Our 5-year-old granddaughter has a wonderful imagination. And every day it gets a workout as she participates in her imaginary time. Or, as she says, “I’m doing my imaginings.”
During those absolutely uninterrupted moments she converses with her imaginary friends, composes stories she voices and songs she sings and creates dreams yet to be fulfilled, her smile or her frown revealing the plot of her narratives.
And when he has a chance to witness it, her granddaddy watches in wonder.
Doing my imaginings. Almost everyone does it in some form; call it day dreaming if you like. Even President Donald Trump does it, typically early in the morning, but not always. And his reactions are most often expressed in 140 characters, constantly ending in an exclamation point, emphasizing that he really means it!
How about a quick cursory examination of Trump’s imaginings?
As a candidate he imagined China as a currency manipulator. After meeting in Mar-a-Lago with Xi Jinping, he decided it wasn’t. He imagined NATO as obsolete. Now it’s not, all because he told the member states they ought to fight terrorism and “now they do fight terrorism.”
He imagined that “Obamacare is imploding and it is a disaster and 2017 will be the worst year yet! Republicans will come together and save the day!” Really? Later, after his negotiations failed, he tweeted: “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club for Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood and Ocare!”
He imagined that he “Just found out that Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” He also labeled former President Barack Obama “sick and bad.” Just about everybody in the intelligence community agreed that it was just another illusion.
He imagined that he could ban travel from six mostly Muslim countries and temporarily stop refugee resettlement with the stroke of his pen. He forgot about the courts. One of his responses: “Just cannot believe that a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”
He imagined that Hillary Clinton received millions of illegal votes, that his inaugural crowd was infinitely larger than reported, and that his electoral count was bigger than his predecessors.
He imagines that anything critical of him is fake news, that any non-Fox journalist is dishonest, that the polls showing him floating around the 40 percent approval mark are phony, that some people think his speech before Congress “was the single best speech ever made in that chamber,” and that his first 100 days are the best ever.
He imagines that if Andrew Jackson had been in charge there wouldn’t have been a Civil War. He told the Washington Examiner that Jackson “was really angry that – he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War. He said, ‘There’s no reason for this.’ ” For the record, Jackson died in 1845. The war started in 1861. And when he died Jackson had 150 slaves. Earlier, Trump imagined that Frederick Douglass was still with us.
He imagines holding hands and singing “Kumbaya” with brutal human rights violators such as the Philippine’s Rodrigo Duterte and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
And in his latest imagining he told Fox News he was disappointed with congressional Republicans. He blamed the constitutional checks and balance system. “You look at the rules of the Senate, even the rules of the House – but the rules of the Senate and some of the things you have to go through – it’s really a bad thing for the country, in my opinion,” he said.
Admittedly, this is a decidedly incomplete recap. The Washington Post pointed out he has made well more than 450 false or misleading claims just since he was elected, about five every day.
Isn’t it time to give your imagination a rest, Mr. President? Or at least appreciate, as most 5-year-olds do, that it’s only make-believe, and we live in a real and not a fictional world.
Gregory Favre is the former executive editor of The Sacramento Bee and retired vice president of The McClatchy Co. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.