A MOCKERY: THIS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IS YOUR PRESIDENT*
Untitled, Pen and Ink, 9" x 13", Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
“Asylum seekers are making a mockery of the immigration laws.” DJT
I wasn’t certain what Mr. Trump meant so I looked up the word — mockery — to be sure I understood its meaning and proper use. The President of the United States had used it, after all, and in a complete sentence. I thought it an odd use of the term, given that asylum laws exist internationally and in the United States for humanitarian reasons and the United States — a country of indigenous Americans, immigrants, descendants of slaves, and refugees/people who sought and were granted asylum — allows in only a limited number of those seeking asylum each year based on specific criteria s/he must prove before being granted entry. A caravan of human beings risking everything and leaving all they know with nothing but hope for a future void of hatred, violence, and persecution? How was this “a mockery”? Was the “mockery” that those hopes are meaningless under the Trump administration’s enforcement of the asylum laws? But if anyone understands “a mockery,” it is Mr. Trump, so one presumes he knew of what he spoke.
Parenthetically, each asylum applicant must establish (1) s/he fears persecution in his/her home country, (2) s/he would be persecuted based on at least one of five protected categories — race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or a particular social group, and (3) the person’s government is involved in the persecution or is unable to control the conduct of private actors engaged in persecution.
After some research, analysis and thought, I’ve concluded that Mr. Trump, as with most things he says, does and touches, made a mockery of himself and his use of the word.
America’s Rapid Debasement through, and the GOP’s Personification of, Trump**
teasing and contemptuous language or behavior directed at a particular person or thing, an absurd misrepresentation or imitation of something, travesty, charade, farce, parody
synonym ridicule, derision, jeering, sneering, contempt, scorn, scoffing, teasing, taunting, sarcasm
Given Mr. Trump’s pathological dearth of self-awareness (on top of simply not giving a sh!t), he is incapable of recognizing the mockery he is, this all-consuming “quality” of which he reminds us every time he opens his mouth. Yes, Mr. Trump, the world is laughing at us. Well . . . at you.
If you have been paying attention, even cursorily, you will think of examples, many in a number of instances, for each line item below.
Let’s begin with some of what Mr. Trump has NOT made a mockery:
White supremacy, white nationalism, Nazism
Some of what Mr. Trump HAS made and endeavored to make a mockery include:
The United States Constitution (e.g., the Oath of Office, the Emoluments Clause, the First Amendment Speech, Press, Assembly (protest), and Religion Clauses; the Fourteenth Amendment Citizenship and Equal Protection Clauses; the Fifteenth Amendment prohibition against abridging the right to vote based on race, color or prior servitude . . . .)
The Office of the President of the United States
The Rule of Law and its application (including laws prohibiting tax fraud and evasion, campaign finance laws, laws governing criminal investigations including obstruction of justice, inevitably laws prohibiting money laundering, foreign corrupt practices, Travel Act violations, all forms of fraud . . . .)
Draining the swamp
The Attorney General
The Department of Justice
The Intelligence community
The Oval Office (viz., that freak show with Kanye West or whatever is the latest iteration of his name; the disclosure of classified intelligence and state secrets to Russian diplomats while bragging about having fired Comey and eliminated the investigation of him into conspiring with Russia to influence the 2016 election . . . .)
African Americans (e.g., LeBron James, Don Lemon, Maxine Waters, Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum . . . .)
Murdered African Americans
Criminal justice reform
The LGBTQ community
Murdered American Jews
Murdered permanent American residents
Victims of sexual assault
People seeking asylum from persecution
The United States military (e.g., the putative stunt at the southern border)
Gold Star Parents
Prisoners of war
Parents of soldiers killed in the Korean Conflict
Evangelism (actually, they’ve done a fine job making a mockery of themselves)
South and Central American countries
Island countries (yes, those surrounded by water, lots of water)
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com
**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father’s work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father’s art reproduced in lastamendment.com