Concept by actors who were not at the dinner.
Hiding in plain sight is much easier when people are emotional and desperate for some kind of rational interpretation of what’s happening. Research psychologists have been emphasizing that we see what we expect to see, our brains actually interpreting reality to support the preconceptions we’ve developed, put our “faith” in. This has led me to interpret the Trump/Putin “second meeting” in a different way than most people, simply because my framework of interpretation is different.
If you take George Lakoff’s thumbnail summary of the difference between a happy and confident country and a shaken, resentful one as the difference between the belief of the first that it has a patient, understanding dad and the conviction of the second that it has — indeed, MUST have — a controlling power-conscious dad, then the nefarious “pull-aside” tete-a-tete between Trump and Putin during the recent long leader banquet becomes intelligible in a different way than assuming that they were planning the design of the Death Star.
I see Trump’s extravagant and impatient maneuvers, so tone-deaf and heedless of consequences, as an effort to please a father-figure that’s only in his mind and childhood memories. Putin’s power over Trump is that he fills that Controlling but Disapproving role. And Putin knows it. Trump— whose inner dimensions are never plumbed by himself — does not. So I suspect the conversation went something like this:
T: Oh, it’s so good to be with you at last and see your beaming eyes. I so hope you’re pleased with what I’ve delivered to you already. Together we can control the world.
P: You are a good puppet.
T: Only you can understand what I’ve done in getting American under control so they are obedient and lined up. But they don’t appreciate it and the Dems keep making me into some kind of demon, but you know about that because your opponents do that to you.
P: Yes. I understand. Too bad you can’t just get rid of them the way I do.
T: They say I am vulgar when obviously I have more gilt furniture and pink marble than they do. And more hair. They say my wife doesn’t like me but she’s better looking than any of their wives and she does what I tell her to do. My tweets are so clever, “glad”, but they are mocked. They criticize my children but they’re only trying to help their father.
P: The critics are far too French.
T: They just don’t appreciate me. I’m much too smart to waste my time on all the trivia of the stuff they bring me to sign, but you have to admit I’m better at signing my name with a fibertip than any previous president.
P: I appreciate you, my son. Did you happen to notice what they said about reversing sanctions?
What I’m saying is that there were no American translators and the meeting was not reported or interpreted because it was a private confession-session in which Trump could at last stop making faces and be real in his own little boy way. He did NOT want it revealed that Putin doesn’t really love and admire him, because Putin is his ideal and — he believes — his only equal. It’s not nefarious, only embarrassing.
We’re told that the Americans “ were flummoxed, they were confused and they were startled.” The paradigm of diplomacy was gone, but think how much worse it is to discover that the Great Oz is revealed to be an act. If we can elect a clown like this to manage our country, what does it mean about US? Duped by a dope. We are scarecrows and tin men — cowardly lions who have not listened to what Toto knew at once. And Dorothy — well, we still want to know about those 33,000 emails.
Locally we’ve been here before. Valier’s Sixty-Second Mayor a few years ago couldn’t even recite the Pledge of Allegiance and resigned in a snit after weeks of rearranging the furniture so he could move into the Boy Scout room. I’m told he wintered in Mazatlan.
Actual screen shot from the vid of Clinton and Bush
I was discouraged and disgusted like many others until I stumbled upon this YouTube record of a double interview.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hUOUNZrbBg was billed as “Bill Clinton and George W. Bush BRILLIANTLY Destroys and Makes Fun Of Trump in An Long Interview.” That’s not what it was. I mean, it DID do that, but not by attacking. They never even said “Trump”. The two “guys” were funny, humble, smart and lively. Jon Snow moderates a whole “Viral Network” which is a news and comment channel on YouTube. It’s also the title of a book about viral epidemics, so it’s a metaphor in a living and penetrating way, quite self-aware. It’s hard to find out much about the YouTube version because it seems evasive but — beyond that — some of the websites on Google are loaded to punish those who are curious. They claim to infect inquirers with computer-destroying viruses. (Penetrating!)
Each of the former Presidents of the USA have developed centers of some sort: libraries, repositories, and programs for the benefit of the country that extend their own personal know-how and ideas. Now they are cooperating to present programs.
“The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the Presidential Centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson and is designed for mid-career leaders from diverse backgrounds who share a commitment to helping solve society’s greatest challenges. Participants connect with some of the best minds in the study of leadership and benefit from the assets of the Presidential Centers and the insights of former Presidents and the people who served with them.”
The official website is at http://www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org
One of the great side benefits of my ground-level job history is that it has taught me that no matter what the media in Manhattan or Washington DC thinks is happening in terms of dire and dramatic terms, the real background is always quietly and effectively going on. Clerks at counters, pastors at coffee, a multitude of nonprofits and NGO’s, networks of conferences about flood plains or grizzly bears or mystery infections, lab workers at benches wielding pipettes and petri dishes. They pass around news, share ideas, reach out to each other. Rarely do they have names until they die and are obits, searchable nationally. They are us.
One rarely gets to see the “real” side of presidents, not that they were so different from what one would expect. Though I will say that George W. Bush improves with age. Both have wry and dry senses of humor and are not afraid to make fun of themselves. Bush is only 44 days older than Clinton and they get the same jokes. Clinton is the same flatterer he always was. Bush is the same underwhelmer as he always was. Clinton has developed a tremor and in his dieted-down form is even more the teenager who gets revved up. Bush still plays the guy who wants to get this over with so he can get back to cutting brush or riding his trail bike or (surprise!) painting. Both guys have daughters who love them and try to keep them on the straight and narrow (more success with Bush, but he has two daughters) and each guy has only been married once. MARRIED, that is. Fathers of daughters are discouraged from being dictators.
There was no bitterness, only what seemed like genuine friendship and trust. I hope Obama will join them. They are the real depth of democracy, and a sinewy webwork it is.