^ the saddest man in the moral universe
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There have been hundreds of sad political days during the past four years of life in America, but last night was the saddest of them all. In his acceptance speech of the Republican party’s nomination for President, Donald Trump defiantly spurned everything that it means to hold high office in a great nation.
He identified many challenges that — so he claims — we face, some of them chimerical, most of them misconstrued, the rest overblown. He offered no solutions : probably because how can you have solutions to tasks that aren’t real, or are misidentified or are molehills spoken of as mountains ?
He spoke several outright howlers. Perhaps the absurdest was his claim to protect LBGTQ people from….ISIS ? Oh I see : he was thinking of the club shooting in Orlando. Horrific that was, but LBGTQ people face far more immediate persecutions from members of Trump’s own party (though admittedly not death, unless you give credence to the ravings of a fringe).not to mention from the Supreme Court judges he promises to appoint or from his supposed opposition to same sex marriage.
Assuming that you believe him. I don’t.
He doesn’t like trade deals — so he says — even though our export economy benefits enormously from them and despite his manufacturing his Trump brand clothing overseas via trade deals.
He doesn’t like immigrants or Muslims, though he loves immigrants’ low wages (which he wants to lower further — assuming you believe him; I don’t).
He ascribed all of our nation’s problems to people who are not like us, whatever that means. To his followers, it means you know what. To him ? Just a convenient rubber ducky to bust — although the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius identified the tactic 1900-odd years ago. “There are three stages of growing up,” he wrote in his Meditations. “first, you blame other people for your troubles. Second, you blame yourself. Third, you do something about them.” Trump squats squarely on step one — grinning in your face, because he knows you’re falling for a gimmick he doesn’t believe for a minute.
Trump wants America to be first. So he said. What does that mean ? That we win Olympic competitions ? that we build more warships than anyone else ? That we build bigger banks than the Chinese ? That we expand the national debt ? That we bomb as many brown-skinned people as possible back to the Stone Age ? that we torture terrorist prisoners till Assad sends him gushing letters of admiration ?
Assuming, of course, that you believe anything he said.
Perhaps I should give him a pass, however. How could he offer any actual solutions, or lay out any agenda items, as nominees always do in their acceptance speeches, when the platform adopted by the convention is binders full of oppressions against this group or that gender ? Even Ted Cruz might break up laughing were he to mouthe the platform item by item. Conversion therapy — really ?
“I am your voice,” he said. I heard him say it. But actually, he is not. The people he claims to be the voice of — working people with scant education and thus few options in the skill economy — he has stiffed time after time, or defrauded by the thousands, or used and used up as he played the New York City real estate game, a field of smarm and violence, criminality and dog eat dog, parlaying his Dad’s millions of dollars into billions of dollars — won and lost, lost and won as cavalierly as the carelessness with which he has diddled his campaign of insult and bile.
The people he claims to be the voice of need better than a dilettante.
Chutzpah, however, Trump has. What else was it but unmitigated gall for him to say to “his” people, “I’m With You” ? But I suppose that’s what a con man MUST do. Only by saying “I’m With You’ with utter conviction utterly believable can a huckster stiff you, defraud you, pick your pocket.
Sixty years ago, Lyndon Johnson, who knew his fellow politicians well, said that demagogues are always pointing fingers at scapegoats and while they have your attention turned, they’re picking your pocket.
That is Trump.
How sad, how unutterably sad, how uselessly sad, is it that major political party has given its nomination for President — which it only gives every fourth year; make a mistake, and it has to wait yet another four — to a slim-mouthed, hate-pouring, scapegoat sculpting, incompetent accident ! To a man whose graveyard epitaph will read “picker of pockets.”
—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere