“Everyone does it”16th April 2019
I don’t generally hang out with lowlife punks, but that sort of interaction is inevitable when you are young. I recall that they had a very cyclical view of the world. They didn’t exactly deny that they lied, cheated and stole, rather they claimed that everyone did it, and only naive chumps failed to see through the phony hypocrisy of so-called “good people”. As I’ve gotten older, I often see people accusing others of having the exact flaw that they have. (Presumably I have the same blind spot.)
If I point to some flaw in President Trump, people will say, “Don’t be naive, all politicians do it.” Of course the same people will insist that Trump is a refreshing change of pace, not at all like other politicians.
A recent piece in The Economist has proven remarkably prescient, after just a week. Here’s the title:
Donald Trump is a pro wrestler masquerading as commander-in-chief
Here’s an excerpt:
The president also employs the wwe’s new stagecraft. Mixing family, business and politics infuriates sticklers for the law, but makes his fans think he is somehow more real—or “authentic”—than his rivals. He is also a master of shifting between degrees of make-believe. “I’m not supposed to say this,” he interjects into his speeches, “but what the hell?” And then there are his constantly distracting micro-dramas, breathlessly echoed by a commentariat every bit as emotionally invested in the drama as the press gallery at WrestleMania, which often erupted into spontaneous gasps or applause. How much of Mr Trump’s behaviour is concocted is debatable; private Trump is also pretty pantomime. But that uncertainly merely adds, wwe style, to the reality-tumbling effect.
Mr Trump’s ham performance has been endangered by its own success—represented by two years of unified Republican government. A wweperformer without an adversary would be a pitiful spectacle. It is therefore testament to the president’s genius that he was able to fill the void, not with policies, obviously, but rather a parade of new enemies: immigrant children, black football players, the late John McCain. Yet with the Democrats soon to choose a new champion, his performance may be about to get easier.
AFAIK, people like professional wrestling because they like heroes inflicting pain on bad guys. Many voters like that too. The Dems seem hopelessly outmatched right now, and if I were a betting man I’d put money on Trump winning again in 2020.
What makes the Economist piece so prescient is two news stories within just the past week. In one story, Trump threatened to place illegal aliens in “sanctuary cities”. In another, he is having his negotiators pressure the Chinese to remove tariffs on products exported from (Republican) farm states, and replaced with tariffs on products exported by blue states.
Of course commenters will tell me that I’m naive, and that all presidents do this. It’s “refreshing” to have a president finally admit that he is trying to impose suffering on the parts of America that didn’t vote for him.
But if we all lie, cheat, and steal, then why should I care whether you think I’m naive? After all, you don’t really believe what you are writing, you’re just placing those comments to get attention, to be a troll. Belief in truth is for suckers, so I can safely ignore your comments.
The good news is that just as professional wrestling is fake fighting, Trump is a fake right-wing authoritarian nationalist. Just imagine if he were a real fighter, another Muhammad Ali.
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