It’s a stupid word, collusion. I am not one of those academic sorts who like to justify my ideas with a textbook definition but, nevertheless, here we are: “secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.” This is the buzz word of the Trump administration. Take a long, hard look at it for a moment, “secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.” I can wait . . .
What does it say about society that this word we seem to use in one form or another every day is about cheating people out of something? And it does not matter which side of whichever issue you may take, because the term is being applied to all. No one is innocent. We are all lying in some way or another.
I will give a brief comment on Paul Manafort, who has apparently never been anything other than a crook throughout his entire professional life. I mentioned yesterday that I was struck with this damn flu, and such reality is manifest today, a fever, as of ten minutes ago, bordering on 102 degrees, and an inability to keep anything solid down. I do not have the energy to rant today, so here are a few words on our current president’s former campaign manager:
He took the job for no salary. This is a man, Paul Manafort, for whom money has always been everything. This is probably why he was appealing to Trump, both of them sharing a sociopathic taste for greed. The waver of his fee must have appealed to Trump too–the billionaire bargain-hunter! He must have thought he’d made one hell of a deal with a man who knew where to find money. Manafort promised the candidate the nation, and did he certainly delivered.
But you have to wonder if the president even asked any questions, and here is where the case of presidential collusion ultimately lies (and yes, there is a cheap pun here, but it shall stand). Did Donald Trump even care what Manafort was doing, or why he was doing it? And, since Manafort is such a profoundly dishonest person, did he lie to Trump as well (did he in fact ever tell him the truth?) There is no doubt that the con-man (Manafort, in this instance) manipulated Trump Jr. and probably Jared and Ivanka. They are all shallow people not interested in looking into the deeper meanings behind what was placed before them. All of them were raised within the ideology of winning at all costs, without ever having been taught what it actually means to win anything.
And so ‘collusion,’ with a group of people this self-interested, is far more difficult to pinpoint. When the president says ‘No collusion,’ I am sure that he actually believes this, knowing absolutely nothing about most of the things he is guilty of. And if this is true, if he is such an easy mark, and has been played so drastically for a sucker by international con men far better at their trade than the old world snake oil salesman we elected, in many ways this is far more damning than if he were actually at the center of a vast criminal conspiracy. All it means then is that he was used by even more ruthless people. This is our president: Is he a gangster or a stooge?
None of this can possibly end well, and the fact that Trump is such a petty, vindictive man will only draw this national (international) horror out, probably to the end of the first term. I suspect that there will be some sort of fake (or even, I hope not, real) medical hazard that will force the president to campaign for Pence in 2020 from his bedside, a creepy Howard Hughes encroachment as the Russians instead of the Mormons take over his finances and keep him safe in a sanitized, completely germ-free world. There is no chance he would allow himself to be so humiliated as to lose the next election. He would have to blame someone. If Pence loses, not his fault, right? If he were to lose . . . collusion! A plot–a hidden agenda!
All of this, this cartoonish tragedy spinning out of control before us, is really the result of one final thing: the election to the highest office of a conspiracy theorist, someone who believes in secret societies and hidden, reptilian plots that are somehow only directed against him. And do you know what people like this do, shivering and paranoid in their bunkers of hate? They conspire. They collude. Since they have the imagination to believe in irrational and absurd fairy tales, they certainly have the wherewithal to devise one themselves. And of course their plan will fail, get found out, collapse as any true ‘secret society’ would, the very idea of loyalty in a person willing to attempt the overthrow of a nation being the punchline to any conspiracy. We are living in the collapse of a nation as farce. We are living in a satire of our own lives.
Paul Manafort is a criminal. The worst possible thing that the President could do, as I suspect that whatever comes out about his personal responsibility will merely be embarrassing, displaying his profound ignorance and inability to govern, would be to pardon this man for what is presumed loyalty. I am not even certain that this so-called ‘mistake’ of Manafort’s lawyers improperly redacting legal documents was not intentional (remember, the people in question actually exist within a conspiratorial wonderland). Perhaps it was meant as a tip-off to the White House–here’s what they know. Build your defense! If Manafort is somehow forgiven for his crimes then that–that!–that is your proof of collusion.