Donald Trump (DT) once said in the 2000 presidential election that "if the right man doesn't get into office, you're going to see a catastrophe in the country in the next four years like you've never going to believe, and then you'll be begging for the right man."
Are Americans begging for the right man now? Are they sick of the status quo paralyzed by lobby interests and partisan politics and are looking for their independent knight in shining golden armor to save the country? Is DT the right man then? Will DT deliver? Because if you look at the candidates on offer on the Republican side, DT is clearly leading by a large margin with Senator Rubio dropping out and Dr. Ben Carson endorsing him because he had promised him a job in an advisory capacity. Alas, DT practically leads the GOP charge.
As for Hillary Clinton, she is blighted by two setbacks even before the race begun (which I call the curse of the status quo). First, she's a Democrat. And second, she's in the incumbent's inner circle. Needless to say, 8 years of more of the same thing is enough for the Americans. They are looking for a change. They are hungry for a complete overhaul. And here is where the billionaire real estate mogul sashay in like a breath-of-fresh-air (or foul air?).
So, is DT the chosen one for the American people? Will he prove his critics wrong? Will he be an effective leader of the free world? Are we just too prejudiced or blinkered to see it?
Now I should respect the democratic process because it defers to what the majority want. When the votes are counted, the one trailing behind cannot complain because the people have spoken (or selected). I am therefore obliged to honor the democratic ideal notwithstanding the winner’s shady character. For the former (democracy) is time-honored and the latter (the candidate) is only for a time. So, even if DT were elected, his term is only for 4 years. What damage will he do if he turns out to be the wrong man? As for democracy, it has been around since the time of Athens. It will trump Trump.
In fact, if you consider Hitler, he was actually chosen via the same time-honored Athenian process. My point here is not to ridicule democracy so much as I want to bring out its irony in that at rare times, we use the best means available to select the worst man possible.
But of course, DT is no Hitler. He is on the contrary someone who understands human nature. If he were not a billionaire businessman, he might just as well consider a career in psychology. He once said that every successful person, including Mother Teresa and Jesus Christ, was driven by ego. He said that they had "far greater egos than you will ever understand." DT also understands intimately the motivation of politicians when he said that they are "mostly driven by ego, some driven by greed, most driven by both."
There is no doubt that DT feels that self-love is not to be frowned upon. For him, it is a virtue to be embraced. A prized asset to be nurtured with unrelenting dedication. In any event, he is at least unashamedly candid with the American people when he declared that "part of the beauty of me (he opened his arms wide before an audience) is that I'm very rich."
And when it comes to self-praises, no one comes close to the real estate magnate. He is extraordinarily effusive when it comes to admiring himself before the world. This is the same man who crowed: “I’ve been very successful and people are starting to find out I’ve been much more successful than people even admit…I’m much richer than people understand.”
The world is equally besotted by this larger-than-opulent-life man who treats his wealth and coiffure as sacred embodiments of material success. He would in fact go on the offensive against anyone who dares to speak ill of either. DT once sued an author (O'Brien) for damages in the tune of $5 billion for claiming that he "was not remotely close to being a billionaire." To DT, being extraordinarily wealthy is the hallmark of success and to make such allegation about his net worth, regardless of whether it is true or not, defames him beyond repair.
In his latest book, DT actually estimated his net worth to be around $8.6 billion (after taking into account his personal debt of half a billion). Alas, while many are turned off by the pornography of the naked flesh, considering it crass, degrading and demeaning to women, the pornography of wealth and fame has been given the hallowed welcome because to be rich and famous in today’s society is considered successful.
That is why his voters feel that DT's success in his business and his acquired worldwide fame would stand him in good stead when it comes to running a continent and affecting real changes in the world at large. "So I am going to be very good for the world. I'm going to get along with the world. You're going to be proud of me as a president," was the horn that DT was trumpeting at his ongoing campaign and he appears to be playing all the right notes with his signature braggadocious self-promotion. The crowd just loves him!
At this juncture, I just can't help but ask myself this: Is Trump the leading expression of the value of our time? Is this what we are and he is what we want? The issue here is not so much about him winning the presidency this November, but it is about what DT represents to the world at large.
Now let’s give credit where credit is due. His popularity is clearly undeniable, even formidable. One ardent supporter exclaimed: "There is nothing short of Trump shooting my daughter in the street and my grandchildren, there is nothing and nobody that's going to dissuade me from voting for Trump." I guess that’s the Trump effect on some voters – it not just increases the value of properties, projects and products, it also increases the support for him, even to fanaticism level!
But seriously, have we mistaken popularity for substance, celebrity status for effective leadership? Has superficiality trump character and enduring values? Is this the sign of our time? Because if DT represents the zeitgeist of our age, then these are the qualities that the American people are voting for.
His son once said that his father was a polarizing guy. And more than that, his values are similarly highly unusual. This is a man who once said that he doesn't like to analyze himself. In one of his rare candid moments, he admitted to this: "When you start studying yourself too deeply, you start seeing things that maybe you don't want to see. And if there's a rhyme and reason, people can figure you out, and once they can figure you out, you're in big trouble."
Mm…I wonder what DT is trying his darnest best to hide from the people when his whole life is already an open book. This is the same man who is obsessed with the idea of being the richest man in the world. Next to being famous, money is everything to him. In 1996, when Forbes pegged his net worth at $450 million, he complained to the editors that his worth was much bigger than that. This obsession is still very much alive today. To him, nothing is more important than getting his net worth right. His worth is his wealth.
This is also the same man who shoots from the mouth without any restraint or reflection. He has no inner filter and he says things as he pleases. He openly labeled people as "ugly", "stupid", "scumbags", "losers", “murderers”, “rapists” and "pigs". He even made this remark about Hillary: "If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America."
And I will not even start with what he thinks about the Mexicans, the Muslims and the immigrants in the country. The recent violent protest in the Chicago rally has shown that voting DT into office runs the risk of inducting not a unifying president, but a highly divisive one. Recall his son once said that he is a polarizing guy? President Obama recently decried DT with this forewarning: “What the folks who are running for office should be focused on is how we can make it even better – not insults and schoolyard taunts and manufacturing facts, not divisiveness along the lines of race and faith. Certainly not violence against other Americans.”
DT even said that when elected, he would simply ignore Congress if it suits him, all in the name of being "decisive". Well, if being decisive is anything like his highly volatile, abrasive and inflammatory character, then the American people are in for a very unpredictable and disturbingly rough 4 years.
Here, one has to wonder, “Is Trump making America great again or is he making her hate even more?”
One columnist and author, Gideon Rachman, wrote this about DT: "A large part of the horror at the Trump phenomenon is that he is appealing to "nasty" instincts among the American electorate...There is a finer line than is commonly acknowledged between populism (which all "right-thinking" people abhor) and democracy (which we all approve of)."
I guess that’s the problem with populism, you get to be right not because you are right, but because you are popular. The results? Well, according to one columnist (Jonathan Eyal), he wrote that “ultimately, the rise of populists tends to dumb down all political discourse, to transform all politics into a circus.” And since DT is popular for no other reason than he is rich, loud and sensationally ill-mannered, he tends to get away with many things.
He gets away with having no political experiences whatsoever except that he once wrote a book boasting about how good he was at making deals. He intends to make winning deals with the Russian and the Chinese President if elected. That's his idea of politics. He gets away with depicting women in his third book, Trump: The Art of the Comeback, as sexually voracious "killers" who traded on their beauty to dominate men. This is a man who once confessed that "sex was his one real indulgence." He gets away with declaring himself bankrupt to avoid being declared broke (he actually negotiated his way out of his debts because he was deemed too big to fail). Here, it should be noted that he is currently being sued by a former student of Trump University and the New York Attorney General for misrepresenting and failing to deliver on its promises.
He also gets away with saying that "global warming bullshit has got to stop" and publicly declaring that inoculation causes autism, a statement clearly unsupported by medical science. Lastly, this is one megalomaniacal billionaire who can rally his supporters to “knock the crap out of them” (referring to his protesters) and promising them he would foot their legal bills to rousing applause, and with social impunity.
One columnist commented: "Trump shows how to turn audacious and even obnoxious narcissism into pure gold." And if there is any doubt about what narcissism means for our day and age, I think the authors Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell define it best in one paragraph. Here goes:-
"We have phony rich people (with interest-only mortgages and piles of debts), phony beauty (with plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures), phony athletes (with performance-enhancing drugs), phony celebrities (via reality TV and YouTube), phony genius students (with grade inflation), a phony national economy (with $11 trillion of government debt), phony feelings of being special among children (with parenting and education focused on self-esteem above all else), and phony friends (with the social networking explosion)".
It seems that DT would fulfill most of the above description, if not all of them in thoughts, spirit and deeds. And this is why the best metaphor for DT - should he become the 45th president of the United States - is the famed Hans Andersen’s tale about the Emperor’s New Clothes. Except that the Emperor was butt naked when he lavishly paraded himself before the cheering crowd until a child cried out: “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” It is the same here with the Naked Trump. Cheerz.
* Above photograph taken from the book “DONALD TRUMP and the PURSUIT of SUCCESS: NEVER ENOUGH” by Michael D’Antonio.