Alan Zendell, July 2, 2017
I’ve always had nothing but disdain for daytime television, but nine years ago, when I began working from home, I started watching Morning Joe with my first cup of coffee. I guess that was the point of the show’s name, but when the cuteness of the play on words wore off, I still found the idea of a former Republican Congressman hosting the morning show on the world’s most liberal network amusing enough to watch.
I soon noticed that Joe Scarborough liked to surround himself with smiling, nodding mannequins, ala Howard Stern, whom I detest. One was Willie Geist, a pretty face who never seemed to have anything of substance to say, and the other was a pretty face with really nice legs. The thing I most noticed was that Morning Joe’s entire marketing campaign consisted of pretty face number two in poses that invariably featured more of her legs than I thought tasteful for an alleged news program. That seemed to be her primary role on the show as she hardly ever said anything.
That was my impression of Mika Brzezinski, whom I had never heard of before. The only other notable thing about her was her surname, which aside from containing two Z’s, she shared with her famous father, whose full name actually had three. It didn’t take long for me to conclude that Scarborough’s ego required only sycophants could share the spotlight with him, and I lost interest in his show.
But perhaps I’d judged too harshly. Mika turned out to be a woman with a voice, which she used to criticize Donald Trump. Joe, who had never seemed to value her opinion much during the time I watched his show, was right there beside her this time. That got my attention because while the idea of Trump as president literally makes me fear for our country, his attitude toward women is what infuriates me. The most perplexing thing for me over the past two years is the shocking number of women who don’t seem to care about that.
But here was Mika, taking advantage of her sizable audience and speaking up. Yay for Mika! Actually, yay for both Mika and Joe who’ve joined the long list of public faces that have refused to be intimidated by the president’s bullying. Trump’s latest tweets have raised the issue of whether he violated federal law by attempting to blackmail Mika and Joe over the National Enquirer story. Whether or not he did, that issue is part of another growing list, this one of actions that clearly define Trump as someone who thinks rules don’t apply to him.
Neither list may ever change the attitude of Trump’s gradually dwindling base, but as they grow they affect everyone else, from the Independents who voted for him to the so-called Reagan Democrats who hated Hillary and maybe even some of the women who voted for him despite all the reasons not to. The lists also affect foreign leaders who must be in a rising panic about how to adjust to a world in which America’s shining light is gradually being extinguished.
Trump’s relentless attacks on Mika, at a time when he should be spending all his capital lining up support against North Korea, finishing off ISIS, and keeping his promise on health care add a new dimension to the arguments about why he is unfit to be our president. I’ve commented before about his lack of a moral center and his obvious narcissism. But there’s no longer any reason to mince words − he’s a pig. That’s the only way I can think of to describe him that really gets at the essence of the man.
There’s an irony in that, if you don’t mind another slight play on words. In high school, we all read Animal Farm, the brilliant allegory on human nature told through animals. Do you remember Napoleon, the character that led the populist revolution against the tyranny of the farmer? He succeeded by convincing the hard-working animals that made the farm profitable that he would improve their lives when the corrupt human presence was gone. Napoleon overthrew the farmer, but once in power began tearing up the democratic reforms that had rallied his base of power. He intimidated the other animals and turned on those he considered disloyal.
Napoleon, the most vicious and duplicitous animal on the farm turned out to be worse than the humans who were overthrown. He betrayed every principal he claimed to believe in and replaced them with the simple doctrine: Napoleon is always right.
Napoleon, of course, was a pig.