January 05, 2018

A Brief Chat

This will be an informal, chatty kind of post. I'm trying to spend a little more time out of my sick bed, where I've been for most of the past two weeks. Not a fun time. Various ailments, some are painful, some just debilitating and exhausting. Lots of sleeping, half-sleeping (don't particularly like that half-asleep dream state -- at the moment, I tend to have weird visions that are not notable for their soothing and calming qualities, they tend to be just, well, weird and sometimes upsetting).

Anyway. I was thinking about the developments this week with Trump, Bannon, etc., and all the talk of Trump's "idiocy," "ignorance," "stupidity," etc. Without getting into the details of this latest universe-altering story (until another new universe-altering story comes along next week), it occurs to me that my perspective on Trump may not be in accord with that of some of my readers. Of course, I begin from the indisputable premise that anyone who wants to be President is insane or too close to insane to countenance. I've discussed this issue here, and I will have more to say about it soon. For the moment, I merely emphasize that I don't mean this fancifully, and I don't express the point in these terms simply to be colorful. I mean it literally and clinically: anyone who wants this degree of power is extraordinarily dangerous, primarily because he/she is fundamentally disconnected from the realities of life, suffering and death on the ground.

As I said in that earlier post, anyone who wishes to wield the power of life and death over a single human being is a monster. What are we to say of the person who wishes to wield the power of life and death over millions of people -- and potentially (in the event of a nuclear war, even if restricted to the use of "tactical" nuclear weapons), the life and death of everyone on Earth? This is beyond monstrous, and "insane" is a perfectly valid term to capture the idea. Therefore, I consider both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to be insane or close to insane in this sense. I have the same view of everyone else who has been or wanted to be President, certainly since the end of World War II (and we must include Truman too, because of those incidents involving the atom bomb).

Of course Trump is awful. Anyone who would be President in contemporary America would be awful. And yes, many of his particular views and policy decisions are abhorrent. None of this is news or even worthy of particular note. Where would we be if Clinton were President? We'd have (probably) somewhat different specific views and policies that are abhorrent, and she'd also be generally awful. But also -- and this is not a minor point -- the U.S. might also be on the brink of war (or already at war in some form). Don't ever forget the brutal militancy that Clinton has revealed repeatedly in her public life. Given the enthusiasm with which Clinton and her surrogates have worked to spread and reinforce the anti-Russian sentiment which now engulfs us, it can be treated as a certainty that relations with Russia would be strained to the breaking point, at a minimum.

And what of Iran? and North Korea? And the Middle East generally? (Remember Libya, although Clinton would prefer you didn't.) Who knows what catastrophes Clinton would bring about. If for no other reason -- and frankly, I consider this one point more than sufficient reason in itself -- I'm glad that Trump is President, and not Clinton. I consider all the rest of it pretty much a wash. But on this one issue, Trump is preferable. I leave myself this out, however: given how unpredictable and inconsistent every political leader can be, Trump could certainly lead us into war, or try to, tomorrow. In that case, fuck 'em all. Actually, that's my view now, even though I give the edge to Trump in terms of personal preference on these provisional terms.

I continue to find it fascinating how hard many commentators work to demonstrate their loathing of Trump. It appears to be the case that admission to the "serious adults" table requires that one passionately declare that Trump is an absolute idiot of a kind the world has never before seen, that Trump is disgusting, that he's stupid beyond description, that he's a sickening specimen of a human being. But when we focus on what these same declarants are willing to support -- the bloody, murderous, vicious, duplicitous Hillary Clinton as the most obvious example -- we might begin to think that their real objection to Trump is more in the nature of an aesthetic objection. They object to Trump's style: he's crude, rude and bombastic in a way they find deeply objectionable.

I think in many cases the objection is even narrower than that: they don't like his manners. If we ask the old question about a politician running for office -- "Who'd you rather have a beer with?" -- but perhaps ask it in the form, "Who would you rather have dinner with?," I think the issue becomes clearer. They wouldn't want to have dinner with Trump -- he's crude, and rude, and he says outrageous things. But they'd love to have dinner with Clinton -- she's like us, she's so well-behaved and speaks in ways we find pleasing. In other words, Clinton lies more effectively. They don't care that Clinton lies. They only care that Clinton lies so expertly that they can convince themselves that her performance is genuine.

But, the Trump-bashers insist, we would never have something like this Bannon episode if Clinton were President! Exactly! Trump isn't dull! I give him points for that. Look, one of these monsters was going to be President. If you prefer the war-mongering, vicious, dull-as-dishwater Clinton, well, aren't you special. Me, I prefer the monster who at least doesn't bore me to death, while he endlessly lectures me in that hectoring tone so beloved by Hillary.

Well, that was a bit longer than I expected. I have lots more to say about all this; hopefully, I'll feel a bit better in the coming weeks, so I can get some of it onto the blog. To be continued...


Very sorry to mention this, but I really need a little help at the moment. Thanks to some very kind donors, I was able to pay the January rent. But having made that outlay, I'm basically broke again. And I have some bills due next week: the internet bill, an electricity bill (with an already extended due date), and a couple of others. Right now, I can't pay any of them. And I have no money for food.

Donations would be most gratefully received. And I'll be spending some time this weekend writing thank-you notes to those who have made donations recently. I haven't been able to do that before now, just too sick. So I'll get those notes out as quickly as I can.

Many thanks for your support!