Toon & text by John Auchter
The President expresses himself in superlatives: The transcript was perfect, I am the chosen one, I have the best words, and so on. It’s an effective rhetorical device. The absolute certainty projects a pseudo-strength that many find very appealing. And the ridiculousness always offers a backdoor escape — if it is received as too over-the-top, supporters can always say, “it was a joke” or “he didn’t mean it literally. Duh!”
Trump has done this his whole public life, and he will continue to do so as he clings to the presidency, so it’s not a surprise. But it is upsetting — one of the things that triggers people. (Quick aside: This whole celebrating “triggering” people is like a schoolyard bully faking a punch to your face, exclaiming, “You flinched!,” and then taking two free shots to your arm as a reward. OF COURSE you’re gonna flinch! In what stupid world is pulling back to protect your face the wrong move?)
But what can you do? Well as with any bully, persevere. Persevere by continuing to hold the bully accountable and not be overwhelmed by the sheer volume. So in among the fountain of recent rants, Trump has been selling hard the idea that all (superlative) Congresspeople voting for the impeachment articles are hopeless leftists. This is simply not true, and Michigan offers three of the best examples of why: Justin Amash from the 3rd district, Elissa Slotkin from the 8th, and Haley Stevens from the 11th.
The toughest part is that there will never be tangible evidence that calling out his lies and exaggerations has done any good. Of all of Trump’s moral deficiencies, the worst (and arguably the least Christian) may be his utter lack of humility. There never is a moment of self-reflection, so he will never apologize or ask forgiveness. He will not — and seemingly cannot — admit to an error. This is especially apparent in this season of Advent when Christians prepare themselves for Christmas. (Publicly insulting the recently deceased to trigger a widow is generally not how this is done.)