The New York Times's Roger Cohen, an occasionally iconoclastic left-wing journalist, composed an inspired masterpiece of anti-Trump oratorical obloquy: “Wondering, If This Is America.” Cohen, an international columnist for the paper born in London, mustered his high indignation not only of President Trump (aka “Mussolini’s understudy”) but of America itself.
Cohen sold his Saturday edition article on Twitter as “Turkmenistan-on-the-Potomac: If This Is America.”
If this is America, with a cabinet of terrorized toadies genuflecting to the Great Leader, a vice president offering a compliment every 12 seconds to Mussolini’s understudy, and a White House that believes in “alternative facts,” then it is time to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs.”
If this is America, where the Great Leader threatens allies who do not fall in line, retweets the anti-Muslim racism of British fascists, insults the Muslim mayor of London, dreams up a terror attack in Sweden, invents a call from the Mexican president, claims the Russia story is a “total fabrication,” then you will have to “bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools.”
For the record, there was a deadly terror attack by truck in Sweden two months later, and Trump has acknowledged Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 elections. And Trump has insulted a lot of people, be they a “Muslim mayor of London” or not.
Cohen got awfully catty about politicians praising Trump, as if Barack Obama was never glorified by Democrats or in the media.
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If this is America, less than a year into the Trump presidency; yes, if this is still America, where Representative Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, thanks the Great Leader for “allowing us to have you as our president,” and Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, says Trump’s will be the greatest presidency “maybe ever”....
If this is not Turkmenistan, nor yet the land of Newspeak, but our America after all, where the curiously coiffed Great Leader of childish petulance accuses all media dissenters of distributing “FAKE NEWS,” and attacks the judiciary, and adores an autocrat, and labors night and day for his wealthiest cronies in the name of some phony “middle-class miracle,” then you must “hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ ”
We’ll see how “phony” the tax-cut’s middle-class appeal is soon enough.
If, beyond every abuse, this is yet America, where the Great Leader’s administration recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not use the words “fetus,” “transgender,” “science-based” or “diversity” (but it may still, according to a New Yorker cartoon, be able to use the word “moron”)....
Besides riffing on Rudyard Kipling’s ode to self-respect “If,” Cohen got Orwellian.
If this is America, where the Great Leader wants you to believe that 2+2=5, and would usher you down his rabbit hole, and struggles to find in himself unequivocal condemnation of neo-Nazis....
His insults of America notwithstanding, many people could live with the United States being voted down by a corrupt establishment like the United Nations.
If this is America, and you know where militarism and nationalism and disdain for intellectuals and artists, and the cultivation of enemies and scapegoats, and contempt for a free press can lead, and it pains you to see the world voting against the United States at the United Nations with the exception of Micronesia and Nauru and Palau (and a few others), then you will see that this, Trump’s American travesty, is in fact a lie and an affront and a betrayal.
America cannot be “first,” as Trump insists. It can be a thug and a bully only in the betrayal of itself. It must be itself, a certain idea of liberty and democracy and openness, or it is nothing, just a squalid, oversized, greedy place past the zenith of its greatness.