Yep, we’ve all had a grand old time this past week, chuckling at the almost incalculable stupidity of a United States president bragging about a mental acuity test he “aced.” And in the pandemic summer of 2020 when, to quote the old Beach Boys song “Surf’s Up,” the laughs come hard, a little diversion like that can cheer us all up.
Don’t let me be the one to spoil your fun, but…
...if you believe that something like this meme will have a negative impact on the same candidate who four years ago was heard to brag about grabbing women by the genitals—and still won!—then by all means continue chuckling.
...and if you believe that this little quintet of words will, in November, have the same effect on voters that “lock her up” or “drain the swamp” had four years ago, then buy the t-shirts and make the posters and masks.
I don’t believe either of those things; worse, the more attention we pay to this kind of fluff, the more likely we are to lose sight of every other political, moral, and societal reason this man must not be returned to the presidency.
And admittedly, the fluff has grabbed us.
Yesterday an MSNBC news broadcast led...led!...with Trump’s five-word fiasco on the same day that
(1) another 1100 Americans died from Covid-19,
(2) more unmarked troops were sent to Portland, Oregon and placed nowhere near any federal buildings,
(3) Mitch McConnell said that relief for financially strapped Americans might still be a few weeks off, and
(4) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez struck as mighty a blow against male bullying as has ever been heard in Congress.
In other words, the fact that “Trump isn’t very smart” superseded everything else. If that continues, we might as well get ready for four more years of chuckling, especially since we know that issues of character and intelligence had little or no effect in 2016.
Don't forget, in 1980 and 1984 Ronald Reagan was too old and doddering to be president. He won both times. In January 1986 when he might actually have been experiencing early signs of dementia, he was still able to inspire us with that Challenger speech. (Trump, on his best day, could not equal that.) Reagan supporters never claimed he was a member of the intelligentsia—they just liked him. Trump draws the same devotion. Painting him as intellectually limited may be fun, and may even be true, but acting like some superior intelligentsia doesn't win friends or influence elections.
I'll admit there are experts who say voters are a little wiser now, that we’re tired of him, that the thrill of something new has passed. Those people know more than I do, but experts don't always get it right either.
So let's strike a bargain—let's enjoy one more day of the Trump “haiku” and then put it away. There'll be something new to take its place soon enough—the next distraction, and the next. We can't ignore them, but let's give them only their due and not lose sight of why we are where we are, then vote in November to ensure the fact that we’re never here again.