DONALD TRUMP: THE BULL IN THE CHINA SHOP AT CENTRAL CASTING.
I was watching CBC News Network, alternately with CNN last night with my friend having control of the remote, and as the commercials waxed and waned, he kept switching back and forth between the two networks, one Canadian, one American.
But one common denominator ran through last evening’s news: Donald Trump. As I listened to the news before parking my keester in front of the boob tube (which I rarely do anymore), which I did as I was chowing down in the kitchen on a late evening snack, I must have heard the name ‘Donald Trump’ invoked at least five or six times within a five to ten minute period of time. I then finished my meal and sat down in the living room and watched the three ring circus of ‘infotainment’ that is the evening news, unfold before my eyes. I must admit it was quite amusing and entertaining in a sort of absurdly and almost unbelievable way. Just the sheer scope of outrageously outlandish and ‘out of all proportion’ news stories of people, places and things being related who were getting arrested, molested or contested, or which were getting blown up, crashing into one another, or otherwise exploding into a giant ball of flames was almost primeval in scope and in a sheer vaudevillian kind of proto-eschatological sorts of Greco-Roman tragi-comedic pathos, all interspersed with commercials for acid indigestion, acid reflux disease, constipation, smelly feet, leaky bladder, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and of course the kicker, erectile dysfunction!
Of course, it stands to reason that if you sit on your big fat arse all evening watching that kind of crap, you’ll probably get so upset that you’ll get indigestion, acid reflux, constipation, smelly feet, leaky bladder, your blood pressure will go through the roof, your arteries will clog up, and you’ll probably feel so down that you won’t be able to get it up!!! Which makes me wonder why on earth do all these people zap past these oh so very important commercials which are so crucial in curing what ails them? Or maybe is it that they should shut off the freakin’ idiot box completely and go for a walk instead? Inquiring minds want to know y’know.
Which brings me back to Donald trump. A lot of people in America seem to be enquiring about this man and his putative ability, or not, to run America as its potential next President to replace Barak Obama and maybe bump Hilary Clinton from being able to accede to the Oval Office if she wins the Democratic nomination and Mr. trump wins the Republican nomination. Well, a lot of people are speculating both for and against Mr. Trump’s candidacy. As it stands now in the polling figures, ‘The Donald’, as he is known, holds a commanding lead of 30-31% of decided GOP voters’ intentions.
So what is it about Donald trump that makes him such a potentially attractive candidate for President of the USA? The commentators on CNN touched on this, but I would like to elaborate on this further. I feel that he embodies all that a certain constituency in America are looking for in their leader, as well as what they perceive as being the virtues of an American Horatio Alger ‘rags to riches’ (and perhaps back to rags, then back to riches again), story of the self-made man. This is despite the fact that, according to CNN, Mr. Trump inherited his money from his Father, and has declared personal bankruptcy something like four times in his career. Not exactly the most sterling track record for an organization like the United States government, which is currently going through big problems with solvency as the world’s biggest debtor nation.
Mr. Trump has a truly ‘shoot from the hip’ persona, which he exudes with utmost confidence and projects with an air of a man who is in absolute command of the situation. From what I have been able to glean from media sources and from speaking with everyday Americans who visit Canada on vacation, they seem to want a Commander-in-Chief who possesses these virtues and aspects of character in spades because there is nothing that Americans dislike more than being perceived internationally as being ‘weak’, and Democratic Presidents, usually are more focused on Domestic Policy as opposed to Foreign Policy, at least from a perceptual viewpoint. We saw how the hostage crisis in Iran at the end of the Carter Presidency helped get Ronald Reagan, a Republican, elected, who ‘brought our people home.’ Carter was viewed as soft on Communism and Reagan was able to beat him in the televised debate with the one liner of ‘there you go again’, when Carter would begin to expostulate concerning his favourite policy options. Reagan simply dismissed him summarily and the national media picked up on it and it became the ‘knockout punch’ in the debate.
During the Clinton Presidency, Republicans criticized Bill Clinton for being soft on Foreign Policy and had to goad him, it was perceived, into intervening in the conflict in Kosovo. He was tarred and feathered as a morally flawed man because of his sexual dalliances and his lack of prioritization of America’s role on the world stage as a ‘great nation’ playing a ‘great role’ in the ‘defence of liberty’ on the world stage, despite his predecessor, George Bush Sr. having clearly had a mistress while he was President, and even having had White House staff tasked to keep tabs on the whereabouts of the President’s mistress when she was with him at all times so as to protect him from any hint of scandal in the public eye.
The same criticisms have been leveled at Barak Obama. The right wing media have incessantly hammered Mr. Obama as being soft on terrorism, even of being a closet Muslim himself, or even of not being a real American citizen (witness Mr. Trump goading Mr. Obama into providing his birth certificate!) Mr. Obama, it has been said many times in US media sources, has spent virtually all his political capital on one centrepiece bill in his first term, that being the Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, which, flawed as it is, nevertheless set the stage for a new era in American domestic policy, despite having a multitude of moneyed constituencies in America lining up to defeat it both before and since it was enacted.
So back to Donald Trump. What is it about this guy that makes him so attractive to so many in America? I’d have to say that it is because he is white and Barak Obama is black, he is rich and Obama came from modest circumstances, he is outspoken and abrasive to the point of being the quintessential ‘Ugly American’, whereas Obama is far more eloquent, nuanced, soft spoken, non-confrontational, and personifies the emerging postmodern, post-industrial, post white Anglo Saxon Protestant America which is rapidly taking shape as we speak, that a large constituency of Americans who resemble Donald Trump in this regard and/or who seek to emulate his way of thinking and doing, feel that it is time to re-assert and re-affirm their constituency’s rights and privileges.
I feel that this is so, because I feel that the ‘Trump constituency’ of white Americans feel embattled, surrounded on all sides by blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, homosexuals, secularists, pacifists, environmentalists, and is ‘mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore’, as the character from ‘Network’, the made for TV movie from the 1970s, once exhorted his viewers to shout out of their windows to the world.
I see Donald Trump as a sort of Media Guru Infotainment Messiah, like in the made for TV movie ‘Network’ who goads the people of America into a frenzy and ends up exhorting them to all go to their windows and open them up and shout out that aforementioned catch phrase to the four winds all in a cacophony of vocal madness, without actually doing anything about the real problems at hand. Mr. Trump is giving the people of America an opportunity to vent their spleen, like the people shouting from their windows in ‘Network’, and he is using the ‘Network’ of American television to propagate his message of Messianic Mogulality to the American people and to give ‘Fair Warning’ as Van Halen sang off the album of the same name, to the enemies of America, including the narco terrorists of Mexico, the sundry tin pot potentates and tyrants of this planet, that a new Sheriff is about to swagger into Tombstone and that there is about to be a gun fight at the OK Corral and that Donald ‘Wyatt Earp’ Trump will be cleaning up this place with a new broom and his six shooter, so you’d better just ‘ride on outta town’, as Matt Dillon used to tell the bad guys in Gunsmoke, before something bad happens. But of course they never listen, and Matt always had to roust those bad guys outta town with his six shooter, maybe with his Deputy Festus’ helpin’ him out, before returning back to Kitty’s place for some vittles and maybe a snort of bourbon. Let’s not even get into the fact that Kitty ran a brothel and those girls of hers were prostitutes and what went on in the rooms upstairs at her place was all sanitized for 1960s ‘family’ viewing on US network TV.
Whether this is an accurate metaphor for how ‘Sheriff Donald’ is going to ‘clean up Tombstone’ or any other metaphorical Wild West depiction of American society is anybody’s guess. What we do know is that he’s got a lot of money, there is a lot of money in the South now that a lot of the factories have re-located there to the Sun Belt since 1981 when Ronald Reagan came to power, and it just might be time for the South to rise up once again and wrest control of the Union from the North 150 years after the period of Reconstruction in the wake of this infamous ‘Northern War of Aggression’, when General Sherman set fire to the antebellum South in his policy of ‘total war’ in an effort to kill off any vestige of the Old South’s aspirations for glory and power.
The whole period of Reconstruction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed some investment from the North into the South to rebuild its infrastructure, with a certain amount of sectors like textiles being the focus for investment. But this was still within the South’s antebellum field of King Cotton and not likely to help diversify away from it over reliance on one core staple to drive its development. After WWII, as well as during the war, Uncle Sam moved some armed services facilities down South, and built all new Naval bases down south to supplant the navy’s old Naval Yard in New York State. Later on, places like the Carolinas began developing as tourist destinations, then in the early 1980s, factories began moving to the non-unionized Sun Belt states such as Tennessee, the Carolinas, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and so forth.
The South, as well as Northern Mexico, now have a lot of America’s industrial infrastructure within their territory and can claim to be the repository of a lot of new wealth. The thing is, can they parlay that into getting a guy like Donald trump to mouth off sufficiently loud and eloquently, without totally alienating the constituencies who supported Obama, to get himself elected President and effectuate the kinds of changes he says he wants to make to improve the American Dream?
Stay tuned folks, the Donald is in town and life in Tombstone will never be quite the same. In fact, we may see quite a few more tombstones before the town quiets down. You heard it here first folks!!!