With apologies in advance to my friends and colleagues through the years who write them, the idea of unsigned institutional newspaper editorials never made much sense to me. Maybe back in the days when an actual person owned the newspaper, and ran it, and wrote or at least supervised the writing of the editorials it made a little more sense to claim that those opinions reflected the beliefs of some specific human being. But that’s way long ago.
Nowadays, an editorial is presumably somebody’s opinion or a mélange of somebodies who meet during the day and talk things over. But the reader is asked to accept that what they are reading is the opinion of “the newspaper.” That’s the part that doesn’t make sense to me. I prefer to know whose opinion I’m reading. Anyway, those nameless somebodies need their jobs, so I’ll get off my own backsliding views (and off my high horse) and onto what may be some of the most powerful editorial writing I’ve encountered in a long time.
And we owe it all to President Trump.
Apparently, the reign of the current incumbent is so disturbing to editorial writers of the Los Angeles Times that they have launched a four-part editorial series to count the ways that Trump’s presidency is alarming. In the first two parts, which were available Monday, she, he or they spoke eloquently — and in case you hadn’t heard about them, I thought I would just pass them along.
The series is titled “The Problem With Trump.” Part one, a sort of overview of several problems to be discussed in the course of the miniseries, was headlined “Our Dishonest President.” And that was a link to it. It begins:
It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. The Times called him unprepared and unsuited for the job he was seeking, and said his election would be a “catastrophe.”
Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.
Instead, seventy-some days in — and with about 1,400 to go before his term is completed — it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.
You can probably tell already whether you’re going to like the series.
That piece outlines what I take to be the themes of the three remaining installments, each of which is built around a problem (or category of problems) with our current incumbent, namely:
Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based;
His utter lack of regard for truth;
His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories, racist memes and crackpot, out-of-the-mainstream ideas.
As I write this late Monday, the second installment of the series, titled “Why Trump Lies,” is also available via this link. It begins with the unarguable statement: “Donald Trump did not invent the lie.”
I’m getting a little emotional in my old age but, at the risk of committing hype, the first two installments of the series struck me as among the best editorial writing I’ve ever read.
With your permission (or, to be honest, without it) I’ll wait till the last two installments are published and pass along those links for your convenience and edification, if “convenience and edification” are the words one wants here.