A Thousand Points of Hypocrisy
During a rally in Montana in July, Donald Trump, in his weird role as the self-styled Jeffrey Ross of American politics figured he’d zing a 94 year old former Republican President by taking snarky aim at an ancient bit of flowery, inspirational verbiage. Puffed full of the arrogance that comes with having a vast sea of drooling cultists hang on your every word, he asked the crowd, “You know all of the rhetoric you see. 'Thousands points of light.' What the hell was that by the way? I know one thing. 'Make America Great Again' we understand. Putting America first we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? It was put out by a Republican, wasn't it?”
It’s not surprising that Trump did not understand what Bush and scriptwriter Peggy Noonan meant by “a thousand points of light” because that signature catchphrase was a call for the American people to look beyond themselves and their own ruthless self-interest and reach out a hand to the less fortunate by volunteering. Bush wanted to inspire the American people to be their best selves, to throw themselves into charity and volunteering as a way of life, not just something you do every one in a while to feel good about yourself.
This, of course, is anathema to how Trump sees the world. Trump has been pimping “Make America Great Again” hardcore but his real message, and the message that inspired the American people to abandon their dignity and self-respect and elect him President is “Fuck the other guy.”
Trump promised to fuck the other guy on our behalf when it came to deal-making internationally, and to fuck the other guy domestically by bringing hell to Democrats and anyone else who opposed him.
That included President George H.W Bush, the father of Trump’s low-energy punching bag of choice and a man who earned Trump’s undying hatred by voting for Hillary Clinton rather than a fellow Republican who embodied everything he abhorred.
Trump’s potshots at a nearly thirty year old speech was obnoxious, insufferable and unnecessary even by Trump standards. After all, when Trump decided to do a tight one minute of shtick on “a thousand points of light” Bush was deep into his nineties. You did not need to be the ex-President’s personal physician to sense that he did not have a lot of time left on earth.
But Trump couldn’t help himself. For him, there’s no such thing as going too far or being too mean. All that mattered to him was that the ninety-something former President had spoken out publicly against him. That consequently made him fair game for attacks as weirdly personal as they were unnecessary.
That should have been the end of it. As part of his ongoing war on propriety and human decency, Trump thought it might be good for a laugh to go full Don Rickles on the long-ago hopeful words of a man on the brink of death and get a few laughs and cheers from his cult, who he has conditioned to viscerally despise everyone who displeases him. He’s socialized his followers to see his enemies as their enemies, and the enemy of the American people.
When Bush died, however, whoever wrote the official White House statement loftily declared, “Through his essential authenticity, disarming wit, and unwavering commitment to faith, family, and country, President Bush inspired generations of his fellow Americans to public service—to be, in his words, “a thousand points of light” illuminating the greatness, hope, and opportunity of America to the world.”
Jesus fucking Christ. There is a roughly one in a billion chance that, in a rare moment of reflection and humility, Trump realized what an unconscionable douchebag he’d been and came to understand and appreciate the sentimental poetry of “a thousand points of life” and the lovely, if maudlin sentiments behind it.
It’s more likely that he responded to news of the former President’s death with enthusiasm and delight and whoever was cursed with writing that statement did what people in Trump’s orbit are forced to do when called upon to be decent on Trump’s behalf: ignore the President and his wishes the same way you’d purposefully ignore a baby throwing a tantrum.
“Trump” “lovingly” quoting words he’d needlessly and cruelly mocked as unworthy of comparison to his big dick-swinging catchphrase mere months later would be like him responding to the death of Hillary Clinton saying that we must “lock her up” in our hearts where she belongs, and then build a wall to ensure that she remains in our souls and in our memories, and then expecting to be praised for his graciousness towards an enemy.
I would say this represents a new low for Trump, but, honestly, I’m not sure this even makes it into the top 100 most terrible things he’s done. This week.
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