Reading Is Presidential

We have all heard that “Reading Is Fundamental” from the long-running literacy movement.

Now, being able to read is downright presidential. At least, that was the take from much of the media after Trump’s speech to a joint session of Congress. The press keeps lowering the bar so much for Trump, it’s as if they’re doing the limbo.

It is obvious from much of media’s initial fawning reaction that many still think Trump is going to turn this president thing around. For the 100th time, they think he’s pivoting. Once again, many journalists sound like your desperate best friend talking about her alcoholic loser of a boyfriend. “He’s getting better,” she says. And you tell her, “Girl, move on.” That is exactly what I want to say to some in the media: “Girl, Andrea Mitchell, let it go. He ain’t getting more uplifting.” “Van Jones, you were caught up in the magic of the evening when you said he became president during the emotional ovation for the Navy Seal’s widow. But he’s going to be the same Trump in the morning.”

It’s amazing that Trump’s best moment occurred when honoring the heroic Navy Seal Ryan Owens, when just that day he took no responsibility for the mission, which also killed several children, and blamed the failures on the military. The buck stops somewhere else. Questions remain about Trump’s decision-making and how he handled the raid, considering he was tweeting as it was going on. In any normal administration, that mission could have been THE scandal. With this one, there are so many scandals that it makes for the high point.

It may be surprising for all to learn that Trump’s speech was peppered with lies. He assured us that he would fight for clean water, as he rolls back regulations on polluting streams with mining waste, and promised a massive middle class tax cut, when his plan would mostly benefit the rich. Even a White House official admitted that the statement before the speech that Trump would be open to a pathway of citizenship was a misdirection to spur positive coverage.

One of Trump’s most alarming mentions that night was the opening of an office for Victims of Immigration Crime, when native-born citizens are most likely to commit crimes. It sounds to me like another euphemism for targeting Muslims and Latinos. Also disturbing was the proposed merit-based immigration system, which would disqualify low-skilled workers. You mean we’re going to have immigration based on merit, when we don’t even have a president who qualifies by merit? Trump himself would not have made it through the border under those conditions. Nor would his mother have been able to immigrate, which means that Trump would not be here. Wait, now I’m reconsidering …

Frankly, I didn’t want to watch the speech. Unless he was getting arrested on stage for colluding with the Russians, I didn’t want to turn it on.

I will say one good thing about Trump: he does encourage today’s children that yes, indeed, any of them can become president—so long as they can read words someone else wrote from a teleprompter with some degree of lucidity.

Hilary Schwartz is a comedian and writer based in NYC with love (and hate) for politics. She is a regular contributor to Political Storm.

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