How does it make you feel to watch video of the elegant, informed, erudite President Barack Obama sitting beside, and making welcoming conversation with, President-Elect Donald Trump as Obama dutifully hands over the reins to the Western world to an openly racist, sexually assaultive, Muslim-persecuting, defiantly know-nothing, brazenly lying sociopath?
To me, watching that video footage feels like the final collapse of whatever lingering legitimacy the American presidency still had after decades of corporate money and advertising-driven media made the race for the highest office a sponsored pageant: a mega-moneyed Mr. or Ms. Universe contest. A cage fight with attack commercials.
After the shattering Obama-Trump footage of presidential baton-passing, there is little left to the nation’s most exalted position but a palmed shiv and a tiara. If such a creature as Trump can pass the casting call for the world's most powerful political role, then the show is over. At least for now. It’s just another hack creation that a crew of mercenary smarties heaved into our lives because they got paid.
Except that this show will savage the future of at least a generation and, potentially, all humans in the searing times to come. Think climate change and the nuclear red button -- for starters.
Trump's rise is proof positive that most voting Americans believe that the state is a crude, sarcastic joke. The punch line, of course, is that they’re right: it is. As any person or family who has suffered through recent decades of the wealthy's bottomless buffet can tell you.
The resulting empty societal space, where the richest nation in history might have cultivated mutual care and trust but didn't, is what enabled an amoral billionaire megalomaniac to lie his way into the hearts of millions of hard-suffering white folks who embraced an ideal of privileged whiteness as a last-stand currency of lost power and dignity.
So Obama and Trump smile on camera as the former flushes the slurry remains of presidential substance and morality into the little pink-cupped palms of the latter.
Offscreen, the world screams.