“I would have been your president if…..” (Hillary Clinton yesterday in conversation with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour) “If Comey had not written and released “that letter” and if Putin had not interfered with the election”…..and while there is a modicum of truth in both of those “influences,” taken together they do not account for the election result.
While trump was calling her ‘crooked Hillary’ and prompting his audiences to chant ‘lock her up’ in a mock kangaroo court, Hillary was expressing an excess of disgust at both her opponent and his supporters (remember those “deploreables”?). So repulsed by his person, his behaviour and his attitudes especially to women was Hillary that she forgot to shine a persistent and bright light on her policies to hep people regain some semblance of normalcy, security and hope.
Bullies have a tendency to shape the agenda for the simple reason that they have forcefully declared that reason, facts and negotiation, collaboration and working together are ALL off the table. And people who refuse to stoop the lowest rung on the ladder by becoming bullies are infused and infected with righteous indignation…so much so that there is always the danger that the bully will overcome his opponent given that he is motivated by the need for complete control.
The mafia have discovered the benefits of bullying, both within and outside their organization. ISIS, AlQaeda, AlShabab, AlNusra have also deployed the strategies and tactics of the bully, for their own purposes. Winning is everything, and the lives and character of their opponents matter not a whit, so long as they triumph. No one can argue that trump is a bully, having rehearsed the role for decades in the less than savoury business of real estate where bribes and deception and failure to perform to contract abound. The victims of the real estate sector populate every town and city in North America from the flooded basements without necessary drains to the leaky roofs, to the bankruptcy liens imposed by the courts on properties, to the plethora of short-cuts that builder know more about than consumers. And trump, like the slime that rises to the surface of standing water, has risen to the top of the pool of stagnant and infested water that is the real estate sector.
It is not as if the United States itself does not have a record of bullying when their interests in oil, for example, were paramount. They have propped up, armed and championed bullies in other countries, while papering over the acts of those dictators in the western media. It was the Reagan administration, ironically in the light of history, through Donald Rumsfeld that provided chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, prior to declaring, in the Bush II administration, the threat of weapons of mass destruction (those same chemical weapons). Police brutality on the high seas and on foreign soil is really no different from police brutality on the streets of American cities so Americans have more than their share of blood on their hands from the exercise of their bully archetype, both at home and abroad.
If it takes trump’s election to remove the scales from the American eyes to their own complicity in his election, and fake news is dealt a death blow, along with the American bully archetype, then the world will have been served better than prospects appear today.
To use the nuclear option of full-frontal character assassination of Hillary by magnifying and exaggerating her real flaws, while mauling women and bragging about it, as an election campaign strategy is, for most self-respecting people in 2016 (election year) a step too far. For trump, however, and his gang, it is just another ‘day at the office’.
A Boston psychiatrist appearing on The Last Word, with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC last night, declared that trump is “out of touch with reality, and creates and lives in his own reality”. On the same programs, the host interviewed the author of the cover story to this week’s “The New Yorker” entitled, “How trump could be FIRED”. The story postulates two scenarios through which his demise might be accomplished: through the 25th Amendment, or through impeachment. What is also striking is that The New Yorker writer reports that elected representatives of both parties, in both the House and Senate, are quietly talking about the need to get rid of this plague. Of course, they will not permit their names or their quotes to be printed, recorded or reported. Everything at this point is “off the record”…and any breach of that compact would ostracize any reporter so bold and brazen.
If this is an early spring-sprout of green hope in an otherwise asphalt political desert, the world can only hope that it will find both water and sunlight to continue to grow. Of course, the growth of this glimmer of a sprout will not be quiet and calm, like those daffodils that now dot the backyards. It will be noisy, and potentially violent, as the country goes through the throes of confronting decades even centuries of “national Shadow”….that buried unconscious memory that will only be repressed and denied for so long.
As an exercise in catharsis, the purging of guilt and shame at the ownership of the national bully, the betrayer, the deceiver and the narcissist will make the total cathartic expression of the combination of all of Shakespeare’s tragedies look like a Methodist Sunday School picnic. And Hillary’s Methodist roots will be uprooted in the cataclysm….the one path to a national cleansing and healing, for which the world has long waited.
Consumed by the addition to dominance, hard power, mountains of cash and the need to sustain the addiction, America is like the neighbour whose recycling boxes are filled with magum liquor bottles, while the addiction to alcohol continues to control his silent, desperate life. It is not just trump who is out of touch with reality, but through his entry into the Oval Office, he has demonstrated that the system itself has fallen into the same entrapment of generating and then becoming dependent on its own construct of a reality outside the reality shared by the rest of the world.
Whether or not those around trump, including the sycophant Pence, Bannon, Kushner, Ivanka, Tillerson and the rest of the cabinet can or will come to their senses about the truth of their, and the country’s, predicament, is an open question. A similar situation confronted the White House, at the domestic level, during the Ford presidency, when the Ford family had to, and agreed to, confront Betty Ford, who had regrettably grown dependent on both prescription drugs and alcohol. The film that documents this intervention, while unsettling, upsetting and cathartic, nevertheless, brought about not only Mrs. Ford’s treatment, but the long-term treatment of thousands through the Betty Ford Foundation.
Intervening in the life of an individual, with family and professional practitioners, is far more feasible than a similar intervention in the life of the nation. Conflicting motives, especially motives of loyalty, sacrifice, even love, and ambition will inevitably challenge other motives to bring truth, reality and a sense of perspective to the Oval Office, the White House and thereby to the nation and the global community.
The damage already done to the capital, the state, the nation and the world, while serious and significant, can still be righted, so there is still time for the massive and highly complicated and even risky intervention. The whole world watches in hope and in silent prayer that the United States will come to her senses, accept that the current course is not only unsustainable but, more importantly, dangerous for the most vulnerable within her borders and for the people of the planet. Millions within and without struggle every day to survive, some within in abject fear of deportation, and without in terror of death through starvation, disease, military-terrorist massacre, or even a dictator’s bombs. All of us want and need clean air and water and access to health care, and every sign from the current administration signals increased dangers on the ‘survival’ file.
These are not Republican or Democrat agenda items: they are human issues. And they demand a human response.
Can and will the world support the Americans through their darkest, self-imposed nightmare at the official political level?