Monday, July 02, 2018

1964 The Cardsharp Tips His Hand

Sometimes, the casual dropping of a word in casual conversation is a key to someone’s character.  Last Friday, trump gave a little speech about the slaughter of five at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.

He offered the usual claptrap about guns and dead people, and the usual bromides about prayers and thoughts.  And then he said “My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life. We will not ever leave your side."

Not a bad thought.  Except for one thing.  “My government will not…” “My.”

No. It’s not your government. It’s ours. You are only the administrator of one of the three branches. The steward. The overseer.  Not the owner.

The misuse of a word is a window to the soul. The cardsharp, reaching for chips with one hand, tipped his hand with the other.  

So now we know he thinks he owns the thing.  The whole thing.

In England, in Italy, in France and elsewhere, the prime minister forms a government.  In those places, it’s customary to refer to it in the possessive. Their customs are far older than ours.  As are the structures of their governments.

We spell out what we expect pretty clearly here. Of, by and for the people. Lincoln is most often credited with the phrase. He lifted it from Theodore Parker in 1858 who apparently lifted it from John Wycliff in 1384 as an introductory note to his translation of the bible.

And that’s a key problem.  No other president in the lifetime of anyone reading or hearing this has heard that particular turn of phrase.

He wants the white house to run like his company:  The potentate sits in the tower where he casts off ideas that fail more often than not.  And he hears scatterbrain plans from lackeys whom he likes.

The papers on his New York desk are props.  The papers on his desk in Washington aren’t, at least not to us.  But evidently to him.

The trump “organization” is a dictatorship along the same lines as the mom and pop insurance office down the road from you, only larger, nominally.  Both depend on the whims of the emperor.  So trump’s business is of larger scale than Big Bubba’s Burger-and-Shake. But the mechanics are essentially the same.

Can’t run an executive branch like a combination of the Land of Oz and Wonderland where the man behind the curtain creates high tech miracles in the dreams of a kid from Kansas or the Queen of Hearts requires her serfs to paint the white roses red or it’s “off with their heads.”  But the cabinet surely is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and the high tech miracles are sleight of hand.

He didn’t have to tip his hand.  There’s a mirror on his gut.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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