Ruminations on Donald J. Trump!

MONDAY, JANUARY 21, 2019

Dr. King's outlook included:
Dr. King will be included to today's rumination. But we'll start with something George Will wrote concerning Donald J. Trump.

Will's column appeared in Sunday's Washington Post. At one point, he offered this:
WILL (1/20/19): Dislike of [Trump] should be tempered by this consideration: He is an almost inexpressibly sad specimen. It must be misery to awaken to another day of being Donald Trump. He seems to have as many friends as his pluperfect self-centeredness allows, and as he has earned in an entirely transactional life. His historical ignorance deprives him of the satisfaction of working in a house where much magnificent history has been made...

Which is why this fountain of self-refuting boasts (“I have a very good brain”) lies so much. He does so less to deceive anyone than to reassure himself.
"It must be misery to awaken to another day of being Donald Trump!" We think of Bob Dylan's prescient portrait of Trump, the one he wrote in 1968:
I pity the poor immigrant
Who wishes he would’ve stayed home
Who uses all his power to do evil
But in the end is always left so alone

That man whom with his fingers cheats
Who lies with every breath

Who passionately hates his life
And likewise fears his death

[...]

Who eats but is not satisfied
Who hears but does not see
Who falls in love with wealth itself
And turns his back on me.
"Poor immigrant" is metaphorical here. It seems to us that Dylan was describing a person who has journeyed far away from his own self, from his own soul, from his capacity for basic decency and goodness.

Dylan counseled pity for such unfortunate persons; Will comes close to doing the same. Dr. King was there to remind us of the greatness of the hundreds of millions of people whose names you'll never hear:
DR. KING (2/4/68): Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.
For the fuller quote, see below.

For the record, no one is required to be great, and few of us will ever reach any such level. But the world is full of good decent people who don't exist in the fallen state described in Dylan's song.

How did Trump become the way he is? We can't answer your question.

Through the ultimate accident, that of birth, he was saddled with a father who seems to have had terrible values. Who knows what else may have helped make him the person he is?

That said, we're all inclined to the imperfect state which Trump has clearly perfected. With that in mind, we're forced to suggest that Will may also be basically right in this earlier part of his column:
WILL: By his comportment, the president benefits his media detractors with serial vindications of their disparagements. They, however, have sunk to his level of insufferable self-satisfaction by preening about their superiority to someone they consider morally horrifying and intellectually cretinous. For most Americans, President Trump’s expostulations are audible wallpaper, always there but not really noticed. Still, the ubiquity of his outpourings in the media’s outpourings gives American life its current claustrophobic feel. This results from many journalists considering him an excuse for a four-year sabbatical from thinking about anything other than the shiny thing that mesmerizes them by dangling himself in front of them.
We think that's largely accurate. Our mainstream press and our liberal world are largely driven by the impulse to define oneself as morally superior to the fallen fellow known as Trump.

In this way, our journalists may start to resemble Donald J. Trump himself. There is one major difference, of course:

Donald J. Trump holds the nuclear codes. Our journalistic elites do not.

In the next few days, we'll be looking at some recent fails within our self-impressed liberal world. Next week, our new year will at last begin at this site, with the suggestion that we need a whole new gestalt or picture or paradigm as we think about the basic way our species tends to function.

Donald J. Trump is the poor immigrant we've chosen. We've been choosing him over the course of at least the past thirty years. During that time, our journalists have floundered and failed, with no help from our cosseted coterie of elite logicians.

(For personal reasons, we no longer say "from our professors." We always hated saying that. In the last year, we stopped.)

The world of Dr. King was full of good decent people. By way of contrast, our modern elites have by and large largely failed.

Might the functioning of these elites be described as a chastening example of the misperception called "Aristotle's error?" Our new year starts next week.

The fuller quotation: Few of us will ever rise to the level of being "great." Nor should we feel that greatness is required.

With that in mind, here is Dr. King's fuller quotation:
DR. KING (2/4/68): Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.

You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
For Dylan's full lyrics, click this.

"No people are uninteresting," Yevtushenko said in his poem, People. We will assume that includes Trump's voters, even the pitiable Trump himself.

"Whom we knew as faulty, the earth's creatures." For Yevtushenko's full text, click here.

31 comments:

  1. Oh, Thank You Lord, thank you for The Donald.

    I LOVE it so much when at any mentioning of Donald The Magnificent, pitiable dembots get all enraged, and foam is dripping from their mouths... Mmm-mm-good.

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    1. No matter how old you are, family history is important. While you might not think so at the time, as you get older there will be things you and your grandchildren will want to know. Most of us don't realize it until the older generations are gone and you can't replace first hand comments. Don't just put in about the good times, add in the harder times and how you overcame those trials. Another thing to remember is what caused the deaths of those you loved. There are many things that have been found to continue into future generations that knowing it runs in the family can be helped with now or possible in the future. prevention starts with knowing where to start. I wish someone had taken the time to write these things down for mew to be able to go back to. My Grandmother and my mother told us many stories of what things happened in their lives and about the people in their lives. I now wish someone had written those things down since both have passed now. But I never thought at that busy point in my life that I would one day want to remember all those things. So much family history is lost when the older generations are gone. Please pass it on to your family while you can. You can even just do it digitally so it can be accessed by family later on.Family pictures are something to cherish also. Just be sure to write down who is pictured in them, where they are taken and when. I have found family pictures that no one now even knows who is in them.

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      No matter how old you are, family history is important. While you might not think so at the time, as you get older there will be things you and your grandchildren will want to know. Most of us don't realize it until the older generations are gone and you can't replace first hand comments. Don't just put in about the good times, add in the harder times and how you overcame those trials. Another thing to remember is what caused the deaths of those you loved. There are many things that have been found to continue into future generations that knowing it runs in the family can be helped with now or possible in the future. prevention starts with knowing where to start. I wish someone had taken the time to write these things down for mew to be able to go back to. My Grandmother and my mother told us many stories of what things happened in their lives and about the people in their lives. I now wish someone had written those things down since both have passed now. But I never thought at that busy point in my life that I would one day want to remember all those things. So much family history is lost when the older generations are gone. Please pass it on to your family while you can. You can even just do it digitally so it can be accessed by family later on.Family pictures are something to cherish also. Just be sure to write down who is pictured in them, where they are taken and when. I have found family pictures that no one now even knows who is in them.

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      Delete
  2. “Our mainstream press and our liberal world are largely driven by the impulse to define oneself as morally superior to the fallen fellow known as Trump.”

    I’m sure the Allies felt morally superior to Hitler, who most likely was saddled with a father with terrible values. I see no reason to pity Hitler.

    Or, closer to home, I’m sure the South felt morally superior to the North, and vice versa, during the Civil War. It is left as an exercise to the reader to decide which side, if any, was right about that. But one thing is certain: any pity or sympathy or wise liberal humanitarian feeling Lincoln may have felt towards his fellow citizens did not stop him from the determination to crush the Rebels. The survival of the nation was at stake.

    There is a time and place for sympathy, but there is also a need to act when the situation warrants it. An unfit, mentally ill (Somerby’s view, not mine) President holding the nuclear codes sounds like the wrong time for misplaced sympathy.

    It’s also sort of a truism of politics that a political party or faction does indeed believe its ideas are better and morally superior to those of the opposition. Otherwise, you wouldn’t really have a party or faction willing to expend the energy and take the risk of fighting passionately for those ideas.

    Somerby’s idea of politics, at least the way he wishes liberals would practice it, is unworkable. Isn’t he the one who for years complained that liberals were “asleep in the woods” while the mainstream media went about undermining their ideas and their candidates, helping to get W Bush elected?

    Thus, why does Somerby insist on connecting the failures of the mainstream media with those he ascribes to liberals? These groups are in most ways fundamentally opposed to one another.

    And I seem to recall Somerby passing some rather morally superior judgment on his “fellow” liberals over the years, so, pot, meet kettle. His faux humanitarianism that he likes to don every so often by quoting MLK or Yevtushenko betrays a lack of self-awareness. It also betrays a very poor understanding of Dr King and the whole civil rights movement. Just as an example, it’s telling that Somerby never mentions the importance of LBJ to the success of civil rights. King needed a street fighter and arm twister, a “politician”, to make civil rights laws a reality. The devil is often in the details; LBJ had to get into the gutter to fight for those things, by, among other things, shaming the opponents of civil rights. He believed a pro-civil rights stance was morally superior to opposing it.

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    1. "He believed a pro-civil rights stance was morally superior to opposing it."

      He believed in framing political expediency as 'morally superior'. Every clown lives and dies by sanctimony.

      And as a result, a baker can't now refuse to make cake for a ritual he doesn't approve of, not without going to the supreme court. What a travesty.

      As for feeling "morally superior to Hitler", remember how your demigod Barry brought, by his own admission, a neo-nazi-controlled regime to power in Ukraine? And 5 years later it's still there, terrorising the population.

      And that's exactly what your bullshit pose of 'moral superiority' is worth - absolutely nothing.

      You know what - go read some Chomsky. Something written before he sold out to zombies...

      Delete
    2. I am not advocating any liberal causes. Nor am I defending Obama or LBJ. My point is that political engagement naturally involves the feeling of moral superiority over your opponents. That’s how politics works. That baker and his supporters feel just as morally superior as his liberal opponents. It is Somerby’s weak argument and poor understanding of politics that I am criticizing. You can try to discuss that point, or not.

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    3. Well, fair enough.

      However, if you're not advocating any causes, you could as well cite the nazis feeling morally superior to various degenerates.

      I mean, for some reason all your examples are of liberal-superiority nature...

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    4. Right. Exactly. And millions of people had to be convinced to risk their lives to get rid of Hitler and the Nazis, by being convinced that Hitler and the Nazis were moral abominations. Even though the Nazis has a fair amount of support for their cause as well.

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    5. Meh. The Nazis were defeated mostly by the Soviets, and Soviets didn't need any 'moral superiority'. For them it was simply an existential fight; survival.

      For the Germans, yes, they needed propaganda, but that was mostly the martyr-complex stuff.

      I mean, you ain't gonna risk your life just because something out there is 'moral abominations'. You will only risk your life if it poses clear and present danger. Either it's already attacking you, or it's definitely going to attack soon. That's the first message. And that they're 'evil' and incapable to reason with is only a secondary, ancillary message.

      Delete
    6. Republican doctors should refuse care for those that perturb their morality.

      Delete
  3. “Through the ultimate accident, that of birth, he was saddled with a father who seems to have had terrible values.”

    And thus, Somerby makes a moral judgment about Trump Sr., who probably also was saddled with a father who “seemed” to have terrible values, and so on ad infinitum into the distant past.

    Somerby is making his own moral judgment: Trump Sr’s values were “terrible”, or “seem to have been.” Thus, it seems that Somerby feels his own values are superior to those of Fred Trump, or at least he identifies values that are superior to those he ascribes to Fred Trump, in some real way. What is that if not moral superiority?

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    1. Oh god, not 'values'. Every time I hear the word 'values' I feel sick.

      Bob, you're a fucking zombie.

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    2. You're confusing "values" with "morals". It's when you hear about 'morals" that makes you feel sick. It's how you know you're a Conservative.

      Delete
  4. Actually a lot of people like Trump, or at least claim to approve of him. His approval has been higher than Pelosi's although these are changing. Hillary also had net negative ratings (and they have gotten worse). Probably what George Will means is that he and his friends, and pundits in general, don't approve of Trump - albeit in most cases for good reason (Ann Coulter also doesn't approve of him at the moment, but maybe for not-good reasons). Will's opinion is nonsense from any political point of view.
    Psychoanalysis of politicians is a waste of time, even if pundits were competent at psychoanalyis (or if anyone were). All politicians have thick skins, tend to think whatever they do is right, and look out for their own and their friend's interests.

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  5. Dylan's reference to immigrant is superficial. It arises only out of the "life is a journey" metaphor and has nothing to do with today's immigration crisis. It has nothing to do with being a billionaire either, but with being someone unable to appreciate life beyond accumulation of the material. That is Trump but it is also anyone else at any income level who is a stranger to life's true wealth. This is more of the 60s plastic people complaint of the young against the old who are presumed not to appreciate life fully.

    Has Somerby read no poets since his youth? Is Trump really interesting in any way except his excess? I agree with everyone here who has said that there is no pity for those who are hurting others and that certainly describes Trump.

    I pity Somerby but he too is doing evil by excusing Trump and his followers from their responsibility to others in this world. I suspect that Somerby and Trump suffer from the same thing -- neither of them reads anything and they don't understand themselves or the world as a consequence.

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    1. Also Dylan is an a-hole. Plenty of good people hate their lives, fear death, are never satisfied, want material comfort.

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  6. DR. KING (2/4/68): Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.

    Donald Trump is fulfilling Dr. King's adage by serving as President. He could have stayed away from politics as made another billion dollars. Instead, last I heard, deprived of his leadership his businesses lost money.

    Whether he's a good or bad President, I have no doubt that he's doing what the thinks is best for the country.

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    1. Donald Trump didn't expect to win. He is now fulfilling the ambitions of his puppetmaster. He us not serving as President but is using the presidency to grift and con, as he used his various businesses. His businesses all lose money, whether he is president or not. That's why the Russian money-laundering was needed -- to bail him out financially. He is obviously a bad president and he is not doing what is best for the country but what he thinks will be best for himself. His judgment is so poor that he cannot even tell what that might be.

      Dr. King's statement is fatuous. The term Great becomes meaningless when it applies to everyone equally. But King is safe because he only says people CAN be great, not that they will be or are great. Most people decline their opportunities to serve others. Some define these are women's work. Others define these as for suckers. Yet others think service is how deadbeats suck off the public teat, how they loaf and take advantage of hard working 'mericans, so they think service should be eliminated. Dr. King had a harder battle convincing people to serve others than he did convincing them to stop being racists -- and we all know how well that has worked out.

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    2. As MLK foresaw, racism in America has been largely overcome

      “I have no despair about the future,” wrote the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” “I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham. . . . We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.” He was right. It is a commonplace that racism is America’s original sin. Hardly a day goes by without attention being focused on instances of the racial injustice, friction, and double standards that can still be found in this nation."

      He was right.


      The article goes on to provide specific evidence in the enormous improvement in racism. https://outline.com/SEJcdD

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    3. White people like you believe this but most black people disagree about the extent of racial progress.

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    4. IMHO, Dr. King was a wuss, who (along with an even bigger wuss, Mahatma Gandhi) is glamorized by the ruling class because of his being a pacifist, iow: harmlessness and ineffectual.

      It was the Black Panthers who kicked the Man's ass. People like Fred Hampton.

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    5. "The article goes on to provide specific evidence in the enormous improvement in racism."

      Was the article wearing a MAGA hat?

      Delete
    6. Punching Nazi's is the correct thing to do. If you're lucky you'll catch Mao mid-kiss too.

      Delete
  7. *** Public Service Announcement ***

    David in Cal is a moral and intellectual idiot, in fact he’s this commentariat’s village idiot, and the complement to our own village troll Mao Cheng Ji.

    There's no right-wing source that DA in CA won’t parrot. In this case it’s the Boston Globe’s house reactionary hack, Jeff Jacoby. Didja get good laugh at the racism-is-dead screed? Check out his call to solve the prison rape crisis by bringing back public flogging. What a hoot! Was Jacoby serious or was it tongue-in-cheek?

    Who knows, who can tell, who cares?

    You may safely ignore anything DA in CA posts.

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    1. More feeling, dembot, please. Tell us more about these 'intellectuals' haunting you.

      Delete
    2. Datrat, You don't give David or Trump enough credit. Trump has cut taxes which are paying for themselves and paying down debt and I guess you are forgetting the Space Force that Trump will be assembling to protect us in any galactic and intergalactic skirmishes. Plus it just feels so good to be American again. Divided we rise. Trump is God.

      Delete
  8. Bob Somerby alleges to be a journalist, albeit a retired elderly one going senile, spends all his time attacking journalists. Watches Fox News all day. A Trump fan through and through. Disappointing, Bob's gone and lost and has no morals or ideals anymore. But its okay, Bob Somerby is unknown, failed to get even mildly known for his writing, a desperately bad failed ex-journalist. I only come here for the quirks and Russian trolls cavorting, because it's so amusing they think this blog means anything, or has any substantial readership. It's amusing. Here's to you, Mao and Dave! So relentless in being terrible fake weirdos on an obscure blog, but you're here every day like it's your job, even though you convince no one of anything. Cheers, freaks. You're really something.

    ReplyDelete
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