Say what you will about Justin Trudeau, but you must admit you were buoyed when the British press, not known for fake news purveyance, decreed him a shiny example of How To Meet President Orange Julius Caesar–sorry, stay positive–And Retain Your National Dignity. Go on, admit it. He seems to have proved himself a bit, evidently to some of you for the first time, and we only wonder how much credit he will receive. Yes we do, but any doubts we have need only investigate the many analyses of their First Official Handshake.
See PMJT hold his own in the cross-49th Parallel how-do-you-do. Compare to Japanese Prime Minister Abe, trapped on the business end of the Presidential Make America Grip of Unforgiving Dominance.
Was it a sign that the old rich white billionaire celebrity with a marked interest in nukes listened to his advisers and treated Canada with a respect well deserved, for reasons besides they owe us for basketball? (and basically football, look it up) There are myriad economic and geographic reasons, as well as our alignments, plus a history of friendship, and how about our unspoken threat to not send America any more of its funniest people or Biebers. (low fruit, that one. I hate myself for it. I should probably go back and change it but, yknow, my up arrow)
Little of it had to do with the Prime Minister, I suspect. Maybe his patrician reserve played some part in disarming the Prime Patriot into comfortable ease, but believe me when you hear this, that it was He Who I Have Trouble Not-Naming Differently Every Time who shook their hands the way he wanted to shake them. PresDonT (I just invented it, 2017-02-21) has a well-documented history of using the handshake as a gesture of superiority and menace. To this sort of businessman, showing someone even a neutral balance is tantamount to picking up their dry cleaning in a sailorboy outfit.
The OMWH (Orange Man in White House, I know and I apologize, but I just thought of that right now and wanted to make sure you were glad I shared it) may be playing a more wolfish game than his usual flock of bulls approach. He has plans for Canada, see, but the way isn’t prepared yet. Oh how he hates waiting (what’s the point of being the “The President” if you have to wait, Trumpdamn it) but even The President He Is can’t control the immutable constraints of physical reality. Cursing physics and firing his physics guys, he finds himself at the mercy of nature’s patient deliberation. That was nature’s first mistake…but that revenge too will have to wait. For the time being, he’ll play the long wolf game, smiling at Canada, keeping his new friend close and his enemy closer with an obsequious, humiliating palm-salaam.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the PM’s athletic ways (he was a gym teacher after all) have given him as healthy and quartz solid a physique as it appears whenever he shirks his shirts. Maybe that grip was a tight battle of will and raw strength — two leaders locked in invisible struggle, blaming the sweat on arc lights. At the crucial moment, did Trudeau give a little, allowing his trading partner to join him as an equal on the high ground?
I don’t know about any of that, but you will notice he doesn’t do much public stripping anymore. Yes you will, and some of you will immediately accuse him of honeydicking, declaring all that tasteful nudity just a calculated tease to get you on his side.
You would be wrong.
What happened was the P, like most people would, altered his decorum to better suit the historical tradition he briefly carries. He made himself conscious of the weighty, long-storied offices of national identity and international reputation that for the moment are his responsibility. He recognized (a vestige of our English roots?) that for the term of his office he is not merely himself anymore. He is the office, the title, more than a man. A people, to some degree.
The old Justin would have seen that handshake as a frattian opportunity to wrench some sand — and in fact he did almost succumb to the temptation. But this is not old Justin, and that will no longer DO.
So if nothing else, it seems that in the decorum department Canada is in good hands.