Like all good actors, my young friend noticed things. An exceptionally keen observer, he would characterize normal and routine behavior he had witnessed as “moments of theater”: someone dropping and shattering a glass jar of mayonnaise in a supermarket aisle; a friendly dog wagging energetically and bringing smiles to people gathered at a bus stop. Normal moments in our lives.
Moments of theater, he called them. Us being people, interacting with one another. In every case, a scene, principal actors, and most important, witnesses. An audience.
As children, we learn early that tantrums are effective only when witnessed by an audience, a particular one. Our little moments of theater.
Such knowledge follows us into adulthood. We see theater in the antics of people in politics. How many times have we witnessed a politician smugly debating an empty chair that is intended to represent an absent opponent? Political theater.
The other day, our prevaricator-in-chief staged his little tantrum as reporters gathered to watch, listen, and record the scene, lest we all miss it. He staged this particular moment of theater to emphasize his refusal to govern as long as members of the opposition political party continued to search for truth in its investigation of his assault on the U.S. Constitution.
And the nation watched the replays.
He’s been governing? Oh yes, between golf and campaigning, he is finding time to wage his version of presidential war with China, Iran, education, the environment, and of course, the brown people who keep showing up at our border, longing for a life free of violence and hardship. To cite a few.
All while campaigning to be re-elected. That is the point, of course. And that was the point of this latest tantrum, the moment of theater.