Today, Donald Trump became the first former president of the United States to be indicted in America’s 247-year history. This is a monstrous injustice.
Why? Because, obviously, he should have long ago been charged and convicted on hundreds of other occasions. Yes, these misdeeds technically aren’t “crimes,” at least if you’re limiting yourself to the “words” written in “the law.” But it definitely feels like they should be illegal.
Here, I’m not talking about the standard felonies committed by every U.S. president, i.e., stealing billions of dollars of our money and pouring it into the pockets of America’s billionaires; presiding over our national gulag; and converting numberless foreigners into scraps of wet, red flesh. Trump did all that and more, but you can’t blame him for it — that would be like getting mad at someone working at Chipotle for making burritos. He was just doing the job.
Rather, these are offenses specific to Trump himself. Let’s take a look at this list and fruitlessly fulminate about it for the rest of our lives.
Making Us See Who We Truly Are
From the perspective of America’s intelligentsia, this is Trump’s first and greatest crime. Barack Obama and Trump together have told a kind of “Picture of Dorian Gray” story. Obama was who we perceived ourselves to be, the face we wanted the world to see: witty, slender, charming. Trump was the hideous portrait on the wall, forcing us to confront who we truly can be: crude, corpulent, hateful. He should be sent to Guantánamo just for this.
Turning Us Into the Worst Version of Ourselves
America obviously isn’t just one thing; like all countries, we’re a mixture of an infinite amount of good and bad possibilities. But some people certainly encourage us to, let’s say, accentuate the negative. Trump’s true genius is not what he’s done to us, but what he’s coaxed us into doing to ourselves. We may never recover from it.
Some psychologists suggest that mental health consists of looking clearly at the world outside us and then trying to match our interior psychology to this reality. By contrast, it’s mentally unhealthy to refuse to accept information about the universe and instead try to force the universe to conform to what’s inside us.
Trump illustrates the wisdom of this perspective. The inside of his head is pulsating with fear, loathing, and contempt. People this troubled find it intolerable to exist in an outside reality that doesn’t reflect their suffering. So they try to push the world to become as fearful, loathsome, and contemptuous as they are themselves.
That obviously worked on his supporters, whom Trump has given permission to exult in cruelty and rage. But it also worked on his opponents. The best response to Trump would have been to refuse to do this, to not give him back the energy he was emitting. But that’s not what happened. Every bit of venom that’s been directed at Trump has given him exactly what he desperately needs. In fact, faced with love and compassion, he would mentally implode.
Some might ask: Then why write an article like this? Aren’t you engaging in exactly the behavior you’re decrying? Obviously, asking such questions is exactly what Putin wants you to do.
The Church of the SubGenius developed the valuable concept of “cheepnis.” Cheepnis doesn’t mean something is inexpensive, but that it exudes a specific kind of sweaty, tasteless, raw humanity. From Saddam Hussein to Uzbekistan’s Islam Karimov, the aesthetics of dictators tends toward cheepnis. They adore palaces with vast echoing marble halls up top and dissidents being boiled alive down in the basement.
Trump is the greatest avatar of cheepnis in U.S. history. His 5th Avenue apartment in New York is gilded everywhere with gold and diamonds, stuffed with ugly, pricey furniture, and features a forged Renoir that Trump insists is real.
Trump reached the summit of his cheepnis by serving the Clemson Tigers, national college football champions, a huge spread of Wendy’s and Burger King at the White House. The photo of Trump grinning before it looked like a deleted scene from “The Shining,” one that Stanley Kubrick excised because it was simply too terrifying.
Perhaps Trump’s greatest betrayal of the human spirit is that … he is sometimes authentically funny. This is hard to admit because his jokes are those of a rich adolescent bully with an uncanny knack for locating everyone’s greatest vulnerabilities. It’s as if Archie Costello from “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier grew up to be president.
But the horrible truth is that he knows what he’s doing. He flailed around a bit with calling Ron DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious.” But his devotion to his craft is such that he never gave up. He went back to the lab and returned with “Meatball Ron.” Who can say exactly why that works, but it does. He’s the master.
Being the World’s Greatest Terrible Businessman
Trump’s current net worth is $2.5 billion. His real estate developer father gifted him at least $413 million throughout his lifetime via various schemes and frauds. There’s no way to calculate it exactly, but if Trump had simply put this money into a low-cost S&P index fund, he would probably have $10 billion today. It is unbearable to listen to him brag about his business prowess, when if he’d done literally nothing in his life, he would have $7.5 billion more.
Missing the Toilet Paper Opportunity
In 2018, Trump plodded up the steps of Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe. He’s never said a thing about it. But in a better world, he would have used the occasion as an electrifying opening to acknowledge our common humanity. “My fellow Americans,” he could have said in an address from the Oval Office, “everybody poops.”
Only a Few More Decades of Trump Left
Trump comes from a family that tends toward longevity. If he lives as long as his father, he will die in 2040 at age 93. So we’ll probably have plenty of time to be driven into madness by his unpunished malfeasance, including all the new crimes he surely has planned for the future.