By Dr David Laing Dawson
First Stephen Bannon and now Rob Goldstone. Both men obviously eat badly and bathe less often than desirable. I’m sure neither man picks up after himself. Goldstone may have been the image in Donald Trump’s mind when he said that the hacker could have been a 400 pound man in his mother’s basement. (Though in his actual statement Trump managed to attach the “400 pound” description to the bed upon which the man sat.)
Again I’m glued to CNN listening to the panels dissect the latest revelations, this time of Donald Trump Jr. and his meeting with a Russian Operative. And I know, looking at Don Jr., that if he were to emerge from the sales office on a Used Car Lot, I would take my business elsewhere.
I also think of the Kardashians, another name I cannot avoid, but about whom I need not waste a second of my time. I don’t need to watch them, read about them, think about them, despite their mastery of the celebrity game.
And Kanye West. Despite his crew’s mastery of Google algorithms, I can avoid reading, watching, or listening to him.
If only that were true of the Trumps. It should be. It should be.
Many politicians have lapses. The business of government can become corrupt. But it should always be serious. There should be some line between serious matters of democracy, of governance, of justice, and the frivolous, infantile, adolescent high jinks of pleasure and titillation of Reality TV.
That line has frayed.
The impresario with no boundaries, a man who can’t tell the difference between using others and being used, emails Don Junior to tell him he can set up a meeting with a representative of the Russian Government who has dirt on Hilary Clinton. Don Jr., just as one might remark on a Facebook cat video, writes, “I love it.”
I can hear Putin saying, “Wow, that was easier than I thought it’d be. Make sure you get some video.”
Democracy can be slow, clumsy, frustrating, inept, but it is so much better than any other form of government. We have been told we need to be vigilant. We have been told we need to participate. We have been told how important the institutions of democracy are despite periodic scandals perpetrated by flawed men and women.
But it looks like we need to be told the operations of a democracy are serious. This is not reality TV. This is not Miss Universe promotion. This is not the bullshit and bafflegab of the entertainment industry. This is serious business, and it will affect the lives of my grandchildren.
Whatever their ideologies, from the freedom caucus to libertarian to liberal to socialism, it is time for American politicians to at least take their responsibilities seriously.
Now let me tell you what I think really happened one morning in the Kremlin a year or so ago:
“Vladimir, we have hacked the DNC server. We have many, many emails embarrassing to the Clinton campaign. Should we give them to Donald?”
“Nyet. He is stupid. He would boast about having them. Besides, we just give them to him what does that get us? Nothing. No. This is what we do. Find an intermediary to set up a meeting. Tell them we have dirt on Clinton and we want to share. This must be written. Go through Emin and that producer, Goldstone.”
“Who should they contact, my president?”
“Someone dumb enough to come to such a meeting. Donald Junior maybe, Manafort, Kushner, yes?”
“And when they come to the meeting we give them the emails?”
“No. No. That’s the beauty part. We get them to the meeting and record it but we don’t give them the emails. So then they’re compromised but we still have the emails and we can decide when or if to release them.”
“Mr. Putin, you are a genius.”
“I know. I know. Would you like to feel my bicep?”