Why I Enjoyed Trump’s UN Speech
Okay, I did it. I finally took a deep breath, dimmed the lights on my brain, and clicked the “Play” button on Donald Trump’s UN speech. I can’t pretend that I listened with equal care to all forty-two minutes — I only have so many years left on this Earth — but I have to confess that I ended up enjoying it.
My hesitation about listening to it at all was based on two firmly held beliefs:
a. Modern political speeches are, for the most part, meaningless television events designed by teams of advertising experts, and therefore have little bearing on actual political decisions, even with regard to establishing intentions.
b. Donald Trump is a moron completely devoid of meaningful thoughts to express on any subject of importance.
Aside from those preconceptions, I had very little to go on in making my decision to listen.
I had heard that John Bolton loved the speech, so I knew it would have its element of bloodlust concerning all those places where Bolton sees some hope of starting World War III.
I had heard that Rush Limbaugh loved it, which only proved that it had actually been spoken by Trump, whose every casual crotch-grab Limbaugh considers an act of genius.
In spite of these very unappealing endorsements, however, somehow, eventually, the sheer absurdity of the world’s most famous flim-flam man speaking to the United Nations got the better of me, and I dragged myself to that “Play” button.
To my initial frustration, I wondered why I ever bothered, since I got exactly what I had expected, to wit:
- Trump reading poorly, and in the stilted tones of one who has no idea where each sentence begins or ends, let alone where to place the emphasis. (Having taught English to second language students for years, this choppy intonation, caused by sounding out words with little or no comprehension of what one is reading, is very familiar to me.)
- The speech expressing ideas so far outside of Trump’s wheelhouse that I doubt he could tell you what he was even talking about most of the time, apart from “North Korea bad” and “USA good.” All speechwriters face the challenge of trying to match their writing to the natural speech patterns and intellectual style of the person standing behind the teleprompters. This must be especially trying in the case of speakers who lack basic linguistic skills in their normal speech (such as both Presidents Bush), so that there is no way to match their style without writing beneath the level of ordinary grammatical English. But with Trump, the writer is literally in the position of writing for the “style” and intonation of a functional illiterate. Therefore, any writer without the special skillset of a William Faulkner is bound to leave Trump sounding unnatural and awkward — out of his depth, in fact — which was certainly the case here.
- Whatever was of value in the speech in terms of ideas — the remarks about socialism, for example — feeling like a talking point inserted by a self-important speechwriter scratching a personal itch, knowing full well his words were expressing nothing remotely represented by Trump and his milquetoast establishment administration, many of whom favor the continued encroachment of socialism into American domestic policy, such as on government-controlled health care.
Thus like most thoughtful listeners, I suspect, my first instinct on hearing the speech was to cringe — a lot.
But when I reflected on the situation again after the fact, my urge to wince gave way to an urge to smile. I have seen some Americans expressing embarrassment over this event, as in, “I can’t believe my country is represented by this clown.” Though I understand the sentiment, this is one context in which my sympathy with Americans who despise what has become of their nation is superseded by a kind of mean-spirited satisfaction, schadenfreude if you will, over the plight of the audience forced to attend this speech.
For is not Trump exactly what the pompous, puffed-up, wine-sipping, administrative tyrants of the UN deserve? If there were one party I would actually like to see crashed by an oafish blowhard like Trump, it would the a party for snobbish, paternalistic mediocrities desperate not to have their dainty world of gilded bullcrap touched by any hint of “the vulgar.” But what is the UN if not the apotheosis of snobbish, paternalistic mediocrity? And what is Trump if not the apotheosis of vulgarity? It’s a match made in heaven, at least if Aristophanes is writing the scripts up there these days.
The UN has spent most of its existence trying to stereotype all non-Democrat Americans, and all non-Democrat American policy, with the epithet “Ugly American.” If there were any justice in this cosmos, the eternal punishment for this elitist mob of killers, progressive authoritarians, terrorists, and anti-Semites would be an eternally looped nightmare of being imposed on by a real “ugly American” — and being forced to sit and listen to him, clap for him, and treat him with respect.
So bring on Donald Trump! Come to think of it, why doesn’t the U.S. government make a Trump-style “great deal,” and legislatively tie America’s UN funding to a weekly Trump address before the General Assembly? It would serve the global socialist leeches right.