Scene: Flyer editorial staff meeting.
"Good morning, and welcome, folks. Before we get started, I'd just like to point out that since last week's issue, I, Bruce VanWyngarden, have done more things — with few exceptions — than any other editor in history. Now, let's go around the table and get some comments. Chris McCoy?"
"Bruce, I just want to say it is truly a blessing and a privilege to have you as an editor. You have helped me and the people of Memphis learn so much about film. I can't thank you enough."
"How about you, Toby Sells? Any thoughts?"
"Bruce, the people of Memphis are truly lucky to have a man of your inspired intellect and courage running this paper. Your news instincts are second to none, and it's an honor to serve you."
"Thanks, Toby. Susan Ellis, your take?"
"I just want to say on behalf of all of us who are blessed to be able to work for you, you are the greatest editor in the history of mankind, without exception."
"Well, thanks, Susan. You're right, of course."
Did you see that insanity? That ridiculous clownshow of a cabinet meeting on Monday, where President Trump said, "Never has there been a president, with few exceptions ... who has passed more legislation, done more things." Nevermind the fact that that is a provably blatant lie; let's get to the insane part, the part where the president asked his cabinet members to speak, and supposedly sentient, accomplished professionals — former governors, CEOs, senators, and other Trump appointees — flattered, fawned, and groveled before their fearless leader like schoolgirls meeting Justin Bieber. It was a scene that one would expect at a Kim Jong-un cabinet meeting in North Korea, not in the United States of America.
What on earth is going on? Who could possibly think this is normal behavior for our country's leaders to engage in? It's not normal behavior for any organization or business. It's a manifestation of a personality cult, the kind of sycophancy demanded by tinpot third-world dictators.
Critics called Ronald Reagan the "Teflon president" because nothing negative seemed to stick to him. Trump has taken it to a new level — more like a Teflon bubble. The 37 percent of Americans who believe in him will apparently continue to do so, no matter how many delusional lies he tweets, no matter what ethics laws he flouts, no matter what international leader he insults, no matter how much golf he plays — no matter who he shoots in the middle of Fifth Avenue. True Trumpers believe the law is crooked and the media are liars and everyone is out to get their hero — who is only working to make America great again. It's Trump Über Alles.
Now, there are reports that Trump is considering firing Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor investigating Russian interference in our elections. Ordinarily, such a move would spur outrage, not just with Democrats, but among patriotic Republicans as well. True Americans believe the rule of law should reign supreme over party loyalty and obeisance to the president. But the truth is, very few elected GOP politicians have so far seemed willing to stand up to Trump — about anything. They have become a party of "little Marcos."
Our democracy is walking a dangerous tightrope, my friends. Something dark and weird is alive and growing.