04:40:57 am on
Wednesday 19 Jun 2024

Remembering the Donald
David Simmonds

Eulogists for Aretha Franklin (top) and US Senator John McCain (bottom).

There were two important funerals recently. One was for the woman, from Detroit, that finally got much of what she musically claimed she never received as a woman, namely “Respect.” The other for a man that stood far above partisan politics and many praised as a patriot, leader and role model.

Aretha Franklin and John McCain lived worthy lives.

This set me to thinking. What would happen at the funeral of Donald Trump? How would America and the world remember him?

As a person widely considered vain and narcissistic, in the extreme, surely Trump has given some thought to what people will say about him when he has departed, horizontally. Has he thought of his memorial? His actions don’t suggest it. If he hasn’t thought about his memorial, perhaps jealousy, if nothing else, will cause him to reflect on the legacies of Franklin and McCain and, finally, start to consider his own.

Still, I’m not optimistic. It strikes me he would be more concerned with drawing worldwide attention to the fact that he had the largest crowd ever at a presidential funeral or a service longer than the five-hour marathon that sent off Aretha Franklin. Moreover, he’d want to do something that topped her 100-pink-Cadillac procession. He’d also want to stage a more salacious groping incident than befell poor Ariana Grande, at the right hand of Bishop Charles Ellis III.

Doing something statesmanlike involves acting beyond narrow self-interest, which goes against the grain for Trump. He seeks a victory over a loss at every turn and does so with sufficient frequency that it is part of his basic character. That will be a tough hill for him to climb. Pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who went out of his way to target Latinos, or saying there was blame on both sides of a racist encounter in Charlottesville hardly count as the building blocks of a reputation for statesmanlike gestures and memories.

There’s the thing about death. Once you’re off this mortal coil, you lose the hold you once had over those you intimidated and belittled. People more freely speak their minds. In the case of Trump, I’d wager the club of his admirers shrinks, dramatically, rather than grows, with his passing. When the time comes, just ask Rex Tillerson or Jeff Sessions what they have to say.

Putin and LaPierre may eulogise Trump.

Senator McCain attracted former two-term presidents, from both sides of the political divide, to be his eulogists. Trump may be lucky to have Vladimir Putin, Benjamin Netanyahu or Wayne LaPierre speak at his funeral. Trump may have to go further down into the barrel to come up with a speaker whose praise will be unvarnished.

Perhaps Trump might choose wrestling entrepreneur Vince McMahon, whose wife he appointed to his cabinet, to lead the Small Business Administration. There’s also his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has demonstrated his willingness to engage in Trump-blather beyond limits previously thought humanly possible. Perhaps the president of McDonalds would be an appropriate speaker; he could talk with enthusiasm of the personal consumer contribution, of Trump, who dines on burgers, daily, to the flourishing US economy.

Let’s suppose it falls to you to deliver a eulogy for Donald J Trump, senior. What can you say that will capture the true nature of his contribution to the world? Perhaps you might prefer to limit your comments to America, alone.

You could say that he was “A man unafraid to walk his own course, however elliptical.” You could say he “fed off the energy of crowds, whose enthusiasm he was prepared to say almost anything to generate.” You could say he was “not afraid to put his reputation for honesty on the line with his every utterance.”

You could describe him as a man that “welcomed conservatives of all stripes into the Republican Party.” You could say he “risked unpopularity by maiming some of the most sacred cows of liberal America.” You could say he “trusted his gut more than his experts.”

You could say he was “unafraid of the consequences of his actions.” You could say he would “denounce, as fake news, the fact the sun rises in the east, if it was reported by the New York Times or CNN.” You could say that despite its length, “Trump always kept his tie out of his soup.”

Maybe the Trump eulogy will be silence.

You couldn’t call him a political leader, as you would John McCain, Barack Obama or even George W. Bush. Trump would be lucky if he got a sliver of the respect that Aretha Franklin got. Maybe your eulogy, of Trump, will be silence.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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