Wednesday, January 03, 2018

OK, I waffle on Donald Trump; but no one gets to bargain with my own life (especially with fictitious nuclear buttons)


I wanted to open this blog in 2018 by noting my own inconsistent attitude toward our president, Donald Trump.

I used to watch the Apprentice in the mid 2000’s, and at the time I though his judgment in the boardroom, on who to fire, made sense.  I recall especially one episode where he fired someone for a “life threatening” admission which reminded me of my own experience when substitute teaching. I thought the episode where Troy McClain “took one for the team” (allowing, as Trump even notes in “How to Get Rich”, his legs to be waxed on camera) was interesting, and later Trump offered to pay all of Troy’s college tuition.  Troy indeed allowed a major bargaining of his own body integrity. 

But as a political candidate, his willingness to give in to hypertribalism seems shocking, and goes way beyond the behaviors I would have expected from “The Apprentice”. He acts like a quasi-dictator who will play to his base and settle a score against the intellectual “elites”.  Resentment, grudges, and “take care of your own” mentality can feed both fascism and communism.

I was concerned that he would turn on individual Internet users as posing unnecessary security problems with gratuitous behavior;  instead, he embraced Twitter himself and went after only the mainstream liberal media. He has hinted that he could jail journalists or defeated political opponents, as if that is how you make things right for your base.

Now, I watch the very real possibility that he could have boxed himself into a corner on not allowed North Korea to have nuclear weapons.  That’s a theory that I have gone along with, part of the  McNamara “Domino Theory” in Vietnam that I covered in my own DADT-1 book (especially my summer of 1968 at the Pentagon, described in Section 10 of Chapter 2).  But his increasing “rocket man” tweets and the latest exchange over who has the biggest nuclear button, something else is going on. Trump mentions the starving people in North Korea, but doesn’t see he defeats his own point.  People in South Korea, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, and eventually all of the continental United States are relatively “rich” and have lives that can be bargained away in a “limited nuclear war” designed to prove something for the future. We’ve seen this test of resilience before.  As I noted in my books, the Vietnam era draft, which Trump avoided, but which sheltered a lot of us (including me) with student deferments and better treatment in the military but which let “McNamara’s morons” become cannon fodder, plays into the argument.  Who individuals show resilience when faced with common challenge is always a moral issue.
I have tweeted Trump, trying to calm down his most reckless comments, and reminded him several times that even the continental US could face am EMP threat (especially E1) which might be easier for North Korea to pull off than an actual nuclear strike on a city.  I have had some success in getting the major media start taking this seriously.  I have played ball with Trump on some other issues, saying you can solve health care if you do all the math (on subsidies and reinsurance) first.

Let me add that Trump personally doesn't seem hostile to cis-gender gays (as he had some as candidates on The Apprentice), but makes jokes distancing himself from the debate when be allies himself with people known for anti-gay activity in the past (Pence: "He wants to hang 'em all".) He seems to have a problem with gender ambiguity itself.  
    
Populism may air grievances and put former “elites” in their place (maybe in tombs) but it doesn’t solve problems.  It just spreads around the sacrifices, and you don’t know when they will hit “you” personally.  But when they do, it’s entirely on “you”.
  
But I still refuse to play identity politics or intersectionality. i can't join somebody else's group to pimp my own victimhood.  I have to get my own work done first to be of any good to others.  If Trump or anyone else bargains that away, I’m gone. 

Picture: Accuweather advertises my own books back to me. 

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