To begin I must appreciate the wider freedom of this sort of public space, which allows me to ramble on and on without the restraints of Twitter, or other social media networks where no one really wants to know what you have to say. This will allow me to experiment with language and ideas that I frequently do not agree with. This whole thing will be a very sincere attempt at devil’s advocacy in order to attempt to understand how opinions differ and why they so often go to war with one another.
Look at the nature of our world today, in every country, everywhere, and we can see that there is always some kind of civil war. We can look at Yemen or some of the Northern African nations (and the islands in between) see numerous conflicts that have actually broken out with guns and bombs and everything in the world on fire. People are being shot down in the streets almost 24-hours a day. Their homes are exploding while they’re asleep.
Then you come further west, to Europe, to Great Britain . . . to America. Here in America this civil war is a bursting tick latched onto your eye, getting ready to explode from drinking all your blood. It blinds you, makes you so filled with blood-boiling rage that we block out all differences and see the whole wide world in a plot against us. This can partially explain the rampant conspiratorial thinking that has overtaken so much of the world, as well as the irritable response of doubters, debunkers and truth-tellers. And so everyone starts screaming at everybody else.
How did we get here? What happened that made the world so fearful, so paranoid, and so consumed by the lingering hatreds that are exposed in these revised, updated new histories, where legends pass for what may have happened a long time ago. You know, those earlier days of exploration, back in tribal cultures, when meeting new races and new ideas only meant terror. Physical strength is the result of fear, going inside to a primordial instinct that keeps your body safe from harm.
This is where slavery came from too, even unto the human trafficking still exists today. There is this nervous, self-doubting need to believe one’s self superior creates a finally hopeless compulsion to prove yourself better than everyone else. Look at some of the prime examples from human history:
Napoleon Bonaparte, a brilliant general who had been repeatedly mocked because he was small, or, say, Adolf Hitler, who was merely a failed artist seething with rage over Germany’s humiliation in World War One. They needed to prove how right they were, how great they knew themselves to be, and how much better their visions of life are when contrasted with the stupid, lazy thinking of the rest of the world.
What it really comes down to, time and time again, is that we attempt to impose our thoughts onto others, an X-Men move if there ever was one, the literal control of another person’s mind. For some self-doubting reason we are more interested in proving them wrong than bothering to claim we are right about anything..
Eventually, and inevitably, this will bring us to Donald Trump, a thin-skinned aberration who is a skilled and very manipulative salesman clever enough to make himself President of the United States. President Trump stands for nothing. He believes in nothing. He hates everyone equally and so therefore cannot be called a bigot, and he supports no cause for justice or decency or civil rights. All he has done–really! And he has been very successful!–is to boil us down to the same intolerant level a man who hates the whole world. He has engaged the entire world in a game to prove everyone else worthless, using cheap, petty and very personal attacks, followed sniveling blame games. And yet somehow this man–who does not even attempt to hide this characteristic about himself while he is in office–has inspired enough people who are on the verge of giving up hope for the future into believing he is a secular Messiah. And Donald Trump–with his desperate need to be cheered on and loved because his father never shared this with him (as I’m sure all of his sons have experienced)–I am such adulation makes him feel like enough of a success to bury the anger and disappointment he suffers from because he never learned how to care about another person. And the better he feels about himself, having lived a life where nothing was ever good enough, this impulses become increasingly wild and erratic. He has no awareness of what he said yesterday and is distracted today by what he might say tomorrow. We can’t even properly call the man a liar. He is just so willing to change as the situation might require to serve his own purpose that he believes everything he is saying when he says it. This is a man who has barricaded himself from the truth.
As for Trump’s followers, certainly some have joined this angry new religion, but I suspect that even among the most radical among them, there is still some lingering doubt over whether to be horrified over the constant aimless and shifting realities, or do they employ what all religions must evoke in order to succeed–blind faith. They will get behind whichever contradiction their president is engaged with.
But there is the myth evoked–really a legend out of the sort of movies they no longer make anymore–A strong man who is going to whip the nation into shape and clear out all the enemies and the clutter. They convince themselves that they agree with everything he say, even though that would be philosophically impossible. He is the Everyman. We can relate to him because we are all sometimes so feral. We recognize the bitterness and the frustration and the just plain nastiness that we want to sling on one another and it makes us feel good to laugh at all the people who are worse off than you.
Trump seems to hate the same people you hate, so he can’t be all bad. And anyone can find some agreement with this statement. He hates the liberals. He hate the right-wing. He hates the church and believes in no God other than the 1920s money god that eventually crashed the stock market. He hates America. He hates you. He hates . . . since this is his primary feeling towards everything his hated has lost all power for him. He is always drained, an empty spigot, endlessly repeating himself, the same double-meanings, the same bipolar shifts day after day.
And now many of the supporters have become so humiliated that they righteously maintain support for a godless man who uses the American flag and the National Anthem, or his wife and children, or anyone who has ever worked with or for him and everyone he’s ever known or heard of, a man who would exploit his mother’s memory in order to call someone else a whore, this is the President, stripped raw and being truly honest. He is obviously guilty of runaway corruption and apparently has been since before he understood numbers, and he gets hard stoking culture wars spreading to the ends of the earth. He will happily (and we know this makes him happy) condemn anyone who doesn’t show blind allegiance to his own momentary way of thinking.
I wrote somewhere (I think on Twitter) that Donald Trump hates America and he hates all of us and that he was raping the American flag with the National Anthem as the background noise for his deviant assault on national traditions. I said he was a bigger traitor than Benedict Arnold, throwing away the very idea of what made the United States such an inspiration to the world, once upon a time, back in the days when words still had meaning. The President reminds me of a 1980’s junk bond salesman–which no doubt he tried his hand at before miserably failing. He is perfectly willing to bankrupt a business (or a nation)–he even desires to do this, because he knows how to funnel all the remaining assets into a separate businesses, paying the minimum taxes because, after all, because his struggling shell company has no actual assets, and the IRS is too overworked to track down a lead from a Caribbean bank controlled by a blood-thirsty dictator. Money can always buy you something.
I have called Donald Trump a fascist, a corporate dictator grinning with his arms crossed, and flexing his pouting, jutted lip. I remember saying this during one of the early Republican debates before anyone was taking him seriously. His lone tactic was to lash out and say some of those things we all think from time to time, but would never actually say because at least at one time some of us understood social courtesy. If you went this way it embarrass you, having such a temper tantrum, and deep down you know that what you are about to say is wrong.
Trump is not the ‘counter-puncher’ he so frequently likes to claim. He is a nervous, jittery aggressor who throws lame and soft-wristed punches, then turns tattle tale, flipping the whole fight around by mocking his reactions and then blaming whoever he attacked for starting the fight.
This is our war, the civil war I referred to at the beginning of this commentary. We have reached an era of history, looking back at the times, scanning the legends of yesteryear that have had such an influence on our ideas of culture, we are in an era that has frequently seen revolutions, reformations of churches and new ideologies planting their seeds in the coming new world. This is a drastic point in our modern history. We are living in the sort of era where we are either cringing with a damned belief expressed with hysteria, about the coming reign of a retired god, or they try and huddle together, shivering with terror because we no longer believe in anything.
©2018 Lance Polin