So NorthernOkie suggested I write some more about my political journey, saying that a trilogy makes for the best reading. I pointed out to him I’ve already written three posts about it, but then again, as he is literally the ONLY person who is requesting anything from me, I suppose there is no harm about writing some more.
As I write this, I’m listening to Genesis classic song No Son of Mine, likely this is why I’m thinking of the political phenomenon of political polarization. I’m not sure when I first heard this phrase, but I know it became pretty pronounced in 2000 Presidential election. That was the election where Bush won the Electoral votes but not the popular votes, and the Democrats were enraged. “He is not our President!” Several times I saw Al Gore called the “real” President on the talk shows he would go on.
After the 2012 election I just started to retreat almost totally into myself. If not for the friendship of a couple folks I think I likely would have ended up in a mental ward somewhere. Life was painfully difficult. I’d lost faith in my old sources of news, I’d lost faith in our government, and I was losing faith….well, in all kinds of things. It was during this time that Donald Trump became a political phenomenon.
And while I’ve written a fair amount about the Trump controversy (was the election stolen, and did he plan a coup?), I’ve not written much about what I actually think of Trump. And really, other than this blog here, there is not much more to say about my political philosophy today.
I really don’t even remember much about Trump from this time. I remember hearing about how he had billions, and that he could spend $100,000 a day, and he would still have money twenty seven years later. I didn’t know (or care) what political party he was with. If I had heard he was a Republican, I would have felt he was one of the stuffed shirts that I felt were part of the problem.
In the meanwhile, I was getting disgusted with politics, trying to salvage a marriage with a verbally and emotionally abusive wife, working anywhere from 90 to 100+ hours a week, and trying desperately to be a good father to my infant son.
The Apprentice aired January 4 of 2004. It was a new year, and the last year that I felt any hope that maybe I could make a career where I was at. I had turned my department around, people were talking about the good job I was doing. In the meanwhile both my ex and her mother were complaining I didn’t make enough (adjusted for inflation, I was making almost eighty thousand, but that was not enough for them) and I was getting to an age where I felt that I really needed to figure life out yesterday. I was in my thirties, and running out of time if I wanted to achieve any of my dreams while I was young.
I won’t say much about the show except that whoever was producing it did an amazing job. I started out watching it for curiosity, and also because in the back of my mind it seemed like an amazing idea. This was what Capitalism was really supposed to be about, after all. You compete, but you compete intelligently. You learn how to make allies and struggle against enemies. You learn how to get the job done. And you learn (arguably) from the best. Also….I won’t deny….but seeing some of these elegant bozos turn out to be no more than stuffed shirts, and to see them get called on the carpet, made me feel better about my own life. And that first season I gotta hand it to Donald….he did an amazing job of playing the part of a super intelligent, tough but fair businessman.
The gloss started to wear thin for me when the show became The Celebrity Apprentice. A great deal of the appeal had been the idea of fairly ordinary folks struggling, competing, and learning the skills to become a high level CEO executive. Celebrities….by definition….they’ve arrived. Most of them didn’t learn anything. Most of them won on their celebrity status and not on their business skills. More and more I didn’t care. And when Trump fired Lou Ferrigno for “disloyalty,” when his team frankly might not have lost had they listened to him…..to me it basically just demonstrated that Trump was no more than a corporate hack.
Another thing that caused me to lose faith was Trumps books. I can honestly recommend The Art of the Deal as an entertaining and informative read, if not about business, at least about how Trump sees business. His other books (ok….I’ve only read two others) were frankly dull, and all I really learned from them was “you better get rich soon buddy! Otherwise the rich are gonna devour you and there will be nothing you can do about it!” “Oh…..ok Mr. Trump….how do I get rich?” “Read my books….start a business….but don’t start a stupid business, start a smart one. A really big, profitable business.” “Ok……how do I do that?…..Mr. Trump…..? Mr. Trump!? “And hear the sounds…..of silence…….” Yeah, I already knew that, I’ve been watching the rich devour the poor all my life. I’m frankly glad that Trump and Kiyosaki (who I have more respect for) want me to be rich. But I don’t need a book to tell me that if I don’t do something fairly soon, the world is going to chew me up and spit me out. I have at least some common sense. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/07/25/donald-trumps-ghostwriter-tells-all
About this time I was only listening to two of the conservative talk show pundits. The rest had just convinced me they were sell outs. The two were Michael Savage and Jerry Doyle (may he rest in peace). Michael Savage was selling his own brand of conservatism, which I don’t agree with any longer, but at the time he seemed to be more passionate on some levels, and more open minded on others. He wrote a book in which he suggested the nation needs to be run like a business instead of an empire. Trump read the book and the rest is history. I’ve no idea what happened to Savage, I believe he finally offended enough people it’s hard to find him on the air, and honestly, I’ve moved on. But the right wing was sold on the idea, disgusted with politics as usual, and the media just could not get enough. Ironically, once they got him elected, they turned on him like rabid wolves. The rest of my thinking about Trump has been chronicled in previous posts, which I will leave below:
Ok….I think that is it….hopefully this puts into full perspective my thinking on Trump. To sum up though…..he took the hopes and the maxims of the conservative movement, he pretended to be one of us when he honestly never was, and he got our votes. Michael Moore said it best….we’d never had a candidate stand up for us so well. Then he won, and the rest was….well…..you make up your own mind. Just like with Jesus, I can point out facts, but honestly you may think more clearly than me, and thus may come to better conclusions. All I will say is….I voted for Trump the first time. The second time….I voted for Rand Paul in the primary, and Jo Jorgenson in the proper election. Make of that what you will.
Your mither waz a hamster and yer father smelt if elderberries
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Best historical recap that I’ve read in quite awhile; thank you.
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Thank you! Now if we could only get Stephen Colbert to run….