It takes talent and patience to listen to an obvious failure portraying himself as a success. It's even worse trying to listen to someone suffering because of somebody else's success and trying to portray that person as a failure. I'm pretty patient in both cases.
A dinner with friends I hadn't seen for several election cycles threw me into that second scenario, with another guest, a victim of Trump Derangement Syndrome, patiently explaining to me how and why Trump is a huge failure and a danger, and how everything Trump stands for is about to come crashing down. This, mind you, during the very week when Trump's leaning on the leader of Communist China seemed to pay off big-time, as the senior bank in China ordered all the subservient banks to quit doing business with North Korea.
That may be the biggest presidential lobbying success in our history, yet this fellow ignored that feat completely as he cataloged the catastrophic consequences of Trump delaying condemnation of the "right-wing haters" at Charlottesville. That, he patiently warned, was the signal to the worst haters in the world that they now have the president on their side. The swastikas and storm troopers will soon be parading on a street near you!
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Ignoring Trump's success is one way for those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome to keep their brains from totally decaying. However, my favorite manifestation of Trump Derangement Syndrome at the moment is the horror expressed at Trump's un-diplomatic crudeness, which seems to have detached China from North Korea, the one ally North Korea just can't do without. Yes, it may be a ruse. It may collapse into a heap or disappear into the mist. At the moment this is written, however, while all sentient observers are recoiling from the sheer bigness of Trump's China coup, the anti-Trump yammering class is wailing about Trump talking about "fire and fury" and his calling North Korea's leader "Little Rocket Man." "Oh, how awful!" goes the chorus. Trump entered the epicenter of the world's tabernacle of diplomacy, the United Nations itself, and talked about brute force and the possible need to destroy North Korea completely. That crowd is incapable of contemplating the possibility that Trump's tough talk caused China to join the forces of "no nukes for Pyongyang."
There's an old joke that covers that subject rather comprehensively. The town's tough guy swaggered into the bank and told a teller he wanted to cash a check. There was some arcane irregularity that made it necessary for him to sign something.
"I ain't signin' nothin'," he bellowed. "Here's my blankety-blanking check. Gimme my blankety-blanking money." "Sir," said the teller, "maybe you don't understand. We can give you the money after you sign this right here." "I told you I ain't signin' nothin'," said Tough-Guy, a little bit louder this time. "Gimme my money right blankety-blanking now!" The teller asked him to wait a minute while she contacted a vice president of the bank.
He came down, and the two of them re-enacted the little drama between Tough-Guy and the teller. The vice president was getting nowhere, and other customers standing in the various lines were getting uneasy. Finally, after coming up with a few new versions of the simplicity of the bank's demands and the implacable anger of Tough-Guy, the vice president said to the intimidating troublemaker, "I'm going to have to refer you to the president of the bank. There may be a short wait."
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After that short wait, Tough-Guy found himself upstairs in the office of the bank president, who turned out to be a steely-eyed, stocky hulk, a muscular former Marine, behind whose desk hung a beautifully mounted collection of his many decorations, not a single one awarded in recognition of his diplomatic skills toward the enemy.
The bank president dismissed the vice president, leaving himself alone with Tough-Guy. The president stood up, came around his desk roughly the size of Fort Ticonderoga and put his face uncharacteristically close to the face of Tough-Guy. Then the president grabbed him by the collar and twisted. "Listen, you saprophyte son-of-a-b---h, you and that beer-belly of yours are going to march back down there and sign that form, or I will personally beat the pure living life out of you. Now keep that latrine-mouth of yours shut and get going!"
Tough-Guy slunk out of the office and made his way back to the teller, whom the president had informed via intercom that Tough-Guy was now ready to comply. While he was signing his name, the teller said, "Sir, would you mind telling me why you had to go all the way up to the president of this bank when you could have just as easily signed it when I first asked you to?"
Tough-Guy looked up at her and said, "That's an easy question. You didn't explain it the way he did."