Obsessing about the size of the crowd attending the inauguration of Trump in comparison with the size of the crowd attending the inauguration(s) of Obama, by both the media and the Trump gang, demonstrates the vacuity and the paranoia of the new administration.
On the other hand, detailing the numbers, and the 673 locations of the “Women’s Marches” around the world, demonstrates the energy, determination, anger, frustration and “early warming signals” of the impending storm of protest that faces the new American administration.
If we thought there was a wave of protest in the uprising that erupted in the Middle East, we had better fasten our seat belts for a political weather forecast of considerable turbulence emerging from the untapped well of anger of the many “demographics” who have been offended by Trump.
In many ways, the friction and tension, the roots of much of the conflict that drives cultural shifts in the last decade can be found in the competing definitions of masculinity and femininity. The “traditional” male, (represented by the John Waynes of Hollywood westerns, the General Pattons, the Alexander Haigs, and the Donald Trumps) has been threatened, if not frontally attacked, by both the moderate and the nasty waves of the feminist movement, and the infilling back-surge of evolving men. Bravado, narcissistic lies, denial of nuance, inflated ego’s (demonstrating a profound neurosis) and a desperate grasping for a return to an out-of-reach past, symbolized so effectively by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” … these traits comprise the pathetic fading pixels of a mirage of power that underlies, shouts, votes for and thrusts its flailing gust for personal dominance from the various mouth pieces deputized by Trump.
Money, opulence, papier-mache ego’s constructed on a fundamental lie, that the people are so gullible, needy, desperate and easily seduced with smoke and mirrors, evoke all of the many examples of the abuse of power that litter the floor of American history. These “riches” like the proverbial mascara “on a pig” are so thin and so easily erased by the tears and the sweat that continually beat the drum of the truth of our self-deception. Of course, Trump reverses the responsibility away from himself and onto others for anything and everything that does not fit his picture of “reality”. And in doing so, he demonstrates the depth and the breadth of his need for complete control, all the while blaming the media for using the tactics of “fascism” by putting out fake news.
Trump and his hollow victory are both symptom and root cause of their own demise. As symptom, they grasp at straws desperate for control, and as root cause they capture the essence of the moral and ethical bankruptcy at the core of Trump’s business history. We need look no further than the core of his inauguration utterance: “buy American, and hire American”.
We would perhaps expect and even tolerate such emptiness from a candidate for class president in a middle school, “more burgers and pizza in the cafeteria and more dances in the gym”. Pandering to the most base desires fails the smell test dismally, when put beside the potential of the details of a portrait of the ways in which our highest aspirations demonstrate the unity of people everywhere, a unity which threatens the very existence of the Trump-strut. Dividing one segment from all others, illustrates how deep and permanent is the new executive’s obsession with complete control—“paint a stick-picture on a very small cameo” and shout it as the new “absolute” fails as a modest test of leadership, throughout history, and especially now when the forces that demand innovative and creative, collaborative and inclusive new initiatives are so ubiquitous.
Building walls, withdrawing into a fake cocoon, even building opulent “towers” of the mirage of power (while failing to compensate the workers who built them)…these are not the stuff of authentic leadership, inspiration, and aspiration but rather the stuff of mere marketing.
And we have had our fill of marketing lies: Volkswagen, Takata, are just two examples.
As one colleague put it the day before the November vote in America, “I kind of hope Trump wins; perhaps it will shake us out of our complacency.” Riding a wave of fear and anger, epitomized by the disenfranchised and the unemployed, fueled by an insistence on the dishonesty of the media, fulfils only his private, isolated and disconnected version of truth and the landscape over which the constitution requires the president to govern (not rule, not dominate, not tyrannize, not distort, not stride like the colossus).
Importing the salesman’s world view into the heart of the government, as the electorate has done, also illustrates the illiteracy, the vacuity and the desperation of the voters who have been “played” for suckers by this complete huckster. Transactional consumerism, in which the sizzle trumps the steak, and the profits of the trumpeters doing the selling eclipse the honourable and honest expectations of the purchaser does not a competent, or trust-worthy government make. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth.
We are “in for” such a buying and selling street marketing fight that will eviscerate many of the most honourable and proven traditions, practices and cornerstones of diplomacy, collaboration, sharing of both facts and resources. And this surgical and deliberate “business” take over of the levers of government has already witnessed the obliteration of all responsibility for any conflicts of interest, and the normal shame of such devastation. Hosting an inaugural luncheon in his own “trump-tower-dining room” in Washington is just another of the plethora of instances in which the new “leader of the free world” snubs his nose at the expectations of decency, civility, modesty and authenticity. Since he himself can be bought, has been bought, and will continue to be bought, he automatically assumes that every other leader and country and interest and person can also be bought.
Just to illustrate the bankruptcy of this truth: human rights can be neither bought nor sold. The truth is neither for sale nor does it have a financial price. The human spirit is not for sale, and not even on the market, for people who base their identity on a “not-for-sale” proposition. Ethics, at least the kind observed as valid by those much smarter than this scribe, are not reducible to a price, to a “deal” and to a transaction. The government is not merely an extension of the trump conglomerate. Nor are the people of the United States merely a cluster of consumers whose habits and perceptions can be manipulated by the marketing gurus whose vaults of data are gathered and stored exclusively for the purpose of increased sales and profits. The people of Germany, Great Britain, France, Israel, Japan, China are not for sale, along with the integrity of their leadership, their co-operation and the honour of their history.
Our shared and threatened environment is not going to be healed or cleaned by someone who considers the science nothing more than a “hoax designed by China”. Nor are the out-sourced jobs going to materialize merely from the huckster’s imaginative, narcissistic and self-serving musings. The health care of all American people will not suddenly materialize out of the fog of trump’s marketing genius, nor from the bowels of a Congress dominated by Republican puppets. Friendship with Putin, collaboration with China, protection of the NATO countries...none of these is magically going to jump out of a magician’s hat, at the beck and call of the master magician.
The American people, on behalf of the world’s citizens, have demonstrably moved into the proverb “we bought a pig and a poke”….so naïve, so innocent, so gullible and so angry and frightened were they that they fell into their own swamp of single-man, silver bullet answers to their many complex and interminable issues.
Perhaps the pharmaceutical industry, with its pill for every ailment, has so captured the culture of the United States, that, with another “drink” of another emulsion, they believe, they will eradicate their most terminal tumors. Adolescence, that period of our lives that rides waves of energy, in, for and of “the moment” and in for and of the “whatever feels good” and in, for and of the orgiastic has to give way to a healthy adulthood, still a distant glint in the eye of the American culture, where the rock star, the show and the most dramatic sensation epitomized by Trump, are still in charge.
When the dentist asks, “What do you think of Trump?” the answer, without skipping a beat blurts out, “I’m anxious; I simply do not trust him!”