For those of you too young to remember, Eddie Haskell was a character on the old Leave It To Beaver show. He was an adolescent pal of Wally, Beaver's older brother, and he was an unapologetic dick who routinely bullied "The Beav." But when Wally's and Beaver's parents were home, Eddie would snap into behaving like an unrelenting kiss-ass, effusively complimenting Mrs. Cleaver and pretending to be the perfect kid.
Beaver's reaction was pure bewilderment and frustration. Indeed, Eddie was gaslighting Beaver, so that if Beaver ever mentioned Eddie's bad behavior to his parents, they'd be more likely to give Eddie the benefit of the doubt.
Knowing a two-faced jagoff like Eddie is nothing but a curse. And after watching Tuesday night's State of the Union, we all know how Beaver must've felt. Donald Trump's address was pure Eddie Haskell, cloaking himself in a phony-balony sense of dignity while hiding behind the sad and inspiring stories of his various human shields in the gallery, inadvertently lending their heroism to a man who's the exact opposite of a hero -- a man who's feeding off their stories to salve his insecurities and to mask his political liabilities.
Trump knew that thousands of casual observers of politics, maybe even some first-timers, would be tuning in, so he pretended to give a shit about niceties he never adopts on a day-to-day basis. Specifically, Trump is the most caustic, unstable, divisive and unapologetically nasty chief executive to ever be installed into the White House. Yet there he was, quietly telling Congress that he’s interested in things like cooperation and oneness, while eschewing toxic things like revenge.
You and I have watched in horror every damn day as Trump screeches poisonous slag into the atmosphere, whether on Twitter or via his rallies. But tell me if you recognize the sweaty, bloated monster we all know in these sentences:
Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one Nation. The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people. [...]
But we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution -- and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.
Goddammit, Eddie, is that you?
Donald Trump invented the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution. He daily embraces the exact opposite of “cooperation, compromise and the common good.” “Cryin’ Chuck,” “Da Nang Dick,” “Pocahontas,” and “Low IQ Maxine” would likely agree that Trump only cares about owning the libs, while enriching his bank account through Russian influence and obvious criminal fraud. His politics are aimed squarely at pandering to his Red Hats with zero interest in helping anyone outside of the dwindling ranks of the 40 percent.
If he were really interested in working with the Democrats in a spirit of cooperation, maybe he shouldn’t refer to the Democratic agenda as the “Democrat agenda,” as he did in the speech, borrowing a well-worn pejorative originally launched to strip the Democratic Party (actual name) of its linkage with democracy or democratic values. If he were really interested in reaching out, he wouldn’t have described oversight into his criminal enterprises as “ridiculous investigations.”
But the gaslighting continued throughout the show, most glaringly when he honored various World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors in attendance, wrapping himself in the heroism of people whose selflessness and resilience is otherwise foreign to a whining ghoul like Trump. The gaslighting was thicker than the Aquanet helmet on this pumpkin-sized noggin, especially given how he’s welcomed the support of white supremacists and neo-nazis as part of his base, most shockingly after the August 2017 turmoil in Charlottesville when he called the fascists in attendance there -- including a Nazi terrorist who plowed into a crowd, murdering Heather Heyer -- “very fine people.”
And yet the casual observers of that speech probably forgot about all that, and Trump was counting on their short attention spans and the hyperkinetic news cycle to shield him from accountability. Like always.
Consequently, this ends up being the outcome:
This lying skin-bag of transfats was able to trick 82 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats (the ones who watched) into accepting his parade of gaslighting and lies as, instead, both presidential and acceptable. This is exactly how despots rise to power, by employing trickery and patriotic bromides that effectively shut down the ability of average citizens to see the truth. Now more than ever, the attention spans of everyday citizens are so irreparably scattered that they too quickly forget the horror show that just happened days, if not hours earlier.
They forget that out of the last 10 years of economic growth, eight of those years were helmed by Barack Obama. They forget how the current president deliberately shut down the government for more than a month and gained zero new ground or concessions as a result. They forget all of the insults and obnoxious Nuremberg rallies before crowds of white-faced, brainwashed disciples. They forget the obstruction of justice and the conspiracy to hijack the 2016 election. They forget all of it in the face of a reality television host who pledges to deliver “cooperation, compromise and the common good” -- until, that is, he starts tweeting again.
It’s a miracle we’re not all suffering from nervous breakdowns given the wild disparities and brutal hypocrisies during the State of the Union alone, much less how the man who said Mexicans are rapists and who condemned the innocent Central Park Five to death in a full page newspaper ad suddenly, himself, condemns the racism of Ralph Northam. Or how the man who defended Roy Moore and who’s paid off porn stars and admitted to grabbing women by the pussies condemned Al Franken.
The only way out of this is to simply wait for justice to prevail while making sure he doesn’t get re-elected next year. Justice doesn’t care about the gaslighting. Justice doesn’t care if he makes us all feel like we’re losing our shpadoinkle. Justice will have it’s way with Trump and all of Trump’s accomplices, and then the entire world will know the truth about Trump. It can’t happen soon enough.