Farting is Normal (August 23, 2018)

The once unimaginable election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States of America has prompted the not uncommon observation that farting is normal, period. The latest evolution of this metaphor and once mildly embarrassing reality (at least among his base of alleged “deplorables”) is that it doesn’t matter whether Trump paid hush money for consensual sex with another adult. The argument is that in the minds of the masses consensual sex with others during marriage is either natural, normal, expected, historical, tolerable or irrelevant. That may very well be true though as a matter of fact – actual or alternative – it is conveniently impossible to prove it. I haven’t yet resolved how the diehard Christians rationalize the debate (but they’re generally more vocal when attacking people than when supporting them).

Considering the shrewdness of this particular theme, it is a small step to enlarge the acceptability of human nature generally to embrace the tolerability of vulgar or cheap language such as routinely characterizes Donald J. Trump (whose crassness is regularly excused as “saying it like it is”). Even if you find that suggestion unacceptable what seemingly “trumps” everything he does or says is that Trump is allegedly making headway against a failing economy, promoting the rule of law (except maybe when it applies to Trump directly or when it involves immigrants) and roundly “making America great again” (a meaningless description which one politician has shockingly challenged ever existed in the first place). But truth, depth and clarity have never been elements with which Trump has any truck. Rather he has advanced that the “art of the deal” is continually to assert what you prefer to say and anticipate will convince others. This self-styled “genius” and business giant thereby succeeds to ignore his intellectual shallowness, repeated bankruptcy and – this may yet unfold – stinging debt alliances with Russian oligarchs (whose mob mentality makes the threat of the Common Law punishments laughable).

For someone like Trump who is so politically anxious to dub himself a man of the people, his historical avoidance of the lower classes and preference for gold-plated toilets is a challenge to logic. Indeed any attempt to attribute reason, truth or morality to anything he does is perpetually met with incongruity. It is nothing for him to deny a fact even after having asserted it himself. Not to mention his mercurial relationship with those highly qualified friends of his. What matters however is whether the American public will sustain this inexcusable childish behaviour. To this point the Republican Party (GOP) has proven itself collectively to be a bad parent, always looking to hide or discredit the accusations directed at its putative leader (though I prefer to see him more as a puppet of the interested parties).

It is hardly surprising that Trump’s supporters are seemingly unshakeable. Recall for example the inclination of the ancient Roman city states to send to the forum those members of their local community who were rich and famous; there was no competition from those of substance or purpose. All that mattered was the appearance of success – or at the least the hope for it. This doesn’t however ensure that the majority of the American public will maintain a limitless tolerance of mediocrity at any price, particularly when so many of the issues surrounding the improvement of American society involve more than returning to the good old days of the 1950s when blacks were obliged to eat their sandwiches, void their bladders and drink their water from segregated facilities. It must also motivate the more cautious minds to know that it is estimated by 2045 that whites will be a minority in America. It is this and similar realities (such as global warming and endless pollution) which motivate thinking persons.

Unless one is unalterably committed to voting for one Party or another at any cost, I have trouble understanding how it is marketable that only the Republicans want to help the disadvantaged and unemployed. My experience after 40 years of active interest in the matter is that the Republicans are the last group from whom to expect such altruism. But even having said that (and at the same time acknowledging that Bill Clinton has his own history of lasciviousness), I cannot imagine that Americans will for long stretch their prejudice and unfailing support for someone who so shamelessly seeks to dilute his worthlessness with the mere hope of improvement; nor that Americans are mute to the values of fairness and equality (not to mention the affection for such intellectual staples as language and art).

But in the spirit of being candid, I am similarly convinced that Michael Avenatti will become the hero of the Democratic Party.  He has already made it clear that contrary to Michelle Obama’s claim that “When they go low, we go high”, his fear for the Democratic Party is that it has a tendency to bring nail clippers to a gunfight. The time for being noble, kind and classy has elapsed. According to Avenatti, “…our country (is) under an unprecedented assault by a con man who fights only for himself and degrades the vulnerable and the powerless and regular working people day in and day out”. Perhaps the smell of spring is in the air!

An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson