Overcoming Bizarro Trump …

Donald Trump epitomizes the counterintuitive devices he employs with such bad will. Having learned at the knee of Roy Cohn, the champion of the “double down” that Trump so derivatively adopted as his main strategy, the petulant president presses on in his quest to be the 45th and final president of the United States. He presides over a Bizarro World of his own making complete with comic book styled heroes and villains whose view of an alternate reality governed by alternative facts closely resembles the Thrae (earth spelled backward) of the DC Comic genre -

A world where everything is the exact opposite. Up is down, first is last, good is bad, wrong is right, white is black, logical is illogical, giving is taking, insanity is sane, liberty is tyranny, and vice versa. It’s a place where literally, the sky is forest green and the trees are sky blue.

Whether Bizarro or just bizarre, the world according to Trump is one in which the American Experiment has been trolled by an other-worldy malevolence whose mischief may just mean the end of the experiment.

And so, the title of this diary is in a way an homage to what we hope is the undoing Trump’s dangerous mischief. In a world in which achievements are usually acquired through overcoming hardships and challenges, Trump’s ascendance has been just the opposite. Trump is the embodiment of one who was born on third base but acts as if he has hit a triple. This trope fits this president so well because it suggests that he is clueless and unapologetic about the advantages of wealth and privilege. It also suggests what is at the heart of Trump’s tell-tale defensiveness and sense of grievance — having been baffled by, and unworthy of, his charmed circumstances.

The American Experiment is often romanticized as “a dream,” an aspirational redoubt for the disadvantaged and marginalized masses referred to in Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus. Lazarus spoke for those of us who have generationally found this to be a nation trying to perfect itself. For a Donald Trump, whose dream is limited to simply more — more money, power, fame — and not just his fair share, his has been a life of benefitting greatly from the largesse and promise of America. Yet his American Dream is interrupted by night sweats of self-doubt. In Bizarro terms, this is his own personal American nightmare. Now, the Republican Senate has chosen to give this perverse imposter another undeserved prize by denying him the well-earned ignominy of impeachment and removal from office.

In the Civil Rights protest song which has become an anthem for the underserved, there is a recognition of the inevitability of the cause:

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

To those like the president, there is little to overcome beyond their own greed and self-serving. As a church hymn-a gospel song- the message is clear, overcoming means becoming reawakened, reborn. Instead, one gets the impression that deep in his heart he believes that the message emanating from the spiritual is for losers. Undeserved gifts of wealth and social stature have endowed Trump, the topsy-turvy Demander-in-Chief, a commensurate amount of self-doubt and self-loathing.

In fact, Bizarro Trump has swallowed just enough of this bitter brew to fuel turning America into an unnatural version of itself. In Trump’s America immigrants are unwelcome and hunted. The most vulnerable citizens are discounted and ignored. Lies and dissembling replace collaboration and compromise. America under Trump becomes “Acirema,” a bizarre doppelganger of our Founders’ creation. With a constitution turned on end and with pretenders and sycophants undermining governmental restraint and oversight, he has bent a party and a portion of its citizens to his will. He is the consummate version of an “undercomer,” one who never has had the need or desire to overcome a personal hardship or slight. Because of the fecklessness of circumstance, he views his own good fortune, not as a gift but as his due. The result diminishes his accomplishments as undeserved, leaving him to feel unworthy, and unable to enjoy the blessings of fortune.

Our response must be clear and full-throated, the aberration must end in 2020. We will overcome. We will vote in numbers so great as to rival the level of his baseness. As the brave and relentless marchers of so many righteous causes would sing-

We are not afraid
We are not afraid
We are not afraid, TODAY

Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

Originally published at https://www.dailykos.com on February 3, 2020.

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Vince Rizzo

Former president of the International Association of Laboratory Schools (IALS) and a founder of a charter school based on MI theory.