American Morpheus

Bob Barr
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Posted: Apr 27, 2016 12:01 AM
American Morpheus

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine what the inside of Donald Trump’s three-level, $100 million penthouse home would look like. If you imagined garish pink marble, white Corinthian columns, and gaudy accouterments that look like the basis for an Ancient Greece edition of Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” you would be spot-on. To gaze upon the ostentatious trappings of Trump’s palatial digs, one is left with the clear impression that Trump fancies himself less a contender for the office of President, than a modern-day Zeus, looking down through the clouds at the mortals below. However, a more fitting comparison to mythological beings would be that of Morpheus, the Ancient Greek god of dreams.

In mythology, Morpheus possessed the ability to take the appearance of any human form he wished, which he did in order to appear in dreams and communicate divine messages to the people. This talent allowed him to appear as all things to all people, or anything to one person, or whatever a person in their dreams wished to see.

Trump, it seems, has taken Morpheus’ talent from Dream Land to the waking world; but, like Morpheus, what people see is nothing more than the illusions of a master shape-shifter. There is no substance, no seriousness, and no reality. They are only whatever dreams people want to see from their Dream-Maker-in-Chief.

We are told by Trump’s team of consultants, led now by Paul Manafort, not to worry about his manic persona, the inconsistencies in his past and present statements, his “whatever” attitude towards the gravity of the office to which he is asking voters to elect him -- because he can shift, and will now or soon shift into “presidential mode”; a characterization left deliberately ambiguous and vacuous. This allows his cult-like supporters to continue imagining for themselves what new “greatness” is yet to arrive; and to play down his previous “mode,” in which Trump jumped from one position to the next, without regard for ideological consistency, or even basis in reality.

That Trump’s brash behavior and contradictory pronouncements are a matter of choice, not a true show of character, is also the perfect play, once again, to reconstruct Trump when the situation warrants. Nor does such an excuse necessitate any further explanation about why Trump would ever choose to be such a boorish bully in the first place; it simply was, and now it is not. To outsiders wary of Trump’s constant fluidity, it is a ruse. But, to his supporters, for whom Trump’s current state, whatever it may be, can conveniently fit the narrative of their choosing, he remains the man who “tells it like it is” -- even if there is no telling what it is that he actually said or will say next.

The notion that we should elect a chameleon as president, who can turn his “presidential personality” on and off like a light switch, is not only absurd; it is frightening. This is why Trump’s La-La-Land morphing from one form to the next is not a harmless mythological fairytale, but a very real -- and very dangerous – threat to the Constitution and our national security.

First, as the blog Ace of Spades reminded us earlier this year, Trump “is a dealmaker trying to make a sale,” and during the campaign “he’s trying to make a deal with conservatives -- so this is the very most conservative we'll ever see him.” Yet, as the analysis adds, “he’s not conservative at all…”

So, the question then becomes, what version of “Conservative Trump” will we see in the general election, when he has to reach out to independent and moderate voters; or, what type of Trump would we see in the White House, when he has only himself to appease? Are we really to trust that, despite his history of supporting Leftist policies and politicians (like the Clintons), his final transformation will be a genuine conservative? The saying, “in your dreams,” is apropos.

Secondly, the real world is not one of dreams or shifting clouds; it is real and it is dangerous; and challenges in the world like ISIS, Putin, illegal immigration, criminal justice reform, over-taxation, and more cannot be dealt with as if they were in a dream where one only has to conjure a solution, no matter how fantastical, and it is so.

Thus far, Trump has demonstrated an alarming lack of forethought into even the most fundamental issues he would face as a president, like the basics of his foreign policy; not to mention an obvious disdain for the Constitution where and when it impedes his vision for a “transformed” United States. The latter of which was most recently illustrated by his repeated plan to undermine protections for journalists and citizens to question our elected officials without fear of meritless libel lawsuits designed to silence dissent.

To Trump’s supporters, however, the Trump of today is as good as the Trump of tomorrow; and, blind faith in the man is sufficient to assure that whatever it is Trump is saying at the moment is going to “make America great again.” For the rest of us, promises that Trump tomorrow is going to be the candidate we see today is not nearly a sufficiently strong qualification to be trusted as the Leader of the Free World. We only need to look at the Trump of yesterday to know that for sure.