Sunday, February 7, 2016

Donald Trump, Role Model

Guys who are really tough do not boast and bluster about how tough they are. The commanders who won World War II were certainly tough guys. They did not beat their chests and proclaim how tough they were.

They did not have to. Their actions provided ample evidence of their toughness. When you have no record of government service and thus no political accomplishments to speak of, you are obliged, if you somehow get the idea that you should be the president, to adopt a posture and a persona that shows unremitting political toughness.

Anyone who mistakes it for the real thing does not know what tough is.

Recently, I suggested that Donald Trump’s act, his performance, would set a bad example. After all, the president is a role model. Being at the top of the status hierarchy, he shows what success looks like. If a Bill Clinton abuses and harasses women he is telling the world that it is fine to abuse and harass women.

Precious few people have been paying very much attention to the role model issue, but Heather MacDonald has done the best job of explaining it. I doubt that this is going to change anyone’s mind, but here is MacDonald’s analysis:

But Trump’s conservative supporters should consider at least this: his likely effect on civilized mores. Trump is the most gratuitously nasty public figure that this country has seen in living memory. He is the very definition of a bully: at every opportunity to kick someone when he’s down, Trump takes it, while shamelessly trumpeting his own dominance. Long after former Texas governor Rick Perry had withdrawn from the primary race, Trump was still sneering at Perry’s glasses and intelligence during campaign rallies and gloating about how he had forced Perry’s withdrawal. New York governor George Pataki held out longer in the campaign, but he was never a threat to Trump. Yet nearly every Trump stump speech still includes a mean-spirited reference to this nonentity. Trump followers defend his penchant for ceaseless, obsessive attack on the ground that he lashes out only when he has himself been criticized. But there is virtue in proportionality. Trump escalates a conventional campaign sally into the excuse for nonstop, self-aggrandizing war.

Trump is the embodiment of what the Italians call “maleducato”—poorly raised, ill-bred. Indeed, judging by the results, his upbringing seems to have involved no check whatsoever on the crudest male instincts for aggression and humiliation. Trump is unfailingly personal in his attacks. Nor is his comportment merely a refusal to be politically correct. Trump was on solid ground when he responded to Fox News’s Megyn Kelly during the first Republican debate that he had no time for political correctness. A repudiation of political correctness means truth-telling, however. Trump’s personal sneers are not truth-telling but merely the self-indulgent gestures of someone who makes no effort to control his desire to humiliate.

Everyone thinks it’s about policy and posturing, about talking tough and blustering. And yet, it’s also about good manners. Without good manners social harmony degenerates and people find themselves involved in class struggle and endless psychodrama.

MacDonald continues:

Conservatives, of all people, should understand the preciousness and precariousness of manners. Boys in particular need to be civilized. That task will be more difficult with Trump in the White House. There is no reason to think that Trump will change his tone should he get elected; he shows no sign of a capacity for introspection and self-correction. Any parent trying to raise a boy to be respectful, courteous, and at least occasionally self-effacing will have a hard time doing so when our national leader is so reflexively impolite, just as it is harder to raise girls to be sexually prudent when they are surrounded by media role models promoting promiscuity. The culture has been coarsened enough already. It doesn’t need further degradation from a president.

8 comments:

Sam L. said...

My mother would have referred to him as a low-quality person. The Russian phrase I learned is ne kultyurni--not cultured.

Scullman said...

So, let’s see. We’ve had seven and half years of a guy with an Ivy League education, a wonderful razor sharp crease in his pants, who fully understands the “presciousness “ of manners and civility.

And it’s been an uncontested, outright f@cking disaster for America. Period. Full Stop.

Have the African American young men of this nation emulated a single measurable thing from Obama's civilized, courteous, polite, example? Chicago anyone? BaItimore? You answer that in the affirmative, and I'll suggest you ask Dr.Schneiderman for the next available hour. You need it.

I’ll take the guy who won’t shut up about illegal immigration, knows how to cut a deal where WE come out on top, and has brilliant, educated and successful grown children (for such a “mean-spirited” “bellowing” bully). I’d love to see a man who loves his country and wants to improve it (not transform it) sit in the White House again.

And think how great it would be to have a President who doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder about the very country he leads.

"Humiliate" our enemies rather than kiss their asses all over the globe, and bolster our allies, too? What a concept.

America’s boys will just have to get their training and civilization, along with the principles of respect and courteousness, where they are supposed to get them. At home.

Ares Olympus said...

No arguments from me for getting on the bandwagon against Trump swagger.

The last swaggerer we had was Bush who started a war because "He tried to kill my daddy" (After his daddy failed to communicate that invading Kuwait was a bad idea, after his daddy had armed this dictator, and encouraged a war against Iran, and then had to push Saddam out of Kuwait by force.)

Interestingly President Carter offered an interesting opinion between Trump and Cruz, calling Trump better for being malleable, that's just another argument for Cruz, while Carter is basically assuming Trump will stop his swagger after he's elected and govern from "Let's make a deal" point of view, of course on a conservative-leaning blog, that says Trump isn't a true conservative at all, and everyone knows it, and no true conservative will vote for him.
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http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jimmy-carter-picks-trump-over-cruz
"I think I would choose Trump, which may surprise some of you,” Carter was quoted as saying. "The reason is, Trump has proven already he’s completely malleable. I don’t think he has any fixed (positions) he’d go the White House and fight for. On the other hand, Ted Cruz is not malleable. He has far-right wing policies he’d pursue if he became president.”
-------

But we all know Trump isn't auditioning for role model or for president for real. He's auditioning for "Let's destroy the republican party and humiliate as many people along the way as possible."

You really have to think Hillary put Trump up to this. There's no other explanation.

But of course Trump's power doesn't come from Hillary. It comes from the disaffected Americans who are tired of voting for a party that says one thing when it runs for office, and basically does nothing about it when they're elected.

And Cruz rose up with that identical voter base, which makes it more amazing, considering Number 1 and 2 are basically on the same side. So perhaps the Trump explanation is that the Republican rebels are sharpening up Cruz by using Trump as a grinding stone. Trump mostly keeps Cruz's unlikability off the table.

There is a strange gamble afoot. The republicans control majorities in the house and senate, and all they need is high voter turn out to expand a few more seats in the house and senate, to have veto-override in the house, and filibuster override in the senate.

So perhaps the hidden plan is like what Ralph Nader claimed - he said he helped the Democrats gain seats by voters who normally wouldn't even show up.

And under this logic, Trump running third party MIGHT guarantee a lose of the presidency, but complete control of the house and senate so the president doesn't matter.

Everything the conservatives want, that the republicans pretend they can't give, will then be in their reach, president or not.

It does make sense - if you don't need to win the presidency, then you can be as uncivilized as possible, while preparing its own republican candidates to "grow a pair" to rise the battle for social conservative agendas to finally win.

Of course, the only downside is if the Supreme Court really does have some open seats, but both Clinton and Sanders are OLD AS DEATH, and may not make a second term.

Plus, who do conservatives want to blame for the 2017 economic depression, Hillary or a republican? And voters will decide in 2020 that 12 years of democrat presidents is enough, and the republicans can take everything.

And none of this gets done by "please clap" candidates! Sorry Barbara, your son is indeed to well mannered for this election cycle, just bad timing.

Larry Sheldon said...

I would be interested in your reaction to the reported interactions between Trump and Dr. Carson in the apparent "entrance" mishandling. (I did not t watch the program so I don't have a first-hand opinion.).

Scullman said...

The mere fact you would use anything Carter thinks, or says, about anyone, proves the obvious point that you're a complete asshole.
Congrats.

(Like we didn't already know that)

Marsh said...

Complaining about the tools Trump uses, is not persuasive. It's not as if the ruling classes haven't used the same tools against patriotic Americans. They are openly hostile and contemptuous towards us. They've been calling us ignorant Yahoo's and bigots every damned day. Trump is our reply.

Heather calling Trump "nasty" tells me everything I need to know about her objectivity.

You and Heather are worried about civility. But, what you both fail to see is that political correctness is civility gone mad.


"Be not intimidated...nor suffer yourselves to be wheeled out of your liberties by any politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice." John Adams

By The Sword said...

^this.

Anonymous said...

What Marsh said.