Sometimes a thesaurus isn’t enough

They say the French novelist Gustave Flaubert would struggle for hours and days to find the right word—le mot juste.

I’m not Flaubert—not by a long shot—but with the ascendancy of Chancellor Trump we’ve all faced a similar dilemma: what is the right word? We throw around the term “fool” a little too recklessly. Remember, the fool in King Lear was really the wise man, and in As You Like It Touchstone provided us with commentary so that we more clearly saw what was going on.

So I’m struggling with what to call our new chancellor. Idiot is easy enough, but tiresome. I like numbskull and ignoramus, but they involve too many keystrokes. That criterion makes ass the optimal choice, though its use seems unfair to an inoffensive, useful, and docile creature.

For today’s observation of the failure of government, let’s go with chump. Not my fave, but it does have a certain evocative quality to it.

What a president would say: My ban on immigration will take effect on March 1 of this year, thereby allowing people in transit to arrive without incident and those with immediate plans to make any necessary changes.

What a chump does: I hereby sign this executive order….

What a president would say: The complete and sudden revocation of the Affordable Care Act will cause untold hardships for millions of middle-class and poor Americans; therefore, the Act will remain in effect until such time as Congress can make reasonable and necessary changes

What a chump does: I hereby sign this executive order….

What a president would say: My plans for building a wall between the U.S.A. and Mexico are contingent upon several agreements and compromises between our two nations. Early discussions will take place at an upcoming meeting with the Mexican president.

What a chump does: I hereby sign this executive order….and the meeting is off.

What a president would say: We will continue to oppose abortion worldwide, but in no way take any action detrimental to the health of women in this country where a woman’s right to choose is a Constitutional guarantee, or in any other country or nation.

What a chump does: I hereby sign this executive order….

A real president LIKE THE ONE WE USED TO HAVE would appear on every morning newscast today apologizing for the ill-advised executive order that discriminates against people on the basis of religion—the one that caused such hardship for so many innocent Americans these past two days—and he would vow to think things through a little better next time. And we’d accept the apology.

A chump tweets: “It’s working out very nicely. You see it at the airports, you see it all over.”

Perhaps it’s time to rethink nincompoop.

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Chuck Radda

I'm a former high school English teacher, currently a literacy volunteer and novelist. I invite your responses right here or to chuckradda@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter—where I tweet annually at @chuckrad45.

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