obsessing on Donald J. Trump

In the last year I have wasted much too much time "thinking" about one Donald James Trump. I have spent more time thinking about him than about any other president in my lifetime. When his behavior is not shoved before my face, which it is constantly and daily, I seek it out. What outrageous things has Trump done today? In this I am hardly alone.

The question here is why do we obsess on this?

And the obsessions and disagreements is not primarily an intellectual one, but is at a very emotional level. It is not enough to disagree with Trump, we also need to call him names. He is an idiot.

I feel I have some responsibility here. As though it is a duty to pay attention to all this stuff.

Some of it is the same things that draw us into binge watching a television show, with shady and immoral characters. This is what passes for "entertainment" on the media. Yet is s less possible, and seemingly reprehensible, to turn this particular show off.

We could argue that a person who managed to win a presidential election he is indeed a political idiot. You would have to have the ingenuity and blunders of a conspiracist, to believe there is a plan behind the almost daily inanities.

There are at least three reasons to turn away from the Donald.

(1) In a few years,there will be another person in charge, hopefully one more presidential — which is now a very low bar. Trump too will pass. He will have done some damage, hopefully nothing that cannot be fixed as easily as it is broken. I have faith in the American system it can weather weakness at the top.

(2) Most of us, the average well-off, will not be affected by this.

(3) Even well-placed and prominent, most of us cannot do anything about this. Every four years we pull a lever, and that seems to be about it in our democracy. Our daily emotings and occasional comments seem to have no force whatsoever.

So why the obsession? Why so many are so many people both engaged and enraged by Mr. Trump.

My aim here is not to count they ways Donald Trump is an idiot. This is demonstrated daily and analyzed hourly. But to think about why the obsession runs so deep. Now even with the consequences still undetermined, and they are determined by much more than the actions of one man. Not what we are upset by, but why we are upset, and perhaps to find something positive in our engagement.

I assume we are being hit at many levels, (which is something for which we have no great words | conceptualizations). We can assume our interest and emotions are a judgment of sorts, but it more like judgments occurring at multiple levels simultaneously.

  • Do I care about my country more than I thought? I often poo-pooh the government but perhaps I merely expected it to be a solid base, immune and even tolerant of my petulant disagreements. I expected my country, as all modern countries, to help the disadvantaged, and should it come to it, me.
  • To a lesser extent, I may care about image of my country, in my mind and in the minds of people form other countries?
  • The disregard and disrespect to science and scientists threat to social epistemology. Not in conservative religious sense of morality, but in a disrespect for what seems to be a respected guide as we steer into a future troubled by pollution, global warming and overpopulation.
  • Disregard for truth itself. That when one is seen to make a obviously false statement, one corrects oneself, and exhibits some humility and sense of having done something wrong.
  • Other things are being taken for granted that should be questioned. Though this is old and can be seen as partisan.
  • And need I mention the hypocrisy? Hypocrisy on a scale never seen in my lifetime. And completely unrepentant, as though hypocrisy is not even a sin, as much as a clever tactic.
  • Ripples on International relations. History teaches that the national state of man, civilized is war. I have lived in a blessed time where wars have been gar away. Dependent on the wisdom of guidance of other leaders, as it is appropriate. When The Donald leaves, there will be new and other actors on the world scene. This is probably good.
  • The lack of presidentiality from our leader fosters divisiveness.
  • My faith in the constitution of the United States is beings shaken. How could our democracy, the "beacon on the hill," come up with such a mediocre winner. This is troubling, and the inability to do anything about it is equally if not more so.
    Yet to entertain this thought is itself a troubling thought, as we know about the flaws of the alternatives as well.
  • The congress of the US has been dysfunctional for a while, especially since the election of Barack Obama. A new level of dysfunctionality in our government, and I am troubled. Not gridlock but a lack of vision and competency, and justifiability. Trump shows no need to justify his opinion or vision. No humility that other may know more and provided a better judgment that one's self and a small coterie of sycophants and family members.
  • Is of course a risk of war and international troubles and even war, with underlying risk if nuclear war. This is no deterrence. Mutually assured destruction is the price of freedom. The TV series aspect is that we have forgotten the pain of actual war, and the pain of MAD, mutually assured destriction, for the easy and risklessexctement of a video game.
  • I cannot make any sense of those who defend him. What would you have to believe to believe that Trump is a good president? Only that the damage being risked, is less than the phoenix that would rise out of its ashes. This, the ideal of a revolutionary, is not something borne out by history. (What would you have to believe to believe that history has no lessons to guide us.) This too seems to uncover a world of idiots in my country.
  • I am missing leadership, which is not about nationalism. Predictable platitudes of concern, optimism and care for all citizens and peoples.

Where do we go from here?

In an ideal world, with some much dissatisfaction, there would be some channels of rectification.

Or a new political dialog. If the idiot has the same value as the thoughtful, which is the tolerant and dignified, behavior of our democracy.

[ back ]