How did you spend that prime time hour this past Tuesday night? I will admit to watching the entire Trump address to a Joint Session of Congress, and I have to say … it’s evident he hired a speechwriter sometime over the past six weeks. His inaugural was a patchwork hodgepodge of paranoid tropes and random utterances, crudely constructed by the likes of Miller and Bannon with some input, most likely, form Trump’s demon spawn. Wednesday’s speech was full of craven ideas and scapegoating, but it was comparatively well-crafted. Someone massaged the prose a bit, inserted some lofty rhetoric and clever turns of phrase. I think that accounts in large measure for the “tone” difference TV commentators have been crowing about ever since.
And the substance of the king’s speech? Nauseating, in my humble opinion. The truly low points for me were the jingoistic celebration of the widow of that Navy Seal killed in that botched Yemen raid, the announcement of a special Homeland Security office tracking victims of immigrant crimes, the promise to raise the already bloated military budget by 10% … I could go on. Of those three, the first one was strange in that Trump had previously (that day, I believe) thrown his generals under the bus for that failed mission, on Fox News. (Plus, the Navy Seal’s father is hopping mad about it, and rightfully so.) But point to a war widow, and politicians will always stand up and cheer. It’s their way of channeling our relief that we are no longer called upon to fight wars or to pay for them up front. Cynical in the extreme.
That extended riff on the victims of immigrant crime was particularly disturbing. They are setting up an office (with the acronym VOICE, no less) to do something like what Der Sturmer used to do to German Jews – namely, front page any violent crimes committed by individuals in that group as a means of stoking outrage against the entire group. It’s an effective tactic, and the Trump bots are embracing it wholeheartedly. (I got into some mini-Twitter wars with a couple of them after the speech.) It’s up to us to push back on this and to encourage our representatives to do the same.
Let’s face it – it’s going to be a long, long four years. Perhaps even longer. So we need to start building now.