Only halfway buried in yesterday’s New York Times were a few paragraphs about an Indian couple who claimed to have become the first mountaineers from that country to conquer Mt. Everest in Nepal.
The pair, a husband and wife team of police officers, even had photographs of themselves summiting, and views from the top of the world.
This was big news in India, long overlooked as a part of the Himalayan story.
Alas, the photos were doctored. The two had never been within striking distance of the mountain’s peak.
Why this made us think of Donald Trump we cannot say. Except perhaps that any story today that revolves around hoaxes, falsehoods, dreams that are too big to be realized, well, does.
Unlike Mr. Trump, however, the Indians who sought twenty minutes of fame and fortune had the good grace to step down and go underground. Their names (long and difficult to pronounce) will not be inscribed on any plaque, nor flags celebrating their “achievement” flown.
Donald Trump, like millions of aspiring Indians, may long have envied others their climb up the king of mountains. In Donald’s case, however, what he saw for all these years were men and women whom he was convinced were no better than he, and probably not as smart, but who year after year garnered publicity, loot, and notoriety running for public offices he alone should be filling. This would not have made him happy.
Like the Indian couple, all Donald had to do was plan, offer sufficient evidence of his bravado and spirit, and lie. Certainly he was a champion in one of those categories.
Chances are – and this is not our hunch alone – Donald really only wanted to show America he should never be forgotten, that his ideas and criticisms were valid, that his abilities were under-used. What he wasn’t willing to do, however, was demonstrate any of this: he volunteered for no government service, nationally or in New York State. What he claimed people had to take on faith. That he was so often ignored by politicians and New York’s movers and shakers was a continual source of bile and irritation.
Well, he’d show them!
And so he did. Relying only on his native abilities – he was a glib speaker, a positive force at a microphone, a champion at confusion, and perhaps the civilized world’s sleaziest businessman still unindicted – he set out to prove what would happen if he cared. Or at least pretended to care.
Like any addict, he couldn’t stop pretending. When he discovered that people really and truly wanted to believe him, what was he to do? Step down sheepishly?
He offered more full-color pictures of himself nearing the top of Mt. Everest.
As he continued to scale the slopes, he made mince-meat (so our press likes to say) of seventeen other “hugely talented” would-be nominees. (There were only sixteen in reality: we leave it to readers to select that one good apple.)
As for competition, it was not allowed, period. He would raise his voice, belittle, interrupt, threaten, and bully anyone who approached.
The press followed breathlessly, allowing Donald complete freedom to do and say whatever he wanted, even though he was scoped out as a blowhard and blaggard. He needed neither ideas nor vision. He just stood in front of microphones, unstudied and uninformed, and played every scene off the top of his head. No need to study anything. He knew as much as he needed to know, which was that he was a Pied Piper people were willing to follow anywhere, even to the upper reaches of a mountain high enough to require a supplemental supply of oxygen.
He did have opportunities – certainly Mexico was one – just as the Indian couple must have had as they planned their assault. As a man without a record (again, like the police officers in India), he could not be sabotaged by his own words. Those that did in fact become troublesome he simply denied.
Goddamn, he was going to be President! He really was as good as he had believed. He really was better than the whole lot of them. He certainly was louder.
O.K., here we are at Labor Day, that time in an election year when pundits tell us the public begins to pay attention to politics and personalities.
We can only hope that for once they’re right.