Saturday, September 19, 2015
Donald Trump is the Ugly American
As I watch the Donald Trump campaign I grow increasingly nervous.
To me, he represents all that is the worst in American politics - and I fear that American voters will either again will buy the flash and show and give us a Trump disaster in the White House, or will turn to the Democrats and give us further moral decay.
When I think of Trump, the phrase "Ugly American" comes to mind. And I don't mean ugly in the way he implied Carly Fiorina looked. ("Oh, I didn't mean her face, I mean her persona.")
I'm referring to the 1950s political novel in which Americans were portrayed as loud, insensitive, ostentatious, pretentious, arrogant, socially isolated by choice, and so on.
Sound like Trump?
In the novel, the Americans' boorishness repels others in other lands, leading them to turn to, at that time, the communists. Who will the offended turn to today? The big foe in the media now seems to be radical Islam, though I suspect rampant secularization and selfishness are bigger threats.
Trump is tapping into a stream of American politics that is not new. Loud show, brass bands, fireworks, Nativism, xenophobia, bigotry, and so on. His brand of boorishness is exaggerated due to the constant media coverage, true, but he is certainly playing to all that is ignorant and crowd-pleasing in the underbelly of the American character.
The sad thing is that so many people who know him personally say he is kind and generous. He is obviously intelligent, though I sense intellectually ignorant and lazy. I think he's been trapped by the need for attention and what he thinks will get him that attention.
My hope is that the Trump show will burn out as people begin to get bored - or as he continues to make offensive statements (or fails to make reasonable responses, as with a recent Muslim comment he seemed accept). The voters will, hopefully, pick more reasonable, responsible candidates and we will have real choice in 2016.
Then again, the voters fell for Obama. Twice. Hey, at least the Nobel Prize folks are finally beginning to admit that maybe giving him the Peace Prize simply for not being Bush was a mistake.
Right now, though, all I can do is speak out - and then shake my head as voters seem to like show without substance.
Pax et bonum