Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Could there be a silver lining to this political chaos?

In his unique billionaire-to-billionaire put down of Trump, Warren Buffet says, “If a monkey has thrown a dart at the stock market, he would have realized a 150% mark-up,” the inference being that Trump is no hotshot businessman, as he claims.
In another piece of Trump-trashing, Bill Blum, writing in Truthdig.com today examines Trump’s psychopathology….digging into the DSM 5 definition of narcissism, and the Freudian concept of projection to paint Trump as unfit for the office of president. He also quotes Trump’s ghost writer Allan Schwartz, who openly and dangerously acknowledges that, should Trump get his fingers on the nuclear controls, we could well be facing the end of civilization as we know it.
Blum even exhorts his readers to face the prospect of doing nothing to stop the election of Trump, something all those who ma chose the option of staying home on November 8.
A sense of entitlement, a feeling that he is the only one qualified to solve the  many complex issues facing the world and the United States, and then, for the purpose of attempting to secure enough public support to be able to wield power, resorting to the pre-adolescent projection of all of those personal qualities he detests in himself on his opponents, now Hillary Clinton, formerly, the string of Republican sacrificial lambs.
If there might be a silver lining somewhere emerging out of this potential debacle, the elevation of the business model as the highest achievement of human endeavour could well topple just as the statue of Saddam Hussein toppled in Baghdad.  And with the fall of the business model that undergirds the unfettered capitalistic ideology, (unfettered is as important here as in John McCain’s rebuke of Trump’s unfettered licence to defame the families of fallen American soldiers), we could find business schools turning their gaze away from selling the acquisition of personal wealth as the highest achievement of their graduates and all of the fallout from such tutoring, mentoring and role modelling.
Personal wealth has never been the highest goal of humankind; the highest goal of humans has always been, and will continue to be, the individual and then the collective contribution to the public good that through the highest individual development, the culture can move toward greater inclusivity, greater tolerance and also enhanced appreciation of the voiceless, even to inclusion of their perspective in all public decisions. The individual’s intellectual, moral, psychological and especially spiritual growth and development underpins the acceptance and incarnation of the larger principle. And all deliberate and thoughtful consensus-based decisions to the end of full human development can and must outweigh the preponderance of the arguments for spending more billions on the military, even in a dangerous world. That beacon on the hill, so evocative of presidents Reagan’s terms, can better be attained through peace-focused attitudes, policies and budgets.
It was Richard Haas, Chairman of the Council of Foreign Relations, speaking on Charlie Rose last night, who reminded his listeners and host that foreign relations does not depend on opening “bids” or positions, as perhaps is the case in the business world in which Trump brags about his success. Foreign relations, just like much of the rest of human existence, depend on relationships, reliability, dependability and not, as Trump would seem to want it, based on whether the member states of NATO has paid their fair share. While there is an apparently irreversible tide toward transactional interactions (what have you done for me lately?) and a growing series of interventions of professionals into our lives none of whom know our personal history, nevertheless, it is longstanding tradition in politics, as well as in human relationships, that time spent with others will grow a level of trust, confidence and collegiality on which shared decisions can be based. And at the core of those decisions, especially in politics, is the art, not of the deal, but of the compromise.
So, if the Americans always do the right thing after they have tried all else, we could look forward to an enhanced elevation of the political discourse, out of the mud wrestling pit to which Trump has taken it, a boredom with the “reality television” version of public debate and political  competition including an abandonment of the “firing” and the “firing back” principles to which Trump is addicted, a shift from the “money is the only value that matters” ethos (it certainly cannot be dubbed an ‘ethic’) to a more humane, a more relational, a more long-range vision prospect, that is not jumping (as the media now does) with  the latest tweet.
The universe and the problems humans are inflicting on a delicate ecosystem is not going to survive and flourish with humans reverting to an exchange of tweets as the surrogate for substantive debate. At the heart of political will, (not in a dictatorship) is formal and concentrated study of the many factors contributing to a file, the many implications of the issue, and the many options, including but not restricted to short term dollar costs or even shorter term political narcissism of the politicians protecting their chance of re-election, and a thoughtful and relevant series of recommendations that only serious and committed and thoughtful and engaged men and women can implement.
And, of course, there is the other imperative to which we have to point, and in which we continue to have confidence: that politicians will agree to some ground rules of decorum, decency, honour and respect for the process, for their opponents and for the long-term health of both their constituents and the planet.
And not the least of our rose-coloured glasses expectations would be the elimination of politicans’ dissembling, distortion, mis-representing and outright lying as an integral component to their public life and identity. There are so many cameras, and so many cell phones and so many autonomous “reporters” who are listening, watching and recording the public statements that we now have an open and accessible public record to research and to dig up whenever it appears that another incidence of bullshit (and there really is no other worthy characterization for the act, both in the political and in the corporate arena) it will be found out, disclosed and hung around the neck of the perpetrator. And the media will have to find how and when to deploy their magnifying glass and when and how to retain their own trust and credibility in a wholly new political age.
None of these qualities/goals/attitudes are shared by the current Republican nominee, and President Obama, whose call for Republican leaders to reject his candidacy, while at the end of an obstructed and subverted two-term presidency, nevertheless, has both the public moral stature and the political high ground to condemn the Trump candidacy, as “unfit” to govern. Just perhaps, by dragging  the political process, the campaigning and the governing into the national sewer, Trump may be, one hundred years from now, rewarded posthumously, provided he never wins the keys to the White House. Let him remain, what he purports to be, a reality television personality, unfit to govern. Both he and the archetype will wear thin very quickly, and he will be forgotten just as his ‘show’ will be forgotten.

The world is watching and waiting to see if the American people, (not just the angry old white farts) will demand his replacement on the Republican ticket for the presidency.  

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