If you feel like the nation has been slowly coming apart at the seams, as BoomerCafe’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs writes in this Boomer Opinion piece, you are not alone. And Dobbs lays much of it at the feet of one empty suit.
When it comes to finding unity in the embers of upheavals across America, and before that, leadership during the calamity of the coronavirus crisis, maybe this satire says it best: “A controversial new study suggests that the United States of America could benefit from having a President.”
The New Yorker’s resident satirist Andy Borowitz then continued, “The study has raised eyebrows by claiming that a President could be helpful in unifying a country and, in a best-case scenario, providing moral leadership.”
But the satire raises a serious question: where is our president? What have we seen in the White House beyond an empty suit?
Oh, the suit moves. But only to secure a street with tear gas so it can cross and pose outside an historic church, looking like a kid told to stand in the corner, holding up a bible in one hand that all signs suggest it has never read. And, as a Denver columnist metaphorically wrote, holding a gasoline can in the other.
And, the suit talks. But does it speak of calm conduct, and common sense? Of course not. It threatens, it bullies, it distracts, it lies. It calls governors “jerks” and protestors “thugs,” which is hardly calculated to unify, as if the empty suit could even spell the word. And if you don’t take it from me, take it from “Mad Dog Mattis,” the empty suit’s first defense secretary, who now calls the empty suit “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try.”
But this empty suit seems driven strictly by confrontation, not conciliation. Mouthing totalitarian cravings like “I wish we had an occupying force in there” and Tiananmen-like threats such as “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” its mentality is typical of a dictatorship, not a democracy. You arrest looters by the way; you charge them with looting, theft, arson, destruction of property. But you don’t shoot them. Not in a democracy.
However, when the empty suit at the top of the food chain preaches violence, advising law enforcement officials who’re confronting protestors that ”You don’t have to be too careful,” what else can you expect? Likewise, when the empty suit calls journalists “the enemy of the people,” then compliant cops in several cities target journalists trying to give us news about what’s going on, what else can you expect?
Where others might say of the need to come down hard to win the peace, “I wish I didn’t have to,” the depraved empty suit says, “I’m glad I get to.“ For the empty suit, it’s us-against-them. Hardly a healthy prescription for a nation in need.
It blames everyone and everything but itself for a country unraveling from a pandemic, then an economic free-fall, and now riots. Whatever happened to “The buck stops here?” If ever asked about that plaque which graced the desk of Harry Truman, the empty suit probably would hold up the Chicago Tribune’s embarrassing headline from 1948 and say, “The election was rigged.”
If you’re a baby boomer, even amongst the youngest, you’ve lived through ten presidents, the oldest amongst us, thirteen. All flawed, some far more than others and none more flawed than Richard Nixon. I covered a few of them myself. But I can’t even imagine any of those presidents failing at least to try to restore some sanity to a society spinning out of control, a nation already pent up with frustration from fright from an invisible virus, from economic erosion, from isolation in lockdown? Can you imagine any president choosing to inflame rather than assuage?
Not until now. Not until three-and-a-half years ago when this empty suit took up residence in the White House. An empty suit that shows no instinct to restore social stability, no plan to relieve a panicked population.
That’s because this empty suit knows no such strategies. At the start of the coronavirus crisis, it ignored reality and as a misguided show of its trumped up masculinity, stuck its head in the sand, retarding the nation’s response and leading, scientists and statisticians say, to tens of thousands of additional deaths. Then at the height of the crisis, when every kind of emergency supply was running short, the empty suit stood by as states were pitted against other states, hospitals pitted against other hospitals. Remember those famous words when a national strategy might have made the difference between life and death? “We’re not a shipping clerk.” There was no national strategy, period. And now, if a national strategy this past week has been articulated, it was to have an occupying military force. On American soil.
It feels like our nation is spiraling into a train wreck. Maybe it’s not the worst in our lifetime. But maybe it is. We can’t lay it all at the feet of the empty suit. Not the pandemic, not racial violence by a few bad cops. But did the empty suit take the obvious steps to minimize the pandemic’s horrid harm? To the contrary, it scoffed at best practices and advocated some of the worst ones. Did it do anything to calm the chaos of racial tension? To the contrary, it inflamed it. So some of this lands right at the empty suit’s feet. An empty suit presiding over the deterioration of the America we know and love. At best it is deaf, at worst, complicit.
Andy Borowitz ended his New Yorker satire, about the benefit of actually having a president, with some wishful thinking: “As improbable as it might seem, citizens would look to the President as someone to admire and emulate in their daily lives.”
Mad Dog Mattis ended his commentary with something more foreboding: “We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”
These are the consequences of three-plus years with an empty suit. The nation, the world, cannot afford much more.