The Trash Man

I’ve been thinking about trash lately. And a trash-the-Tr-mp segment on MSNBC this morning, featuring Republican Steve Schmidt and Democrat Joel Benenson (who were senior campaign strategists and advisors for, respectively, John McCain and Hillary Clinton), was a cosmic message to me to talk a little (a little more) about trash myself.

When I was a kid growing up in a small town in Kansas, every week a guy came by our house in his modified pickup truck, dutifully, to pick up our garbage. We, unfortunately, called him the Trash Man, as in, “Hey, the Trash Man is coming tomorrow.” But he had a name: Mr. Thurston. And he had an essential job: keeping the community clean and livable. If it weren’t for him, and others like him, all of us would be living in filth.

These days we have a real Trash Man we have to deal with. He also has a name: Tr-mp. And he also has a job, but it’s not like the job Mr. Thurston had. Tr-mp’s job, he thinks, is not to pick up the trash and better our communities; his job is to spread garbage and pollute our national community. It’s the one and only job Tr-mp is good at. I mean, he’s really good at it. Trash is everywhere.

Steve Schmidt and Joel Benenson were on MSNBC discussing, among other things, the latest revelation about Tr-mp, that he thinks the “White House is a real dump.” (I highly recommend reading the entire article published first by Golf magazine, just in case you need a renewed affirmation of how small, petty, phony, dishonest, and cheap Tr-mp is, as well as how many people, including foreigners, are willing to embrace and enrich him out of self-interest.)  Schmidt and Benenson were highly critical of Tr-mp for his remark about the historic residence, with Schmidt giving an especially moving account of the dignity and honor associated with the White House. But this is one case where Tr-mp has it absolutely right. The White House is currently a dump. It became a dump on the afternoon of January 20, 2017, when the Trash Man moved in. 

Tr-mp has trashed our institutions, as we all have witnessed. And almost hourly he trashes the truth, often in conjunction with another trash-spreader, Fox “News.” This morning, one of my favorite people, Rob Reiner, tweeted the following:

Exhausting to see a POTUS lie, break the law, act irrationally, undermine democracy & disgrace US every day. GOP, you know you agree. Impeach

Reiner is right that all of this is exhausting. It does wear one out watching the Trash Man distribute disinformation, catapult crap on the Constitution, and spend most of his time petty-tRelated imageweeting, playing golf, and using his office to enrich himself. Yes, that is exhausting. But Reiner is wrong in saying the GOP agrees that Tr-mp is disgracing the country. Most of them don’t think so, and most of those who do don’t care enough to do a damned thing about it. Impeachment is not on the horizon.

What is truly more exhausting than watching the Trash Man throw garbage in our country’s political streets and dump sewage in our electoral streams, is watching the Republican Party help him do it. They keep gas in the Trash Man’s truck. They keep him going. They are as responsible for the littered landscape, the polluted polity, as he is. Even those few Republicans who do—meekly—speak up, who do—mildly—complain about Tr-mp’s behavior, still mostly vote his way—the recent passage of a bill on Russia sanctions being the rare exception.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake has been widely celebrated for an op-ed he wrote (and, of course, a book for sale) criticizing Tr-mp and the GOP’s failure to adequately address his alleged betrayal of conservatism, as well as the dysfunction he has created:

…as I layered in my defense mechanisms, I even found myself saying things like, “If I took the time to respond to every presiden­tial tweet, there would be little time for anything else.” Given the volume and velocity of tweets from both the Trump campaign and then the White House, this was certainly true. But it was also a monumental dodge. It would be like Noah saying, “If I spent all my time obsessing about the coming flood, there would be little time for anything else.” At a certain point, if one is being honest, the flood becomes the thing that is most worthy of attention. At a certain point, it might be time to build an ark.

One would think that if Jeff Flake believes a political Noah’s Ark is needed to save us from a Tr-mpian flood of filth, that at the very least he would be the first one in line with a piece of gopher wood in one hand and a bucket of pitch in the other. But that’s not the case. All he has is an almost near-perfect pro-Tr-mp voting record. In other words, Flake is putting as much gas in the Trash Man’s truck as just about anyone in Congress and he deserves blame for that, not praise.

Finally, back to my Mr. Thurston. The vital public service he provided, for little remuneration, is a gazillion times more than Tr-mp or his family has ever provided or will ever provide. Mr. Thurston’s contribution to society was to help keep it clean. Tr-mp’s contribution is to dirty it. The man pretending to be president would not be worthy of putting on his feet Mr. Thurston’s boots. And the further truth is that the real Trash Man, whose very presence has made the White House a (hopefully) temporary dump, isn’t really worthy of living in a trailer park.

Nor are his Republican enablers.



  1. You’ve got Tr;mp’s number, Duane. And anyone still thinking that his private persona is any different from his public one need only to read the transcripts of his phone conversations with the presidents of Mexico and Australia to see they are the same. Actually, the private is even worse. Normally I would criticize such private leaks, but this President is not only not normal, he is a danger to our form of government.


    • I try to put myself in the position of the leaker. I can’t think of one circumstance where I would have leaked a transcript of a call with foreign leaders—except when I think of Tr-mp. If I were in the White’s House and felt the way I do about his mental stability and unwillingness and inability to learn anything, I would leak my ass off. Yes, he is a danger to our form of government and although it is not something I would normally condone, we need to know just how dangerous and deceptive this man is. 


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