Adm. Oliver Hazard Perry bested the British in the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence in the war of 1812, and tersely offered, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” A hundred and fifty years later, that famous patriotic phrase was turned ironic by Walt Kelly. Pogo’s reply is now better-known than Perry’s. It is no less true; the irony is lost to the fading of history.
The topic of sociopathy (psychopathy) in American politics has been considered before here and elsewhere. Presidential and other national politics often give rise to discussion of the topic of Axis II Cluster B behavior.
The 2005 tape of Donald Trump preparing for a television appearance has become the topic of the day. Given the predilections of the American polity’s attention span, it may well have faded within a month to an incidental element in a loud and tumultuous campaign.
I do not know Mr. Trump. I do not know if he is genuinely a psychopath. He certainly does act like in this video.
What I find remarkable is not the behavior of the psychopath, for their behavior is generally unsurprising when one knows their constitution. What I DO find endlessly fascinating is the willingness of people, without the excuse of psychopathy, to set aside clear moral judgment in consideration of psychopathic behavior.
Some families of psychopaths include people who are quite disturbed in other ways. Their willingness to excuse psychopathic behavior can be more disturbing, in that they DO have the moral capacity for revulsion. They choose to be indifferent to the psychopath’s atrocities.
I find it interesting that Mr. Trump said that he has heard much worse from Bill Clinton while golfing than he stated on the video. I have no reason to dispute his assertion. Mr. Bill Clinton may have been as morally blind as Mr. Trump is.
The surprise again is not in the moral blindness of the psychopaths, but in the people who recognize and tolerate their behavior, and in the societies which allow them to rise to high places. That is the most troublesome diagnosis for America; that our society cannot detect and quarantine moral imbeciles, but rather exults in them.
PS: More about US. So F’ng What? reads the story of the mysterious woman on the video tape – the one that got George W. Bush’s cousin fired (see Billy Bush.) NBC even got scooped on this very tape that they made. This stuff is no biggie in the world of entertrash that we love. This crap has been running in the veins of the American Press & Public for decades. Perhaps Mr. Trump is a whoremaster, and he abuses women freely in the public sphere – women who might not mind it much, for the money, power and success that whoring brings. But we have no excuse for our pretended outrage and squeamishness about this stuff, nor the many many more shocking revelations that are coming. We’ve reveled in this sort of garbage for decades. This stuff isn’t coming out of the blue – it is orchestrated carefully by the media machines, both political and entertainment-based, to “shock” the American public. Their calendar reads that on, say, October 22’nd, there’s some fresh trash story for release from one of the nozzles that sprays our daily rubbish. We do our politics, we live this way. There is no excuse for religious violence, but how can WE pretend that WE are the side that respects women in the cultural wars? Have we become too sick to survive long as a society?
The last two Presidents who dared pragmatism in office are publicly disdained. They were politically lynched from within their respective parties. The first one dared to stand up to the tide of mindless liberalism within the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Left preferred to savage him from within. The “scorched-earth” politics of Lee Atwater and Newt Gingrich was in fact copied from the Democratic Left. The movement to the center by the Democrats took another twelve years, and a national destruction of the stale Democratic left machine, before the Democrats could move towards the center.
The Republican self-lynching was even more atrocious, perhaps. The Republicans took the most politically skilled President that they had run in a hundred years, and gave him up for sacrifice. His crime? Changing the budget and tax structure of Amierica so that a balanced budget could be envisioned within five to ten years. His Democratic successor got most of the credit; his son destroyed the political sacrifice that his father made to control American spending.
Both Carter and George Bush Sr., are vastly under-respected and accomplished Presidents who are unfairly scorned. The legacies that they contributed enormously to – the fall of the Soviet Bloc and the restoration of US governmental financial solvency – were credited to their successors, frittered away by lesser men, and the admiration and respect they might have gotten from a mature and sane nation was lavished upon such fractured men as Clinton and GWB. Many of America’s problems, which are perhaps fatal, are the result of America’s rejecting sane mature leadership for the thuggish childishness of PunkAmerica. Had Carter and George Bush Sr. served two terms with at least lukewarm support, they might have finished some valuable work which we started. Instead, we only remember them as wimps and clowns.
Ask yourselves – what was so bad about Carter and George Bush Sr.? They are generally loathed – but for what? Shredding the constitution, like Nixon? No, we just hate them because we are the citizens of PunkAmerica. We are finally ready for the revolution of the senile bureaucratic superstate – the type of sad 20th century construct which died in bed around 1990 in Eastern Europe. We have allowed the creation of Putin and ‘radical Islam’ by our own failings. These may be part of the epitaph for the last cycle of the United States, PunkAmerica, in the 21st century.
Countries do not die from without, but from within. Apex predators go extinct, not because a greater predator subsumes them, but because they become ecologically senile. We have had the epitaph of the Roman Republic and Empire under study for hundreds of years; yet when the time comes, we fail to understand them.
We are not dying from barbarian invasion. We are dying because we are in love with candidates who talk about eating pussy when a chick is on her period. And Mr. Trump is no more revolting than his opponent. We are pitiful, tragic shit – we have admitted it – and we deserve no better. That is our decision, not those of the fanatics who hate us.