On June 29th, the President of the United States tweeted this.
And then we all fell in line.
The left was uniformly outraged for every kind of reason at once. The “grab ‘em by the pussy,” “blood coming out of her wherever,” “if she weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her,” misogynist president had struck again. For the right, they took up their spots as per usual too. Some tried to distance themselves and proclaimed their disappointment, only as a prelude to cosigning his agenda and behavior again in the future; others acted as loyal courtesans and refused to throw shade at their fearless leader.
But in the midst of it all, there was a sense of unity. It seems like just about everyone wants the guy to stop tweeting. The right wants him to quit it because it makes them look bad, the left wants him to stop because he’s just proving again and again that a person like him is their president no matter how many hashtags they use. But, friends, I hope they never take this crazy bastard’s phone away. I think it’s damn near vital to this nation’s health that he keeps on covfefing away to the end of his days.
It should be obvious to just about everyone these days that Americans sure can screw things up when they want to. One of the main reasons why is that we have criminally short-term memories. But can you blame us? There’s so many stimuli in the world today, so much binge watching to get done, so many news stories creeping through our Facebook feeds, that it’s hard to hold any point of history, however recent, in our brains for too long.
Trump’s tweets have become an anchor in our oversaturated time. They’re a constant reminder of just how abnormal a situation we’ve gotten ourselves into. If you use Twitter, if you turn on the news, if you keep your ears open at coffee shops and bars, his asinine, foot-in-mouth aphorisms are the talk of the town no matter how much the wider world shifts. They are the continuous kindling for our nation’s collective eye-roll.
Six months in, the POTUS is still the same man he was on the campaign trail, on all those Howard Stern shows, on Celebrity Apprentice. And we all need to remember that. It’s an act of grace that our Orange Oaf-in-Chief reminds us just how absurd he is on Twitter every day. Attaining the highest office in the country—strike that: the world—hasn’t soothed this man’s plasticine, infantile ego. It takes a special kind of narcissist to be made king of the world and still throw tantrums when Mika Brzezinski jabs at him on Morning Joe.
I’d be the first to tell you the tweeting hurts. But our country needs to know day in and day out just how bad a mistake we made electing this guy and we both know we’d forget if it weren’t for these sorts of constant reminders. It needs to sting like the first time every day for four years straight or we’ll reach for the wasps’ nest again. Hell, even after all this, we probably still will.
When conservatives say they wish he’d stop tweeting, they’re tacitly admitting they trust a man with our nuclear codes whom they don’t trust with 140 characters on the Internet. They think his childish antics online are too much but have given him the world’s absolute apex of political power. No one in history has ever had as much power as Donald Trump does right now—have you considered that? He has the most powerful and expensive military at his disposal, a superpower country that’s continuously ceded more and more authority to its executive branch, and enough nukes to end civilization as we know it several times over. And your main concern are his tweets?
For liberals, the outrage is understandable but also frighteningly avoidant. Venting all frustration at what our moronic master says on Twitter ignores something more frightening: the Republican Congress would be doing all this shady healthcare business no matter which of their ranks would’ve won, Hillary’s action on Syria and North Korea would’ve been just as hawkish, the citizenry would all still be at each other’s throats, etc. In other words, there are certainly many things Trump will cause damage to that others wouldn’t have touched. But the US’s course hasn’t altered that much since January 20. The systemic problems would still be there even if he wasn’t on his phone every day making sure you remember just how ridiculous he is.
But in a way, that’s also an inadvertent and painful blessing. It’s a reminder our emperor has no clothes in every sense of the word. His is a position of frightful incompetence and thin-skinned impotence; occupying the throne of global power, he’d rather watch TV all day and tweet every inane and insulting thought that comes into his head. He is neither the president liberals feared nor the one that conservatives hoped for; he’s something far more pathetic.
So while my heart goes out to anyone Trump insults—and he insults all of our collective intelligence, for that matter—I really do hope he keeps on tweeting. Because we really aren’t far from Pavlov’s dogs. We need that bell to ring. We need to be reminded. And each tweet is a reminder.
It’s a reminder we’ve let the executive branch gain far too much power. It’s a reminder the world will keep turning and people will keep suffering no matter how stupid the president’s Twitter account is. It’s a reminder that his behavior is the same now—we have it documented by the man himself online—as it was when he ranted and raved about Kristen Stewart or snuck into Miss Universe changing rooms. It’s a reminder that granting absolute power to a malignant narcissist can never quiet his arrogance or insecurity. It’s a reminder gambles like this have ever-rippling consequences. It’s a reminder we’ve given our country over to an absolute baboon of a person, someone who has the attention span of a lima bean, the moral fortitude of a rotten squash and the intellectual capacity of a barely formed amoeba. And, perhaps most importantly, it’s a reminder we can do better next time—so long as we remember the president who tweets all those embarrassing things is the president we allowed to embarrass us.
And, dear God in heaven, I really hope we do better next time.