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Trump’s #sad State of the Union

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I did not watch Trump’s State of the Union show last night. I just couldn’t. The advance notice, based on White House information, said he was going to issue a “call for unity,” and this in particular is infuriating. (I know I shouldn’t let Trump make me so emotional, but he just does…) How dare this demagogue, the most vulgar, insulting and divisive president in U.S. history, talk about “unity”? That’s like Charlie Manson inviting the LaBianca family survivors to a dinner party. “Can’t we all get along?”

There is no unity and will not be until this felonious braggart is gone and punished. There can be no “forgive and forget.” Trump has caused too much misery and destruction. His words of conciliation ring hollow—no, not just “hollow,” but cynical in the extreme. Donald J. Trump has never been conciliatory with anyone—not his ex-wives, whom he routinely cheated on; not his business partners or customers, whom he repeatedly ripped off; not his “enemies” in the Democratic Party, whom he insults and smears at every turn; and certainly not the American people, to whom he compulsively lies; not even, probably, in his divided mind, with himself.

Conciliation implies repentance. Does anyone truly believe that Donald Trump repents about anything? Does anyone think he’s ever asked for forgiveness from man or God? Does anyone think he’s ever felt shame? True, he has experienced embarrassment, such as after the Access Hollywood tape came out (and he will experience much more embarrassment as the facts of his criminal behavior emerge). But embarrassment isn’t the same as shame. Embarrassment is being caught doing something nasty; the result is a red face. Shame is the moral judgment one imposes upon oneself, followed by, hopefully, self-improvement. Trump is amoral, incapable of moral self-scrutiny. Everybody, including his dwindling band of supports, knows this.

Like everything else Trump does to try to take the spotlight off his scandals, the State of the Union was a piece of ephemera—gauzy, momentary, fleeting and, almost instantly, irrelevant. Trump keeps on thinking he can do something to get out of his mess. It’s amusing to watch him: the analogies pile up. A worm squirming on a hook? A bug about to be crushed? A cornered rat? It may be that in the future a new adjective will be in use: Trumpian, to describe the last, desperate moments of an individual in imminent danger. We had Hitler in his bunker, losing his mind as he wrote out a Last Will and Testament that had meaning only in his deranged, panicked mind. And now we have Trump, going quietly bonkers, forgetting that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Trump keeps on lying, stalling for time, pretending to be conciliatory, pandering to his base’s worst instincts, damaging the presidency, and hoping that “the investigations” he derides will go away, or that Democrats—scared by his threat that there will be “no legislation” until they do—drop them.

There is no chance of that. The investigations are speeding up in the House of Representatives, as well they should; this is why Americans voted for Democrats last November. If there is “no legislation” the public will know exactly whom to blame; and it won’t be Democrats.

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