Opinion “In their natural habitat, when chimpanzees become angry, they often stand up, wave their arms, and throw branches or rocks – anything nearby that they can get their hands on. When chimps are removed from the wild and kept in captivity, they experience stress and agitation, which can cause them to react in the same way – by throwing things,” explains the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.
“Captive chimpanzees are deprived of the diverse objects they would find in nature, and the most readily available projectile is feces. Since they also tend to get a pretty strong reaction from people when they do throw it, their behavior is reinforced and likely to be repeated, which explains the abundance of YouTube videos on this subject.”
Crap-flinging has become a regular response from another angry, caged animal experiencing stress and agitation and the past 24 hours have seen such an extraordinary amount of it that as the excrement has piled up, the shock value has faded and the chimp, or chump, hurling the stuff is starting to get it on himself.
In the past 48 hours, there have been no less than 38 tweets from Donald Trump, every one designed to elicit outrage, upset and fury. Even by the current... standards of the current occupier of the White House, they were extraordinary.
But even though they touched every topic from free speech to voting to space exploration to surveillance, there was a common thread, and it was death.
President Trump’s patently absurd and offensive claims that MSNBC TV host and former Republican lawmaker Joe Scarborough was behind the accidental death of a staffer decades ago began the pattern. It began with an allegation of murder, and morphed into an ugly line in the sand that no one was willing to cross for political sport, and even partisan news outlets slammed the American president's “vile” outbursts. To be clear: Scarborough didn't kill anyone.
The death of democracy came next: California’s effort to move to mail-in ballots to ensure the presidential election in November could carry on despite the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the country.
The ballots would be “substantially fraudulent” the Shit-Flinger-in-Chief warned. “Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed.”
It was too much even for Twitter, which created an entirely new feature for the occasion. “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” reads an appended message to those tweets, leading to a separate spot on the social network outlining that not a single component of the foul-smelling claim is true.
But to a man on the look-out for a fight, this was a hit. Who dares silence conservative voices? Another turd quickly hurled out the West Wing window: “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.” Them being social networks like Twitter.
The president currently has no power to shut down law-abiding websites in the US just because he disagrees with their speech. An executive order is promised on Thursday tackling internet giants that have upset him, though this isn't the first time he's threatened such a thing.
By now, the pile of crap has started building and everyone is standing back, staring at the angry ape and keeping out of range. The fun seemingly over, Congress turns to leave. His bowels emptied, Trump looks around for something else to fling. And what will soon land on his desk but a bill authorizing the extension of controversial spying powers.
He flings it: “WARRANTLESS SURVEILLANCE OF AMERICANS IS WRONG!” Nothing. He tries again: “If the FISA Bill is passed tonight on the House floor, I will quickly VETO it. Our Country has just suffered through the greatest political crime in its history. The massive abuse of FISA was a big part of it!”
But no one is buying the claim that the man in the cage will kill programs that bring him so much information and power. In 2018, he authorized NSA snooping programs.
Knee jerk reaction
In a far corner there is the unmistakable stench of death. A black man named George Floyd lies there, motionless, having been needlessly, cruelly crushed under the knee of a white cop. It was captured on camera, all five excruciating minutes of it. Trump flings it.
“At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd. I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George’s family and friends. Justice will be served!”
But no one cares what Trump has to say; the ability to intone about, or inflame, race relations left long ago with the very fine people of Charlottesville. Arm aching, empty innards slumping; the crowd still there but increasingly bored. One last chance: a moment of national pride as NASA sends men to space.
The exhausted ape and his family is moved to Florida with a chance to relish in its power, and perhaps hitch a ride on a phallic explosion to dispel any thoughts of flaccid leadership. But it too died; a storm was brewing across the water so the NASA-SpaceX launch was postponed.
As the sun went down, the smell of stale sweat and crusted feces wafting around on the breeze, death finally arrived on its own terms. One hundred thousand or more souls taken by the coronavirus in America. The official count ticked over, and millions of phones across the land buzzed as the terrible milestone was reached. And it was all anyone cared about. ®