I was approached on Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue a few days ago by a fund raiser for the Working Families Party, a progressive bunch who want legislation to improve the prospects of this increasingly beleaguered demographic.
“Do you have a couple minutes to stop Donald Trump? he asked me. I replied, “Donald Trump is a symptom, not the problem.” And I proceeded to tell him why.
Donald Trump is a venal, possibly mentally ill narcissist who can rightly claim to be the most satisfying distillation of what is actually admired by most Americans. Gordon Gekko’s “Greed is Good” mantra (it was actually Ivan Boesky’s term if you check history. Another sociopathic capitalist.) is not only personified by Trump, it is flaunted. Trump is proud of his greed, his wealth, his trophy wives, his casinos, his net worth, his appetites. Trump wants everything, and he will obliterate those who stand in his way.
His diplomatic tactics come directly out of the book of Dick Fuld, the much-reviled CEO of Lehman Brothers who commandeered its catastrophic collapse in September, 2008. At a video conference for employees, he made the following statement regarding those traders who were shorting Lehman to cut its value: “What I really want to do is I want to reach in, rip out their hearts and eat it before they die.” This is “Greed is Good” to the exponential degree. It is essentially the only component in life that makes the endeavor worthwhile. It is the Alpha Male’s mandate for domination. It is a very respectable reason for pre-mortem cannibalism.
The issues with our leaders, Trump being currently one (for how long is anyone’s guess) is that they are spawned from a society that squirms a little when he transparently espouses the doctrine of our brand of global capitalism, but understands where the impulse comes from. We NEED people like Donald Trump to be the advocates of our empire, since any doctrine that somehow did NOT monetize every aspect of human life, that did NOT codify shrinking wages and slave labor, that DID provide an adequate health care system for its citizens, that DID acknowledge the dire consequences of global climate change, would be apostasy to our national religion, accumulative capitalism, and its confessional wafer, money.
Americans rationalize our system using several misinformed and ill-conceived tactics. They’ll haul out JFK’s lovely epigram, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Or they will espouse the benefits of hard work and education in rising to the ranks of the elite in our meritocracy. A rising tide, it has been shown, just drowns the middle class, and the wealth disparity continues to swell at a rate never before seen. The idea of individual merit being the meal ticket to the good life is only selectively true. An MBA from Harvard will get it for you from Goldman or Citibank. An MSW from Berkeley will get you near-poverty wages and a massive student loan bill for a decade or so.
Donald Trump is significant in that he has pulled off the veneer of the real impulses of our economic system, and even tweets its out for everyone to see. He is dangerous because he violates the protocol, not of the content he endorses. Hillary Clinton shared her husband’s pedigree for naked political obfuscation, and used it the best she could. Her candidacy was full of the feel-good talking points and “God Bless America” sentiment, but nobody was comfortable with it. It did not ring true. And that’s because it was not true.
Donald Trump declared the country losing its stature, and he would ruthlessly punish those responsible, from the soulless immigrant workers to the evil Chinese responsible for undermining our exports, to Hillary Clinton herself, for being so shoddy with her email server. Donald Trump was a solider on a mission. Screw the climate. Make new jobs. Make America Great Again. And be God Damned aggressive about it.
The great documentary film, “The Corporation,” equates the corporate organizational model with textbook sociopathic behavior, characterized by the callous disregard for the feelings of other people, the incapacity to maintain human relationships, the reckless disregard for the safety of others, the deceitfulness (continual lying to deceive for profit), the incapacity to experience guilt, and the failure to conform to social norms and respect the law.
A 2016 Australian clinical study found that 21 percent of all senior corporate executives exhibited psychopathic tendencies. From the lead psychologist of the study, Nathan Brooks: “For psychopaths, it [corporate success] is a game and they don’t mind if they violate morals. It is about getting where they want in the company and having dominance over others.”
Donald Trump is America’s perfect favorite son, an embodiment of our true American values. Should we expect otherwise? The etiquette of his presentation make us squirm a bit, and he’s got to work on that. But the content of the program is unmistakable. After all, it’s what made America great to begin with. Let’s just ramp it up a little bit to get back to where we belong.
For the record, Donald Trump, Wharton alum, is our second MBA president. The first, of course, was George W. Bush.
Meanwhile, the caustic, confrontational rhetoric will alienate the rest of the world, rapid technological advances are poised to make at the very least six percent of all jobs in this country obsolete in the next five years, and the Arctic may well become iceless for the first time in 15 million years, an absolutely unparalleled event.
Stayed tuned. As long as we have a real man with his finger on the trigger, we are bound to kick some ass.