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Why Trump is Winning America

How does anybody explain the Trump Phenomenon? Most opinion pieces talk about his fear mongering, an ignorant supporter-base, the disarray in the GOP, weak opponents, or his anti-establishment persona. The fact is, Trump is a polarizing figure, but he's never going to win the presidency. Still, that doesn't explain why he's come so far.

I live in Romania. I only really hear about Trump if I want to hear about Trump. It's a blessing.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't discuss a man who's making a serious run for the world's most powerful office. But people seem to be missing the bigger picture.

Why did Trump get so big?

I don't believe the 'perfect storm' explanation. How he plays on people's fears in a precarious geopolitical situation, how he's a straight talker in a world of political correctness run amok, and how he's not in anybody's pocket. These play a role, maybe, but there's more.

If you've read more than a couple of posts on this blog, you'll know I criticize Romania and Romanian society as much as I sing its praises. When anything is particular to any one nation, it's more than likely that its citizens have something to do with it.

Trump is particular to America much like Gigi Becali is particular to Romania. In fact, there are more than a few similarities between these two jokers of modern politics. Although Trump hasn't been in jail - yet  - and doesn't own a sports franchise, they both talk to much, 'tell it like it is', have a surprising number of supporters, and seem to share a passion for gaudy home design.

But, thankfully, Romanian society is not quite like American society. This might explain why Trump is just a couple of steps from the presidency while our own Gigi is simply getting readjusted to freedom - and is mostly ignored.

A brief aside on the difference between Romanian and American (Western) society...

In June, 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave Harvard graduates  their Commencement Address. The scathing rebuttal of Western culture in his speech is, in many ways, even more relevant today, but the part I want to highlight is his criticism of the media; "the press". I've condensed it, but you should read, or listen to, the entire speech.

"The press enjoys the widest freedom...But what sort of use does it make of this freedom? What sort of responsibility does a journalist or a newspaper have to his readers, or to his history -- or to history?

The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it...We may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: "Everyone is entitled to know everything." But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era. People also have the right not to know and it's a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls [stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk.] A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information...

Hastiness and superficiality are the psychic disease of the 20th century and more than anywhere else this disease is reflected in the press. Such as it is, however, the press has become the greatest power within the Western countries, more powerful than the legislative power, the executive, and the judiciary. And one would then like to ask: By what law has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?

One gradually discovers a common trend of preferences within the Western press as a whole. It is a fashion; there are generally accepted patterns of judgment; there may be common corporate interests, the sum effect being not competition but unification. Enormous freedom exists for the press, but not for the readership because newspaper[s] mostly develop stress and emphasis to those opinions which do not too openly contradict their own and the general trend."


This 'wide freedom' to publish absolutely anything is the backbone of free speech, but thanks to the media, free speech in the Western world is only 'free' insofar as it's trendy. It negates truth and relevance in exchange for excitability and political or corporate agendas. We have to look at the Trump Phenomenon through the lens of another modern trend....


Have a look at this trailer (it starts where it needs to start): Hot Girls Wanted
You don't see it in the trailer, but her friend's reply is: "Exactly, you gotta be selfish once in your life."

Do you?

In America, this is just one small part of the modern creed: It's all about 'looking out for number one' or,  'doing you'. I mean, really? Isn't,"I gotta do me" a euphemism for masturbation? How about "Don't judge me", and the all-dismissive, "I don't care what anyone thinks"? This is nihilism at its apex. This is the point where everybody else's  thoughts and existence matter so little that the ultimate achievement has become the most ego-driven ambition of all time.

The pursuit of fame for the sake of fame.

Is it any surprise that Trump has been repeatedly labelled a narcissist? A businessman whose main business is growing the brand's name through any means necessary isn't exactly publicity shy. But it's obvious that the star of The Apprentice absolutely revels in it.

But again, let's take a step back from Trump.

In 2012, a study entitled "The Value of Fame: Preadolescent Perceptions of Popular Media and Their Relationship to Future Aspirations" (emphasis, mine) found that an aspiration to fame was the most common goal among  the 10-12 year old respondents. These kids want fame for the sake of it, just like their role models.

Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, and Farrah Abraham all skyrocketed to fame thanks to sex tapes. Is it then surprising when a small-town Illinois girl leaves home at 18 to star in pornographic films because she's, "trying to be famous"?  What about the moron whose claim to fame is getting the logos of major brands tattooed all over his body. He now delights Instagram followers with images that highlight his poor taste, like a wedding right he bought for himself. What about the cast of Jersey Shore, with a combined IQ of 80 and planet-sized egos? Or just about any YouTuber who tries to extend his 15 minutes by hiring publicists and PR people because of one viral video

Much like a potential Trump presidency, none of these people offer anything of value to the world. Not one thing. Not even actual entertainment. Because entertainment is meant to mirror reality, not the other way around.


America should be asking, "Where did we go wrong?"' not, "can Trump be president?"

America went wrong when it started replacing human values with artificial values. It used to heap its praises on people who were doing extraordinary things. Mostly. And then the dynamic shifted. People stopped paying attention to whether those things were important to begin with. Moreover, even achievements started taking a backseat so long as an individual's (extraordinary) personality continued to sell newspapers and generate ratings...and clicks. Trump himself is a case in point.


If the YouTube 'stars', the reality TV 'stars' and, and all the fame-seeking fake celebs would read this (if they did read) I know exactly what they'd say. "Don't judge me." And to that I say, "I'm not judging you. I'm judging the lies I'm being fed: That you're worth talking about, hearing about, looking at, listening to. I'm judging you as a reflection of a society that's flipped its moral compass 180 degrees."

In a nation that can no longer discern entertainment from reality, or distinguish lies from the truth, Trump isn't the problem, he's just one of the symptoms.


¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Comments

  1. Don't know how many readers you, get Matt, I check In from time to time to hear about life in your (old-but-new-again country). I read this when it was first posted and 7 months later, it's bang on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shouldn't have said, "he's never going to win" but I suppose that's what I wanted to believe at the time:)
      But thanks, I also still stand by the rest of what I wrote.

      Delete

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