Sunday 29 January 2017

Knowing me, knowing you (ah-haa)

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Abraham Lincoln
16th U.S. President

There is a fog of ambiguity about the man Donald Trump, President of the United States.  He shrouds himself in doubt and inconsistency while creating his self- style image of unpredictability.  Both, to date, are his greatest achievements.  He created tools that he has mastered and made all of his own, they not only won him the election to the highest office in America but the leader of the most powerful nation on earth.  His braggadocios approach, disdain for the rule of Law and demagoguery has brought him a faithful following.  In Latin American of old, they use to call El Caudillo or our leader carrying a heavy load as a racist, narcissistic, virility-obsessed, and self-aggrandizing despot who thrives on controversy.  Little Caesar, and authoritarian; before long Trump Squares and Trump Boulevards could scatter across the United States and Fourth of July likely soon to be Trump’s Thanksgiving Day.  Though he aligns himself to the Republican Party, elected by the People who make him even more attractive than the party he aligns himself.  A one-man juggernaut, where Executive orders reign is enforcing ‘legal’ prejudices, proving unstoppable neither by the entire press nor all reasoned thinking Americans.  Those who believe in him see no wrong.  So this piece is about him ‘ME’ and the People; phenomena believed by even a greater phenomenon. Trump is an all-encompassing figurehead surfing on a crest of a wave of Populism pushed by the tailwind of rhetoric and demagoguery. 

A maverick reality TV star Trump is an unlikely candidate for a populist. He inherited a fortune, he lives on Mount Olympus of New York’s Trump Tower surrounded in Louis XIV imitation opulence and hops around in a tailor made Boeing. Luxuries he does not share with his mainstream of working class supporters.  Of course, a politician doesn’t need to live like them to know their situation he only needs to be aware of their resentment and discontent.  Trump does that with illuminating clarity.  In typical Populist fashion, he doesn’t much care about ideologies coming from the Left or the Right but knocks the elite and the establishment, including the Press, he thumbs hard enough, and his followers love the sound of the bang.  So long as it is loud he doesn’t much care whether provable or justifiable, the louder the cry, and the tighter the ‘people’ embrace.   Indeed a PR dream and a Brand loyalty in the making. The shining irony, of course, is the working class who voted for this Billionaire outlines the rejection of factors that led Mr Trump to the White House: a continued erosion of trust in government, CIA, FBI and elected office. Distrust what you know but believe what you don’t know.  Realisations that the United States standard-bearer of democracy for the world has become a “flawed democracy”, where President Reagan adage ‘trust but verify’ now ring hollow.

When considering the attitude of the press we find a different picture, under pressure for facts, ‘Alternative Facts’ become part of the lexicon for the new administration.  I suspect in contrast to the ‘people’ they see Trump in a different light or see through him even.  His fake appearance puts them off starting with his aesthetic attributes. Top down; hair and his over indulgence of facial orange Tan is a turn-off, other fake blemishes remain to discover.  Overall, though, I believe that the self-styled guardians of the status quo, suspect that he has a tunnel approach through an echo chamber.  In stark contrast to their articles they carefully sift and thoroughly research credible sources; a planned approach he doesn’t much care for.  To Trump intellectualism and science is a secondary issue for justification of his claims.

The legendary writer Philip Roth, says he is “ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognising subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English." Besides, since the Press are the Establishment and the Elite, therefore, they have become an irrelevance.  The power of the press is no longer.  Maybe it is Red tie make them see Red or the idea he is trying to make Red the new Black, but his carefully coiffed appearance he can destroy whatever justified arguments they have craftily cultivated.    John D. Gartner, a registered psychotherapist from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Medical School, went so far as to describe Trump “he meets the diagnostic criteria for the disorder.”

‘We are transferring power from Washington D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.  For too long a small group in our nation’s capital have reaped the rewards of government while the people bore the costs.’ Studying the annals of History I often read similar synonyms to Fatherland or Motherland even the Proletariat, but I will be digressing. Listening to the roar that greeted his inauguration speech was mesmerising experience if only because the euphoria made on empty.  He further declared “Americans’ enemies are right here at home: globalists, neoliberal economists, neoconservatives and other unilateralists…politicians who serve the Ruling Establishment rather than the American people[…] while getting rich in the process.”  There were, as before, no credible policies to speak of but slogans under any other platform would be considered Slander.   It begs the question, is it possible to trust a person without knowing him or her or what they stand beside ‘Anti’? By all evidence so far the answer is yes by pinning hope against all the odds. The people give him the benefit of the doubt and assign Time to be the judge of his actions. Yes, he surfs through riding on a crest of wave wrapped in populism that fits with the general mood of anger and dissatisfaction that he can sense, but further hype up to his advantage.  An escalating public mood takes over and morphs into an alleyway of blind faith. With certainty and assurance unbounded by doubt he strives to convince people with their misgivings and exaggerates their prejudices and fears of uncertainties.  He colours with divisive highly controversial slogans ethnic nationalism or American Nationalism (mainly of European heritage) instilling fear in the white majority if you will.  How authentic sounding or how faithful his rhetoric maybe to his real convictions is irrelevant. Any challenge by dissenters is thrown out and presented with ‘Alternative Facts’.  Politics in populism need not carry proof.  Fears rise above reason or logic that grows from a ‘rational’ into a new philosophy of unshakable ‘understanding’.  He becomes the epitome, a whole new meaning of unjustified true belief.

“Hope that all goes right” is the motivating force that has put Trump in the White House. Trust is the key that has grabbed the voters’ senses, but how much does that trust come from his controversial promises to convince the potential voter.  To the extent the contradictions and misbehaviour, the rude remark made about a female TV presenter without later apologising did not deter the majority of Catholic and other Christian or shake their confidence in him. The Anti-abortionists and the Catholic section of the population brushed away the barren morality that accompanies him instead they allow Faith in him rule their conscience.  In other words, the lack of respect and implied scorn he projected remained invisible to his people. Though his policies just don’t add up in some ways somehow prove and still proves his most powerful weapon.  Scrapping Obamacare and denying over 20 million people affordable health care, rejection of Roosevelt’s open and non-tariff Trade policies, promising Steel and Coal workers their old jobs against progressive technology are a false hypothesis. Coming in on a popular wave of an angry section of the population who ignore the new age of American technological achievement disregarding American Capitalism, the United States proudly champions throughout the world, instead, accepting to be fooled by an emblem of narcissism and egocentricity. 
Narcissus is falling in love with himself heavily ingrained with a polarising attitude and a champion of Meta-comments. The President, unqualified in political challenges and a stranger to diplomatic decorum, purposefully, when challenged, forgets what he deems correct since so often, his convictions are baseless, more often capricious or at best whimsical. 

Come what may, hell, look at me, Hail Democracy, I am the president and I make sure Right is always on my side.  If it all goes wrong it isn't ME!

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