Defining Trump -- The Man, The Myth, And Insufferable Holy Ghost
Defining Trump -- The Man, The Myth, The Insufferable Holy Ghost
I would like to first start off by suggesting that the veneer has been worn off of Trump the man, and perhaps part of the myth as well surrounding him for decades upon decades due to a resounding repudiation through the 2020 election. But where the man stumbled and fell mightily from grace, the myth, seemingly, lives on which draws upon the words of author John Steinbeck to offer context for the fanaticism surrounding Trump where Steinbeck suggested that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
Trump, the purported billionaire, and bulletproof myth is all that those within the fly-over states slave away to be where we are not so far removed from the Greatest Generation that the succeeding Silent Generation built off the backs of where greater advantages bolstered the Greatest Generation in way of the GI Bill, Free Tuition, better education, and more prosperity due to low birth rates due, in combination to, the Great Depression and WWII. Because of this, the hallmarks of the current middle class and working poor tend to reflect a work within the system mentality and values set of the Silent Generation yet without the quantifiable conditions to lead toward this mythical prosperity — stagnant wages since the ’70s, rising debt due to the explosion of credit card usage in supplementing income from the early 80’s onward, and rising costs due to repeated inflation — that ultimately does not lead to the other regardless of inherent misconception held therein. The fait accompli had already manifested in shattering the middle class while stunting the working poor in perpetuity as America shifted into (and remains within) a newer version of serfdom (therefore a return to mass exploitation from a Marxian perspective) leaving much to be desired, and so very little left to gain.
But, as witnessed through my 20+ years in politics, ask any rural Republican about safety net programs and they will enumerate with great vigor and certainty how such benefits are bad for America even when — and most of them were — the beneficiaries of housing assistance, food stamps, Medicaid/Medicare and/or SSI, and so on. These were the humble, frugal descendants of the Silent Generation awaiting the day that their fates would inextricably change for the better through sacrifice and servitude while the product of their labor was the victim of depreciating value.
Where this was true, these were millionaires in waiting -- those that spent greatly upon resources unnecessary, and who that placed more value upon the product of their labor than their employer(s) offering substandard wages paving the way for generational poverty while the common man idled away within their dreams holding a can of beer in one hand, and a lottery ticket in the next. No, the perception of being temporarily embarrassed millionaires ingrained itself within the American psyche throughout the ’80s onward through the voice of Robin Leach as he painted vivid dreams for the Average Joe with his “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams" mantra. And who better to typify such lavish imagery than Trump himself as the man, the myth, and the insufferable holy ghost?
Trump was a jet setter, trend maker, draft dodger, and a demigod with greater delusions of grandeur that were bought and sold for over the course of forty years off the backs of taxpayers -- the forced reemergence of the Silent Generation with their frugality and keep your head down and work from within the system mentality. Yet secretively, who didn't fancy themselves on a yacht with gorgeous women or strapping lads sipping on champagne while dining upon caviar? This life could be yours if you dial now!
From television evangelists to Leach, and ultimately to Trump, their feet traipsed upon such floors of decadence while building vast fortunes to sustain their lavish lifestyles. Yet the implied acceptance of such avarice didn't stop there as it transcended all media. Even within the cartoons from our youth (Richie Rich, and Ducktales, a story based around a dubious scrooge McDuck seeking further wealth over all else) where the perception of those that have wealth have the value sets, mission statements, and such guidance to anyone and everyone into possessing a lavish lifestyle all their own whether it was true or not. No, behind every curtain laid not a majestic wizard readily available to make one’s dreams come true, but as quoted within a Lifetime movie of the period — ‘You scheme, and cheat, or sleep your way to the top until you have the power. And once you have the power you forget about what it was that drove you through such sacrifices to get here.’
So the value set of the Silent Generation intertwined within the amalgamation of incessant greed through rising material resource consumption by the Boomer Generation and Gen X (Bigger, Better, Bolder) gradually built the myth surrounding Trump -- brick by glorious, gold-plated brick -- and the absence of frugality preceding this Greed Is Good religiosity. Four years of Trump has been a lifetime in the making — a culmination of want as opposed to needing, high stakes with even greater returns if only you buy this timeshare and maximize its potential cost. Don't delay, call now! Yet within the void of true reality, nothing remains but a taciturn voice of a better tomorrow and the tacit, more fanciful thoughts and shackled dreams of the day when everyone can own a pool, a tennis court, a playground, and art gallery all their own. That greed — no matter the chaos and destruction it causes, nor the damage wrought — is equally the salve and salvation of man if only one would subscribe to such a belief set. And subscribe, generation after generation, we have, yet with so very little return upon our investment of health, limited wealth, labor, and time.
So how can one argue fact and reason where the layers of moral distortion permeate to the very core of the society at large? Case and point, collectively as a people, we are destroying the environment in seeking out our greed. But scientific data toward which is still highly discounted where it doesn’t serve our avaricious predilections. As author George Monbiot asserted during a lecture upon Consumerism, Capitalism, and Neo-liberalism on July 16, 2020 (I highly recommend watching it on YouTube or elsewhere) — “Not everyone can afford a swimming pool, a tennis court, an art gallery, and playground, yet there isn’t enough land for each to do so…” Further, “… while economic growth continues, nowhere have we seen an absolute decline in the [finite] amount of materials that we are using.”
Trump, the myth, embodies most of the deadly sins, but within a forthright manner that ushers the acceptance of being sinful, and boisterously so, regardless of the consequences. Yet, I would offer the caveat that as time lapses and the culmination of impressions that the myth surrounding Trump has laid upon the American psyche dissipates, there will be a level of compunction and earnestness in not being a silent generation through absconding away from the duty and morals dictating righting the wrongs of our forebearers.
As we have resoundingly learned from the pandemic, the value placed upon wages within the absence of employment less one naively, and recklessly risk their lives for which, is but a tool easily replaced and signifying nothing as the world burns leaving but a few left in the wake of disease and famine silently cursing such champagne wishes and caviar dreams. I am but a day removed from not being temporarily embarrassed is the subscribed to a paradigm, nor one so tied to such debt, nor shackled by subservience, yet what does it say about me in the things that I have done to arrive at such a point, or the resources squandered as I amassed them so cavalierly? Resources and wealth as temporary, malleable, and finite constructs offering little more than wishful whispers upon the wind here today but lost within the tomorrows of our lives.