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presidenting is hard

possibly fewer
i'm caught in a new sort of anguish. on the one hand, i'm hearing the apparent leader of the united states tell one of the world's largest journalism organisations that his new job is harder than he thought it would be, and that he assumed it would be easier than his life as a businessman [where, let's face it, he'd long since ceased to be an active daily participant] and reality television star. i mean, one look at the before and after pictures of the last three presidents should be enough evidence that, yes, the job is really goddamned hard. all three of those men began their two terms looking somewhat younger than their actual age, and left looking like elder statesmen. come on, there's a reason they do those presidential portraits right after you're elected.

on the other hand, i'm a little surprised at his candour, which is as close to the man admitting he was wrong about something as we're likely to get over the next four or, god forbid, eight years. that said, he hasn't been shy about saying that he didn't know anything when he was mouthing off during the campaign, and now that people are taking the time to explain things to him, and now that he's forced to sit and listen to them over an apparently delightful piece of chocolate cake, he's changed his mind about a few things.

earlier this week, our own prime minister had to explain the nafta agreement and the penalties to withdrawal for him and his country. [trump, true to form, spun this as the other partners convincing him to stay.] keep in mind that prime minister justin trudeau is only six years older than the donald's eponymously named son, and can't claim a whole lot more political experience than his american counterpart. having to explain a trade agreement that trump made a central feature of his electoral campaign is akin to the grandchild who has to explain the internet to a grandparent who's already been using it for two years to forward emails in support of donald trump.

there's a fine rand mcnally store in washington. it is your friend.
[side note :: i suspect that trudeau did not explain that many in canada would love to renegotiate nafta, if only to strip away some of the provisions on the energy trade. before nafta, canada's export vs. import ratio with the united states was 8 to 1. since nafta, it's fallen to 3 to 1. guys, we'll capitulate on the fucking cheese.]

angela merkel had to take the bullet as the first person to explain something to trump, when she apparently had to go over what the geneva convention was, and that it wasn't just a statement of good intentions, but conferred actual obligations on its signatories. germany, the country responsible for the last major expansion of the geneva convention, is now teaching the united states what it means.

but the weirdest spectacle of all [unfortunately not conducted in public] was chinese president xi jinping giving the cheeto benito a condensed lesson on the history of china and korea [which dates from about 108 bce]. i have to admire president xi's economy of words, since this was accomplished in about ten minutes, but the fact that the donald came out of the meeting saying that korea used to be a part of china calls the objectivity of that crash course into question.

yes, mr. trump, presidenting is hard. your avowal that all that had to be done to remedy the situation was for a strongman to push china to take on the bulk of the work always seemed jejune to those of us with functional brain cells, but it's nice to see that you're catching up. i suspect that you're
devout christian. still a bad hombre.
 about to discover that your job only gets rougher from here. and while would love to see you crash and burn like the hindenberg, i know in my heart that that would be a very bad thing.

so, in the interests of security and sanity, i am putting together what i suspect will be an ongoing series of posts on how you can president, packed with information you need to know, but organised in blog post format, with cute pictures, to make it more fun.

so, mr. so-called president, welcome to "presidenting is hard", where you will learn about all the simple things that affect your job, and even get some ideas about what you could do to fix them. [keep in mind, i have even less experience than you do, so you'll want to ask a few other people for their opinions.]

get ready to take some notes. i would suggest doing this on your phone, which will both save paper and keep you from tweeting, thus killing two birds with one stone. [note :: do not kill birds during these lessons. don't let your odious offspring go hunting the bald eagle to extinction either, since your environmental policies are probably going to legalise that bullshit.]

classes will begin shortly, and we will be starting with your current cause célèbre/ bête noire*, north korea.

*ask your buddy marine le pen what those terms mean. she has some free time on her hands.

Comments

Reading the difficulty of the job in the before and after photos of his predecessors would have required empathy, which he doesn't possess.
Kate MacDonald said…
I remember seeing a (very bad) movie about prosecutions following WWII, and one of the characters hypothesizes "Maybe that's what evil is: a lack of empathy". I'd believe it about Trump. I'd also believe that he possesses characteristics of some pretty serious mood disorders, because he seems incapable of feeling or believing anything at more than surface level.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…