We’ve be­come dan­ger­ously numb to Trump

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - OPINION - Jim Vib­ert Jim Vib­ert, a journalist and writer for longer than he cares to ad­mit, consulted or worked for five Nova Sco­tia gov­ern­ments.

Ad­mit it. There’s no shame, it’s a mat­ter of self-preser­va­tion. You, like mil­lion of oth­ers, have be­come numb — per­haps com­fort­ably, per­haps not — to the fan­ta­sy­land pres­i­dency, the vile bile from the vom­i­to­rium @re­alDon­aldTrump, the daily bar­rage of lies, even the nar­cis­sist’s need to make it all, ev­ery­thing, about him.

Just a cou­ple of years ago, you might re­call some pre­scient pun­dits warn­ing that the worst out­come of the 2016 U.S. elec­tions may not be the fact of Trump’s pres­i­dency, but rather the “nor­mal­iza­tion” of its dan­ger­ous, fic­tion-fed ir­ra­tional­ity.

Two-and-a-half years in, and Trump’s pres­i­dency re­mains abom­inably ab­nor­mal, but too many have been anes­thetized by the in­ces­sant stream of self­ag­gran­diz­ing puffery, de­hu­man­iz­ing vit­riol, non­sen­si­cal rav­ings and a world­view wrapped in and warped by an ignorance he calls in­stinct.

Since tak­ing and dis­miss­ing the pres­i­den­tial oath of of­fice — it is hard to pro­tect and de­fend the Con­sti­tu­tion when you are its great­est do­mes­tic en­emy — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has lied to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, and to those global cit­i­zens with the stom­ach to tune in, at an av­er­age clip of 12-times-daily.

Last week, Trump and fam­ily were in the U.K. and France to visit the Queen and com­mem­o­rate the 75th an­niver­sary of D-Day.

It wasn’t lost on all ob­servers that Trump’s Amer­ica First pop­ulist chant is the di­rect ide­o­log­i­cal de­scen­dant of those who would have let Bri­tain fall to Hitler.

But, as is of­ten the case, Trump was on his best be­hav­iour at im­por­tant af­fairs of state and solemn events to mark ma­jor mile­stones in the hu­man jour­ney. Pres­i­dent Trump on script is in­nocu­ous; com­pletely fraud­u­lent, by at least be­nign.

But like most gar­ish ghouls, the real Trump emerges after dark on his toxic Twit­ter feed, or in the in­ter­views he grants with ob­se­quious fools like Piers Morgan and Laura In­gra­ham, where he’s in­vited to ex­pound on his favourite sub­ject — him­self –— and flaunt his fa­tally-flawed fan­cies with­out re­gard for fact.

The Euro­pean trip in­cluded the usual Twit­ter storms aimed at real or perceived en­e­mies of Trump, from London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who Trump called a “stone cold loser” to Bette Mi­dler, de­scribed by the pres­i­dent of the United States as a “washed up psy­cho.”

Those tweets are nor­mal, pro­vided their source is an ado­les­cent with wounded pride, lash­ing out in pubescent rage.

For all that, it was Trump’s take on cli­mate change dur­ing the Morgan in­ter­view that crys­tal­ized the risks in­her­ent in the pres­i­den­tial lack of char­ac­ter.

It starts with his to­tal ignorance of the threat his own gov­ern­ment ranks among the most se­ri­ous to Amer­i­can and global se­cu­rity.

“I be­lieve that there’s a change in weather, and I think it changes both ways. Don’t for­get it used to be called global warm­ing. That wasn’t work­ing. Then it was called cli­mate change. Now it’s ac­tu­ally called ex­treme weather, be­cause, with ex­treme weather, you can’t miss,” Trump said re­spond­ing to the sci­en­tif­i­cally-set­tled ques­tion as to whether cli­mate change is real.

His re­sponse was, in a word, mo­ronic.

School kids the world over could teach the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent that global warm­ing is caus­ing cli­mate changes which re­sult in ex­treme weather.

Trump’s un­der­stand­ing of the cri­sis goes no deeper than the news­pa­per head­lines he skims past to read sto­ries about him­self.

Then, as if to but­tress him­self against crit­i­cism of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies — which can be summed up as drill, dig, de­grade and burn, baby, burn — he just makes stuff up.

“We have the clean­est air in the world, in the United States, and it’s got­ten bet­ter since I’m Pres­i­dent. We have the clean­est wa­ter; it’s crys­tal clean.”

The United States ranks 10th in the world for over­all air qual­ity, ac­cord­ing to the En­vi­ron­men­tal Per­for­mance In­dex, but 88th in terms of air­borne par­tic­u­late mat­ter, and 29th for wa­ter qual­ity and san­i­ta­tion.

We may have grown numb to the relentless on­slaught of lies and in­sults.

But a pres­i­dent of the United States who is so com­pletely un­teth­ered from re­al­ity is a dan­ger that can’t be ig­nored.

“There are those that say they have never seen the Queen have a bet­ter time, a more an­i­mated time,” than she had in the com­pany of Trump, by his own ac­count.

Delu­sional? Ab­so­lutely.

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