I have largely avoided the Donald so far. Not really worth my time, I figured. But, I was wrong about that. He is a force. No question. He is winning the hearts and empty heads of the angry, ignorant and bigoted. And there are a lot of them, it seems. The dark side is strong in him, Luke.
But rather than just look at the surface rot and stench, I thought it behooved me to consider what else he might be saying and what else he might be doing and how that might actually affect me.
But, before I do that, I just want to share one minor factoid as published by Forbes or Bloomberg. ‘Trump inherited $200 million dollars. He is now worth $5 billion. Had he invested his $200 million in an average mutual fund over the same period, he would be worth more.’ The point being: Trump is no genius nor is he a good businessman.
But what else is he? Any good stuff?
Well, for starters, he is a symbol of anti-establishment. It’s very weird that a rich guy living in New York can do that, but he has. He has positioned and marketed himself as a rebel of sorts. It may speak more to the dysfunctional American dream and their culture’s unshakable faith in the almighty dollar that a rich guy can still be seen as anti-establishment. I really don’t know. I never believed in the dream, myself. But I do know that ,many, many people who can barely feed their kids, pay their rent and run their car after working 60 hours a week still believe in the Horatio Alger fictitious myths regarding rags-to-riches stories. They think it can happen to them.
And, ironically, these are often the same people who so often do not now believe in God. “Why that’s just a silly myth, a superstition!” To my mind, you are much more likely to bump into a miracle a week (I do) than you are to ever get rich (unless you happen to own a house in Vancouver or win the lottery).
“So, Dave, what’s your point?”
Trump is a symbol (an erroneous one) of a desire for revolution. His prominence, his style, his angry message is a sign of massive discontent. He is the wrong person for such a revolution in the same way Rob Ford or Caitlin Jenner was or is, but he/they are ‘celebrity rebels’ nevertheless.
And, as misdirected as it is, it is actually – in a sick kinda way – a healthy sign. Like Howard Beale in the movie ‘Network’, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” , that speech was delivered because, “Things are bad. Everyone knows things are bad….” . Beale was insane at the time but the message rang true. That same message is being pitched by Trump (also close to insane) and bought by the hoi polloi because ‘the establishment is bad for your health’ has a loud ring of truth. “Things are so bad we need to build a wall!”
Another reason is that Trump is not politically correct. Most people hate political correctness. They love to poke fun at short people, coloured people, poor people, hill-billies…….anyone different than they are. If you don’t believe that, listen to any popular comedian doing stand-up these days. It is all essentially politically UNcorrect rants followed by swear words. It may not be right. It may even be bad. But it seems to be human. And stifling humanity will only grow hair on your palms and give you pimples.
Trump is just such a pimple.
A third reason is a scary one because it is a reason that might carry the day for him. He is preaching hope. It is an ethereal hope, a blind hope, a hope without details or plans or even so much as basic principles but it is hope, nevertheless. It is just an evangelical-style, come-to-Jesus, white-people-type hope that faith-in-Trump will somehow deliver the promised land.
Real plans, real details, real promises can be judged and analyzed. No one – especially Trump – wants that right now. They just want hope that their team will win the championship this year. Trump is the owner, manager and quarterback of team White Trash and they haven’t won in a long, long time.
He poses as a symbol for wishful fulfillment of those who would purify the USA. America could be great again…’if only this or that happened! Trump draws the disaffected who blame others for the issues in their lives. No one fact checks Trump because his supporters expect to see a fifty foot wall just as soon as he is inaugurated.
Trumps appeal to the “great unwashed” is almost as perplexing as it is frightening.
“We’re gonna build a wall!” is as patently ridiculous as it is impossible, but people roar their approval because of its politically incorrect appeal.
Crudely veiled suggestions that another Republican contender will “drop to his knees” and supposedly perform oral sex on Trump recieves shocked guffaws and applause from the amped up angry crowds.
Jokes about a female facilitators who repeatedly asked Trump tough, direct questions, “leaking blood from where ever” in a childish suggestion that the reporter might be menstrating and not in a proper mood.
Reporters being assaulted at his meetings, protestors being assaulted, minorities being assaulted, and on and on and on……
This is what American politics has devolved into. And the political system brought it upon itself. $1 billion is what it costs now to get elected as the leader of the “free world” and people are ….sick ..of…it.
Lobbying has created the same , cookie cutter boring talking heads up on the podium and when a self funded braggart can pay his own way without the lobbyist strings holding him back and say whatever he wants no matter how crude or outlandish…….the bread and circus mob loves it.
The Republican Party thinks it can win with a predominantly white male vote. They’re wrong.
If Trump ever gets to the Oval office( ie Hillary gets charged for violating State secrets while Secretary of State) he better watch out because he’s made a lot of promises he cant keep and the populist mob usually can turn just as quickly against him.
The most entertaining US election in years………
It IS an entertaining election. It may NOT be as entertaining an administration. But I agree. If he thinks the people love him now, wait six months into the term and, if he is smart like Christy Clark, he will never be seen or heard from again. His will be a one-term presidency.
Honestly…? I really think the US has brought this on themselves. Celebrity, money, greed, ugly-as-entertainment, crude speech, bad manners, violence, aggression, hate, divisiveness. Those are the characteristics the world sees in Americans and those are the traits best embodied by Trump. He truly is American.
That the US also does good, is generous and has remarkable talent and resources has been shoved into the background and only the ugly, it seems, gains prominence. And Trump is ugly. He does NOT do good. I don’t think they can afford to keep that image going. They cannot afford a Trump as their ‘representative’ to the world.
I read an article a year or so back about how the Republican party over the past several elections was painting itself into a corner with their increasingly xenophobic, ultra right, religious, paranoid swing to the extreme right. They were counting on the angry white male vote and it was never enough.
Its now too late for angry white men to swing elections …unfortunately the soon to be defunct Republican Party must have its first President(ironically enough) Abraham Lincoln spinning in his grave……..
Hard economic times have in the past led to the rise of authoritarian leaders offering knee jerk solutions: ‘We will build a wall, We will ban all Moslems!’ The average voter seems to lack incredulousness in judging such schemes. We will abolish health care as if having no health is a good idea. We will lower taxes and still have the strongest military in the world. Welcome to the world of La La Land.
I really wish ONE government would simply say, “We consider our job is to keep the water clean and flowing, the traffic safe and flowing, the kids going to school and the hospitals clean and competent. We are NOT into controlling the real estate market, handing out contracts for mega projects or treating ourselves as royalty. Give me your vote and you will get a manager; not a dreamer, not a leader nor an economic guru. We will just count the beans and spend them efficiently.”
Something to aspire to but the trough beckons. Look at many of our senators padding expense claims. In the first two years of our recent Conservative government spending rose by fifteen percent. At a time of sky high oil prices they spent the inherited surplus then went into deficit.
Total agreement JDC.
The govt should be there to collect taxes, maintain infrastructure ( schools, roads, hospitals, trade agreements, etc).
All the other back hander for my buddies crap should be dealt with by the other govt institutions. The police, the courts, the prisons…….
Most politicians are lawyers with doctors and media personalities the next largest group (save for political ‘groupies’). What the hell do they know about business? Why would a snow-boarding drama teacher be the leader of our economic policies? Why would any politician mess with the economy? Why would they push special interest programs? Why not just keep the traffic and water flowing, the bridges standing and the schools open? Honestly, we seem to want administrators to do magic tricks and they promise they will!
Politicians are not economists so for gawd sakes they need to stop pretending that they understand the economy. All parties love to spend so let’s stop this sham that one side gets the economy and the other guys are out to lunch. Who ran 155 billion in deficits, all the while claiming the mantle of being fiscally prudent?