to divide.”
Donald, thy name is division. You and your campaign of toxicity and intolerance have not only divided this country but also ripped it to tatters.
This comports with an extremely disturbing tendency of Trump’s: Denying responsibility for things of which he is fully culpable, while claiming full praise for things in which he was only partly involved.
As my mother used to say: Don’t try to throw a rock and hide your hand. Own your odiousness.
But Trump delivered the lie with an ease and innocuousness that bespoke a childish innocence and naïveté. In fact, his words disguised cold calculation.
That is the thing about demagogy: It can be charming, even dazzling, and that is what makes it all the more dangerous.
Demagogues can flatter and whisper and chuckle. They can remind us of the good in the world because they have an acute awareness of the ways of the world. They can also love and be loved. They can reflect our own humanity because they are human, but their ambitions do not bend toward the good.
Their ultimate end is distraction, which allows domination, which leads to destruction.
Trump is running two post-campaign campaigns: one high and one low, one of frivolity and one of enormous consequence.
One is a campaign of bread and circuses — tweets, rallies, bombast about random issues of the moment, all meant to distract and excite — and the other is the constant assemblage of a cabinet full of fat cats and “mad dog” generals, a virtual aviary of vultures and hawks.
On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Trump had “settled on Gen. John F. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in combat in Afghanistan, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security.”