America is a naturally narcissistic nation. From “exceptionalism” to being the “last best hope of Earth,” we are raised to believe that life on this planet revolves around those of us who live somewhere here in “God’s country.” But even with a history of believing that we are the sun around which all other countries orbit, it has fallen to our nation’s narcissist-in-chief to take us to a level of self-obsession that makes Kanye West look like Thomas Merton.
It is not just that Donald Trump is an egomaniac. Most presidents have a pathological need for approval and attention. It’s why they suffer the slings and arrows that come with seeking the country’s top office. Egomania is for Hollywood actors and House committee chairmen who think the rule of law doesn’t apply to them. Trump is a Transcendental Solipsist. It is not just that he has a strong sense of self. His view of the universe does not extend a single inch beyond the boundaries of his own interests. That is why normative concepts like truth or commonly held values or the national interest are completely alien to him. There is Trump world, and then there is oblivion.
If you doubt that the impact of the shift to All Trump, All the Time News is making it hard to focus on much of what might otherwise be worthy of our attention consider this: Since taking office, the Trump administration has ramped up military operations in Yemen and Iraq; committed to deploying over 1,000 additional troops in Syria; stood by as civilian casualties have soared and watched as a strategically important province in Afghanistan fell to the Taliban — all without making so much as a ripple in the public consciousness of the United States.
The Soul-Sucking, Attention-Eating Black Hole of the Trump Presidency
David Rothkopf, Foreign Policy
“Look at me all day long every day
and hang on each word that I say,
as I bask in the glow
of what I don’t know
while pretending I do, you can pray.”
Lily Beth Baker, 5/26/17