Monday, February 29, 2016

THE UGLY AMERICAN

Donald Trump is everything Europeans deplore and ridicule about visitors from the United States. The British are even debating in Parliament about banning him from their shores.

Rude, crude, brash, loud, uncouth, egotistic, optimistic, loquacious, opinionated, ruthlessly competitive, ostentatiously generous, unapologetically chauvinistic.

And rich. Trump is a businessman and a showman. Born to wealth, he is obsessed with fame and fortune and has proved himself  decisive, conniving,  imaginative and successful.

He is not a politician. He is the very antithesis of a politician. He is the consummate outsider, neither Republican nor Democrat, conservative or liberal, socialist or libertarian. If he has a political philosophy, it would fall somewhere between Ayn Rand and Friedrich Engels.

The only thing Donald Trump really believes in is Donald Trump. That said, why is he running for President of the United States?

I have a theory. Trump created and starred in a television reality show called “The Apprentice” the gist of which was to demonstrate his skill in evaluating job applicants. Later, he introduced another reality show, “The Ultimate Merger” the idea being to bring a group of ambitious people together in a simulated business relationship to test their skill in a kind of cooperative competition.

While Trump was an actual participant in The Apprentice, he was the unseen puppeteer in Ultimate Merger, demonstrating, I suppose, that he is both an effective, ‘hands on’ boss, and a skilled executive who can create an atmosphere in which innate leadership skills are honed and rewarded.

Donald Trump has been intrigued by the political world for a long time. He did an interview with Oprah Winfrey 20 years ago, and told her that he would only run for President if America “gets really bad.”

Why would he want things to be really bad before seeking the White House?

Think about it. Trump is a businessman. Would he ever seek to take over GE or IBM? Only if they “get real bad.” Only if they were poorly managed and losing money. Only if his style of ruthless, dictatorial management can turn them into profitable enterprises.

Trump is an outsider in the business of governance. His campaign for the Presidency has all the earmarks of a hostile take over.  Why would he want to take over a business that is 19 trillion dollars in debt and losing money at the rate of three trillion dollars a year?

Pretty obvious. With Trump, money is king. Life is all about money. Success is all about money. Love, respect, achievement, honor, whether of an individual, a company or a nation, is measured by wealth. The balance sheet is the only shroud that matters.

The Constitution of the United States authorizes the Congress to coin money. It’s a monopoly. The USA is in the business of manufacturing money. It has cornered the market. The American dollar is the reserve currency for the entire world.

Trump sees the United States as a world wide competitor. He brags about his ability to negotiate, says that the U.S. is losing and he will make us winners again. It’s a heady message to the folks who see our political leaders as inept, bungling bureaucrats. Maybe Trump will put the federal government into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, default on the Chinese and all the other foreigners who are sitting on U.S. Treasury bonds, and convince Standard and Poor to give us a  AAA rating again.

Or maybe he will get us into a world wide nuclear war. Adolph Hitler mesmerized the German people promising to make the Reich great again. He succeeded for more than twenty years. That didn’t work out very well.

Trump knows that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. A very bright friend of mine thinks that Trump is merely acting the part of a Hughie Long politician, a hustling con artist, because people like it, and that his actual persona and agenda won’t emerge until he is in the White House. 

By then, it will be too late. Alexis de Tocqueville warned us that democracy bears the seed of dictatorship.  Liberty requires vigilance. Every day.

1 comment:

  1. Do you remember the pro wrestler, Gorgeous George? When I was very young, I remember seeing Gorgeous George on the wrestling shows my father watched. Now, Trump reminds me of him (GG, not my father).

    My own key to understanding Trump is his plebian history with football, wrestling, and reality TV. Those pursuits helped him develop his current persona and style, which are working very well for him.

    It's easy. Just play to the groundlings, and give the finger to the elites.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgeous_George

    Al C.

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