Spoiler alert: I am a liberal. I have been a liberal most of my life because I could not understand colonization or Jim Crow or why separate but equal was the “law of the land.”
I voted for the first time in 1968 after having marched against Vietnam and in support of Martin Luther King and after having kept clean for Gene. I was also a precinct delegate to the Michigan Democratic convention, my first and last try at politics. Until I pulled the curtain across the voting booth, I was undecided whether to vote for Eldridge Cleaver or Hubert Humphrey. I chose Humphrey. In later years, as Cleaver’s life unraveled, I was relieved I had chosen Humphrey.
I never considered voting for any of the Republicans who have run for office during my voting life: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush the elder, Dole, Bush the younger, McCain and Romney. Considering who the running mates of the last two were, I am particularly relieved that those tickets were defeated.
I wish I could see a Republican defeat this cycle, but, I can not. I do not think either Bernie or Hillary can beat the destructive energy of the trump campaign.
I do not understand the tsunami that is trump. I am embarrassed for the nation by his success. Although I fear him, I fear the people who support him more.
My first memory of trump doing anything was shopping with Ivana at K-Mart when they sent their oldest son off to prep school. A few years later, a former Boston broadcaster expressing disbelief that this man “talked like a fish.”
Since then, trump has been the butt of jokes. Now that butt of jokes is making America the butt of jokes. Is that the meaning of making America great? The Great Laughing Stock?
When trump declared his candidacy, I thought it would be like Herman Cain’s run, a publicity stunt. Aside from keeping the tax structure amenable to the 1%, I could only guess at his politics. Certainly, I would never have imagined the horror show that has unfolded.
Herman Cain is a self-promoter who is essentially a bald frat boy. Once the nation realized he wasn’t serious, the nation laughed with him and Cain got to hang out with Stephen Colbert.
Cain is not trump. Cain speaks standard English. Trump does not. His linguistic ability is only slightly better than Sarah Palin’s. He has bragged that, as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he is very well educated. He has also bragged about “having words.” Imagine, if trump had not had the advantage of going into the family business and had had to apply for jobs, speaking his word salad, starting statements but never finishing them. No one would have hired him.
But, back to words. What words? What value do words have?
Two very different men, Benjamin Whorf and Malcolm X, came to similar conclusions on the value of words from different starting points. Whorf saw a link between language and cognition and that the structure of a language (this is language in the larger sense and not as idiolect) influences how its speakers see the world. While in prison, Malcolm X came to admire another inmate for his knowledge and tried to learn through reading but was stopped by his own limited vocabulary. His solution was to copy the dictionary. Both men became influential because they understood words and how to use them.
Trump does not have good communications’ skills. His followers say he speaks his mind, but, what kind of mind do the repeated and inconsistent phrases reveal? In his Vanity Fair piece recalling his own interview with trump,former Playboy writer Mark Bowden describes trump as “adolescent, hilariously ostentatious, arbitrary, unkind, profane, dishonest, loudly opinionated and consistently wrong.” Reading Bowden, I hear trump’s unmodulated and booming voice declaim, “This is the most beautiful apartment in the world. Everything is plated in gold.”
At the beginning of the campaign, I thought he was simply a boor, But, the more I heard him speak, the more I realized this is not an intelligent person.
I am not a reality television fan. I never saw The Apprentice. I just listened to the satirists take off on trump whose outsized voice, belly, persona, reverse pompadour and John Boehner makeup make him an easy mark. But the reality show, a serial display of contrived events meant to represent what happens in courtship or apartment sharing or in business, has become the new opiate of the masses.
The reality show made trump a star and America loves stars and red carpets and mass adoration. Americans are conformists. If they weren’t, they’d be embarrassed that a reality television star is the most likely of the narrowing list of candidates to become president.
Wait! I was embarrassed when a B movie actor became president. Actually, that just proved my point. Americans are difficult to embarrass, perhaps, because they have perceptual problems.
Earlier this week, I wrote on a thread that because of his poor language skills, I would guess trump’s IQ is average, or, between 95 and 100, Another poster wrote that, based on his SAT scores and knowing that he was accepted at Wharton, his IQ had to be 156.
I asked the other person if he had seen trump’s SAT scores.He admitted he hadn’t then suggested I learn to read. I decided to see if I could, even if it meant acting a bit like the birthers trump supported, discover trump’s IQ. The poster plagiarized tje information from Before It’s News, a blog site where one can learn the latest about UFO’s and Big Foot and Donald Trump.
The man behind the speculation calls himself various names, none of which are traceable because they’re pseudonyms. He identifies as a former Navy officer and a therapist, a member of Mensa and of the Society of Professional Journalists. If he is a therapist, his speculation on trump’s IQ is not just misguided but unethical. If he is a member of the SPJ, his writing may violate its code of ethics, which is, perhaps, why he uses a nom d’email.
Then I found an article in from The Daily Pennsylvanian, the independent student paper of the University of Pennsylvania. Dan Spinelli, while investigating trump’s academic career found that few people in his class knew him. Perhaps, that was because trump had been a transfer student. Spinelli quoted Gwenda Blair, a trump biographer and adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Journalism, who wrote trump was accepted as a favor.
Trump, the reality star, has begun to sound more like a character from a Dickens’ novel.