Andrew Cohen has left Ottawa and moved to Washington, where -- for the time being -- he is a Fulbright Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He was, therefore, well placed to observe Donald Trump's inauguration and speech -- which, he writes, was an "endless tweet:"
Mr. Trump’s address defines the difference between his America and Mr. Obama’s America. The world according to Donald Trump is gloomy, cold and joyless.Factories are “rusted-out” and strewn like “tombstones” across the land; schools “deprive” students of knowledge; crime and drugs have “stolen lives and robbed the country;” infrastructure has fallen into “disrepair and decay.”Mr. Trump’s stentorian statement: “This carnage stops right here and right now.” This will become the signature of his address.
Unsurprisingly, Trump's took no note of the facts:
The reality is different. Crime is falling. Poverty is ebbing. Incomes are rising. Unemployment and inflation are low. Standards of education are rising.But if you are the captain of chaos, you need calamity. If it does not exist, invent it. President Trump sees a country with an existential problem and makes himself its saviour. The worse things are, the more we need him.So he is Hercules cleaning out the Augean Stables. Or Huey Long redistributing wealth. Or Andrew Jackson denouncing the “Corrupt Bargain.”
The speech was -- like the man himself -- utterly graceless:
Beyond the sternness, there was little grace. No soothing bromides about sunlit uplands. No salute to Hillary Clinton, who sat a few feet away. No grace notes at all, other than to the Obamas, whom he declared had been “magnificent.”Intense though the tone, the words were pedestrian. It was a screed less than a speech, an extended, angry, endless tweet, punctuated by emotional exclamation marks.
By his words, ye shall know him.