Random Rants: TDS, Impeachment, Valentine’s Day!

The first time I saw the phrase Trump Derangement Syndrome, during the 2016 Republican primaries, I honestly assumed it was a reference to the mental state of Trump’s more ardent supporters, the millions who had very obviously traded in all their old beliefs and principles to join a TV star’s personality cult. I probably first realized my error when I started getting swarmed by hundreds of morons at American Thinker accusing me of suffering from TDS.

As I have explained in detail here in Limbo on more than one occasion, not only is there no such thing as Trump Derangement Syndrome, but in fact the name would only make sense at all (as per my initial false assumption) as a description of the Trumpsters themselves, whose basic views on everything have been most literally deranged — dislodged from their normal and proper order — by their irrational attachment to the most famous and self-exposed conman of the past century. Evidence of this point is that even now, in light of the events of the past three months, which reached their hideous and humiliating climax on January 6th, anyone on the “right” who dares to note in a public forum that Trump’s behavior since the election has been irresponsible and dangerously incendiary is sure to be accused a hundred times over of having succumbed to TDS. 

Even now, after watching hundreds of normal Americans reduced to a violent assault on their own institutions of government in defense of the most vacuous and unsupported assertions of a lifelong world-famous liar; even now, after watching Trump supporters chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” and popular members of Trump’s informal online fan club such as lawyer Lin Wood openly calling for Pence and members of congress to be executed; even now, after hearing Mike Flynn, a useful tool of Vladimir Putin pretending to be a retired U.S. general, openly calling for a U.S. election to be “re-voted” under martial law — even now, after all that, there are still millions of Americans out there, truly millions of them, who believe that all dissent, all disapproval of Trump and his “movement,” is to be attributed to a fabricated mental illness. 

I was right in the first place. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a description, and an accurate one, of Trump’s followers. To be clear, when I say “Trump’s followers,” I certainly do not mean everyone who held his nose and voted for Trump out of a desperate desire to defeat the communist party. By “followers,” I mean the fifty or sixty million Trump voters who would unhesitatingly have voted for him against Jesus Christ, Aristotle, George Washington, and Moses all rolled into one.

Trump has been acquitted in his second impeachment trial. Seven Republicans voted for conviction. 

During the January 6th “riot,” which occurred as a direct result of Donald Trump’s repeated efforts to rally his followers to go to the Capitol building on the day of the electoral college vote tally, and to stoke them to desperate anger with the idea that the election was stolen, the nation was in constitutional crisis, this day was the last chance to stop the usurpation, and that Vice President Pence had the power to stop it but lacked the “courage” to do the right thing for the country and its Dear Leader — during that Trump-incited insurrectionist attack on the U.S. government, based on utterly fraudulent accusations and crackpot conspiracy theories, members of the mob chanted “Hang Mike Pence!” Pence was the focal point of the mob’s violent anger, made so entirely by Trump’s repeated public statements, at rallies and on social media, to the effect that only Pence could stop the election from being stolen, and that he would be a coward and traitor for refusing to do so. 

And yet we know, and have known since January 6th, that during the riot, Pence was in the Capitol building, and was clearly in some danger — no one at the time knew how much danger, of course — and yet Trump, whose public attacks on Pence were the reason for this violence, never made so much as an inquiry after the safety or whereabouts of his vice president. In fact, during the riot, he posted a tweet on Twitter reiterating his disappointment in Pence’s lack of courage.

Donald Trump’s actions were tantamount to inciting violence — murderous violence — against the vice president of the United States. That he was doing this only because he is a cowardly, insecure little sissy putz who couldn’t stand the humiliation of losing an election, and who was therefore willing to destroy all semblance of civil order and electoral trust for the sake of nothing but saving his shriveling ego, does not change the central fact: He effectively incited an irrationally angry mob, on the most emotionally unhinged day of their twisted lives, to attempt to assassinate the vice president. I don’t know whether that is an “impeachable offense.” I know it makes Donald J. Trump the smallest, most fundamentally anti-American president in U.S. history. Historic! He ought to be proud of that.

The followers who egged Trump on through the months of this treasonous post-election fraud, on the other hand, might consider burying their heads in shame for the rest of their thoroughly deranged lives. (I’m looking at you, Roger Kimball, Mark Levin, and the rest of my former quasi-allies who traded in their minds and pride forever in exchange for money and career. Greed is good, I suppose. Milton Friedman said so, so it must be true, right? And when the vectors of craven greed just happen to match up perfectly with the compulsions of personal cowardice, how can one resist following the allure of the crowd?)

“Happy Valentine’s Day.” Though I always liked my mother’s pink-frosted cakes on the day, and will abide any excuse for chocolate, I have never liked Valentine’s Day as a thing — and not merely because during my school days, like Charlie Brown (which was my parents’ nickname for me as a child, by the way), I never got a valentine from anybody. It has always bothered me that Valentine’s Day exists purely as a commercial venture, which would be neither here nor there in itself, of course, except that this is the commercialization of love, the profiteering mockery or pre-packaged public display of genuine attachment — which ought to be the most private and modestly guarded of human emotions — and thereby undermines or cheapens the real thing.

James Joyce said that sentimentality is unearned emotion, and very few days on the calendar exemplify this point in daily life terms as clearly as February 14th. As the years pass, and civilization drifts ever more fully into a passionless, ersatz world that substitutes soft despotism for politics, social indoctrination for education, transitory exhibitionism for human dialogue, politicized vulgarity for art, and self-absorbed pleasure-seeking for Eros, the seedier side of all the Valentine’s Day pinkness becomes increasingly pronounced. This is the one traditional “holiday” of modern life that would fit perfectly, and without any alterations, into Brave New World

Of course I’ll eat chocolate. I don’t need an official public “Love Play Day” for that!

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