Archive for Sunday, December 3, 2017

Opinion: Trump is simply an empty vessel

December 3, 2017

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“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.’ “ —Ronald Reagan, Jan. 28, 1986.

“America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America.” — George W. Bush, Sept. 11, 2001.

“Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. We’ve pulled our children tight.” — Barack Obama, Dec. 16, 2012.

“So I appreciate your support and I know you appreciate our support, because our country has really gone all out to help. And it’s not only dangerous, it’s expensive, it’s everything. But I consider it a great honor, maybe because I know so many people from Puerto Rico that are such great people.” — Donald Trump, Oct 3, 2017.

Some words about words.

Once upon a time, presidents used them as a tool to lift us up when we had been battered down. When tragedy struck or terrorists hit, when massacre came or the storm swamped our lives, they gave us words that inspired, that pointed the way up the rugged incline toward hope.

Nor was it just in sorrow that they did this. In celebration and commemoration, too, we learned to wait to hear what the president had to say.

But that was then.

Of all the ways Donald Trump has damaged this country, arguably the most subtle yet insidious is that he’s taught us not to expect the chief executive to say anything of value. It is not just that he is ineloquent, though he is. But then, George W. Bush was hardly known for rhetorical finesse.

No, Trump’s problem is that he has nothing to say. And the more he says, the more obvious that becomes.

He is the proverbial empty vessel making the most noise. Asked to empathize or analyze, he throws out a confetti of words, verbal chaff that distracts but says nothing. When cornered, he tries to hide his emptiness behind a veneer of inscrutability meant to sound like confidence.

Last week, for instance, came frightening news of North Korea’s latest missile launch. Not to worry, said Trump. “This situation will be handled.”

Meaning what, exactly?

Meaning nothing, that’s what.

“I’m very highly educated,” Trump once bragged. “I know words. I know the best words.” Actually, he seems to know maybe a few hundred words, most of them self-congratulatory superlatives, schoolyard insults and primary-colors emotions: biggest, best, loser, bad, sad.

As language, it is dishwater. One can’t help but look back with longing on Obama’s polish, Reagan’s folksiness, even Bush’s malapropisms. Politics aside, they understood that a president’s words must speak to something noble in us, remind us of what it is we’re trying to be.

That knowing recedes a little more every time Trump opens his mouth. Every time he speaks, our expectations of the presidency are diminished, perhaps irretrievably.

And that’s a sorrow for which there are, ironically enough, no words.

— Leonard Pitts is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Gary Stussie 1 week, 4 days ago

Give it a rest Pitts! President Obama had a remarkable grasp of “words”. President Trump was voted in to office based on the expectation he would take action not so he could dazzle us with his speaking ability.

President Obama was a remarkable orator. Unfortunately as a result of his unwavering commitment to socialism, regulation, and economic interventionism he will go down as the most destructive and divisive person to ever occupy the office of the Presidency.
His band aid solution to the recession was to mire the country in unprecedented levels of debt with buy-the-vote giveaways resulting in a country in which more Americans now receive government aid than work full-time.

He politicized every aspect of his administration … most notably the IRS, FBI, EPA and intelligence community (CIA & NSA)… not just to promote his policies but to increase and maintain personal and party power.

Obama was also a uniquely divisive force. He forced Obamacare through Congress … the only major legislation in American history to be passed with no votes from the opposition party. He exacerbated racial and class tensions by echoing the inflammatory speech of professional race-baiters such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and undermining the police at every opportunity.

Gary Stussie 1 week, 4 days ago

At the end of the Obama Presidency, the United States was at its weakest, had fewer allies, and had less military and diplomatic influence than at any time since before World War II. No ally nation trusted him and worse, no American enemy feared him. His ill-fated withdrawal of American troops from Iraq paved the way for ISIS destroying much of that country, killing hundreds of thousands and destabilizing Europe as a result of mass immigration.

Despite his feel-good popularity, as a result of Obama’s desire to destroy America and her traditional institutions, the Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure with a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency. A day after the election, CNN’s Amanda Carpenter aptly noted “Who thought Obama’s legacy would be the destruction of the Democratic Party,”

So while I shudder from time to time at President Trump’s lack f verbal polish, I am content that his actions will, in fact, Make America Great Again!

Greg Cooper 1 week, 2 days ago

" President Trump was voted in to office based on the expectation he would take action not so he could dazzle us with his speaking ability."

"So while I shudder from time to time at President Trump’s lack f verbal polish, I am content that his actions will, in fact, Make America Great Again!"

OK, Gary, what has Chump done that makes America any more great than it already is and has been? Really, I'm interested in your take. Everything you cited above is a very slanted take on events that occurred for a huge variety of reasons, few, if any of which, are directly related to Obama as a president. If you research your talking points, you'll find (and probably reject out of hand) the many social and economic factors that evolved into some of the problems you talked about and the ultra partisan shenanigans that were directly responsible for most of them. Debating that with you guys is fruitless, so I won't, but you don't get a pass on the Make America Great crap you always espouse.

What, if anything, has he done that makes your pet slogan the truth?

Bob Summers 1 week, 4 days ago

Pitts is a congenital Liberal.

This is what they do.

Hate is just one of many symptoms the genetic condition arouses.

Bob Smith 1 week, 3 days ago

The former resident of 1600 Penn. Ave. had excellent teleprompter skills and good speech writers.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 week, 3 days ago

Just keep kissing Trump's behind and ignoring his lies and ignoring his stupidity. I'm sure he will let you like his boots.

Gary Stussie 1 week, 3 days ago

Watching him like a hawk Dorothy ... but giving him the benefit of a doubt (just like I did Obama). You may want to avoid references to kissing and licking when it comes to the Presidency.

Steve King 1 week, 3 days ago

Ah Gary, says you. Not me. Read what you wrote, garbage for sure. When Trump goes down, what ya do/say? 'Cuz it's comming.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 1 week, 3 days ago

The same old response from Conservatives!(Yawn!) Raking leaves is more fun and more productive than listening to trolls defend the indefensible! And, Believe Me! I am not a Huge Fan of Raking Leaves. It Is a Huge Problem! Huge! Sad! But, it needs to be done ind it will make our Lawns Great Again! Trust Me! You won't be disappointed. Wait and See! I Promise!

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