Is Trump’s demolition derby apt ‘punishment’ for our sins?

If any higher power – call it fortune, destiny or divinity – had wanted Armageddon to roll over America, what Horses’ Ass of the Apocalypse wouldn’t do better than Trump?


For outside observers, heavenly and otherwise, we must be vile, wicked, and revolting people to deserve Donald the Destroyer’s battering ram. One Christian pastor, a fountain of nuance and good will, praised Trump as “God’s wreaking ball.” NY Times’ Tom Friedman distills “the most frightening thing about the Trump presidency” as the Trump Doctrine, “Obama built it. I broke it. You fix it.”

Shocked by waves of fire sale liquidations, multitudes inevitably ask, “How can this crazed buffoon alone pull off the greatest modern whack job”? Might he not be, as conspiracy-minded fundamentalists bellow, the appointed instrument of a vengeful, judgmental higher power? After all, even Trump can’t blame North Korea, Iran, Hillary or “that black guy” for his rampage of ruination, nor unending contempt for “disloyal” senators, courageous NFL athletes or grieving Gold Star families. Amazing shift – as this shameless hustler, declaring “I alone will fix everything,” really meant: “Believe me, ‘fix’ means break everything first, shame others to pick up the pieces, then claim all the glory.” Nice work if you can get it.

Trump the Lying Terminator thus destroys language and trust as well as federalism, governance, and basic decency. After all, he did keep saying, America is an unbelievable mess – without proving he had a clue what “nation building” means. “Any jackass can kick down a barn,” famously quipped former House Speaker Sam Rayburn, “but it takes a good carpenter to build one.” And we’re not afflicted with just any jackass. Compulsively kicking, braying and lying, this mulish president matches in size, duplicity and damage the Trojan Horse. Except of course that scam won something.

Which higher powers?

If any higher power – call it fortune, destiny or divinity – had wanted Armageddon to roll over America, what better Horses’ Ass of the Apocalypse was in the field than Trump? Welcome to havoc in flood stages. Every day, the grim reaper piles up negative bursts: indict the evil media, slam your own party, castigate absolute First Amendment rights, or diss the NFL, DACA, or anything Obama touched. In-between this laughable theater of the absurd, Trump finds time to insult foreign allies and agreements, weekly threatening North Korea with extinction.

When he’s not playing golf, he decimates the Iran treaty with zero explanations why, thus pushing this renegade state to develop a nuclear bomb. Under the radar, NAFTA meetings stall while infrastructure crumbles away faster than Trump credibility. Throw in the delusional Mexican Wall – that no sensible body will fund – and the discriminatory Muslim ban – with more legal morasses than Bleak House.

Let’s not exclude the rash of calamities his medieval cabinet enforces on resources, energy, education, climate and decent working conditions. We’re not talking minor disruptions but an epic legacy of ruination, without any clear, socially-redeeming value. Trump and company don’t even rate an F, more like a huge minus number. Here’s an entire wrecking team good at one thing: decimation, and badly-timed, adding to shocking misery from gigantic floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

Catastrophes galore

Okay, perhaps fundamentalist delusions on latter-day messiahs do explain how the most inept, ignorant, undisciplined president crushes whatever he touches. But what “messiah” offers no positive message while executing the only “ideology” Trump knows – destruction for destruction’s sake? Demolition Donald not only cultivates delusions of grandeur, his stunts and gestures carry delusions of devastation. Until we banish Trump, nothing is sacred, not America’s word, foreign alliances, trade agreements, international nuclear packs, the remnants of Obamacare – let alone compassionate immigration, trust by immediate neighbors, life-saving regulations or middle-class tax relief.

President Mayhem displays only one marginal PR ploy: pumping out proxy wedge issues to distract from mortifying failures. To say he is running away with “the worst ever presidency prize” is an understatement. Trump’s perfect storm divisively shreds what’s left of the nation’s communal spirit while committing blunders abroad that desecrate our world leadership, which will in turn gut our affluence. Certainly, his onslaught corrupts and tests the “higher power” of majority rule. What we need, alas, is what isn’t in any cards: a redo election after nine months of this severe, forced national learning curve.

Just desserts?

I am mixed on whether the entire nation deserves Trump’s wipe-out, shoot-only-from-the-gut politics. Surely, the U.S. since WWII has botched imperial power with indefensible wars and greedy predations. We have lied and cheated our way to world dominance. Specific, calculated decisions, on taxation, outsourcing and squandered opportunity, foster egregious income and asset inequality.  And finally, we now know what Trump meant by “America First” – we get whacked first and hardest.

There’s more than a little poetic justice (however tragic) here: the self-induced whipping comes from the undersized hands of an unfeeling vulgarian who pontificates on the flag while shunning our best values. On top of retribution from imperial hubris (like terrorism), we are now plagued with Trump – and this unholy merger promises lasting scars, the greater the number the longer he reigns.

In the meantime, we must correct certain Biblical ambiguities.  If the Lord is truly almighty, He no longer “moves in mysterious ways.” Trump obliterates any “glass darkly” as his raging wrath openly echoes the bad-tempered Old Testament God. As if drug plagues (opioids and otherwise) and dying heartland towns aren’t enough, we have Trump. As if disintegrating infrastructures aren’t enough, we have Trump. As if expanding nuclear powers aren’t enough, we have Trump.  As if the challenges of modern, global, high-tech corporatism aren’t enough, we have Trump. Bravo for us. Bravo for disorder in the face of solvable problems.

What creationist designer?

Why, under duress, I’d posit that Creationist Designer is out to pommel this once hallowed, white, Anglo-Saxon fortress. Could the Trump plague be about our centuries of abusing Native Americans or imprisoning loyal (Japanese) citizens during WWII? Or that our success came on the backs of slaves and exploited immigrants?  Does history carry its own enduring, moralistic karma?

We are a nation of good and bad. Yet Trumpery proves we are in high denial, running away from mending our ways. The Trump mindset revels in bizarre fantasies to reverse history, regurgitating tawdry biases towards women, minorities, newcomers and “foreigners.” On the philosophic/cosmic docket: will an allegedly beneficent Almighty stand around while Trump’s demolition derby plays to his 32% hardcore base (half being “Christian” evangelicals)?

Further, are we ready to accept impeachment, with VP Pence’s scary backwardness “saving us” from the mad-cap Donald’s version of entertainment? With more assaults against Obamacare, more noxious, Koch-driven deregulation of mining and production – so that clean air, soil, and water are things of our (Biblical) past? There are thresholds beyond which even high human cleverness cannot repair.

Finally, America must soon learn a systemic, if humbling lesson: our legendary Constitution is broken, dramatizing in two modern elections the tragic shortcomings of the Electoral College. We must equally address the inefficacy of impeachment when the president’s party controls Congress, thus shielding an indefensibly unfit phony in the White House.  This is not endurable; something’s has to give.  Does the majority rule, or is this heart of democracy no more than an oligarch’s doormat?


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.