Gary Horton | The American Tragedy of Trump


Trump’s presidency didn’t have to turn as such a tragic and dangerous farce.
While always a divisive character, Trump didn’t have to end up righteously disliked or ever hated, by 55 percent of all Americans. He didn’t have to suffer one of the most humiliating approval ratings – now down to about 37 percent. He didn’t have to risk our nation’s world leadership with his tirades and petulant behavior.

Trump didn’t have to dehumanize, decivilize, demodernize our nation. He didn’t have to stoke racism. He didn’t have to select a cabinet that’s more like a motorized turnstile and featuring staff more like Larry, Moe and Curly than serious cabinet heads. He didn’t have to spite science. He didn’t have to (likely) commit election fraud, tax fraud and all sorts of likely soon-to-be-disclosed criminal acts in order to get elected. And he didn’t have to be facing potential impeachment charges just a short 20 months into his presidency.

No, Trump didn’t have to tear apart the china shop to rearrange the knickknacks. The store might have needed some rearranging, but a tear-down it was not.

The matter of Trump is a shame. A lost opportunity, really.

Because truthfully, at the core, some of Trump’s basic positions have strong validity as these issues do require change and tweaks and improvements.

Trade? Yup, we do have a tremendous trade imbalance – and mostly with China. And the Chinese do steal American intellectual property. And our laws do rather encourage American companies to sell America out for a quick buck made on the backs of poorly paid Chinese workers. Yes, Trump indeed has a point here.

And immigration? Yup, it does need to be seriously updated and made to be progressive for the United States, fair to immigrants, with laws that are clear and also enforced. Trump does have a core point that improvements are long overdue and that laws should be upheld.

And NATO? Yup again. Presidents for years have bemoaned that the U.S. kicks in so very much compared to the countries we help protect. Trump has a point.

True also, that taxes needed reforming. We had too many loopholes and corporations were effectively encouraged to keep profits overseas.

Most all of us of all stripes can agree these serious issues — and more — need attention and thoughtful solutions. Trump was on to something while campaigning on these issues and he uses them still. Deep inside he knows what plagues us — and had he just addressed these issues thoughtfully, inclusively, and most of all, presidentially, we really could have been on the road to incredibly helpful advancement for our nation.

Instead, Trump, with all his mass confusion, never-ending fight-picking, his divisiveness, his temper, his utterly dysfunctional management – has ended up blowing a wonderful opportunity to move the U.S. forward, to improve our standing among nations and to create a greater unity at home.

Trump, and every opportunity he’s blown, has become a shame and sorry loss for America.

Instead of thoughtful immigration reform, we get militarized ICE storm troopers and kids separated from parents. We get thousands indefinitely imprisoned, but no progressive solutions to the complex immigration problem. “Build a wall” is Trump’s immigration reform but what we needed was thoughtful policy that is designed to help American business and American wellness, and that is reasonable and constructive.

Trump likes high-stakes threats as a negotiating tactic, but the gambit gets old quick and most are tired of his rants and threats. So now we hear of “another $250 billion in Chinese tariffs” and this time you and I truly will pay more for everything from Walmart to the Apple store – and early reports indicate China may not even care. It will prove hard to bully a country we need more than they need us.

And tax reform? Something did get passed, and now we have $1 trillion never-ending deficits while the ultra-rich pay rates as much as the middle class. Trump’s tax reform was little more than a massive fraud and rip-off on the general public.

On it goes with each and every issue. Shell games and smoke and mirrors and rallying chants but little by way of real solutions. Nearly two years after Trump won the electoral college, Trump still chants, “Lock her up, lock her up!” Hillary is gone, but Trump still, still boasts regularly of his “incredible victory.” Could we have policy instead of narcissism please?

We’re blowing good chances for positive change because Trump’s personal flaws are simply too unpresidential. He had good hunches and plainly good street smarts, but in the end, a thug is just a thug — and thugs generally don’t last too long before getting tripped up.

Tripped up by his own staff, running away from Trump’s employ. Tripped up by leakers, showing the whole world the dysfunction and reality show stupidity that is the current American White House. Tripped up by patriotic Americans like John McCain and Robert Mueller, who both served bravely in the military, both Vietnam Purple Heart recipients and both of whom rose to their highest positions on true merit rather than self-serving showmanship. And finally, tripped up by an American public so weary of the constant shenanigans and outrages and bimbos and prostitutes and 5,000 now counting lies and never-ending drama.

What enough Americans wanted was a hard-nosed businessman making businesslike changes to pestering problems like unfair trade deals, over-extended military and lingering immigration issues, and renewing our heartland. Instead, what they got was a vile brand of race-baiting populism offering feigned and fake solutions while passing tax deals funneling trillions in tax savings to America’s already super-rich 1 percent.

Revealed as part carnival barker, part schoolyard bully, part shell-game shyster, part insane narcissist and besty with proven criminal operators – Trump’s blown his chance to be great. Revelations of the White House “Crazy Town” this past week have sealed Trump’s fate as an embarrassing goofball.

Trump’s legacy will be a forever lamented international and American laughingstock – and America’s legacy will be that we let it happen and tolerated it all so long.

We have our first chance to begin reigning this craziness in Nov. 4, and boy, we had better take it.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. His“Full Speed to Port!” has appeared on Wednesdays in The Signal since 2006. Mr. Horton is the longest regular, continuously published columnist in The Signal with over 600 columns to his credit.

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