Yesterday, Trump gave the worst inaugural speech in living memory; simplistic in conception, ugly in content, bombastic in tone, and delivered with all the panache of an angry carnival barker. It was entirely consistent with the tone and tenor of his campaign: boorish, mendacious, condescending, and mean. We are assured that he wrote the speech himself, and nobody who witnessed the eleven-minute scold needs further convincing on that point. What ought to have been be a sacred civic event — the peaceful transition of American power — was cheapened almost beyond recognition by a thin-skinned con lacking any conception of the arc of American history, and any notion that the stage on which he stood was infinitely larger than the he — or any one individual — would ever be. He came not to uplift and unite, but to sell; not to encourage and enable, but to scold. Trump chose to repudiate the entire political class in favor of selling a reality television portrait of America bearing little resemblance to truth, and that he, in his gold-gilded penthouse, knows next to nothing about. Trump’s party cut-out America is both cheap and expensive at the same time; an undefended, militarily-emasculated economic wasteland littered with Islamic terrorists and urban dung heaps of brown and black that he intends to cleanse with his fists.
Trump is going to discover in short order that Vladimir Putin is a great deal smarter than he is (not a high bar, to be sure), that the political class will shortly repudiate him instead, and that fatuous fists don’t work like that. “Yes we can” has endured eight years of unprecedented obstructionism, misplaced rage, and chowderhead non-governance in favor of civic self-immolation and macroeconomic naiveté. But “Make America Great Again” has made the mistake of awakening the giant — the four out of five eligible voters with conscience and common sense — and the giant is angry. One does not awaken the American giant easily, and one always — always — comes to regret it. Slavery did it, and Emperor Hirohito; segregation did it, and Saddam Hussein; the American Giant — the beacon of possibility, the bastion of democracy amidst the tin pots and totalitarians — the progressive vehicle of compassion and reason and creativity and hope — is going to crush him like a bug.
UPDATE: The White House has just conceded that Trump did not write his speech; it was actually written by Steve Bannon and Steve Miller. This tells us two things. 1) They lied about that, too, and 2) these geniuses can’t write, and don’t have the good sense to find someone who can. Unbelievable.