He Ain’t No Midas
“In just one term in office, Donald Trump has rendered the United States unrecognizable, and has faced no consequences for doing so. He has carried out a sustained assault on democratic institutions, put his family members in charge of critical government functions during a pandemic, called for his political opponents to be thrown in prison, normalized corruption, and weakened the economic recovery with selfish and reckless behavior. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that the electorate do what no one else can: reclaim your democracy by voting to remove Donald Trump from office.”
The above is an extract from an open letter signed by 765 economists and 22 Nobel Prize winners. Churchill is quoted saying that if “you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three opinions.”. This shows how remarkable it is for so many people known to disagree to agree. Like virtually every piece of news that has surrounded the PotUS has been both shocking, and without precedent. He lurches on like an unstoppable force that will turn everything it touches into short change.
Clown Show Dumpster Fire
Donald Trump is undoubtedly the absolute worst president that the United States has ever had. Every single day, he dominates the headlines. It is not just one headline either. It is several headlines, for completely different reasons. It is very rare that the reason is good. If there is a good reason, there is almost inevitably some kind of sick twist which just leaves everybody involved feeling icky. For example, a big thing that he did was forfeit his salary. This is something quite commendable. That is, until one notices how much time he has spent on his failing resorts and how many official visits he makes foreign dignitaries have there. His security and staff need to be housed somewhere. So they are housed on his properties, and the Trump organisation needs to bill somebody. Just the headlines without any details would fill several novels. This is forgetting the active incompetence of his administration in terms of handling the economy, the pandemic, social problems, and nearly anything it touches.
What is Agent Orange? Why is he like this?
This man is a truly strange person in an odd situation. Everybody’s family is different, but few are like this. Compare and contrast the previous presidents. It was almost always a slight variation on a man, his wife, two to three children, and a pet. What we have here is a man with two ex-wives, a string of ex-girlfriends, five children, three in-laws who are actively involved in the White House administration, and no pets. Dynasties are meant to form naturally, not come as a package deal. The first Roosevelt, the first Kennedy, and the first Bush did not have their immediate family appointed to important positions of responsibility. Not only this, but his sister, nieces and nephews have all spoken out against him. Mary Trump’s book Too Much and Never Enough gives everybody a unique insight into what the domestic environment was like. We understand that due to his upbringing, nothing could ever be enough. He even made it to the US Presidency, arguably the most powerful and enviable position in the world, and he remains miserable. One only needs to consider how little he smiles or laughs. This almost plays as a Greek tragedy or strange allegory or cautionary tale set in a version of America directed by Terry Gilliam. This is no allegory, however.
White Fragility Personified
For a certain type of person, one thing will really makes them go crazy is to see a non-white cisgender person go about their day peacefully. This is not something that they can tolerate. In fact, it they will completely lose their mind if either anything approaching human dignity seems to befall the kind of person that they choose to view as subhuman. The other problem that they have is to take the feelings of others into account. The parlance calls a this type of person a Karen. Social media and the pandemic simply causing people to become more weird have brought this kind of behaviour into the spotlight. Donald J. Trump is the ultimate Karen, and example of white fragility. The problem is that unlike some crazy lady in a supermarket carpark or madman at a barbecue, the actions of this man extend far beyond the people in their immediate vicinity.
Much of this fragility is around Barack Obama. There was the whole birtherism fiasco. It was reported that he hired an Obama impersonator that he would yell at and tell what to do. He even went as far as to run for president. It was inconcievable for a black man to do what he could not. Even after this, he did his best to beat Obama’s record on the economy. In his rallies, he regularly talks about how his administration is so much better than the previous one and how all of his problems are either from Obama, or China. China is another source of his jealousy. Finally he feels that the needs to get the Nobel Peace Prize. This would finally let him feel that he beat Obama.
Owning the Libs as an Ideology
Talk about reactionary! There are many words and terms which are used, abused, and thrown around so much that they have lost all meaning. Never has this been more the case in the world of Fake News and Alternative Facts. Two things that previously would have been dismissed as lies and propaganda. I am not really sure what Libs are, only that they purportedly are what Trump supporters are not. This is the other side of the white fragility which motivated the Orange Mugabe. It is an ex-post facto reaction to Michael Moore’s biggest “F**k you!” in history which was his victory. So much of the world was in such utter shock and bewilderment that even the president-elect himself was surprised. So many people were “triggered” while Trump voters were vindicated in proving some kind of anti-establishment point of doing outrageous things. Not following norms was one of these triggering points, and only boosted his support. These include not showing his tax returns, or paying lots in taxes, which were both seen as power-plays. He pardoned numerous cronies of his who worked on his campaign, some of whom would not look out of place in a Dick Tracy coming. He passed high-profile executive orders such as the “Muslim ban”. We have his outrageous tweets which are interpreted in whatever which way is most convenient. Its ultimate form is not caring about the deadly pandemic.
Owning the Libs is not a political ideology. It had to go somewhere and develop into something with substance. Make America Great Again, the election slogan inspired the MAGA movement. MAGA is Owning the Libs with structure. It just so happens that MAGA has literally all 14 of Umberto Eco’s features of Fascism.
1 – There is the cult of tradition through statue worship and a pursuit towards a “patriotic education”.
2 – There is the rejection of modernism by simply not taking experts or science seriously.
3 – The idea of action for action’s sake and a rejection of reflection, because that’s what nerds do.
4 – Disagreement is treason in that critics of the POTUS are seen as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) who a traitors to the president.
5 – The is a fear of difference through the vociferous xenophobia.
6 – The appeal to social frustration is in the name itself, but also the fact that is is a manifestation of white fragility.
7 – The is the obsession with a plot in the form of Obamagate (whatever it might be), and qAnon.
8 – The enemy is both strong and weak. These Libs are simultaneously snowflakes who can’t take criticism, but also control the media and will burn down the suburbs.
9 – Pacifism is trafficking with the enemy, which means that the “Radical Left” must be defeated to preserve America.
10 – There is contempt for the weak in that anybody who deviated from MAGA is seen as having folded to pressure from the mainstream.
11 – Everybody is educated to be a hero through the not-so-subtle calls to arms by militia against BLM.
12 – Machismo and weaponry which takes the shape of obvious misogyny, particularly against women of colour.
13 – There is the selective populism in the appeal to this “Silent Majority” which is neither.
14 – The final feature is Newspeak, and we need go no further than alternative facts.
Where Does it End?
“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
Jared Kushner said in an interview that his father-in-law basically makes it up as he goes along.
Nearly everybody knows the first part of the story of King Midas. King Midas was a mythical king who could never get enough. He asks of the gods the ability to turn whatever he touches in to gold. The natural end is that he can no longer eat or drink because foodstuff turn into inedible gold on contact. At this point most people assume that he starves to death or dies of thirst but there’s more. Depressed, he goes to the forest to live in caves with satyrs. One of the Satyrs challenges Apollo, the God of Music to a competition, and asks both King Midas and another individual to judge. The other person nominates Apollo as the winner, and King Midas nominates the satyr. Apollo is upset and punishes him with donkey ears. In context, he is understandably vain, and embarrassed by his new appearance buries himself in the ground.
There are numerous parallels between King Midas and the man running the United States of America. They both have love gold. They both can never have enough. They are both vain. Finally, they both have really bad taste. One faced consequences for his horrible choices, whether the other will face any at all is another story.