Once again, the United States is mesmerized by sex, lies and videotape.
We know that Donald Trump has had lots of sex and that he lies a lot. Distilled of all the hysteria, the outstanding question is whether the U.S. president-elect has been videotaped with women performing sex acts featuring pissing.
The other question that arises — if a “dossier” reportedly compiled by a British ex-spy is to be believed — is whether Vladimir Putin and his spooks have a copy of what Maxwell Smart might call “the old honey trap videotape trick” tucked safely away at the Kremlin and whether they are using it as a sort of golden cudgel to blackmail Trump.
Trump and Putin insist that it’s a laughable set-up by the Get Smart-like Western “intelligence community” to smear them both.
As far as I can gather, most everyone else, including a bunch of gullible liberal and progressive writers who have suddenly fallen deeply and unquestionably in love with the director of national intelligence and perjurer, James Clapper, appear convinced that the lurid videotape exists and that Trump and Putin are fibbing about it in order to protect each other and rescue Trump’s presidency before it has even officially begun.
Have I got it about right?
But here’s another question that few are considering: What if the incriminating tape is made public and Trump voters and Republicans in Congress shrug because they don’t give a damn?
Let’s say the sex tape miraculously emerged and was played in a never-ending loop on TMZ (most likely) and those other celebrity-obsessed faux news networks with, of course, the usual disclaimers to shield the fragile sensibilities of Americans who spend billions of dollars every year to satisfy their addiction to pornography.
Move over Abraham Zapruder. You will have been instantly dethroned from the pinnacle of U.S. presidential film history. Your silent flick about a president getting his head blown off will forever be trumped (pun intended) by a film of another president getting off.
Apparently, the thinking is that finally, belatedly millions of appalled Americans who voted for a slimy, self-congratulatory illiterate, racist, bigot, and misogynist who has already been caught on tape behaving like a drunken frat boy boasting about grabbing women by the “pussy” are going to suddenly re-discover their moral compass and declare: “That’s it, now he’s gone too far.”
Trump supporters won’t allow a porno movie — real or phantom — starring the 70-year-old president-in-waiting to take their beloved billionaire down. Trump embodies who they are: surly, indecent nihilists who believe these qualities are prerequisites to become president.
The videotape might make Trump even more popular since, I suspect, many wannabe Trumps, like their vulgar political saviour, probably prefer to watch strangers having sex rather than Puccini’s La Bohème.
Remember, this is the same largely white mob that Michael Moore and company insist is simply misunderstood, yet still believe the birther-in-chief’s Twitter-propelled lies that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is a Muslim.
It’s the same mob that cheered Trump when he ridiculed John McCain for getting captured and tortured.
It’s the same mob that remained by Trump’s side after he besmirched the memory and the family of a U.S. serviceman who was killed while saving his comrades.
It’s the same mob that laughed like jackals when Trump mimicked and mocked a disabled reporter.
And it’s the same largely white mob that, if it had the chance, would undoubtedly join in beating Black civil rights icon John Lewis with truncheons to remind him of who was in charge … again.
If anyone seriously believes that this wholesome mob of freethinkers is going to do a volte face en masse, turn their torches on Trump, and demand his resignation or impeachment over a sex tape, then they likely also believe that decrepit Ronald Reagan captured the signature essence of the United States when he described it as “the shining city on the hill.”
Then, as now, America was more like the disfigured remnant of a rogue nation in the gutter. The sham of America is unravelling, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men armed with a sex tape aren’t going to put it back together again.
Only naive simpletons would count on those exemplars of probity and rectitude in the Republican-controlled Congress to run Trump out of the Oval Office in favour of the man from Indiana, Mike Pence.
No. They’ll happily keep that silly, anachronistic impulse to do the right and honourable thing buried, given that their allegiance is not to the U.S. Constitution, but to rancid right-wing radio and TV personalities like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
I deeply regret to say that Trump is here to stay for at least four years and possibly more. Politicians and pundits who are wasting energy and synapses debating his legitimacy have already forgotten that he captured 306 electoral votes, while carrying 30 states. Trump’s percentage of the electoral votes bests that of sex-crazed Democratic idol John F. Kennedy as well as George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
Those are the numbers — not the ultimately irrelevant popular vote count — that Trump and his rabid fans will cite to beat back any insurgency to undermine the legitimacy of his presidency. It’s the unavoidable math and truth.
What the United States has to confront is the sinister fact that more than 62 million Americans, whatever their cockeyed motivation, voted for a sick, sordid man, who acts as if he were permanently wearing a soiled diaper.
The reasons for that won’t be found in Moscow or in some slim, conjecture-laced dossier. They can only be found inside America.