Let’s Strip Away the President’s Only Asset — His Name Brand
More than 110 confederate monuments and tributes have been removed from nearly half of the states in the U.S. in recent years, marking a new era of how we as a nation reconcile the darker aspects of our history. While detractors of the effort see these objects as important cultural artifacts, supporters say they glorify a shameful past. The more sinister figures of our history should be documented, they argue — but not given undue honor.
Such a movement is largely symbolic, of course, and no substitute for the long and difficult work of recovering from the past’s societal harms. But these successful acts of protest have helped some Americans replace powerlessness with an immediate hint of agency. History remains, but glory is diminished.
A similar sense of helplessness affects many citizens today — not regarding our past, but our present. As the behavior of our president continues its steady descent, we’re running out of ways to fight back. The Mueller report was deemed unactionable, impeachment proceedings are uncertain, and approval ratings barely budge. Even our normal remedy, a free and fair election, feels in jeopardy.
Without our conventional methods, perhaps a new form of protest could provide a more immediate source of power. After all, any malignant narcissist derives strength from his identity, and our chief executive incessantly glorifies himself with that five-letter word. History will render its judgment in time — but what if our most effective weapon against him today were to strike his name from our tongues?
While it may sound outlandish at first, consider this humble proposal. Days like these call for a new profanity, and canceling the T-word may be our best hope.
In its most literal sense, profanity signals a lack of respect for the sacred. We may not have such totems in a secular country, but certain aspects of our enterprise have earned an almost spiritual sense of reverence — the Constitution, the rule of law, the balance of power. Yet this president has defiled such ideas as though he’s Sharpie-ing his way through a checklist.