PR1206: Speaking of speaking ill of the dead
One of the many sweeping declaratives I was handed without qualification when I was a child was to “never speak ill of the dead.” Some exceptions that proved the rule included Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and the Wicked Witch of the West (“Ding dong,” and all that.) These days, like most adults, I make my post-mortem antipathies on a case by case basis. For example, I plan to go right on speaking ill of a certain former president long after he expires.
So I won’t haul Trump up on that charge when he spoke ill of the late Colin Powell. In fact, had Colin Powell been half as evil as Donald Trump himself I would have perhaps been justified in finding no fault in what Trump said of him at all.
Where I find fault with Trump was in the fact that Trump isn’t qualified to tie Colin Powell’s shoes. Colin Powell was a decent man. Donald Trump is a liar and a criminal and a thief and a rapist and a murderer and a traitor and a quivering pile of human feces. Nothing Donald Trump says has merit — ever, not even if it’s accidentally true.
I suppose at this point I must tell you what Trump said, even though it rankles to have to repeat it, even though I do it in the spirit of disparagement. Okay, here goes. Trump said, “Wonderful to see Colin Powell, who made big mistakes on Iraq and famously, so-called weapons of mass destruction, be treated in death so beautifully by the fake news media.”
It is vintage Trump, snide, sneering, clumsy, juvenile and peevish. It reminds us of what a little man Trump was and remains. I hate him, and I positively look forward to going on hating him long after he dies.
Trump said other things, too. Yadda yadda yadda. Look it up if you’re dying of curiosity. I’m going to deny him his day in this column, just as I plan to deny him a decent burial. But I will tell you what some people said about his, ahem, statement.
Larry Sabato tweeted: “No decent human being will defend Trump’s malevolent, spiteful, narcissistic statement on Gen. Powell. But those Republicans who keep silent today will speak volumes about how Trump has debased them and their once-great party. Candidates with no courage never deserve our votes.”
Ron Christie tweeted: “What a vile, disgusting ‘statement.’ Your character is so glaringly lacking that you would stoop so low to make yourself [feel] better – about yourself. General Powell was an American hero who will be held in high regard in our history. You will not be.”
Yes, in Trump’s little mind, in the end, everything is always about Trump. He’s a true narcissist of the malignant stamp. A complete waste of time.
Since Trump would be nothing without his followers I need to say a word or two about them as well. The cowards in Congress who go on supporting him and the badly-dressed, red-hatted cretins in the crowds outside will also go unlamented by me when they die. I plan to speak ill of those dead as well.
So you might say that speaking ill of the dead comes down to just a matter of opinion. It does not. It comes down to differentiating between criminals, rapists, murderers and the idiots who love them — and the rest of us who are decent. If you can’t figure that out then there’s no hope for you anyway, and nothing I say will either be understood by you or have any impact in the way you “think.” For the rest of you, for the good guys still alive among us, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.