by Shelton Bumgarner
Long ago, when we were all younger, cuter and we could have avoided this mess, the issue of Donald Trump’s tweeting came up during the presidential campaign. Trump did not really give an explanation for why he did it and did not really indicate if he would stop if he became president.
Alas, we know the answer to that now.
The issue for me, at least, when it comes to Trump’s tweeting is we, as a society, continue not to know exactly how to process the tweets themselves. Some of them are so shocking and somewhat mind-bending to be coming from the president himself that we just don’t know how seriously to take them.
On one hand, they’re coming from the president, so we feel as part of respecting the office we have to at least listen to what Trump has to say. Given that he’s the president and has all this power over our lives, it makes sense for us to read what he tweets in an effort to better understand his mentality, if nothing else. So when he accuses former President Obama of “wire tapping” him, we feel we have to take it seriously for no other reason than the President of the United States is the one saying it. And, yet, it seems as though Trump, himself, doesn’t really take what he tweets seriously. It’s almost as if he doesn’t realize that people are actually reading what he tweets.
Meanwhile, some of his tweets — most notably the recent “covfefe” tweet — are almost absurdest art, obviously not meant to be taken seriously by anyone. And, yet, again, because the president tweeted it is has a cultural significance that may last long after the original tweet is forgotten.
But, to me, at least, the crux of all this is the tweeting is yet another way how Trump has brought down the reputation of the the office in a monumental fashion. It is also yet another example of how complicit the Vichy Republicans are in rationalizing out of existence anything the president does. If Obama had done the “covfefe” tweet the demand for the 25 Amendment to be invoked on the part of the right would be staggering.
And, yet, we’ve reached point where we have to stop making such comparisons. They’ve gone from being a common refrain, to be a cliche to just being tired. We have to admit — then move on — that the Right is simply better organized and better at leading a charge of outrage when the time arises.
So what do we do about the damn tweets? That’s a tough one. It seems as though it’s just going to take some time. The instability caused by Trump’s tweeting isn’t going anywhere. Trump is going to continue to tweet for the foreseeable future, continue to stir up trouble for his own reasons and at times leave us all scratching our heads.
We had a chance to stop all of this in November 2016 and we blew it. The sooner we figure out what to do about Trump in the larger scheme of things, the better. But we had all be prepared. It’s going to be at least early 2019 before the tweeting will stop being so significant, and that’s only if we flip Congress and Trump is impeached and convicted. There are no assurances that anything like that will happen.
Hence, we are living a slow moving tragedy with no exit. It’s like we’re suffering from a chronic disease that flairs up every once in a while when we get stressed out. I wish there was some easy answer to it all, but there isn’t.