FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Model President and Model Party

Our teenage daughter often asks, “Is this song vulgar? “Is this singer’s low-cut dress appropriate?” Her parents’ opinions count for something within our four walls, but what about the world stage? What could our daughter or any child learn from the U.S. president and the party for which he stands?   The short answer: Most everything he does or says is vulgar, while almost nothing is appropriate. As for his party, it just plays along—exactly what we tell our daughter not to do.

Here is what kids can learn from today’s leader of the free world. First, you should lie or distort the facts whenever it suits your needs.  As tallied by the Washington Post, President Donald Trump lied at least two thousand times during his first year in office.  He pushes off informed criticism as fake news and sometimes refers to major newspapers as the enemy of the people.  Apart from Senator Lindsey Graham and retiring Senator Jeff Flake, hardly any Republican leaders have chastised the president for abusing the truth.

Second lesson: Do whatever it takes to please your backers—big tax breaks and de-regulations for the ultra-rich; small tax breaks and empty promises for the hoi polloi. Most Republicans know that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will add mountains to public debt while worsening health insurance for the poor.  Their new law also penalizes research universities by taxing endowment income.  But who needs knowledge—especially since most educated people oppose the president?   Seeking  at least one legislative “success,” Republicans approved a bill whose long-term effects will surely undermine the country’s well-being.

Third lesson: Have illicit fun so long as you don’t get caught. Enjoy yourself but cover your tracks. As a TV star you may be able to grab many women without much protest, with professional entertainers, however, you need to buy their silence. It would be particularly embarrassing if you womanized while your (third) wife was having a baby. Other politicians have resigned when many women accused them of unwelcomed  advances.  But many  people voted for you despite your reputation.  New revelations about dubious liaisons  can be expunged or ignored.

Fourth, use “strong” language (more vulgar than “vulgar”)  to make a point. It’s OK to call some people and whole peoples ugly names so long as most of your followers feel the same way.  Your top officials such as the Secretary for Homeland Security can plead amnesia when asked what the president said at a closed meeting.

Fifth, don’t worry about the three R’s.  TV is better than books. Tweets are more powerful than pen and pencil or keyboards. Bad grammar and self-centered language (“I’m the greatest,” etc.) are OK if they appeal to your supporters.  Don’t bother with history.  All the contradictions will just confuse you.

Sixth, eat whatever you want and avoid the gym. The president whips down fast food and takes extra scoops of ice cream.  His doctor says most of his vial signs are OK for a man his age.  The president also avoids vigorous exercise, bragging that his knees and hips do not need replacing. Getting out in nature is a waste of time. The president’s body, we are told, is in good shape. But what about his soul?

Seventh, claim that you are following God’s will. It’s good PR to attend church from time to time (like your comrade Putin), but if  you acquire political clout, use it to line your own pockets and those of your backers. Don’t worry about the lame and the halt. The poor you will have always with you.  Let them learn to take care of themselves.  As for those who are not white skinned or Christian,  kick them out and don’t let more in.

Our daughter (adopted from China), like most American children, goes to school with kids of many colors and cultures. If she follows your example, she will shun and make fun of  those who look different from her.

Eighth, be tough with so-called friends and as well as foes.  Speak brashly and carry a big stick.   If they do something you don’t like, call them out on it loud and clear. If they have a weak spot, get in there and press till it hurts.  But if somebody has embarrassing stuff on you, as in Moscow, take it easy on them.  Give them treats as needed.

The president and most of his party claim to be God-fearing Christians. (Jews are also OK—at least within the family).  Some Christians remember how Martin Luther stuck to his principles. When church and political authorities demanded that he shut up and stop his call for reform, Luther refused and declared, “Here I stand!” But defending “values” as Luther did can get you in trouble. Better to go along with the powers that be.

These are some of the lessons the president and his party can offer our children.  Bottom line for parents: Don’t let your kids take after the current president and his sycophants.  Point children (and adults) in the opposite direction. Turn the pages of history and find leaders whose qualities your kids can emulate. My book America and the World, 1898-2015, competed just as the Clinton presidency ended, described a country respected not only for its material power but also for its support for humane values at home and abroad.[1] Two decades later, the Trump administration’s policies and disregard for humane values have vitiated not only respect for the same country but even the influence of  its  hard power assets.

Notes.

[1]America and the World, 1898-2025: Achievements, Failures, Alternative Futures (New York: St. Martin’s, 2000).

 

More articles by:

Walter Clemens is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Boston University and Associate, Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He wrote Complexity Science and World Affairs (SUNY Press, 2013).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
Jill Richardson
Weapons of the Weak
Peter Certo
Washington vs. The Squad
Peter Bolton
Trump’s Own Background Reveals the True Motivation Behind Racist Tweets: Pure White Supremacy
Colin Todhunter
From Mad Cow Disease to Agrochemicals: Time to Put Public Need Ahead of Private Greed
Nozomi Hayase
In Crisis of Democracy, We All Must Become Julian Assange
Wim Laven
The Immoral Silence to the Destructive Xenophobia of “Just Leave”
Cecily Myart-Cruz
McDonald’s: Stop Exploiting Our Schools
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Veggie Gardens Won’t Feed us in a Real Crisis
CounterPunch News Service
A Homeless Rebellion – Mission Statement/Press Release
Louis Proyect
Parallel Lives: Cheney and Ailes
David Yearsley
Big in the Bungalow of Believers
Ellen Taylor
The Northern Spotted Owls’ Tree-Sit
July 18, 2019
Timothy M. Gill
Bernie Sanders, Anti-Imperialism and Venezuela
W. T. Whitney
Cuba and a New Generation of Leaders Respond to U.S. Anti-People War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail