Monday, September 5, 2016

Donald Tweet

I haven’t been political enough in my blog. I’m so disturbed by the blind partisanship I see running through American politics that I’ve wanted to present my arguments from as non-partisan a position as possible. I've argued in this space against political attacks, and for greater respect for other points of view and the candidates that represent them. I've argued for keeping political discourse on high ground. Well, forgive me. But enough of that.

Donald Trump’s candidacy has me more disturbed than any I can remember, at any level of government. On many levels, Rob Ford’s term as mayor to Toronto was a joke. But as much as I disagreed with most of his policies, his rhetoric, and his presentation of himself as a man of the people, I at least credit him with a degree of sincerity in his desire to be of service to others.

I can grant Trump no such benefit of the doubt. I believe that his commitment to service, to the working class and to America go no deeper than his vanity and self-serving allows. He is the worst kind of opportunist, one who seeks to convince himself and others that his self-aggrandizement, his branding, and his bullying, blustery style are in the interest of the people. And the thing that pains me way more than his narcissistic immaturity is that so many Americans are falling for it.

Watching the Republican party implode over his candidacy has been infinitely fascinating and a little bit satisfying, and after being witness to how it has done everything in its power to smear and sabotage every effort of the Obama administration, I’ve felt like it represents karmic justice. But my satisfaction is tempered by fear that this cancerous candidacy, that has grown out of the eight years of lies and distortions directed at Obama – and now at Hillary Clinton – is not done eating away at what’s left of the mind and soul of America’s electorate.

Can there really be so many thinking Americans who believe Trump has any of the intelligence, the character, the interpersonal skill to occupy the office of President? Apparently there are, and that scares the hell out of me. But even more frightening is the vast number of people who must know how unqualified he is, but who will vote for him anyway, excusing their action with the claim that Clinton is no better.

I’ve never been a passionate Clinton supporter, neither of Bill nor Hillary. I see them both as politicians, a little too willing to compromise on policy and philosophy in order to secure position. But in looking at their history of service, at the issues they have chosen to fight for, over decades, I have no doubt that public service is the driving value behind Hillary’s run for the White House. Yes, personal profit and prestige figure into the equation, arguably more than one would hope for. But ego – elevation of self – appears to be the key motive force behind Trump.

I was really annoyed by Donald Trump’s recent visits to Detroit, his so-called outreach to Black Americans, and his talk in front of a Black church group. I trust that the vast numbers of Detroiters and Black church-goers, and citizens to Detroit and other struggling, inner-city communities will see through the paper-thin veneer of empathy and populism that Trump represents.

But what’s needed is for Americans nation-wide to wake up to the hoax that Trump is. I won’t even dwell on the bigotry, the divisiveness, the intolerance he spews and supports. I think that it all stems from a fundamental lack of depth in the man. He seems to have a character as superficial and as lacking in substance as one of his famous tweets. But however ignorant and offensive as his statements are, his die-hard supporters deflect by saying he doesn’t really mean it, or that he’s just positioning himself to bargain, or just keeping himself in the spotlight. Doesn’t that alone tell us everything we need to know about him?

On some levels, this election seems to be coming down to a sequel to 2000, when Bush’s no-substance, good-old-boy manner prevailed over Gore’s dull but substantive intelligence. Then, it was ultimately politics and the courts that decided things. What will decide it this time? Will enough voters see through Trumps straight talk bluster and strong man posing to see how he’s built a career out of bankruptcies, law suits and showmanship? Will enough of us acknowledge that as unhappy as we may be with the status quo, and as suspicious as we are of political dynasties and elites, there are minimal standards of maturity and awareness that are required in the Presidency?

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