Part 6: Denigration of the Office of the Presidency
There is "more power in blue jeans and rock and roll than the entire Red Army." - French philosopher Regis DebrayClothes and style are more important than you might imagine (oh, you do know your history here? Then you didn't vote for Trump, did you?). The president of the United States is also more than just an executive--he is iconic and a leader. This is not the nature of the man--it is the nature of the office. A president cannot escape being a leader--but where he chooses to lead is up to him.
By the time Carter (and then Reagan) were elected blue jeans had lost some of their counter-cultural cool--but the president--even a guy as, shall we say, not strong, as Carter--appearing in them had an impact. Carter's decision to appear in jeans during fireside chats is widely credited with re-popularizing them in men's wear fashion.
The Omnivore is picking this--not because it is so hugely important (although) but because it is a good illustration of how the office of POTUS can have deep and subtle influence on cultural currency beyond just blunt policy.
Like it or not--believe it or not--when you elect a president, you are electing a cultural leader.
That's why it's important to get it right.
The New 'Presidential'
It's easy to say that none of this matters--compared to policy--but while it's easy to say it, it isn't true. The character of the person--of the leader of our country--in the White House does matter. It matters in gross ways and it matters in subtle ways. It matters in ways we can see and measure right now and it measures in ways we might not identify for years.
Right now the person we have in our office is denegrating it. On a daily basis the office of the President is being degraded and humiliated. Trump's tweets, his lies, his petty palace intrigues? His hiring of nazis--literal and more figurative--and most of all his easily wounded over-inflated ego.
These are things we knew about--obvious things--but he was still elected. It hasn't changed--and it isn't going to. It's where we are today.
That Trump is making a fool of himself isn't news to anyone following along--tweeting nonsense on a daily basis has managed to annoy supporters and critics alike--but what about people who are kind of in the middle?
Trump has to be treated like a child--with his reading list edited so that he doesn't get bad information or data from conspiracy theorists.
Trump has to have a propaganda-folder delivered to him twice daily with specially curated positive news coverage. That this is happening at all is shocking. That we know about it is mortifying.
Trump's chaos and turn-over--his palace intrigue White House--his appointment of utterly unqualified people to positions of national importance--his inability to spell words correctly on Twitter--all of these are a degeneration of America's high office.
The Omnivore is familiar with the argument that Obama had already degraded the office--with his tan suit and his interviews with YouTubers and so on. None of this is remotely similar. If you want to argue it, you can--The Omnivore will take you on--but just understand that this is a ridiculous and losing game.
We are in an era of change--and how the state is managed from top to bottom is changing--but the Chief Executive needing a media-folder pick-me-up or being unable to spell his pronouncements isn't our new way forward. It's just degrading--and it hurts us.