Monday, January 15, 2018

"Outsider's Perspective"

I shall deliberately keep this short so as not to bury the point in exceptional writing. 

(Normally, I would make fun of that hyperbole.  But not today.  I am in a hurry.)

(Although that parenthesis admittedly took time.)

(As did that one.)

(As did… okay, I’ll stop.)

“You enjoy the attention, don’t you.”

I…  yeah… I guess… yeah…


I am visiting Canada, watching Canadian TV in my hotel room.  (Because I have looked out the window and, as with my entire “Winter Experience” growing up, going outside is not a reasonable alterative.)

If this post were to be written in one line, that one line would be this:

Wait.  A preamble to that one line. 

I am watching a Canadian commentary show, eager for an illuminating insight expressing an “Outsider’s View” to the "revoltin' development" south of the border.  And wouldn’t you know it? 

Canada broke through the baloney and hit it right on the head.

I do not know her name or her job or her relative status.  I recall only this line on her way to making a substantive point, which, for me, is of secondary significance, as her preambling pronouncement made bells of awareness go off in my head.

“President Trump”, she explained simply, “is an American character.”

Sit with that for a second. 

President Trump is an American character.

Not, as has been opined by learned historians, “An aberrant character in the Oval Office.”

Not, as Democrats gleefully brand him, “A Republican character.”

Not, as media pundits proudly profess, as it jacks up their importance as well, “A Frankenstein’s Monster character created by the media.”
An American character.

That’s all, and that’s it. 

Not saying there have not historically been Americans embodying the same characteristics, in the service of their country and their fellow persons (while enriching themselves enormously as well; they are Americans, after all, not saints.)   But check the “Needle of Proportional Consequences.”   Does it primarily point to “Benefits Us”, or more alarmingly – and exclusively – to “Benefits Me”?

No matter where the benefits ultimately reside, the exhibited behaviors are recognizably familiar.  Note the cluster of cultural characteristics the American value system prizes and praises and munificently rewards:

The Winner.

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”

Sound familiar?

The Unstoppable Self-Promoter.

“I am the Greatest!”

Sound familiar?

The Shameless Manipulator.

“There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Sound (suspiciously) familiar?

And then, there’s this.
Roy Cohn, Donald Trump’s lawyer and mentor adamantly denied he had AIDS till the day that he died. 


Sound familiar?

The Canadian commentator clarified a point unincluded in the American discourse.

I guess they just didn’t notice.

Americans searching for answers to their current sorry predicament need do only one thing.

They need to look in the mirror.

1 comment:

Ali Semchuck said...

Right on, as the expression went in the turbulent '60s. Glimpsing into the mirror offers an image that most people avoid so they can pretend that reflection doesn't exist.
If they took ownership of their behavior, they would realize it's the same or at least similar to the folks that they criticize.
It doesn't matter which side of an argument someone takes -- liberal or conservative. The real message rests in the delivery. By attempting to censor another person's comments, just because the words are offensive, erodes the free speech clause in the Constitution that is supposedly valued by Americans, myself included. If Americans continue on this path, one day all mouths will be silenced.