Historians and journalists are not the same. By the time journalists wakes up in the morning, they already may be behind the curve. The daily maelstrom generated by an immature, impulsive, ignorant, erratic President of the United States incapable of telling the truth or obeying the law may leave one gasping for breath, struggling to keep up with the onslaught of fake news pouring forth out of the White House. Who knows what the Class 5/Richter scale 10/asteroid/comet-hurtling-towards-earth President will do? Sometimes it is only Fox & Friends who know what is coming since they are the ones who set the table daily. For a reporter, it may be especially hard to develop the longer term perspective required of an historian given the challenge to merely stay afloat in a fast-moving current.
For historians the situation is quite different. Time is required to gained perspective. Time also is required simply to know how things worked out. Take for instance the transformation of the Republican Party into the Trumpican Party. To some extent, this could have been predicted. For many years the Republicans have ceased to be the party of Lincoln. However, exactly what it would become instead was less clear. It was only after the 2016 elections did the new party begin to become take shape. Gradually all candidates at all levels are expected to pledge loyalty to their lord and savior, the chosen one, blessed be his name. Closet Trumpicans may cling to their Republican identity for a time being but eventually they will have no choice but to abandon ship just for their own mental health.
What will happen to Republicans who refuse to become Trumpicans?
Will the Democrats remain a single party?
What will are immature child do while he remains in power?
One can speculate all one wants, but no one knows. Witnessing the birth of the Second Party System in the 1820s or the Republican Party in the 1850s is not the same as being able to write about it historically. You do not know what will happen.
There will come a time when people, historians, seek to bring order to chaos. Historians will attempt to make sense of how we got to where we are today and what happened since. In the meantime, it is difficult to keep up. Today (September 16), Stephen Collinson on CNN writes “It’s nearly impossible to track all the scandals swirling around Trump.” Later that very same day Rachel Maddow on MSNBC laments the difficulty of trying to keep up with the ever increasing scandals. No rest for the weary.
To make life easier for current newscaster and future historians, I propose a Trump taxonomy be created to catalog the events in an organized manner. If this is not done now, it will become the task of doctoral students and historians in the future to sift through the debris to make sense of our world. The more the data can be organized now, the more people will be able to focus on interpreting it and les on having to accumulate it.
What follows then is a proposed taxonomy for categorizing the events of the present. Obviously this is subject to change and other people may wish to propose a different system. The key is develop a standard classification system that is readily accessible.
1. Trumps – Sir little donnee waney is incapable of telling the truth except by accident. So far he has trumped over 12,000 times. In this instance, the number of occurrences is being tracked. Unfortunately news organizations do not display a bar chart with the ever increasing numbers or announce each day how many additional trumps were told the previous day.
2. Hissy fits – Here is where the seventh-grade-smart-aleck-dumb-aleck is in his natural habitat. It is easy to see how much he enjoys demeaning people. He demeans people as individuals, by ethnicity, by race, by religion, by appearance and he has great fun doing so. He especially enjoys responding to criticisms about him by others by insulting them personally. He would not rape someone because she is not his type but did not volunteer who his type was.
3. Bozos – This category refers to the statements by the very stupid moron that display his true ignorance. Who knew that Canada burned the White House after the patriots captured the airports? Who knew that 306 Electoral College votes was a landslide? It is important to distinguish between bozos and trumps. If he says that two plus two equals five, then you need to make a determination. Does he know that the correct answer is four and deliberately misstates the answer? That is a trump. Or is he genuinely ignorant of the correct answer? In that case, it’s a bozo. For example Paul Krugman writes tirelessly and frequently about the economic ignorance of the Wharton graduate. When did he display his ignorance? How many times did he do so? Have those times been catalogued? The historians writing about this administration are going to need that information. Who is maintaining the list?
4. Alabamas – This is a new term for a long-time action of his. When the immature child is caught in a mistake, whether an honest one or a bozo or a trump, what is his reaction? He always doubles down. He never admits he made a mistake. He will demand other people who work for him to trump at the cost of their integrity and possibly their job if that what it takes to cover up his mistake. He will never man up, he will always carry on like the immature child he is. In the classifying of actions as Alabamas, one always needs to link them to the underlying bozo or trump that made the Alabama necessary. The database needs to have cross-referencing capabilities.
5. Ka-chings – Part of the reason for his running for President was to make money. As President, he has worked ceaselessly to bring home the bacon.If China offered to build Trump Resorts in the South China Sea, he would cave in a moment. It’s all about the Benjamins. We need a running tally of the ka-chings both as to the number and the dollar value.
6. Swamp Builder – There once was a time when some news outlets tracked the number of resigned appointees in this administration. Clearly far from hiring the best people available, he aims for people like himself – people who know how to game the system, people who sexually assault or harass women, people who are ignorant. As long as they are loyal to him what does he care? And if he does hire a competent and honest person, how long do such adults last in the White House anyway? How many appointees have there been and how many turned out be ignorant criminal scam artists…including those who still are in power?
7. Flip Flops – If you do not like what he says, wait a while and he may say the opposite; if you do like what he says, do not count your chickens before they are hatched. He will release his tax returns. He will release his tax returns after the IRS completes its audit. He will release his tax returns after hell freezes over. He will meet with Iran without pre-conditions. He never said he would. He will support gun control. No, he will not. You will have to pry his assault weapons from his small cold dead hands. Again there is a need for cross-referencing. The original pronouncement before he flips probably was a trump.
8. Hide and Seek – The most transparent government in the history of the United States (classified as a trump) will reveal nothing. No law, no regulation, no subpoena, no court ruling will ever cause him to reveal anything. Based on the concept of six-degrees-of-separation, this means that everyone in the United States is prohibited from testifying against him because they have some connection to him. How many outstanding unanswered requests for information are there? Historians will want to know.
9. Unfilled Promises – After the election he will sue each and every woman who accused him of sexual harassment. He will balance the budget. He will pay off the debt. He will bring back coal. He will present a beautiful beautiful health care plan. AND MEXICO WILL PAY FOR THE WALL!
The application of this classification system will change the way news is reported. Now each broadcast will begin something like:
On day 969 of this presidency, there were 7 trumps, 3 hissy fits, 2 bozos, 1 Alabama, a ka-ching with the value of $x, 2 swamp builder indictments/investigations, 4 flip flops, 8 hide and seeks, and 9 unfilled promises. If you played the lottery number 732112489 then you are a winner. Tune in tomorrow for another exciting day of As the Trump Turns. It may be your lucky day.
P.S. The unpresidential library will be organized with separate rooms for each category.