Bob Franken


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Twitter dependence day

Donald Trump almost got it right. Where his predecessor from a couple of generations ago, President Harry Truman, famously said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” President Trump’s version would be, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out the Twitter.”
He’s been at it again, celebrating the July 4th break with a tweeting fireworks show. Some of them blow up in his face, like his attack on Mika Brzezinski for her face-lift that never was. Then he topped that with a 10-year-old video from World Wrestling Entertainment, the epitome of class, that shows him fake pummeling WWE owner Vince McMahon. But in this version, McMahon has a CNN logo superimposed on his head, which has created still another media uproar. Clearly, Trump loves media uproars. But his allies cringe when his tweets switch positions without warning, as with his sudden support for repealing Obamacare without replacing it.
Poor baby has gotten frustrated at his party’s inability to come up with a credible approach to the delivery of medical services in the United States. The Republicans have spent years promising that they’d replace their hated Affordable Care Act with something better. But they haven’t been able to get their ACA together. So Trump has now cyberannounced, “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”
That undermines everything Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP Congress have been trying to do. It becomes just another tweet from the Trumpster that tosses their efforts into the dumpster. They are in constant cringe mode, and just wish he would stop with his Twitter tantrums.
Stop? Trump promises more, and defends them: “My use of social media is not Presidential — it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again.” His critics say his social-media ventures are sociopathic, but supporters adore every one. They like the fact that their hero governs by turmoil. He talks to them in their language, which is the language of frustration and hatred, and not just hatred for all the scapegoats he attacks, but also for the elitists who enrage them and get enraged at him.

Trump has managed to convince his hordes that he is another revolutionary like the ones who marked July 4, 1776, with their Declaration of Independence, the one we try to remember today while picnicking. One can only wonder how that precious document would read as a Trumpian tweet: “Crazy King George 3 is a fake monarch. Revolt!”
Fast-forward 241 years and we have the revolting Donald Trump as president. As we all know, a few years after they were able to gain a new country, the Founders created a remarkable blueprint for it, the Constitution. Trump seems determined to tear apart the fragile but robust protections that make us this remarkable democracy, at least on paper — or parchment. There is always a threat that one liberty or another will be inconvenient to someone who will advocate getting rid of it. Now we have a president who would sweep away any of the freedoms that happen to get in the way of his whims. The balance of power with its independent judiciary? It’s just made up of “so called” judges. Freedom of the press? “Fake media” — except, of course, for those news organizations that praise his every move.
This is a nation that by design always is defined by fierce debate. The age of Trump is not the first seized by anger. After all, we survived a civil war and much moronic bitterness throughout our history. But that was before our frustrations were amplified by toxic social media, or anti-social media. Donald Trump is no Harry Truman, to say the least, but he has been incredibly successful at applying one Truman lesson: “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.”

© 2017 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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