In much the same way that Donald Trump’s limited intellect and malignant narcissism rob him of the ability to demonstrate compassion, empathy or humility, so, too, do they make it impossible for him to process regret. When you’ve convinced yourself that you are the center of the known universe, and that everything you do is the crowning achievement in the history of whatever it is you’ve done, the cognitive dissonance required to accept that you’ve actually done the most moronic thing possible is simply a bridge too far. And, so, instead of admitting — at least to yourself, if to no one else — that you regret the quantifiably stupid thing you’ve done, you double down, like so:
A year ago last November, America got a wake-up call. On March 24th, many of us proved we’re still awake by turning out in droves to show our support for the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre, and for the strides those brave teenagers are making in the push for commonsense gun-control laws.
A year ago last November, my family and I were not likely to spend a Saturday afternoon hoisting signs at a massive protest with other like-minded Americans who’ve realized that politics and government are not spectator sports.
“The most effective means we have for drowning out the hateful minority that currently holds sway over our government is to turn out in droves on election days and put into office people whom we know share our values and will represent our interests. … Only by doing so can we reclaim our democracy from the vile, greedy, spineless, self-serving cretins whom we’ve allowed to take over.”
The preceding is an excerpt from a piece I published in January titled “Here’s the Thing: A Trump presidency — or one like it — was inevitable.” The premise I set forth is that the many malignant factions of society that, during Trump’s presidency, have become more noticeable and emboldened than at any other time in recent history exist not because Trump is president, but rather that Trump is president specifically because those factions of society exist and have been allowed to flourish relatively unchecked.
Upon reading said piece, an anonymous reader responded thusly:
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Donald Trump, Paul Ryan, Devin Nunes and the rest of Team Treason on Friday (2/2) released their much-hyped memo … and, as a service to those of you who haven’t had time to read it (it is, after all, a whopping three-and-a-half pages), I’ve gone ahead and worked up this summary:
At one point during his hour-long interview with David Letterman, Barack Obama offers some reasoned and detailed remarks about the global economy, at the conclusion of which Letterman responds by saying, “To hear you describe this in a way that I can understand just makes me so happy you’re still president.”
The most compelling stories often are those that feature a deeply unlikable villain against whom the forces of good must rally, and when the ink dries on this chapter in American history, the record will show that Donald Trump was that villain. His vulgarity knows no bounds, his incompetence and unfitness for the office he holds are unprecedented, and his utter lack of anything even vaguely resembling the empathy, gravitas, dignity or humility a man in his position should possess makes him an easy and highly deserving target of our collective rage and resistance. As awful as he is, however, Donald Trump is not the sum total of that against which we now must fight; he is merely the most glaring symptom of a larger malignancy. To wit:
Last Thursday, I spent the day in Washington, D.C., shadowing a colleague (a.k.a. my sister) on the Hill while she met with aides at the offices of several Democratic and Republican Senators. It was my second-ever trip to our nation’s capital, and my first since becoming an overly obsessed political junkie … so, naturally, I was a bit awed by my surroundings.
Last week, in the immediate aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) went on television and defended civilian ownership of the AR-15, a military-style assault rifle that the Las Vegas shooter used to kill 59 people and injure more than 500. Cole—one of many Republican Congressmen who, not coincidentally, has received thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association—argued that the weapon is not dangerous “when used appropriately.”
During U.S. Army basic training, I was taught the appropriate use of the M-16, the military’s fully automatic version of the semi-automatic AR-15. I distinctly recall the description that the other trainees and I received of what the bullets our weapons fired were capable of doing to the human body.
Recently, I tweeted this:
— Jon Zal (@OfficialJonZal) September 25, 2017
I have more to say about it than a tweet will allow. Here goes.