Trump mirrors Gorbachev
As he careens toward obscurity
I have always thought that a proper ending for Donald J. Trump would have been a pharaonic chiseling out of his name from all US records and off all buildings public and private. His wouldn’t be the first national legacy lost in the space between generations.
If there is one modern equivalent to Trump, it is Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the Soviet Union. Gorby is an intellectual; Donny is not. But both presided over the destruction of their respective “deep states” with the goal of a “new order” that would reset the power relationships among nations. In the end, Gorby paved the way for the Oligarchs, whose wealth came from seizing the resources of the nation for themselves. And Donny, obsessed with undoing the liberal legacy embodied by President Obama, transferred the wealth of the nation to the Financial Class. Both failed in that they were poor tacticians for the visions that they had and were unable to surround themselves with a competent cadre to guide them through the political minefields.
Gorby was overmatched by complications - the illness of his wife, the Chernobyl disaster, a devastating earthquake in Armenia, a rail accident on the Crimea-Moscow line, and the sinking of a Back Sea pleasure boat. Yet he oversaw an orderly withdrawal of the massive Soviet military presence in Eastern Europe. He dissolved the Warsaw Pact, only to be betrayed by the EU and the US promptly pushing the NATO border to the now boundary of Russia.
Donny rode to power on promises to end our forever wars and a declaration that NATO was obsolete. Like Gorby, he sensed a hunger in the people for ideological liberation and economic freedom. His answer was to return to isolationism and to step away from the obligations of global leadership and anything that would distract from financial dominance. Suddenly American Exceptionalism needed a monster military and a new Space Force. His rule by chaos, slightly reminiscent of Gorby’s successor Boris Yeltsin, foundered on national division, pushed over the edge by a pandemic for which he had no answer.
Gorbachev, who had no answers and despite the mighty changes he unleashed, lives without notice and well protected in his country dacha. His name has no currency, and only historians can resurrect his true meaning. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin devotes his tenure to restoring the confidence of the people in its national government which had given their patrimony away in the rush to monetize a new capitalistic class at the top of the economy.
Trump’s name will also fall from history except for the plague of incompetent jurists whose decisions will undermine American jurisprudence for several generations to come. His lasting contribution, the division of the nation into irreconcilable Blue and Red camps, may be resolved by either the repeal of the Second Amendment and the Electoral College or the dissolution of the union into two nations. There will be no Trump Era.
However, let’s not let the Trump name fade into oblivion. Let’s give it lexical life in the language he so loves to denigrate in a spiteful nod to the liberal academics who do not share the “very good” words he prefers. His favorite ploy is the use of nomenclature to ridicule and define those who oppose or displeasure him. Let’s start using the verb “to nomendon” to describe this activity so that it gains entry to the next versions of the dictionary.
Biden has been nomendonned as “Sleepy Joe.” And who can forget “Pocahontas,” “Little Mike,” “Lyin’ Ted” and “Krazy Kamala.” The race is on now among journalists and historians who would nomendon Trump for posterity. My favorite is “Trumpinella,” only because it’s feminine sound would annoy him most.
With Trump it is tempting to associate words with him that are heavy with psychological or racist meaning. Just who and what is Trump? Searching for a softer apolitical word, I finally settled on “nincompoop.” Dictionary definitions assign a meaning of a person who is either silly or foolish or stupid; take your pick.
In short, Trump is the ultimate “ninny.”
And Gorby should be thankful that no one in Russia seems to remember him now.