On Friday I finished listening to the audiobook of Mary Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough,” about her uncle Donald Trump. If you haven’t read (or heard) it I recommend it. The book is narrated by Dr. Trump herself, and one meta-revelation from the book I got was that there exists at least one person with talent, brains, and high-functioning, emotional intelligence inside the Trump gene pool, that is, Mary L. Trump herself. Another meta-revelation was that Mary is an exceptionally gifted narrator of printed material, unlike her more famous uncle.
That there existed within the Trump sphere one person with the world-class credentials necessary to both diagnose and articulate Donald Trump’s numerous pathologies was our good luck and Donald Trump’s bad. It was, to borrow one of Donald’s overused words, incredible luck indeed.
The book put flesh and muscle and sinew on the bones of what we have known all along and said repeatedly in the pages of Palmer Report and elsewhere, that Donald Trump is a man of absolutely no talent whatsoever. (And no, I don’t consider a willingness to boldly assert obvious lies and commit conscienceless criminal outrages a “talent.”)
It was a vindication for me, for all the times I shouted epithets at my car radio or television or computer screen every time some well-meaning simpleton opined that Donald Trump was a “great businessman,” or every time some soulless, glassy-eyed, talking head suggested that Donald Trump had finally become “presidential.” Mary Trump shows us that Donald Trump’s failures as a businessman, as a human being and as a president are spectacular and have always been inevitable. One might even say that what Trump doesn’t know about the things he claims expertise in could fill a book, and Mary Trump has written that book.
But one of the book’s primary functions is to serve as a reminder that Donald Trump is not the only problem, he is a symptom of a deeper, systemic problem. While the book doesn’t make this obvious point overtly, it didn’t really need to, but Donald Trump has all the elements of illegitimate legitimacy. He is white, he is male, he is (apparently) rich, he is (apparently) confident. Had he been a black woman or a poor white man, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Americans are obsessed with the lifestyles of the rich and famous and white, and had a single one of these necessary and sufficient attributes been removed Trump’s deserved failure would have been guaranteed.
Not only that, but Trump is exactly the kind of person certain other people want to see in power. As Dr. Trump puts it in her book, “After the election, Vladimir Putin, Kim Jung un and Mitch McConnell, all of whom bear a passing psychological resemblance to Fred [Trump, Donald’s Machiavellian father], recognised in a way others should have but did not, that Donald’s checkered personal history and his unique personality flaws, made him extremely vulnerable to manipulation by smarter, more powerful men.”
Donald’s boasts about himself were both believed by the stupid and exploited by the smart, which explains in a single stroke how he became president of the United States. “His pathologies have rendered him so simpleminded that it takes nothing more than repeating to him the things he says to and about himself dozens of times a day,” Dr. Trump continues, “he’s the smartest, the greatest, the best, to get him to do whatever they want, whether it’s imprisoning children in concentration camps, betraying allies, implementing economy-crushing tax cuts, or degrading every institution that’s contributed to the United States’ rise and the flourishing of liberal democracy.”
Getting rid of Trump in November isn’t the beginning of the end, it’s just the end of the beginning. We have a long way to go, and the changes required may not merely involve the slow grind of political change, it may even require the glacial movement of human evolution. Getting rid of Trump is just the beginning of the work ahead of us. Not only must we face and fix the damage Trump has done, but global issues like climate change, poverty and the unrest created by systemic racism will be the struggles that define the remainder of our lives.
In the meantime we have a first step to take on this thousand mile journey. Let’s vote the child-raping, murdering monster out of office in November. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.