It was the most elaborate of charades, the most sophisticated of masquerades, that played itself out in the chamber of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night. The amount of pretense required to keep all sensible people—which is to say, any person who was not a Republican—in their chairs must have been heroic.
All involved had to pretend that Donald Trump makes sense as a president, that his administration makes sense as a government, and that his first State of the Union address made sense as either a description of national policy, or as a rhetorical summons to national unity. All involved had to pretend that his thoughts were coherent, that his words made sense, and that the complete and universal collapse of civic responsibility that propelled him onto the podium was not the most singularly destructive event in the history of American democracy since the Civil War. Everyone had to pretend that a freak show was Shakespeare, and that a rumbling, stumbling geek was Lincoln, and that the whole tableau unfolding before the Congress was somehow made noble despite the obvious fact that the whole event was an endless procession of lies and half-truths, and that the only truly remarkable thing about the speech was that it was such a perfectly round and complete crock of shit.
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I Watched a Ghoulish Masquerade in Washington
What fantasy was that of which he spoke
concerning all the greatness he has wrought
in only one short year…a cruel joke
or machinations Machiavelli taught?
Because he read the teleprompter well
and mostly stuck to script his lackey writ,
that means he’s acting presidential? Hell
will freeze to solid ice before he’s fit
to lead a nation born of great ideals.
Someday let’s hope he knows how losing feels.
Susan Eckenrode, 1/31/18