Gail Collins recent editorial, entitled Watch Out World Trump is Coming, is one of the best she has written, one of the funniest ever, and one more painfully on the mark than almost anything written to date about America’s 45th president. She catches the measure of the man when she says “he and the Saudi leadership have a lot in common, including an affinity for giving jobs to their relatives, and government decision-making that features only one gender.” Or when she says that “Trump can be very good at meetings.... He looks serious. He nods. He says ‘Yeah’ frequently. When the meeting is over, the other people are pleased with themselves, unaware that he has already forgotten everything they said.” Or “The president is primed to demand that our allies start spending more on weapons…there definitely is something about him that makes people want to increase their defense spending.” Her best, still, is “Trump has spent his entire political career warning Americans that the world is laughing at us. But now it really, really is.”
Putting up with Trump theatrics day in and day out, here in the United States, has been trying for all Americans. For many, there has been an internalized sense of shame. But, at the same time, we have been fooling ourselves that no one else was really watching. Sending him off to other countries, however, is not only different, but downright embarrassing. Now the world will see him and us in Technicolor. And our image and place in the world will be changed for a very long time to come, if not forever.
The world has been watching pretty closely from afar. But, to get the full Trump effect, one needs to be close up. One needs to watch that mouth, to see him sit on every chair as though it were a toilet seat, to wince at his limited vocabulary, to see the scotch tape holding his tie together and the glare of his yellow hair. Most of all, you need to be close in to really see the man for what he is and isn’t. In only a few months, Americans have come to know him all too well. Regrettably, many outside our borders will not only see him up close and personal, but their view of America will be changed forever.
We’ve been building a very special role for our country since the American Revolution. And, it is something to be proud of. It is hard to believe that one man, one moment in time, could change all this so quickly.