I'm Telling Everyone
Bob Garfield's conscience is temporarily on leave. Return date TBD.
I don’t think I’m a bad man, all things considered. I’ve got my flaws and frailties. I’ve had failures and moments of weakness that do not instill me with pride. I’ve been caught in lies. I do not round up my cash register purchases to donate to sick children. I like Andrew Lloyd Webber.
That bill of indictment does not, in and of itself, necessarily make me a monster. But over the past number of years — and especially the past few weeks — I’ve come to feel what I can only describe as unChristian. My heart is filled with hatred, vindictiveness, schadenfreude and innumerable other ugly impulses, all at the prospect of a fellow human coming to harm.
But not just harm. I’m speaking of humiliating defeat, eternal shame, loss not only of enormous privilege conferred over a lifetime, but even liberty itself. I refer, of course, to Ben Barnes, the tiresome British actor who is suddenly in all the Verizon commercials.
Ha! Kidding. I’m speaking of Donald Trump, who at the moment is facing dozens and dozens of felony charges in two federal courts (stolen classified documents and trying to overturn the 2016 election he lost to Joe Biden); Georgia (again, for conspiring to alter his losing presidential vote count there); Manhattan, NY, for the illegal laundering of hush-money to the porn star he had been hooking up with; a civil case in New York State that has already found him liable for fraud and may cost him $250 million and nearly his entire (crooked) business empire; a civil case for defamation filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, regarding whom, in an earlier case, Trump had already been found liable for sexual abuse and defamation; and several other lawsuits accusing him variously of fraud, election-rigging, defamation and assault.
None of this is new to you. Nor probably the legal battles in five states to have his name removed from the presidential ballot on the grounds of participating in (i.e., launching) an insurrection against the U.S. Congress and the Constitution. Perhaps you’re more or less up to date, because you can’t help but be in the path of obsessive media coverage, social-media commentary, late-night TV monologue jokes, SNL sketches and approximately 140 million ruined Thanksgiving dinners.
Or perhaps you are more like me: patient zero of Trump Derangement Syndrome. I’ve spent the past eight years actively obsessing about his every lie, his every ad hominem attack, his every incitement, his every crime, his every cruel word of murderous Covid disinformation, his every grift, his every cowardly denial, his every preposterous boast, his every ass-kissing of a foreign dictator, his every bigoted remark, his every pitiless assault on the American Way.
Trump is, in a word, depraved. And I want him to suffer, hellishly, for every second of every minute of every hour of every week of every month of every year of his sociopathic, con-artistic life.
Put another way, to quote the philosopher himself, “Not a fan.”
Which you could argue is unkind. Christ told us to turn the other cheek. I did so. Twice. Once for each cheek. That got me past his 1989 lynch mob for the (innocent) so-called Central Park 5 and his leaked 1990 boasts about his supposed sexual prowess to the New York Post. The next 50,000 times he molested women, lied to the public, ridiculed physical disabilities, avenged “enemy” truth tellers, defrauded customers and charity donors, separated immigrant children from their parents, lobbed hate speech (at Mexicans, Muslims, Jews and women), pardoned criminal pals, destroyed foreign alliances, flouted the Constitution … well, no more cheeks to turn. Only my stomach.
But now, I am so happy. Happy! Thrilled. Delighted. Because I believe, first of all, he is on the cusp of losing his fortune and his cherished business, that continuing criminal enterprise known as the Trump Organization. He conceivably could defeat Joe Biden (or someone) for the 2024 presidency, but he’ll have to serve his sentence from a very special prison — like Trump Force One — perhaps built specifically for him. (I’m rooting for naming it Trump Prison, because he does so love seeing his name on buildings.) And I know it will be surrounded by a big beautiful wall. There, the rapist, fraud and insurrection ringleader will wear a jumpsuit. (God, I hope it’s orange). And he will have no access to make-up or a hairdresser or the civil engineer currently required to keep his bald head covered with that mauve shag rug he’s so proud of. Yes, he will be ugly. He will be a fat and ugly, pale and bald, prisoner locked up for the rest of his life. He will have no TV cameras to preen for, no pussies to grab, no fascist rallies to address, no golden faucets (though, who knows, maybe a golden shower).
He will, in short, be your favorite president in hell. Yes, his disgrace will be eternal, but that’s not what will bother him, because he can’t imagine any of this future to be anything but a conspiracy by unhinged, radical, Marxist, fascist, racist, ANTIFA, globalist thugs to frame him. He thinks he’s Job. But he’s Judas, denouncer of righteousness.
But I stray from my point. Whether he will lose the criminal cases against him is unknowable. And were he to be elected president, he surely could use his powers to drop cases not yet adjudicated and pardon himself back into the White House. It could happen.
He could be acquitted in Georgia, because jurors are unknowable, too, and it takes only one MAGA cultist — or legitimately skeptical juror — to stymie a conviction. Maybe the New York fraud ruling that threatens to cost him the Trump Organization will be reversed on appeal. Maybe Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case, based on a novel and perhaps tenuous theory for linking the hush-money payments to campaign-finance fraud, will fail on its merits.
But that still strays from my point. Because the very fact that such things are unknowable, and because they require a series of outcomes improbably unanimous in Trump’s favor, he cannot be confident that he will prevail. If The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman is a credible source on this, the asshole is scared shitless. Shitless. Of losing everything. His money. His power. His looks (optical illusions though they may be). His fawning audience. His airplane. And, for the second time in four years, the White House.
Why the 4 a.m. tirades on Truth Social (which, BTW, is going down the tubes, too)? Because he can’t sleep. Because he is now the patient most infected by Trump Derangement Syndrome, haunted 24/7 by the more likely prospect that he soon will not be “your favorite president,” just a hideous old loser with no skyscrapers or majestic escalator to descend, though probably some janitorial work involving a mop and bucket. That fear, that panic, that horror, that humiliation. The electronic bolting of the cell door. “Good night, Mr. President.” Imagine the torment he is going through. I imagine it all the time and I simply cannot describe the joy Trump’s infinite anguish gives me. I am on Cloud Fucking 9. This reality show wouldn't be called The Apprentice. Hell, no. It would be The Biggest Loser.
Now, before I go and make you look again at my subscription promo for The Big Truth, permit me to tell you a very old joke, updated for contemporary relevance.
Old man takes a seat in the confessional. The priest opens the screen to hear the voice of the penitent.
Old Man: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Priest: May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in His mercy.
Old Man: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. See, last week, I was flying back to New York from L.A., and somehow they bumped me up to first class. And I’m seated next to this very pretty woman, who I now know was that fashion model, Emily Ratajkowski. Lovely and gorgeous young woman. But poor thing had been through a breakup, and she had a couple of drinks in her, and was dabbing her eyes with a tissue. So, Father, I consoled her.
Priest: Consoled her?
Old Man: Yeah, I told her I’d been around the block a few times, I had kids myself who went through these break-up things, and me, too, frankly, and I promised the experience would make her stronger, wiser and more resilient. Teachable moment, you know? The ex-boyfriend sounded like a real schmuck, and I said so. That made her laugh. And next thing you know she has her head on my shoulder. And frankly, I might have had a vodka or two in me myself and before long we’re actually cuddling. And by the time we land at JFK, she says, “Hey, why don’t we have a nightcap at my place?” and then suddenly we’re in this huge limo and we don’t even get to the Belt Parkway when I’m making moves with this kid that I haven’t made in 50 years. And it went on all night.
Priest: This is a very serious matter. You have strayed from the boundaries of God and man. Say this prayer: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
Old Man: What? You nuts? I’m not gonna say none of that. I’m not Catholic. In fact, I’m Jewish.
Priest: Jewish?! Then why are you here telling me all this?
Old Man: Are you kidding? I’m telling everyone.
Now I don’t share this musty and sexist relic because its inherent misogyny is something I want to resurrect. I share it because of my own opening confession: that my utter loathing of and vengefulness toward Donald Trump is so mean-spirited, uncharitable and unChristian that I struggle with my conscience. But here’s the beauty part. I’m not a practicing Christian! In fact, I’m Jewish.
And I’m telling everyone.
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