Trump makes tragedy all about himself

The ubiquitous video of sobbing children whose parents had been forcibly rounded up and hauled away by ICE agents in Mississippi last week sent an excerpt from Anne Frank’s Jan. 13, 1943, diary entry hurtling around the internet. “Terrible things are happening outside,” the doomed teenage girl scrawled while hiding in a concealed room in an Amsterdam apartment as Nazis forcibly rounded up and hauled away Jews outside. “At any time of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. … Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared.”

The truth, of course, is that no one seems to have an immigration policy to offer that satisfies both humanitarianism and national security, and there is plenty of legitimate room for reasonable debate about what that policy should be. That truth, however, did not lessen the depressing impact of last week’s latest jolt to Americans’ self-image of choice, in which human decency and compassion predominate, not swagger and heartlessness. Which qualities now prevail in today’s America has seemed more and more like a jump ball in recent years, with the answer to the key question — what kind of people are we and what kind of people do we intend to be? — a matter of doubt.

Our presidents tend both to reflect the quality of America’s character and to shape it. It has therefore been a particularly grim week in an endless continuum of them for Americans who observe a president who is not merely profoundly stunted as an individual but inflicting daily damage to the national soul, damage from which the nation may never recover. Barely hours after a white supremacist invoking the same anti-immigrant, anti-Mexican venom as he has been spewing for three years massacred 22 innocents in an El Paso Walmart, the president traveled to El Paso to showcase a startling, even infantile, degree of narcissism. A clip surfaced of the president in a hospital, supposedly there to comfort survivors and their families, bragging about the size of his “crowds,” and proclaiming — falsely, of course, but that was the least of it — that his “crowds” were bigger than those of former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Five-year-olds would have grasped that the agony and the suffering of those affected by a racist murderer was not the most suitable of “It’s all about me and how great I think I am” moments. But it was beyond the grasp of the president of the United States.

The president’s penchant for puerile self-reverence was equally well-captured by the instantly iconic photo of him with the baby of a couple gunned down by the El Paso white supremacist. The couple saved their child from their own bloody end by shielding him with their bodies. The uncomprehending, expressionless baby in the photo is being held by the First Lady, who is grinning witlessly, but not quite as witlessly as her husband, who is offering a staggeringly …read more

Source:: Boston Herald


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