Friday, April 28, 2017

100 Days of Solipsism

Apart from known and suspected evil, apart from the blatant money-grubbing and wholesale incompetence, and the ongoing humiliation of the American presidency, what we've seen so far can be characterized as 100 days of solipsism, in which virtually everything--facts, policy, reality--is an unassailable extension of one egomaniac's maniacal ego.

It's all in two quotes from his most recent interview (with Reuters) that are already resonating in the early morning hours.  First, his warning that if negotiations should fail,“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” he said. “Absolutely.”

The second is the admission that, reviewing these first 100 days of being President of the United States,  "I thought it would be easier."

The first tells us not only that he is clueless as to the effects of his words--providing precisely the inflammatory statement confirming for the North Koreans that the US is about to launch a war on them--but that his ignorance is unassailable. What he says is right because he says it.

The second reflects a blithe belief in his ability to do what other presidents could not do, or could do only patiently, carefully and with great effort.  All that previous presidents or even presidential candidates did to prepare for this office was unnecessary, at least for him.  He didn't have to prepare, he doesn't have to work at it.

So this presidency has been a blizzard of executive orders that are little more than public relations releases, largely incoherent and unenforceable. Poorly conceived policies, a supposed tax reform package that is nothing but a page of bullet points.

His attempts at governing amount to bullying, and when that doesn't work, he becomes the bluffer-in-chief because he can't face being seen as losing.

At the top, contending idiots with no appropriate experience fight each other, while he and his family use the White House to enrich themselves in blithe defiance of the Constitution and law, getting away with it in the plain sight of a  media and justice system seemingly stunned and helpless.  Meanwhile the federal government as a whole starts to fall apart, lacking leadership and losing staff not sufficiently loyal.

As for the Russian connection, which is already wrecking careers and may bring down this government, I can only suggest following Rachel Maddow, because she is a consummate story teller as well as reporter, and she puts together the accumulating narrative.  Though I'm sick of it already.  I'm way too old for this.  But ego was implicated in the fall of Nixon because of Watergate, and it so far looks likely ego will emerge as essential to this so far shadowy scandal.

The egomaniac's ego may look impregnable. But the egocentric are also fragile, susceptible to flattery and manipulation, and in power, they are inherently unstable.

There are enough of these in business and politics that people know how to exploit these weaknesses, and so we observe the tawdry attempts to curry favor, as through the apprentice dictator's daughter, who does not appear to be exactly an innocent victim.

As for the future, we can only hope that a nation condemned to one hundred days of solipsism gets a second opportunity on earth.

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