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Sunday 15 October 2017

Don't Do What Donny Don't Does

Anybody remember this bit from the Simpsons?

The cartoon show has often been held up as predicting the future. Lots of shit has happened in the Simpsons which has then happened in real life, but then, when a show runs for 620 episodes in a singular setting, it's going to hit some beats somewhere. Throw enough pebbles, you'll hit the window.

Some examples - to save you sitting through a bullshit Buzzfeed article - include when Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy) was mauled by his own tiger, the NSA was caught spying on everybody, when voting machines went (TOTALLY ACCIDENTALLY) wrong, when FIFA was corrupt (yeah as if we couldn't see that coming without Matt Groening), and when ebola broke out.

This scene, however - this scene (aside from providing the best way to say "Down I Go" I have ever heard) seems to predict the future in a big way.

If there has ever been a President that has existed solely to tell future Presidents what not to do - if there are any - it's been Donny.

Donny Don't just has no idea. idea. It's actually somewhat comedic as to how incompetent he really is, and I am embarrassed that at one point I was convinced that he was just playing dumb in order to lull people into a false sense of security. He's dumb as a post. The job - the job of being President of the United States - is a difficult one, and I wouldn't want to put myself in that position. Even somewhat take-it-easy Presidents come away with grey hairs. So why would this man, who persistently failed in the business arena in ways that seem basic to you and I, actually have the skills to be President?

There's such a thing as the Dunning-Kruger effect, which states that at the bottom end of the ability spectrum, there's a lack of awareness and cognition which would allow the individual to realise that they kind of suck. Now I'm trying to contain my cynical misomania at this point, wherein I'd break out Carlin lines about thinking about how smart the average person is, but - Dunning-Kruger is real. I bet that anyone who reads this can think of at least one, and probably more, people they have encountered who be blunt... just too dumb to realise they were dumb.

Donny Don't is doing everything that a President shouldn't, and he's not really clued-up enough on the job to know that he shouldn't.

Examples? Do I need to give any, really? Well, okay, how about -

  • Being a white supremacist.
  • Playing golf, all the time.
  • Inciting war with whoever looks at him funny.
  • Doing shady deals with Russia.
  • Pulling out of UNESCO because Israel or something.
  • Being a speaker at an anti-LGBTA seminar.
  • Pulling out of the Paris agreement because who knows.
  • Describing everything he dislikes as being false.
  • Leaping onto Twitter whenever upset or offended, which is often.
  • Having zero respect for the position he occupies and the country he serves.

The worst thing about all of this?

He can get away with it.

There is no recall election for the President - that has to wait until an actual election year, and I suppose that is for the purposes of the country not immediately trying to unseat the head of state the moment he says or does any one unpopular thing. Hell, I guess if there had been the ability to recall, Barack Obama would have faced one recall election a week from - I'm going to be honest - racists and right-wingers.

There being no recall, however, relies on most people who take the role of President being halfway competent. It's a polite assumption that whoever wins the election will at least be partially versed in statehood, that they won't immediately start insulting other nations, that they will show a measure of decorum.

I am about to do something that you will not often see or hear me do, so take note of the time and date.

George W. Bush showed decorum as part of his position. There were moments wherein that decorum went away ("Now Watch This Drive"), but for the most part, the man was lampooned as being clueless, not brazenly rude. The man understood that sometimes, you sit down, you shut up, and you listen. The man didn't lash out every time people talked out against him - and fucking A did we speak out against him. He was the President. He was above getting into mud-wrestling matches over what was perceived as a personal insult. Even Dubya was above having bitch-fits on Twitter because he had seen something that didn't sit right with him.

(In fairness, Twitter wasn't that big when Bush became President - but hey.)

Should George W. Bush have been impeached for his part in the Iraq and Afghan wars? I'm leaning toward yes. Should the public, had they had enough of him, been able to recall him as President? I'm leaning toward yes - but you'd have to set the bar for that pretty high. His approval ratings were fairly low when he left office.

The issue is that impeachment doesn't seem to happen when the person sat in the chair shouldn't be in the chair. It's a long and rather complicated process, that needs to hit several legal milestones, and can be upset if some of the people involved would rather see their pick still in situ - even if they did the thing they are accused of doing.

So Donny Don't is here now, and he's here doing things, and we can't get rid of him, and he's busy throwing shit on the walls and breaking flower pots and shouting obscenities at the grandparents. The damage he is doing, he is doing forever. He is burning diplomatic bridges that will take years if not decades to repair.

He isn't even smart enough to know that he shouldn't be doing it, or that it is wrong. He's got shit all over his hands, and he's smiling, because this is just lovely.

The only positive thing we can take from his Presidency is that there will be a living, breathing example of what happens when you elect someone into power who you wouldn't trust with an electric toothbrush.

If we aren't annihilated by nuclear fire before he is voted out, that is.

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