Henry Rollins: Thanks to Trump, the U.S. Is Sitting Out the 21st Century

Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins
Danny Liao

Putin's favorite chew toy, comrade Trump, might have finally bitten off a chunk of prime Americana that even he is incapable of swallowing.

In his recent live onstage intellectual crisis in Alabama, he appeared in support of U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who faced off against former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, whom you might remember as the man who installed the Ten Commandments statue in front of the state judicial building only to see it removed. Trump, in a tour de force of loyalty but not really verbal multitasking, was able to show support for Strange and simultaneously toss him under the bus as he claimed that getting behind Strange was perhaps a mistake and that if Moore, Bannon's favorite won, he would support him.

"If his opponent wins, I'm going to be here campaigning like hell for him. But, I have to say this ... Luther will definitely win."

The audience, dimly mulling over this act of poorly spoken duplicity, trying to make it something that it wasn't, sounded like thousands of dogs chewing peanut butter.

Trump's "speeches" are getting worse. He lashes out like a drunken man in a field of piñatas, sans blindfold. Whichever one he swings at and bashes, his audience cheers. One thing he understands when he's talking to members of his "base," as he was in Alabama, is that, like him, they're not looking past the moment they're in. They're a perfect match. Trump, in an ever more desperate series of laterals — to distract from both the steady inroads by the relentless Mr. Mueller into his world of failed business dealings and the fact that he has absolutely no ability to lead the United States in a world he has almost single-handedly destabilized — aimed his crap cannon at the world of professional sports. Trump fucked up.

Not only did he take on an industry that's inextricably interwoven into the American fabric, but he's putting in all his chips against more millionaires and gajillionaires than you can shake a stick at. Last Sunday, more Americans watched athletes "take a knee" during the national anthem than maybe watched the last presidential inauguration, you know, the real big one. Congrats, comrade, you're trending!

This time, big boy has "meddled with the primal forces of nature," but of course he won't atone. Why should he? Trump's got real stand-up guys in his corner, like Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who backed up his boss on ABC's This Week. About those damn knee takers: "It's not about free speech. They can do free speech on their own time. This is about respect for the military, and the first responders, and the country." How about you do air travel on your own dime?

In the early hours of Sept. 23, comrade Trump took to the only media that matches his attention span and tweeted twice, at 0344 and 0413 hrs:

"If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!"

"...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S."

How many people stay away from games they would have watched because their love of America keeps them from doing so? Apparently, "many." How many? Where does Trump get his information? How does he get his hand up in there? Repetition? Or maybe he loves America that much. The comrade doth auto-fist too much, methinks.

Hours later, Sunday sporting events were protest central. The games got played, the ads ran and life went on. It really did. For example, Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader of the free world, won another term in Germany, and I doubt she has a lot of time for America's regressive antics. She'll be busy leading. While we're dicking around, chanting lock-her-up and flipping off athletes from our couches, every other country is moving fast.

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Our president loves coal. China has embraced solar power and is cranking out panels like there is a tomorrow — powered by the sun. The amazing Elon Musk is putting the finishing touches on the world's biggest battery factory, located in Nevada. Look it up on tesla.com. The Gigafactory will blow your mind. Musk's not waiting for the future, he's making it. His main competition? China. By 2021, it is projected that China may well be responsible for up to 65 percent of lithium ion battery production. Why are Musk and China running at electric power to replace fossil fuel? Because it's a good idea and both the man and the country see a profit through innovation and what the world's future will demand. Meanwhile, our president is making unfulfillable promises to a dying industry, which will leave a lot of good people high and dry as their employment opportunities fade in front of them.

In less than a year, the United States went from a world power to a bellicose, backward-looking example of senility and disconnect. Elections indeed have consequences, and no matter who you voted for — even if you were in the audience in Alabama cheering for bizarre lines like "Isn't a little weird when a guy who lives on Fifth Avenue, in the most beautiful apartments you've ever seen, comes to Alabama and Alabama loves that guy?" — your country is, at this moment, sitting out the 21st century.

When Trump lashes out, it reeks of small ball. Giving a nickname to Kim Jong-un, as he did Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, weakens America's authority. The world's not that big a place, especially now with social networking. A tweet from Trump is read by millions of people all over the world. From 1124 hrs. Sept. 24:

"Please to inform that the Champion Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL will be joining me at the White House for Ceremony. Great team!"

What is it with this guy? What part of "you are the president of the United States" does he not get?

Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.


More from the mind of Henry Rollins:
Make America Filthy, Hungry, Broke and Stupid Again
Ask Yourself What Side of History You Want to Be on
Don't Let the Trump Show Distract You From What's Really Going On

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