Soaring Presidential rhetoric ala Trump … a selection of terms from his State of the Union speech: murder (used five times), brutal (twice), terrible (thrice!), catastrophic, gruesome, deadly (another triple winner), viciously, smashed (twice), hijacked, barbarians, bloodthirsty, horrifying, miserable, ruthless, butcher, evil, decay, scorned, brutalizes, failing (another triple), bankrupt, criminal (eight iterations!), destruction, tyranny (twice), fascism, assault (six times), vile, wicked, menace, poisonous.
The vulgarian in the Oval Office has quite the vocabulary, doesn’t he? When you’re peddling hate and division, this is the kind of language you use — coarse, crude, rife with violent images. It is the parlance of a fearmonger, the words of an authoritarian bully. George Orwell wrote that “thought corrupts language.” Trump’s savage rhetoric is a window into his corrupt mind.
We have months more of this hate speech in store for us over the coming months as Trump campaigns for a second term. All State of the Union speeches are campaign speeches to some extent. Clearly, Trump was telegraphing one of his major themes for the 2020 election. He referred to “illegal aliens” four times and “criminal aliens” three times. Showing remarkable linguistic flexibility, he also mentioned “criminal illegal aliens” and “dangerous criminal aliens.” So immigration — by which Trump means mindless hate of immigrants — remains a top issue for Trump, not at all surprisingly.
Trump capped off his hate-fest by awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the racist, misogynist loudmouth Rush Limbaugh. This award is meant to recognize “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” In Trump’s dictionary, racial hostility is a meritorious cultural endeavor.
And then, of course, there were the lies and falsehoods, thirty-one of them according to the Washington Post’s tally. But who counts any more when every other word out of his mouth is mendacious.
Before Pelosi tore into her copy of the speech, three Democratic members of Congress walked out in disgust — Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ). Ten others boycotted the entire affair (as did I). Condemnations by Democrats who stayed through the entire ordeal were plentiful.
Pelosi’s symbolic response to three appalling years of Trump was perfect. In November, the rest of us get to have the last word.