Monday, August 1, 2016

The Trump Generation

As the cartoonish buffoonery that is Donald Trump rolls on and on and on like a group of You Tube videos, I am left to wonder a few things. Like how the hell anyone can claim to have any intellectual capacity left in their cerebral cortex if they really believe that this guy has anything positive to bring to the table. I fully understand people's revulsion to Hillary Clinton; I feel quite a bit of it myself, and I really am not sure if I am going to be able to mark a ballot in her name in three months. But I am under no illusions whatsoever that her main opponent is in any way a viable option, and I am starting to wonder about the sanity of anyone who truly believes that Trump has anything positive at all to bring to the table.
But I'm not going to write a detailed analysis of Trumps' myriad failings; that can wait for closer to Election Day. What is bothering me today is that there is an entire generation of people--I guess we'll call them the MTV generation, those that were born anywhere from the late 1970's to the mid 1990's--whose value systems seem to be seriously compromised. It isn't even so much, it's become clear, that they are morally deficient; it's that the ability to actually reason, to be able to think coherently, to be able to prioritize among competing sources of information and to construct a reasonable intellectual edifice of core beliefs, seems to be stunted and deformed to the point where it is emotionally and spiritually crippling.
I have made an effort to try to understand the appeal of Trump to prospective voters. And the only remotely justifiable position I have heard anyone articulate is that he is preferable to Clinton. Again, while I don't agree with that, I fully understand revulsion to Clinton, and so I am grudgingly willing to concede a small measure of legitimacy to that. Although to be truthful, if one digs deeper into the revulsion, more often than not, it isn't based on something real, but rather on propaganda bullshit like "Benghazi" or even the email server thing. Benghazi was unfortunate, but if anything has been proven over the five years of manufactured outrage over it, it's that there was no malfeasance involved. The email server thing was careless and stupid, but 1) nothing was compromised, and 2) the same people bitching the loudest had no problem with W and his minions doing the same thing on a much larger scale--so STFU already. I object to Clinton to being a corporate tool, of her willingness to pander to poll numbers, of her unwillingness to confront basic inequality issues, of her ruthlessness in protecting her own interests. But to suggest that she was treasonous, that she is a secret radical Islam sympathizer, that she has all these nefarious secret plans, that she murders her opponents, and any of three dozen stupid allegations? Come on. Are you really that fucking stupid? Are you really willing to mouth such palpable nonsense to justify the unjustifiable? And the more I hear this crap, the more I think that the real motivations behind such views are much more basic and repulsive--misogyny, racism, bigotry.
Because there isn't a viable reason for anything Trump stands for that isn't intricately linked to those three things. Trump displays the intellectual depth of blacktop. His sole reaction when anyone questions any of his innumerable statements that are lacking in depth and nuance is to personally attack those questioning him. On virtually every possible policy issue, he is misinformed or plainly wrong. His supposed record of competence doesn't stand up to scrutiny; he is an old-fashioned huckster, the type of guy that, 125 years ago, fleeced the locals and moved onto the next town before anyone got wise to the flim-flam. The hypocrisy he displays is flagrant. On a frightening number of subjects, his grasp of detail and nuance is completely lacking.
I suppose that I should not be surprised that for a substantial number of his "supporters," this matter not a whit. For I have known for years that the generation after mine, the ones that came of age in the "Morning In America" and Atwater years, they sucked at teats feeding bullshit and unreality, and they have belief systems that were rotten and untrue at the core from the get-go. But the bigger problem was not the beliefs themselves, but that an entire generation does not have the ability to reason, to think coherently, to problem-solve, to be able to differentiate between competing ideas to come to think for themselves. And it's no surprise, too, that this is the generation that has lost the globalization battle, that is spiritually vacuous and morally empty, that is conspicuously and unapologetically materialistic, that has chosen to be bought off by  bread and circuses (and drugs) rather than make the slightest effort to become intellectually responsible citizens.
But it is galling as hell to know that these people's votes count the same as mine. And that is quite possible that we are going to have the most ignorant and openly self-aggrandizing President in the long history of this nation. There is nothing quite like the sensation of being carried against your will over a cliff by a pack of mindless lemmings.

No comments: