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Kamloops News

THOMPSON: The Donald Trump presidency is a tragicomedy without equal

December 02, 2019 - 12:00 PM


A tragicomedy is a literary genre. It is a tragic story with just enough comic relief to avoid slitting your wrists...or a story that appears dreadfully tragic…only to end happily.

There are some great tragicomedies…William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” are among my favourites. More recently - and a staple on Turner Classic Movies - “The Apartment,” starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, is a great cinematic tragicomedy.

Americans - and by association near and far the rest of us - are in what one can only hope is the Third Act of a real tragicomedy. Oddly, it doesn’t yet have a name…though we know the players. My fervent hope is that it will be one of those stories that after a number of tragic turns ends happily…with words that any comedy writer might envy.

The Donald Trump presidency is a tragicomedy without equal…because it is real. What else could you call an actual threat to America’s Constitution…the Rule of Law…and Democracy? When you view through the lens of reality rather than the literary device, the behaviours of Trump, as well as those appointed and elected who support him, words like disgraceful, despicable and criminal come to mind.

But if we stick to the tragicomedy literary aspect of this mess…and asked the lead antagonist for a title, Trump himself would no doubt offer up his deeply ironic campaign slogan…”Make America Great Again.”

A more honest and truly tragicomedy title might be…“Killing America…No One Can Do It Better Than Me!”…or…“Democracy…Shemocracy!”…or…“My Impeachment is the Best Ever!”

America finds itself in the midst of an impeachment…which is a political rather than legal proceeding…and a serious matter. The House of Representatives just completed hearings…a dozen witnesses…and had it been a court of law, Trump and those around him would be getting fitted for orange jumpsuits.

But it is the Senate - which is controlled by Republicans - that hears the evidence as a jury…and must vote to remove Trump from the presidency or not. They, of course, will not. I doubt a single Republican will vote guilty…regardless of who they are or what state they represent.

You see, they don’t really represent the best interests of America. They represent instead…their own political interests and those of the Republican Party…more aptly, the Party of Trump. Truly, I believe Trump could do most anything…and still Republicans would look the other way. Short of a pee-pee tape of Trump and some Russian women - and many Republicans would overlook that - it’s not likely Trump will be removed from office.

But, in one way, America still wins. Republicans are being seen for what they are…and the voters will turn them out in record numbers next November. The Democrats will - I believe - win the House, Senate and the White House.

Come-to-senses elections notwithstanding, there is another scenario if more overwhelming evidence against Trump - a blockbuster - comes to light and even unconscionable Republican Senators might vote to remove him from office.

Trump set up the possibility of a sympathy dodge recently…with an unscheduled and far-from-routine weekend trip to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. If that blockbuster evidence comes to light…I believe we’ll see Donald Trump’s apparent health really start to fail. Why, he might even have to resign…and of course, blame Democrats, Liberals and other “Never-Trumpers” for ruining his health.
Seems logical…in that Trump has never taken responsibility for anything he’s ever done…always blaming others…like a toddler. What will happen?

“We’ll see,” as Trump likes to say…about most everything. It’s possible that blockbuster evidence can even come during the Senate’s deliberation during his trial. The presiding judge - Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court John Roberts - can compel witnesses to come forward. Those witnesses might be former National Security Adviser and I’m-Gonna-be-a-Rich-Author John Bolton, Secretary of State and We’re-Not-In-Kansas-Anymore Mike Pompeo, and Trump personal lawyer and Secretary of State Wannabe Rudy Giuliani, among others.

If people who refused House subpoenas are compelled to testify…we might just see a sudden bad turn in Trump’s health. And you know, it doesn’t matter to reasonable Americans…who believe in justice and freedom.

Trump faces a host of charges - criminal and civil - as soon as he leaves the Oval Office. Sooner or later - whether impeachment, resignation or voted out - Trump will be out of the White House…and Mike Pence - under outcome one or two - won’t be a resident long enough to re-decorate.

As for me, I have a well-chilled bottle of Don Pérignon ready. No, not because one way or another Trump will be leaving. But because Justice, the Rule of Law and the Constitution will prevail…and America and the rest of the world wins.

Cheers to the best tragicomedy ever.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines. His essays are a blend of news reporting and opinion.

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