Fury and Farce in the Post-Fourth of July Air

Politics, politicians and government always remind us of theater, especially in these chaotic and turbulent, Trumpian times.

We’re not talking about “Hamlet” now, or Ibsen or “The Crucible,” although those could work, one way or another.

This past week or so — call it “The Son Also Sinks” — was more like “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” or, as always, that Sondheim song that is good for any occasion, “Bring in the Clowns.”

Fury and farce were in the post-Fourth of July air as Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, with a great assist from himself, revealed that he had, during the heyday of the 2016 campaign, been in contact with Russians who had in the end offered him inside and negative information on the Clinton campaign. These contacts include a lawyer, a former beauty-pageant official and other sundry and sorry characters.

Junior agreed somewhat gleefully to meet with the Russians, and brought along his brother-in-law and the then campaign manager.

What turned out to be a short meeting did not, by all accounts, turn up much. There’s something about the whole thing that you wanted to give its own separate and immediate reality show. It was theater, all right, but something closer to the circus, a vaudeville show.

I don’t mean to suggest here that the revelations were in any way not important. In the middle of the almost daily ongoing Russia investigation on Capitol Hill — where they were also trying to hammer out a health-care bill by beating it to death — up pops an admission of a meeting with Russians trying to sabotage the Clinton campaign, throwing gasoline on the fire that seems to have been burning forever.

No need to recap the whole thing, except to mention Monday’s headlines: “Trump Jr. e-mails contradict denials,” “A Russian revelation unlike any other,” “A staff under ‘Category 5’ siege.”

The president declared his son’s innocence and called everything “a witchhunt. Sad” — a phrase he has tweeted often and endlessly.

Republicans said things were overblown. No one dared called it treason, but whispers or louder noises about “collusion” came up once again. Late-night talk show hosts were gleefully dancing in the aisles, not in the least for the wealth of material that came their way, including the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, music publicist Rob Goldstone and Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, a friend of the Putin family.

By now President Trump is in Paris meeting with President Macron and celebrating Bastille Day. Perhaps he can manage some worthy statement on the occasion without using crib sheets.

It’s another instance and illustration of just how far out of depth the Trump administration has been from day one and continues to be. Trump’s pretty much entire contribution to the health-care bill was that the first one was “mean.” Every time he proffered a speech that contained sentences and paragraphs and world visions about the West and the rest of the world, it was considered presidential. Maybe, if you want Steve Bannon as a shadow president.

Trump visionary Bannon, who parlayed an investment in “Seinfeld” into quasi-journalism and sage status, is still trying to look like an unkempt intellectual, throwing out his view of cultural and military wars with America and the West and the Soviet Union battling radical Islam.

Very often, Mr. Trump still appears like a retired prince of Manhattan, as opposed to leader of the free world. He is over 70 now, and while he might be commended for adapting technology with his use of Twitter, the experiment has been a disaster for America, the English language and the cause of bringing the country together. The word collusion has lost all of its meaning by now, while fake news has crept into respectability by repeated use.

This latest outburst of controversy and media firestorm will burn out, possibly by tomorrow. The investigation will go on as it should.

From a distance, it looks more like a farce, except that no one’s laughing.

And nobody should.


One comment on “Fury and Farce in the Post-Fourth of July Air”

  • Bob Cobb says:

    This article stinks about as bad as the C&O Canal. Update your information and add that this goes all the way back to Loretta Lynch and the Obama administration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *