The entirety of Trump’s political life exists in a netherworld of unreality. His presence is a fever dream so fantastical and grotesque it renders it literally unbelievable. Trump can be understood as a morbid symptom of a deep-rooted pathology taken root in our collective polity. The carnival-circus element of this presidency is one current of many currents of modern American politics; the flip side of the “respectable” current of the modern GOP represented by his vice-President Pence and the “smart” current represented by House Speaker Ryan.
All of these “traditions” of American conservatism are one system, a system meant to entrench the power of capital and weaken the social relationships of the many. And while the wickedness of this system should be apparent, it has no real resistance amongst opposing political parties in the United States. Instead of legitimate resistance or analysis, there is instead softball collusion between the two parties and corporate media to peddle our current political catastrophe as political circus-theater.
It would be easy to blame our catastrophe on Trump alone, a man whose appearance is not so much ugly as laughable, a figure so naturally caricatured he appears to be subhuman. Trump’s ignorance may not be a symptom of laziness but a profound incompetence bordering on the neurologically impaired. In a gossipy new book by Michael Wolff, staffers around Trump dish many of these details out. One detail, however, seems more emblematic of Trump than any other and that is his relationship to fast food:
“Trump’s propensity for fast food is apparently not solely due to taste: Wolff reported it’s also connected to his fear of being poisoned. The president in particular enjoys food from McDonald’s, Wolff wrote, because “nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.”
Trump’s preference for McDonald’s has not abated since his inauguration, POLITICO reported last month. Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime aide who worked in the White House as head of Oval Office operations until September, was sometimes sent to the McDonald’s on New York Avenue a few blocks away to satisfy the president’s fast-food hankering when the White House kitchen couldn’t satisfy it.”
There is something touching about the most powerful man in the world alone in his palace worried about being poisoned by the haters and losers sending out one of his underlings to get food from a random McDonalds close to the White House. There is something fitting about our Caligula-President, an inveterate germaphobe, surrounded by the opulence and trappings of the imperial presidency with a kitchen full of world-class chefs probably eating his fries and diet Coke alone. Because along with ignorance and laziness the next characteristic that most describes Trump is loneliness. Loneliness explains a man who has had (maybe) a lot of sex but seams to have no real experience of eroticism, a man whose eyes never sparkle, whose smile never evinces joy. Loneliness explains why there is no record of any kind of Trump ever laughing. Loneliness explains Trump’s sadism.
Trump’s pathologies are America’s pathologies. It would be easy to write these off as only the fault of one party, but it was on full display in his 2016 opponent, whose corporate decadence was wrapped in a more obtuse and euphemistic package. Decadence can be defined as a type of decline, or perhaps it can be seen as knowing a moral standard and declining to abide by it. By that definition, the American political system is decadent.
Most regular Americans throughout their day act decently, trying to abide by a sense of fair play and common sense. Most people act with decency and also expect reasonable consequences when they fall short. People care not only for their family, but for people on the street or at their job. But as people climb up the ladder of income and power through corporate and political positions, that sense of decency is lost. Decadence is on display in the policies of both parties; in the 1.5 trillion dollar tax cut but also in the fact that Obama deported more people back to Mexico in the last year of his presidency than in Trump’s first. Decadence is following Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, probably the greatest threat to our Republic since the outbreak of the Civil War, Obama went windsurfing with billionaire mogul Richard Branson. In Obama’s first serious interview since leaving office was asked by Prince Harry (!) what was of concern to him, Obama could only mention the dire effects of social media. Decadence is when Hillary Clinton probably knew that her husband raped Juanita Broderick and not only stood by him throughout his impeachment but paid no price is acquiring the Democratic nomination for president. What else, besides moral disdain, explains the toadies and lackeys in the U.S. Congress and business community who have put a mean spirited man well into his dotage in charge of our nuclear arsenal? Aside from criminals, most Americans don’t rape and when the country is on fire don’t have the opportunity to be paid six figures for speeches to investment banks as Obama did recently. But when you’re famous, they let you do it. You can grab ’em by the pussy.
American capitalism has always been a get rich scheme, sacrificing resources, either natural or human, for a quick buck. Never in the history of the human race has so much power and resources been wasted at the expense of so many for the profit of so few. When Trump’s presidency is finished he will be given immense honors, a presidential library, access to the world’s elite, just as Clinton and Obama and Bush have done. Everyone will be smiling. Maybe they’ll serve McDonalds.
former president Barack Obama