BY MARTIN KICH
This evening, former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight introduced Donald Trump at a rally in Indianapolis.
Knight called Trump “the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States”–adding for emphasis, “There has never been a presidential candidate prepared to the length that this man is.”
As the crowd cheered, I asked the television rhetorically, “How, exactly, is Trump at all prepared to be president.”
Shortly after that assertion, Knight compared Trump to Harry Truman: “They talk in a negative way when they want to about Donald, and say he isn’t presidential. I don’t know what the hell that means. To me I think of Harry Truman. They said Harry Truman wasn’t presidential. And damn he went on to be one of the three best presidents in US history. [Trump] will at some point be one of those also.”
At just about that time, thunder rumbled overhead and shook the large window in our family room, and I guessed that it was Harry kicking over his flat screen in heaven.
So it has come to this: because Trump is willing to say just about anything that seems to pop into his head, his supporters believe that they can also make these kinds of completely unsupportable claims about him.
This campaign is about as close to the reality of American politics, government, and history as The Apprentice was to the actual workaday realities of corporate America.
Some significant portion of our population has lost all awareness that reality television simply isn’t reality. It is just a drama or a sit com without the obvious fictional framing.
Donald Trump thinks that you can be presidential simply by playing the role, by adopting the persona–by acting or looking presidential. That premise could not be more preposterous if he simply donned a mask as each of the members of the gang of bank robbers in Point Break do:
If I am watching a film ten years from now and the bank robbers are wearing this mask
or this one
I will know that the world has come to an end and that my consciousness has somehow continued to exist in some sort of post-apocalyptic digital state, as tenuously tangible as the images flickering madly on the screen.