In 1837 Hans Christian Andersen wrote a folktale about an Emperor living in a great city who was exceedingly fond of new clothes. Life was good and the people of the city were happy. Every day strangers would arrive and among them were two swindlers who let it be known they were weavers who could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth were magical and invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.
So, the emperor hired them, and they set upon their looms. A succession of officials, including the emperor visited ‘the weavers’ to check their progress. Each saw empty looms but pretended otherwise to avoid being thought a fool. Finally, the weavers told the emperor his suit was finished, and after miming dressing him, the emperor set off in a procession before the entire city.
Not wanting to appear inept or stupid, the townsfolk uncomfortably went along with the pretense, until an innocent child blurted out that the emperor wasn’t wearing anything at all— “the emperor had no clothes” and the people realized they had been played the fool. Folktales aren’t as popular these days probably because of Internet; nonetheless, there may be modern-day real-life version of this parable occurring in our nation’s capital.
Predictably, the day after President Biden stumbled and fell three times climbing the stairs to Air Force One, the usual memes and snarky cartoons came out of the woodwork mocking our septuagenarian chief executive.
Ridiculing a sitting president isn’t new; it’s been a part of American politics since the Founding. John Adams was notoriously thin-skinned about criticism, Lyndon Johnson was parodied for his accent and caricatured with large floppy ears, Gerry Ford was unmercifully burlesqued as a klutz by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live and lord knows how many times Donald Trump was derided and called everything from “The Orange Man” to a reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, the latter by the way, was a bit over the top.
But the president’s slips & falls that occurred on March 19th while boarding Air Force was a different story because this wasn’t Gerry Ford bumping his head in the doorway of the presidential plane, nor was it Donald Trump walking gingerly down slick ramp at West Point —this was real and should not have been made a matter of public ridicule, and no American should be happy about it.
I received several sophomoric email memes and without thinking, foolishly forwarded one of them to a group of friends—the second I hit the Send button I knew I shouldn’t have. We all do dumb stuff.
Nonetheless, for anyone who’s been watching the president over the last few months realizes he is in a state of physical and mental decline. I will not speculate but rest assured the Russians, Chinese, North Koreans and the rest of the world is paying attention.
The best I can say about presidential comments since his inauguration is that they lack a coherent message. Most of his answers are scripted, and during his first news conference he even responded to a question about China by reading directly from notes. He tells us Georgia’s voter ID requirements are throw backs to Jim Crow.
So, is the president purposely lying to the American public? Personally, I don’t think so, I am beginning to believe Mr. Biden in many cases he’s simply reading whatever his staff puts in front of him. Can it be proven, no, but c’mon.
On the one hand we should be very thankful the president isn’t lying to us, but on the other hand, we should be concerned that the most powerful man in the world may not fully grasp the challenges facing this nation or the world at large.
Quote of the day: “If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.”—Albert Einstein