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    Truth of the Matter About Trump, the Wall and His Manhood

    By Andrea Shorter–

    Okay, so, my previously mentioned wish for once and future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to be Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” did not come to pass. Mind you, I’m not a subscriber or even regular reader of the weekly magazine, but I was still hopeful for what would have been a well-deserved honor following Pelosi’s expert marshal of midterm election forces to take back the House of Representatives with a desperately needed majority Democrat stronghold.

    That ship has sailed, and since then her unexpected reality televised toe-to-toe smack down of Trump seen and heard around the world was just moments later punctuated by her fiercely fantastic exit from the White House donning that stunning blood red orange Max Mara coat—now in high demand for a return to the Max Mara high fashion lineup for 2019—flourished by her putting on very dark sunglasses as she stepped forward like a bad-ass boss to the press corps mics to report on the meet and greet with the ill-temper tantrum prone, border wall obsessed president.

    When the most powerful woman in American politics gives us the biggest meme-worthy moment since the invention of memes, maybe that well-wished tribute by Time was destined to pale by comparison. When your coat gets its own Twitter handle, @IAmNancyPelosisCoat, you’ve reached a whole new zenith.

    And when you are the seasoned 78-year-old stalwart steadying the course amidst a rebel band of new power generation detractors within your party ranks to recapture the second seat in succession to a free-falling presidency after the vice president, there is little time for suffering the foolishness of mansplaining her power or agency from a man who can hardly articulate any thought of his own that is not laden with lies, diversion or self-serving aggrandizement.

    There is a barrelful of concern about Trump’s determination to fulfill a half-cocked notion to build a giant, waste of multi-billion dollars-worth of border wall/monument-to-self that brings his “manhood” into question, as Pelosi was reported to have pointedly jibed at later that day after the soirée in the Oval Room with Trump, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and a mannequin-like Mike Pence. For one, the fact that that the president’s welcome of press, aka the “enemy of the people” in his mind, into what would normally be a fairly perfunctory and brief photo op of some semblance of bi-partisan niceties with the legislative leaders before resigning into a closed door meet-up, was completely turned upside down by Pelosi and Schumer’s hold-our-ground shout down of a Trump shutdown of the federal government unless he gets more U.S. taxpayer dollars (not pesos) to finance his precious wall.

    The real exposure of that day was, yet again, of a president wholly disinterested in governance grounded in and informed by facts. At this point, not even Trump seems to actually believe (not that he ever really did) in previously stated purpose of a great wall for border security. His red-meat baiting campaign rally has morphed into more of a personal crusade—sans facts about the efficacy of a wall, alternative twenty-first century border security technologies, the actual levels of threat to American workers or their safety posed by northbound migrants or those seeking asylum. It is a test of will against the inconceivability of not getting his way to leaving a visible-from-space monument long after his numbered days and damage is done as president.

    Trump is a brand manufactured by a sort of short-circuit psycho-cybernetic willful manifest: if you envision and say that something will happen repeatedly, loudly, forcefully and imbued with inevitability enough, it supposedly will happen. It’s a funked up cheap Jedi mind-trick that suggests that whether he is president or not, he possesses a supreme power to make whatever he wants to happen happen.

    Any road block or resistance to his self-delusional sense of manifest destiny is a personal affront and threat by lesser beings too stupid to see or comprehend his greatness. Even if those roadblocks to greatness are of his own making by folly or design, he is, of course, always infallible in his own mind. He seems to think that he can do no wrong. In his Trumped-up universe, he is the truth, the light, the way. He believes that everyone must defend and secede their opposition to whatever is his will or manifest—in business, politics or personal affairs.

    Such posture does not allow for compromise or real negotiation, as compromise and negotiation require points of fact. If you are constitutionally oblivious to points of fact, that essentially makes for a non-starter for any constructive, meaningful engagement.

    If there was any point of fact that was further highlighted in Pelosi and Schumer’s televised collision with the wall that is Trump, it was that, to him, facts are irrelevant, fungible, to be readily dismissed, are suspect and—above all—infuriating. Facts mean truth. When you are the master peddler of untruths, truth is like kryptonite: its proximity always threatens to sap away your powers of deceit upon which you have manufactured, and brought to manifest what you want and need others to see you as—personally all powerful, untouchable, omnipotent—especially when you know it is not true.

    For those that remain concerned about the freedom of the press, seekers of truth and fact, we should take satisfaction in Time magazine’s 2108 Person of the Year: journalists.

    Its focus is on “the guardians and the war on truth” in the aftermath of the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in October, the murders of the journalists at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, the bomb threats to CNN, and the arrests and indictments of numerous journalists around the world challenging authoritarianism.

    Even if he does not like what is said about him, our president should be the first defender of the freedom of the press as enshrined in our Constitution, but he instead has used his bully pulpit to decry the press and media as “fake” and the “enemy of the people,” like any good dictator might. He pushes on to weaken and cast aspersion and doubt against all institutions of government, including the auspices of the Department of Justice under which he is being investigated. His fight against the press remains a fight against the reveal of truth—damaging truths and facts that will eventually lead to his demise. I’m not talking impeachment. I’m talking about the demise of his deepest truth: that he is, in fact, not omnipotent.

    I’m glad that Trump invited the cameras into the Oval Office during his meeting with Pelosi and Schumer. Not so much because of the eerie delight in seeing the tables turned against him in what devolved into a shocking, unnerving and maybe even embarrassing display of our highest elected powers that are at such sharp odds against each other. More so because it reminds us of how dangerously diminished and pedestrian the U.S. presidency has sunk under Trump, and how vitally important it is that checks and balances from an equal branch of government be activated to defend and protect the American people from such self-centered, willful and potentially irreparable harm he is, in fact, determined and destined to manifest.

    Godspeed to the once and future Speaker Pelosi for asserting the idea to the president that facts should guide governance—including as it pertains to massive expenditures to erect useless structures, or facts that might lead to impeachment of a president—and to the dedicated journalists around the world who risk their own safety, liberty and lives to seek out truth and facts that might prove threatening and dangerous to tyrants, yet liberating to those they seek to oppress.

    Upon the close of the 40th Anniversary year of the San Francisco Bay Times, thank you for giving voice to the LGBTQ experience, movement and community as we strive for full representation, equality, liberation and freedom from tyranny the world over.

    Andrea Shorter is a Commissioner and the former President of the historic San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is a longtime advocate for criminal and juvenile justice reform, voter rights, and marriage equality. A Co-founder of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, she was a 2009 David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.