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OBSCENITY: A Perspective on the Political Rise of Donald J. Trump
by David Sparenberg
2016-09-30 10:22:17
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A single word sums up my thoughts and feeling about Donald Trump: obscenity.  Donald Trump is an obscenity.  He offends my every sensibility and there is for me no Donald Trump outside of this.

trumo01_400The Donald was referred to recently by a comedian on late night television as “the orange monster.” Of course humor is intended in designating a color and calling the monstrosity “orange.”  But Trump has never been entertaining or good for a joke as far I am concerned.  His thug politics and conman mode of operation is far beyond the pale of humor.

In recently leaked emails, former Republican Secretary of State and retired General Colin Powell called Trump “a national disgrace and an international pariah.”  This also holds true.  However Powell has left out the most essential marker.  Donald Trump is an exclusively made in America identity. This point should not be passed over and I will return to it.

Presently I will stick to my identifying word—obscenity.  Although there does come to mind the first principle of the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Gobbles: “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it often enough, people will believe it.”  This could readily supply a mantra for the Trump campaign: “The Donald, The Lie” The November Presidential election will tell the world if the American people are or are not lost souls in the way of the lie.

The Trumpism of Trump speaks directly to a collective sickness eating the heart and soul of far too many Americans—the pandemic addiction to money and extravagance, a diseased condition of greed, destruction and the brutal enforcement of American exceptionalism.  But American exceptionalism is not the rose colored ideal of a nation out of all nations, of rugged individualism in a country where everybody pulls themselves up by their bootstraps. It is more the glass darkly of an insistence to exclusively hold the high ground by whatever means, and the overt, along with tacit, refusal to voluntarily come down and help by example to stewardship in the ruined valleys of history, eco-sanity and humanity.  Other empires have fallen prey to the same pernicious pattern of institutionalized and militarized self-aggrandizement and self-delusion.  Everywhere the inevitable endgame of empire is ruination.  More often than not, the endgame concludes in blood and fire.

Yet again, to show courage and see the negative of Americanism embodied in Donald J. Trump opens the possibilities of growth, and not merely in nationhood, but more significantly in peoplehood.  The first step is acknowledging the shared reality; the next is clarifying self-examination: defeating the walled untruth of The Lie with that bravery that only comes about through openness and honesty.  A Trump victory is the unfortunate opposite: what The Lie conceals is the proof of its promise.

Here let us turn back and enumerate some of what the obscenity of Trump contains: the nightmare shadow of the American Dream, what previously was internationally called “the ugly American,” the commanding of the world stage by brash if sometimes smiling fascism—although the Trump smile is far less compelling or revealing than his posturing of hate—and not least, the further unleashing against the vulnerable of nationalistic “vulture” capitalism. 

As the consequences of climate change, increasing global population and diminishing resources, along with financial and social inequalities and dysfunctions increase, the Trump type of appeal to fear, hatred, irresponsible and injurious aggression will continue to gain support in more counties that this, spreading beyond the clear and present obscenity.  Globally we are witness to a rising tide of dictatorial leaders, dehumanized and prone to crime by their self-possession.

Should Donald J. Trump be elected President of these United States, the entire world will be put on notice.  It will not only be the government and controlling corporate elite but large numbers of the American people as well who are delusional and dangerous. The United States of American, to apply the current political terminology, will pose an ever more imminent “existential threat.”

Central to the Trump menace and challenge is this: American society cultivates and rewards narcissism.  The Donald is but the gargantuan of this collective pathology.
If Trump loses; which for the sake of human decency and dignity is necessary; but his defeat is marginal, the foregoing applies.  A low of political obscenity for our time will have marred us with its indelible mark.  The threat to democracy, here and elsewhere, is real and sinister, and if not summarily rejected will gather its forces for the next round.

Trump must be defeated and not merely defeated either, but crushed in the coming election, so that neither he nor any of his children, or any from the ranks of his color driven followers, will dare to enter politics at so high a level again.  Since I have lived through what I considered would be the impossible election of George W. Bush (and even others before the Bush debacle), I am not convinced Donald Trump will lose in November.  I am convinced that he should lose and lose big.

It is difficult to imagine a nation of so much wealth and power falling from the thinking dignity of President Obama to the bullying vulgarity of a President Trump.  Such a decline would indeed be a fall heard and felt around the world.

As days pass by; moving America ever closer to decision if not into the maw of fearful reckoning; it is with urgency and uttermost seriousness that progressive democratization strives to catch up and overcome demagoguery, rule by economic oligarchy and the hate mongering tactics of reactionary interests.  Fascism always is backward facing and Trump’s campaign of making America great “again” is no exception.  With the bid for ultimate political power, the politics of obscenity which are the politics of Donald J. Trump, are presently bringing us to the crossroad-truth of “if not now, when” and dragging us dreadfully to the abyss of “now or never.” 

Still, to wrap up here on a reality tempered positive note, if enough folk get out and vote to dump Donald J. Trump in the way Donald J. Trump deserves dumbing, than the grab for power by the obscenity of The Donald may yet prove to be the next beginning of the end of white male domination and racial and gender politics and political enforcement of discrimination, oppression, privation and injustice.   Would that such a beginning of the end becomes the content of a new and eventually true American exceptionalism!

David Sparenberg
18 Sept. 2016


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"Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold"
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Emanuel Paparella2016-09-30 14:48:45
Insightful piece! Indeed, if history teaches us anything, it is that by the time an empire arrives at a Caligula and/or a Nero as its Supreme Commanders in Chief, one can safely bet on the fact that it has arrived at the beginning of its end. Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, instructs politicians on how to keep the political-military-economic power games going for a while longer, as a chess game of sorts, but, as a Renaissance man, he ought to have known better and ought to have reflected a bit more extensively on origins and new beginnings and how to keep one’s humanity intact, for certain diseases cannot be romanticized as the product of "enlightenment" and are “the sickness unto death…” He ought to have asked if the gods shall ever return.

The ultimate question then naturally becomes, is a new beginning even possible for an extraordinary nation, the first one within modernity, founded on democratic ideals and principles, or will its “exceptionalism” ultimately prove to be a negative one, one that eventually kills democracy? A theme this worthy of a symposium. For people can be exceptional in both directions… To put it in other words, is the game pretty much over and done with? Presently, judging not only by the obscenity of one loony deranged egomaniacal sociopath, but by the legions upon legions of his followers who may end up electing him “president” (which is even more disturbing than the loony individual), not to speak of the degradation of the environment, the omens are not very good, and there is little time left to reverse the sorry trend.

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