You might find it difficult to visualize President Donald Trump in a miniskirt, spandex leotard and halter top, jumping up and down and waving his pom-poms while the crowd cheers. But try. Although he might not be your typical rah-rah-girl, aside from his usual, inflammatory, deceitful rhetoric, there are definitely times when he gets dolled-up to perform his enthusiastic field appearances like a professional—rallying those other demagogues like they're the home team, and basking in the kudos that, mostly, will follow.
Luckily for him, praises are amazingly easy to extract from the worst of the world's bullies, who, though castigated by all legitimate world leaders, are impervious to the cries of "foul." While wise Americans understand that this is just the par-for-the-course hype that rouses mindless crowds, even a few thinking folk are sucked in by the intensity of the moment and the wave of excitement that characterizes crowd psychology. History's infamous cheerleaders have all done it—Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, to name a few.
Each game day, Trump notices a look of fear in his makeup mirror. Will he be successful, getting the worship of another amoral, world thug with his little show? These people are murderers and oppressors, yet POTUS lives for the reward of his sycophants. A smile of approval is his reward. What could create a warmer bond than that honor-among-thieves afterglow, when authentic critics, embarrassed to the core, are hiding, in silence, underneath the covers? Such times have been quite predictable. Anytime one of Trump's monster-heroes does something really bad, Trump jumps into his rah-rah-rah routine, sometimes even running into the end zone and dancing the haka with the quarterback.
Viewing the phenomenon from a strictly statistical standpoint, Trump loves the teams with the most personal fouls. And we all know who they are; they're the world leaders who tenaciously cling to their power with the understanding that, once they step down, prison comes next. Putin is certainly one of them; so is Kim; and the already-indicted Netanyahu is the Middle East's own monster.
What's the matter with this picture? Certainly, it is less than heartwarming to see a 350-pound orange, mop-haired oaf wearing spandex, and there's no cheerleader outfit—pleats or no pleats—that can cover up the evidence of 100,000 cheeseburgers. But Trump's unsuitability to miniskirts is the least of the problem. Despite his highly-crippling bone spurs, he seems to jump pretty high when his "teams" are running with the ball—times when the U.N. Security Council is suffering a giant migraine.
While the rest of us are horrified by the action of these tyrants, Trump dons his star-spangled outfit for Kim's military-might parades, and does a telephonic high five each time North Korea's leader proclaims his love of POTUS. It's no concern that the medium- and long-range missile tests are fizzling in the ocean just miles from our ally's shores. Nor is there any question that he considers Turkey's Erdoan a winner.
Trump's even done some (relatively-hushed) posthumous cheers for Saddam Hussein, whom he reveres as a great leader, understanding that only a tyrant's terror and bloodshed could have kept Iraq's tribally-fractious country intact. Trump, of course, is Putin's ultimate bosom-buddy, cheering him on through the annexation of Crimea and the recent attacks on the sovereignty of Ukraine. True to his cheerleader role, Trump doesn't shout for the weak, the poor and the oppressed. (He even stopped to apply a bit of rouge as he threw his Kurdish allies under the bus.) While some of his rallies are a bit more covert, Trump's unabashed, obsequious pandering to the felonious Netanyahu—Trump's brother-by-another-mother—deserves the Nobel Prize for Sycophancy.
The U.S. relationship with Israel has always been questionable, but especially since Trump's rise to power. The internationally-sanctioned two-state solution means nothing to him. If anyone doubts our president hates Muslims, it's certainly confirmed by his May 2019 move to relocate the American Embassy to Jerusalem, a place of religious sanctity for Muslims and Jews. Consistent with Netanyahu's flagrant disregard for the Arab heirs of the Holy Land, Trump's move was the virtual pouring of salt into Palestinian wounds—a further endorsement of the Israeli president's wholesale violation of human rights (rah-rah!) and just another step in marginalizing Israel's Arab population, which lives in what can only be described as a concentration camp.
Israel's Arabs are, effectively, captives-for-life, sequestered in a compound devoid of economic opportunity, deprived of the freedom to travel, and totally at the mercy of the Israelis for their highly-restricted access to water and electricity. His cheers continue as the Palestinians are torn to shreds by barrages of Israeli airstrikes. After all, they're being punished for a good reason: They are demonstrating for freedom, so Trump considers the mayhem a simple tit-for-tat.
Not to say that, among cheerleaders, there aren't some feeling and conscientious human beings. But Trump doesn't root for underdogs; he only likes those who are ruthless enough to win. Consistent with his narcissistic absence of conscience and his incessant need for praise from the powerful, his cheerleading activities are hurting our world, marginalizing those who most need our help, and stoking the world's most corrupt leaders.
The author is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org