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Ari Halbkram is an entertainment and business brand consultant, A&R manager, podcaster, filmmaker, and writer. Visit his site to learn more.

It's Just Gold Foil

Originally written by Indivisible:

This is madness and I can’t take it anymore. I can’t take not saying exactly what’s on my mind about this one second longer. If I had a tiny child who was adequate at arts and crafts…let’s say the kid was AMAZING at arts and crafts…he could be the absolute best artist ever at drawing a house, but I wouldn’t give him building materials and ask him to actually build one. If that child ran around the school yard pulling on pig tails and making fun of his classmates, I wouldn’t reward that kid with an extra few minutes of playtime or a special snack. If that kid whined and complained about how it wasn’t fair that one of his classmates got an extra snack because they pushed in all the chairs around the table every day for two weeks, you wouldn’t bring that kid up to the front of the class to show him what a great example he’s setting for the other children. If this kid spent weeks before he finally learned the lesson that crying didn’t get him what he wanted, and instead he starts promising to do all of the classroom chores, even better than the best kids in the class, you’d have to look at him with skepticism. When he proved to be lying about the chores, pretending to play nicely with his classmates, but in reality just didn’t care, didn’t respect his classmates, and didn’t respect you, then…you wouldn’t fully blame the kid because the kid has the mind of a child with a poor grasp of civility and unformed social behaviors.

Yet, this is the behavior of the person who’s been chosen to run this country. This morning, on the record, he said “I’ve had a lot of briefings that are very…I don’t want to say ‘scary,’ because I’ll solve the problems, but…we have some big enemies out there in this country and we have some very big enemies — very big, and, in some cases, strong enemies.” He also noted that he prefers his highly important briefings as short as possible: “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled by a page.” He also said this: “You also realize that you’ve got to get it right because a mistake would be very, very costly in so many different ways.” To clarify: The problem isn’t the statement itself, though it is nauseating. The problem is that by saying it, he was admitting that he’d never considered it before.

In the three months since he got hired, he’s attempted to stock his government with people who fundamentally don’t understand the jobs they’ve been chosen for. To wit: today, this guy’s nominee for Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, admitted that he thought the position he’d be operating was as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry. This same person once said he’d like to eliminate the entire organization, and then by his admission said that he’d neglected to connect the dots when the job was offered to him. The new boss’s Education Secretary claimed she’d gotten confused by questions about federal civil rights protections for disabled students. Over the weekend, instead of addressing criticism with honor and dignity — or better yet, not responding to it at all — he decided to use poorly chosen words to attack a vaunted luminary of civil rights on the cusp of the most important weekend in the history of American Civil Rights. Also, he continues to withhold documents that would actually put to rest many of the fears expressed by American citizens. He’s backtracked on things he himself promised to do, having made those promises on what he claimed was the strength and ironclad credibility of his words. He baldly lies about statements he’s made to the press — on camera. The list goes on and on. (And it should be pointed out that A, this list was entirely predicated on actual, verifiable facts and not just hype, and B, it omitted points of controversy that, while dangerous and nerve-wracking, are still being somewhat inflated by outrage.)

The point is, on Friday people are going to have to accept that there’s no more conjecture to “what a President Trump White House looks like.” It will be a living, breathing reality. Only the thing is, this reality is exactly the reality of the past three months. It’s the reality of the past two years. And the eight years before that. And the eight years before that. This is the pattern of behavior this guy has always exhibited, and no amount of red hats or stolen catchphrases or hollow, jingoistic vomit is going to change the fact that the man, by his own admission, has always reveled in knee-jerk, combative, disruptive behavior which has left a wake of bankrupt companies, broke workers, scams, and failed organizations. Think I’m just regurgitating media spin? Try me. I was taught by one helluva investigative journalism professor how to do my homework and I have the utmost respect for this country, the office of the Presidency, and the Fourth Estate.

The signs on his buildings may be written in gold, but it’s gold foil. It’s the smallest, barely minute amount of a precious metal that gets mixed in with the lowest compounds and smashed down with a big hammer until you can spread it over something with a giant knife. You can’t “Make America Great Again” by trusting it to a charlatan, or worse, a man who exhibits the behaviors of a child — albeit six or more decades older — when you wouldn’t trust that child with anything other than a dull sharpener to put a finer point on his crayons.

 

 

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