By now, we're all aware of the multitude of ways in which Donald Trump is disrupting and mutating the presidency. Traditional norms of the office are being individually ransacked and the parts fed into Trump's gaping maw where they're potentially disappeared forever. We're talking about the norms of decency and decorum, of centered rationality on the world stage, of behavior that's befitting of the dignity of the office. Trump possesses none of that, yet he desperately craves respect simply because he's "Mr. President."
No. It doesn't work like that. Or at least it shouldn't. Presidents have to earn our respect and admiration through deeds that all of us recognize as being presidential, beyond our partisan affiliations. By stripping away the dignity of the office through his monstrous behavior, his tweets and his obnoxiously childish blurts -- his meaningless threats and other forms of gibberish -- there's nothing left to respect about the presidency. Trump, the man, is killing the office, leaving an emperor without clothes. Ultimately, he doesn't realize he's also destroying himself, but that's a different story.
In addition to shattering centuries-old norms, and not in a good way, Trump has ushered in the post-hypocrisy era. By shamelessly flaunting his grotesque hypocrisy, he's convincing half of the participants in the American political debate to also abandon consistency as an ideal. If hypocrisy is no longer relevant in politics, Trump and his copycats can get away with literally anything.
Trump's preposterous tweets about Sen. Al Franken were a perfect example.
We don't have to elaborate on why these tweets defied hypocrisy, do we? Suffice to say, Trump is hurling stones while standing in a glass White House. Funny how Trump also seems to know all the tricks of the sexual assault trade. He's like the Hannibal Lecter of sexual predators -- one step ahead of everyone, as if he has a special insight into the minds of boob-honkers, pussy-grabbers and stalkers of underage girls. Oh, and on top of everything else, the nincompoop misspelled "Frankenstein."
Yes, this is trolling. Yes, this is hypocritical. Yes, this calls attention to his own predatory behavior. No, it doesn't matter to his band of merry disciples. Arguing hypocrisy to them on social media is a waste of time.
While the left is almost universally condemning Franken, Trump voters will relentlessly attack Franken or Louis CK without bothering to acknowledge or condemn Trump's and Roy Moore's far worse behavior. Why? Because hypocrisy is irrelevant. Why? Because Trump made it irrelevant using the might of the bully-good pulpit. This is the influence the office of the presidency retains, and Trump, for all of his ignorance, knows he commands a large army of naive automatons from his perch behind the Resolute Desk. Not only is he exploiting the office to tear down the Obama legacy, but he's also tearing down the meaning of words and the need for basic presidential consistency.
Without consistency. the president is nothing more than a random blurt factory. Nothing he says can be trusted or verified by weighing all of it against previous remarks and policies. Trumpers need to ask themselves: would they allow their doctor to be this mercurial? Or the teachers of their children? I doubt it, so why is the president allowed to exhibit behavior that we'd never allow in other authority figures?
It's not shocking to discover that Trump's inconsistency-fetish reaches back to agreements signed by previous administrations -- agreements that Trump is abandoning because his name isn't at the top of the documents. This telegraphs to allies and other foreign leaders that international agreements are meaningless, left to the whimsy of whomever worms his way into the Oval Office. And this, more than anything else, is a threat to America's standing in the world and, more specifically, our national security.
Trump is all about Trump. The 62 million people who voted for him last year were suckered by a classic con-artist. And now, to save face, they're cheering on the most incompetent and dangerous chief executive in the history of the republic. He won't get better. There's no pivoting to a more presidential attitude. You're either with him or against him, yet the damage and destruction he's manifesting will impact everyone. No one is safe.