Comparing him to Hitler is not hyperbole
Last week was the latest — though surely not the last — of Trump’s Worst Weeks. It started with two mass murders, contained the news that he is indeed going to be impeached, and ended with the how-did-this-happen suicide of the pre-eminent pervert of our time, a man who Trump (who has publicly fantasized about dating Ivanka) is on tape praising, and joking about his taste for women “on the younger side.”
First, the massacres. Trump’s hostage-tape reading of the obligatory Presidential post-tragedy speech was followed by his compulsive self-absorption during (and especially in between) the obligatory Presidential post-tragedy visits, which was followed by his inane grinning thumbs-up pose next to the newly orphaned infant — instantly the single most grotesque Presidential photo op in history. [NOTE TO PHOTOSHOPPERS: Please put Grinning Thumbs-Up Trump into images of every imaginable tragedy in history — earthquake rubble, the Hindenburg, Abu Ghraib, gruesome murder scenes … you get the idea.]
The starkness of the situation — citizens mowed down and a President unable to credibly even pretend to care — can no longer be ignored. The truth of where the country has been heading for the past thirty months has been so relentlessly and so unprecedentedly shocking that the mainstream media, bewildered about how to cover it, simply continued their pernicious false equivalency, putting normal kinds of headlines above the most insane stories.
Our news now comes most reliably from the best comic minds, while the worst reporters and pundits — yo, Chuck Todd! — just stand there gaping. Political comedy has become journalism, and political journalism has become clownish. Satire is redundant. The President of the United States is, as Kurt Andersen dubbed him, “the Greatest Self-Parodist of All Time.” The lunacy is so intense that only those with an appreciation for the absurd can truly communicate it.
Then, in the middle of the week, it became known that, whatever euphemism they’re using for it, the House Democrats do indeed have impeachment proceedings underway, with a timetable seemingly designed for maximum campaign effect: start looking at it seriously and publicly after Labor Day, vote for an official inquiry somewhere on either side of Christmas, conduct hearings throughout as much as possible of 2020, and don’t complete them in time for a pre-election Senate trial and acquittal.
And then the Saturday morning surprise. I have no doubt that Epstein was suicidally inclined. I mean, duh! Who wouldn’t be if his future was another year in Metropolitan Correctional Center awaiting trial, then the humiliation of the exposure of his lifetime of irredeemable acts (he’s definitely in the one percent of the one percent when it comes to degeneracy), all inevitably to be followed by a life sentence in prison, where his predatory ilk become prey.
There are so many different ways to strategize who most benefits from this wild coincidence that no conspiracy theory can satisfy them all. But within hours of the news break, there was Trump sharing someone’s deranged tweet implying that the Clintons had Epstein killed. Given that every single one of Trump’s accusations is a confession, it was definitely a Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm.
Murder, impeachment, suicide. Just another week in Trump’s America.
What the media has insidiously refused to admit is that this isn’t just another Republican presidency. If you define the party by its heroes — Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower — this isn’t a Republican presidency at all. Even its nadirs — Nixon, Reagan, and Bush/Cheney — understood the need to lipstick up the pig. No more. The party’s credo now is “Shamelessness is the Ultimate Superpower.” It has split into two factions: the Stupid Mafia and the Stupid Nazis.
The Stupid Mafia runs on pharmaceutical-quality greed. Headed up by Donnie Two Scoops and his odious spawn, its goals are enriching the one percent at the expense of everyone else, perpetuating its power by whatever traitorous or depraved means necessary, and getting revenge, as brutally as possible, on its ever-growing mob of perceived betrayers.
The Stupid Nazis are here to cull the herd. Cage the “wrong kind” of immigrants. Cut financial aid to people on the edge. Get rid of health care so the poor can just die. Even, just for kicks, eliminate countless species of life. For decades we have seen various right-wing politicians glibly referred to as Hitleresque, but comparing Trump to Hitler is not hyperbole. As Tom Phillips points out in his new book, HUMANS: A Brief History of How We F*cked It All Up, the similarities are eerie. Addressing the notion that Hitler was running a ruthlessly efficient Nazi machine, Phillips says, “Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac and his government was an absolute clown show.” (In his memoir, Hitler’s press chief, Otto Dietrich wrote, “In the twelve years of his rule in Germany Hitler produced the biggest confusion in government that has ever existed in a civilized state.”)
Phillips also makes these points about the overlaps between Der Fuehrer and Der Furor: Hitler oversaw a government in constant chaos, with no one really clear on who was in charge of what; he waited till the last minute to make decisions and then, listening to his gut, made crazy ones; he was extremely lazy, and spent his pre-lunch hours in bed checking on what the newspapers were saying about him, craving approval from those he professed to disdain; he was obsessed with his celebrity, saw himself as the biggest star of all, and once wrote to a friend, “I believe my life is the greatest novel in world history”; he was deeply insecure about his own ignorance, and would disregard any information that contradicted what he had decided to believe; and, most significantly, he hated being laughed at but loved laughing at others, and would perform cruel impressions of people he hated.
Sound familiar? No matter how horrific have been the thousands of idiots, hypocrites and demagogues that have preceded Trump, each of them at least had one thing going for them: they were all recognizably human. The media doesn’t like to say it because a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but the current President of the United States is not.
The media has to stop pretending that they’re covering just another presidency — one a little odd, to be sure, but still within the bounds of normality — and recognize that our Hair Hitler (aka Wussolini) has the soul of a killer. He fully embodies each of the Seven Deadly Sins, but his favorite seems to be Wrath. He exists to cause harm. Inflicting pain is his greatest pleasure. His self-loathing is so Brobdingnagian that it can’t be contained, and must be pissed and shat and vomited out around the clock.
Donald Trump is the most thoroughly vile vulgar vicious villainous vindictive vitriolic venal vengeful virulent venomous vermin we have ever seen, not just in politics but in any arena of American public life. And while I don’t expect them to use those words — or any equally charged epithets, of which there are thousands more — I’d like to think that the immediate and savage smackdown of that idiotically benign New York Times headline (“Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism”) was a wake-up shriek to the media to finally acknowledge that the country desperately needs saving, that they have the duty to try to help save it, and that it’s years past time to start doing just that.
If they miraculously rise to the occasion — and yes, it will take a miracle — Trump’s Worst Weeks will become a weekly occurrence.