This is the very first paragraph of this column, which I have not altered:
Growing up, I was always fascinated with the magician-psychic Uri Geller, who was famous for bending spoons with his supposed supernatural powers. How did he do that? I wondered. I’ve been thinking about him lately as I’ve watched an even more profound magic trick playing out in our politics. We have a president who can bend people.
Uri Geller was a con man. He bent spoons with his fingers, using sleight of hand. No big mystery.
In so many cases, Donald Trump has been able to take people who came into his orbit and just bend them to his lying ways the way Uri Geller bent spoons.
With his fingers? Using sleight of hand? Was there some other method that you thought he used? It was just his hands.
How does he do that trick? Surely the answer lies partly in Trump’s energy source: Fox News, Breitbart and Trump’s own Twitter feed keep his base in a state of constant agitation and high partisanship, and Trump, seemingly with no hands, leverages that energy into bending so many Republicans to his will. With a few exceptions, like Jim Mattis, Trump also has a knack for picking people who are bendable.
Uri Geller, it is quite important to note, did not have an “energy source”—he used sleight of hand.
Also, he definitely used his hands. Even when he was tricking people he was still touching the spoons. He certainly did not do anything “with no hands.”
Also, Uri Geller never claimed to be picking spoons or other objects that were “bendable.” The fact that they were not apparently bendable was kind of the whole point of the trick. Anyhow.
What worries me most right now is that if Trump gets a second term he’ll also bend all the key institutions that govern us. Already he’s softening the steel in many of them so they can be bent more easily.
Again—Uri Geller definitively did not ever “soften the steel” of any of the things he bent. He just bent them, with his hands. Same way anyone would bend a spoon. Pressing on it. When you say things like “softening the steel” in your metaphor, Thomas Friedman, it is almost as if you still, in the context of this increasingly convoluted metaphor, buy into the fact that Uri Geller was using some sort of mystical force. Actually he was using his fingers. Get it?
Trump and his bent spoons are ready to wreck any institution that gets in the way of his re-election or unfettered exercise of power.
I honestly don’t know what that means.
I’m not endorsing anyone now, but I appreciated how Joe Biden launched his campaign by quoting from the Declaration of Independence and arguing that “the core values of this nation … our standing in the world … our very democracy … everything that has made America — America — is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president.”
I think that is the right broad message for Democrats, because this election is not just about who will deliver “Medicare for all” but about who can deliver “all for one and one for all.”