As I See It by Columnist Jon Huer: Trump’s invincible armor

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Published: 5/7/2022 1:44:20 PM

A few days before last Christmas, the former and current presidents of the United States were in the news media for their linguistic gaffes. Both Biden’s and Trump’s critics jumped on them, Biden for his allegedly feeble mind and Trump for his routine linguistic faux pas. The criticisms of Biden hurt him, but the equally savage attacks on Trump by his critics did nothing to hurt him.

Herein lies the most amazing thing about the protective armor that Donald Trump has built around him. The former president has achieved a status in America that can be matched only by a king with absolute power: He is immune to criticisms — moral, intellectual, existential, linguistic. It’s almost like wearing a bullet-proof armor going into a gunfight. When words have no effect, such a weapon renders the politician invincible in political battles where words are bullets.

Statements issued from Trump are more fitting as a line in a parody, a black comedy, or a dictator’s edict that nobody can oppose or mock. But they are none of such things. They are simply Trump’s normal intelligence and logic displayed at their normality. Trump actually thinks like the way he speaks, in wholly gibberish and tautological nonsense. Trump’s history is so full of such comments and reasoning that one more absurdity hardly registers any fresh response or surprise.

The liberal-media camp is exhausted from responding to Trump’s non sequitur. Eoin Higgins of Common Dreams called Trump “beyond incompetent.” Jeffery Sachs of Columbia University called him “Such a despicable human being (and) vulgar fool.” Richard Painter, former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, called the Trump White House “really stupid or really corrupt.” Such descriptions have no real effects on their intended target. Trump is so low in America’s esteem of his moral and intellectual ability, even among his own followers, that he cannot go any lower no matter what is said about him. It’s like having to deal with a child who feels no pain no matter how many lashes are meted out, no matter how many meals are skipped, or no matter what harsh words are applied to his humanity. Such a child is every parent’s nightmare and Donald Trump is America’s present and future nightmare. America finally met its adversary who is humanly invincible.

Trump has uttered so many nonsense, non sequitur comments and lies that his opposition has no more words to throw at him. How many times can you describe a human being with “fool,” “liar,” “buffoon,” “idiot,” “moron,” “cry baby,” “little kid,” “narcissist,” “stupid,” “sick,” “imposter,” on and on to the very limits of dictionaries and your linguistic imaginations? No words of shame or degradation that can possibly be thrown at him would have any effect. As historian Eric Alterman confessed, we finally have the “failure of language. Words have no meaning.” Trump has deflected them all with less than a shrug. How do you deal with the nation’s chief executive who brags about his intellectual prowess for passing a “Person-Woman-Man-Camera-TV” memory test (actually a dementia test)? Unsurprisingly, such Trump-esque traits are now rapidly spreading to other GOP Trump-wannabes.

Indeed, we ran out of both dictionary entries and our vocabularies. We are out of words, which are democracy’s bullets and cannonballs with which to shoot at him, to describe him, to scold his behavior, and to insult his upbringing. For his opponents, words, which are the daily bread and lifeblood of political reporting, have lost their potency and meaning. Trump has been uniquely blessed by his own personality traits of inhumanity in equally-inhumane white America. He is the naked emperor who knows he is naked, but proudly and shamelessly parades his nakedness in public. As a politician in pursuit of political power, he lies and fantasizes all that he can for his political success. That’s now expected of him.

But, why, and for what earthly reason, do half of American voters, mostly white men, believe him so consistently and fervently with such lies and fantasies? So-called “Trumpism” is not explained by Trump himself, but by his followers, because everything he does is designed to please them. Why would 75 million American voters still cast their votes for such a confirmed liar and fantasy salesman? The liberal news media continues to focus on Trump himself for the ratings as Trump-bashing always remains more popular than praising Biden’s policies. But it does not help us to understand the core issue of Trumpism, which is rooted in his white followers, not Trump himself who merely does what a politician does, albeit more crudely and shamelessly.

What can you say about a man who is already known for committing every deadly sin, every display of shameful acts, tarred and feathered a zillion times? What more can the Jews say to hurt Hitler’s feelings or make his persona smellier? Just like the Jews with Hitler, the liberal half of America is helpless with Trump, and here lies America’s present and future predicament.

With words having become meaningless, only commandments can be issued from Trump. Indeed, on January 6, 2021 he issued his commandment to his followers: “Thou shall assault the Capitol,” and they followed. Trump has become America’s living king completely impervious to anything we can say about him to shame him, to degrade him and to scorn him. For America, it’s the perfect storm of hell.

Looking ahead to 2024, smart money (including two billion dollars invested in Jared Kushner by Saudi Arabia) is already on Trump reoccupying the White House on the next go around. Having already fired all its linguistic bullets against Trump’s invincible armor, the liberal camp in America has no more firepower left in its political arsenal.

Only the vagaries of biology (he will be 78 at the next inauguration) and the long arms of the law remain as our last silver bullet.

Jon Huer, columnist for the Recorder and retired professor, lives in Greenfield.


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