"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Donald Trump Redux - The Return To Washington Of The Greatest Show On Earth

The paintings of Ralph Abernathy, Frederick Douglass, and Rosa Parks were the first to go, replaced by portraits of Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton - actually retrieved, for the Biden Administration had put them out of the way, supernumeraries in the New Age, outmoded figures of no current relevance. Jill had said she would take one - 'It's the least we can do, Joe' - but the others were carefully wrapped in burlap and stored in a far corner of the basement. 

'The White House will again look like America', said President Trump, sending the message that his Administration would return to first principles and first presidents. The new President's cabinet choices were reflective of that policy. Every last one of them down to the Secretary of Labor, a position Trump had vowed to abolish along with Education and Health and Human Services, was a Ronald Reagan conservative.  'Government is not the solution', said the former President. 'It is the problem', and the marching orders of the new Administration was to begin the dismantling process immediately.

The Cabinet was white, young, men and women equally represented.  It was time to reset the pendulum, the President said, and after four years of enmity towards whites, they were to take their rightful place as America's racial majority - not overlords, but representatives. 

Indifferent to the howls and moans of the Biden progressives leaving Washington, and typical of his now well-known provocative style, Trump repeatedly invoked the royalty of Europe and beyond.  Louis XIV, the Sun King, and Czar Nicholas I were the archetypes of glorious imperial rule.  The shahs, shoguns, and emperors of the East were stars in history's firmament, and the light of Plato, Aristotle, and Aeschylus shone brilliantly on all generations thereafter.  


In one fell swoop, with a bevy of executive orders, the new President set the record straight - the long arm of government was to be severed and never again would reach into the pocketbooks and handbags of the American people. Gone was punitive taxation, hobbling restrictions on business and finance, intrusive social policies, and race-based affirmative action.  The table was being reset for the new American banquet of riches, all brought about through a reaffirmation of private enterprise, individualism, and traditional values of work, competition and free markets. 

Perhaps the most obvious and watched transformation was a cultural one.  Gone were the dowdy, hectoring claques of the past, no more somber shows of diversity, no more sanctimony and victimhood.  The White House was to be once again American - the America of Hollywood, Las Vegas, prime time television, runways, yachts, mansions, sequins and low-cut dresses - the President's America; the America that voted him into office. 

State dinners were frequent and invitations more in demand than ever before.  The first honorees were men and women like himself - the irrepressible, young, beautiful, transformative conservative Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni and the Argentine firecracker Javier Millei both at home with populist ideas and good times.  The events were like a Great Gatsby party - the White House overflowed with the glitterati of the nation, a crowd of the most beautiful, the most photographed, and the most sought-after.  The women were all Taylor Swifts and the men all tailored squires of Hollywood. 

Old Washingtonians remember Jackie Kennedy's redo of the White House, all  Currier and Ives originals, de Kooning and Rauschenberg, Revere silver, Townsend tables, and Shaker chairs - a place of old money, old taste, and old class.  Pablo Casals played at state dinners, and Robert Frost read at the inauguration.  So not surprisingly these old men howled the loudest when all traces of that America were expunged and replaced by lowbrow, impossibly tinselly, overdone, loud cheapness. 

Everything was different, all reflective of the new President.  Press conferences were back in business and as raucously aggressive as Trump's campaign speeches.  Nothing was held back, both thanks to his natural ways and to send a message to a nation whose speech had been stifled, starched, and closed for four years.  The President was outrageous, mocking, and hilarious - a tummler, a Borscht Belt headliner, a vaudevillian.  

This is what Americans had missed.  For four years they had been told that they were white racists, woman-hating, greedy individualists, deep state crazies, backwoods crackers responsible for the incineration of forests, the pollution of the air, the oppression of the black man, the patriarchal suppression of women's rights, and the promoters of retrograde, obstructionist Biblical injunction.  Life was too serious for fun, they were told.  Everything was a deadly serious affair. 

And then came Donald Trump Redux where nothing was sacred, no shibboleth left standing, no sanctimony left unpunctured.  The circus had come back to town and it was to be the greatest show on earth.  Bible thumpers, revivalists, and call girls were back - the new diversity of the real America.  The White House doors were open to all comers, the more the merrier - kings, courtesans, and bricklayers as welcome as at the Wedding Feast at Cana. 


As hoped for by his supporters and feared by his opponents, the new President came out swinging.  Thanks to a Republican Senate as well as House, it was a Republican free-for-all, heady days of a stringent conservatism in a party atmosphere.  Old, tired, progressive programs were dismantled and discarded.  The Treasury was once again bolted tight, federal funds restricted to Constitutional requirements.  The drunken sailor spending of the Biden Administration was stopped in its tracks.  No state, county, or municipality got sanctuary funding, entitlements, or airy social programs. 

The border was shut tight, the senseless war in Ukraine stopped, a militantly aggressive support of Israel was launched, Iran isolated, and conservative governments around the world courted. 

'I'm back!', were the first words of Trump as he gave his inaugural speech; and that's all his cheering supporters needed to hear; for The Donald's words were always memes, indicative, suggestive of meaning, and these two meant a profoundly conservative four years if not eight were to come. 

'And you ain't seen nothing yet'; and so the cheering and chanting continued up and down the National Mall.  Biden progressives were licking their wounds, still disbelieving that this evil man, this Satan, this anti-democratic racist could possibly be giving an inaugural address; and yet there he was as foolish and obtuse as ever, flaunting the good people of the progressive Left, and leaving no doubt that the next four years would be unmitigated hell. 

'Don-ald, Don-ald, Don-ald', the crowd cheered in raucous unison and when he was joined on stage by his wife, the cheering grew even louder. 'Me-la-ni-a, Me-la-ni-a, Me-la-ni-a' the crowd chanted, delirious and overjoyed.  The Donald, Donald Trump, their man was indeed back. 

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