The Real Measure of a Man | Opinion | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Real Measure of a Man 

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Some actually believe that the measure of a man is in phallic centimeters. Others might think it's in metric tons of political gravity. Still, more believe that greatness is calculated only from one's net worth ... the decibels of a voice ... or the number of foes a conqueror has vanquished. Our president needs not ask on which of those bases he is great. With the possible exception of sheer tonnage, there are no criteria that would suggest he measures up in any way at all.

One of the world's greatest scientists—indeed, the father of one of the most essential theories of modern physics—had a totally different explanation.

Every one knows who Albert Einstein was. The simplified equation, E=MC2, is one that we can never forget. It is the most famous equation in history, though most people can't even tell you what it means. But Einstein was also a faithful student of humanity, and left us with a bit of his wisdom as well. One of those precious little tidbits sums up the glaring failure of Donald Trump, the man, and punctuates why he cannot function as our president or be taken seriously by the rest of the world.

Einstein's words were so astute; they should be inscribed on the desk of every world leader: "The true measure of a man is the degree to which he has managed to subjugate his ego." In a world of runaway-ego autocracies, this truth highlights the many failures of world leadership. Simply stated, Trump doesn't measure up, and the reason is clear; his ego is totally out of control.

Just when we're thinking that, perhaps, the worst of it is over (Just how many lies is one man capable of?), and that the last of his 12,000-plus deceptions has been launched, he pulls yet another stunt that shows exactly who he is. Trump seems incapable of stemming the flow, which, like the anguished rush of diarrhea, leaves a little trail wherever he goes.

The latest deception is the claim that he canceled a scheduled Camp David meeting with the Taliban, and that he did so because of a Kabul suicide bomber attack in which 12 people were killed, including one U.S. serviceman. The news of a "meeting" stunned Americans, who stammered "WTF" and scratched their heads over Trump's assertion that the planned meeting had not been shared with anyone but, perhaps, Mike Pompeo. In some of his customary bird-brained tweets, Trump made his revelation to the world on Sept. 7. "Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the president of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations."

Even worse, when Trump's new claim hit the news, Taliban leadership denied that it had planned to meet on U.S. soil, asserting that it would have not agreed unless a preliminary accord had already been reached and signed. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has refused to provide even a draft copy of the supposed agreement to anyone, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

In review, the matter is just another piece of evidence that grandstanding and illusion is the modus operandi of our president. (It had to be a closely-held secret, suspiciously timed to take place just before the anniversary of 9/11.) There's something so tragic about having to consider the statements of two bitter enemies—POTUS and the Taliban—and actually having to question which is true. While political figures often mess with our minds, and clever spins leave our brains feeling like frogs in a blender, Trump has stretched American confusion to its outermost limits.

First, it was Trump and the fake news and the challenge of trying to ferret out which had the most likely veracity. Now, it's the word of Trump against America's avowed destroyer. Who's telling the truth? Sadly, my bet is on the Taliban. Obviously I don't like them and I certainly abhor their support of al-Qaeda in its ongoing, cowardly terrorist activities. Yet, there's simply too much history that's gone into the elongation of our president's nose. The Taliban is fanatical, religiously-driven pure evil, but we have no reason to call them liars. Conversely, we have no reason to ever suspect Trump of telling the truth.

Americans wake up every morning with a feeling much like the COPD sufferers on prime-time television pharmaceutical ads—there are some things you simply can't ignore, and one of them is an orange-haired, intellectually-and-morally-challenged elephant sitting on your chest.

The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to comments@cityweekly.net

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