It was a bad week for Donald Trump. He was upstaged twice in five days by Mother Nature — first with the 2017 solar eclipse on Monday, and then with Hurricane Harvey in Texas this weekend. For Trump, having his star dimmed by anyone must be a painful reminder that his relevance in the nation’s history is but a flicker that will eventually be lost in the glow of Lady Liberty’s torch.
Trump is a tabloid headline. Every day, his fiefdom is consumed by sensational scandals instead of policy announcements of substance. From mass resignations to bans, and racist pardons to protocol gaffes, Trump continually proves that he is not prepared to do anything with his office. It’s as if he is waking up every day to tape his own reality episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.
A nation should be able to look to its leaders for stability, guidance, and comfort. Americans are increasingly looking to Trump for entertainment, which is a troubling prospect on the global stage. Most of us outside his base of Middle America have enough intelligence and concern for our country that we do not want to be entertained by threats of nuclear war, attacks on fellow citizens, bankrupted agencies, and adolescent tweet-tantrums every morning. We do not want government to be a Jerry Springer smack down that we laugh at while cracking an afternoon beer.
In 1980, President Ronald Reagan — a former actor jokingly known for acting opposite a chimp in Bedtime for Bonzo — endured harsh criticism for his Hollywood acting background. As far back as his 1966 gubernatorial run in California, Reagan had to answer for his lack of political experience.
As an actor, Reagan was used to criticism and rejection, but also enjoyed the professional community of support and encouragement that all actors belong to. In making the transition from acting to politics, Reagan relied on a wide-variety of skill sets and adaptability. His moderate successes in conservative policymaking earned him an esteemed place among other U.S. presidents that Donald Trump only wishes he could emulate.
Trump is not an actor. He lacks the discipline, training, and aptitude that most actors spend years honing. Instead, Trump is a reality celebrity who has made his name — and more importantly, his brand — by not acting. He relies on infantile erratic behavior to sell himself and his product.
Reality television stars like Trump, Kim Kardashian, NeNe Leakes, and JWoww rely on unrehearsed and impulsive behavior to generate shock value. They are the cheap and tawdry Maury Show guests who flash a breast, slap an ex, or reveal — that they are a racist, perhaps — intimate “secrets” to incite the audience, much the same way Trump does daily to rile his critics, the media, and the sane and educated majority of Americans.
Open any history book about 1930s Germany or Adolf Hitler, and anyone with a modicum of common sense should understand that shock value has no place in American politics or government. Though a segment of the population enjoys the scandalous element that accompanies reality celebrities like Trump and Caitlyn Jenner, we are not a nation of people that expects recklessness from our leaders and policymakers. We do not look to our elected officials to incite violence, entertain us, or ask our adoration.
Americans want leaders who foster cooperation, provide a stage for democratic dialogue, and give of themselves without expectation of reward. Trump cannot deliver on any skill relevant or necessary to the office that he has usurped from the American people. He lacks the abilities of an actor, of a leader, and of a decent human.
Though Reagan was a product of Hollywood, he had experiences that prepared him for politics and fulfilling the needs of the people who elected him. Most importantly, he was prepared to make a commitment to the nation, rather than himself. Trump on the other hand, continues to run a campaign based on his personal achievements, satisfaction, and self-promotion and has no experiential qualifications.
Shakespeare wrote that “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Trump does not deserve the accolades of an actor like President Reagan, but as a mere player on his own stage, it is time for his exit…before he destroys The Globe.