FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Donald Trump Is Everything We Deserve

Besides the grinding, debilitating repetition, the reason I can’t bear to watch professional comedians do their Donald Trump shtick is that the material is so obviously based on the premise that this guy is somehow unworthy of being our president.  That his being elected was a monumental goof, a mistake, that we don’t deserve him.

In addition to being insufferably smug and self-congratulatory, that assumption is demonstrably false. If we step back and take an unsentimental, warts-and-all look at ourselves, we realize that Trump is not only worthyof being president, he seems the obvious choice for it, the loathsome destination of an inevitable journey.

Consider:  The U.S. is, first and foremost, a nation of consumers.  Manufacturers know it, advertisers know it, the Ukrainians know it, and Trump knows it.  Indeed, there’s nothing we Americans won’t buy if it’s properly advertised and promoted. And say what you will about Trump, but the man is, first and foremost, a fanatical salesman and promoter.

Consider:  We Americans are practical people, which is why we don’t form queues at poetry readings. There’s no shame in that.  We simply aren’t a nation of poetry lovers.   But we do form queues (often unbelievably long, serpentine queues), beginning at midnight, waiting for the store to open so we can purchase the newest technology. That’s because we’re a nation addicted to buying stuff.  And Trump knows how to sell stuff.

Consider:  We gush over rich people.  We idolize them.  But because that realization seems vaguely “un-Christian,” we pretend we don’t.  We tell our children that “money isn’t everything,” but we don’t even believe that ourselves.  We are in awe of Wall Street because Wall Street is Taj Mahal rich.  And Trump is rich.

Consider:  We love celebrities, and Trump was a TV celebrity. We love glamour, and the Trumps are glamorous.  Wife Melania and daughter Ivanka are exotic creatures.  Granted, that is more a testament to cosmetic surgery than the generosity of Mother Nature, but exotic creatures nonetheless.  And as much as we pretend to respect “authenticity,” we don’t.  Plastic is good.

Consider:  Unlike much of the world, we Americans have always despised intellectuals.  We pretend we don’t, but we do.  We resent cultural snobs, know-it-alls, smarty-pants media types, and “deep thinkers,” and we admire salt-of-the-earth businessmen, self-made moguls, and (counter-intuitively) military officers.

That’s partly because of our native egalitarianism, and partly because we don’t wish to be reminded of our ignorance.  We prefer brevity and plain talk to complexity.  We embrace slogans (“Make America Great Again”), and avoid nuance, ambiguity, and self-doubt.  Arguably, if we don’t count Ronald Reagan, Trump is the most anti-intellectual president since Andrew Jackson.

Consider:  We admire conspicuous muscle and power.  Accordingly, as long as the combat doesn’t occur on our own soil, we prefer war to peace. We pretend we don’t, but we do. If that weren’t the case, our defense budget wouldn’t be so absurdly bloated, and we wouldn’t have been engaged in all the military adventurism that has defined us since the end of World War II.

Consider:  We Americans are a narcissistic people.  We pretend we aren’t, but we are.  We don’t have to be tied down and water-boarded to confess that we think we’re the greatest country in the world.  Not only the greatest country in the world, but very likely the greatest country in the history of the world.   If that ain’t narcissism, what is it?

And yet, for all this, we still pretend we don’t deserve Trump?  We still pretend to be surprised that we elected a shallow, dishonest, narcissistic bully as our president?  As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Mother Night,  “We are what we pretend to be.  So we must be very careful about what we pretend.”

 

 

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
Jill Richardson
Suddenly, It’s Completely Normal for Women to Run for President
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail