Much as I hate finding myself on the same side with assorted lefties and neocons, I don’t particularly like Donald Trump.
I find him vulgar, boorish, smug, narcissistic and amazingly ignorant for someone who went to good schools.
His propensity for marrying Eastern European girls of easy virtue is quite pathetic too, as is his taste in clothes, food, architecture and just about everything else.
One also wonders what kind of traits of character and intellect have had to come together over a lifetime to produce Trump’s facial expressions, some of which make him look like a Mussolini impersonator.
More substantively, if there’s any truth to the accusations of Trump’s collusion with Putin, I think he ought to be not only impeached but also publicly flayed, eviscerated and quartered.
However, most Americans don’t seem to mind boorish vulgarity in their leaders. Neither do they see anything wrong with a First Lady who used to make a living as an ‘escort’. And Trump’s plebeian tastes must positively endear him to the country where wearing baseball caps and eating junk are practically synonymous with patriotism.
As to Trump’s Russian contacts, I’m convinced he’s no more blameless than most of his entourage. Yet my feelings are neither here nor there: such things need to be not felt but proved, and so far they haven’t been.
Hence both my distaste for Trump as a person and my suspicion of his complicity in unsavoury dealings with Russia can be relegated to the status of a parenthetical phrase.
Once they’ve been safely tucked away there, one can then look at what Trump actually does, which is a more reliable way of judging a public official. And most of what he does or tries to do is unobjectionable, even though the way he goes about it tends to be amateurish.
For example, taking the US out of the Paris climate deal is unequivocally commendable on many counts, not only economic and scientific, but also moral. (I wrote about this on 14 June, so I shan’t repeat myself.)
More recently, banning transsexuals from the military was another sane step, if taken in an insane environment. It’s indeed insane to expect the armed forces, by definition the least liberal part of society, to indulge the kind of perversions that a few years ago were unthinkable even in the civilian world.
It’s useful to remember that it was as late as 2011 that the US admitted even open homosexuals to military service. It had been felt until then that a soldier making passes at his comrades just might undermine the unit’s morale.
The Roman army had a different view on this matter. There the feeling was that sexual bonds between legionnaires might provide a useful boost to normal soldierly camaraderie. But we’ve come a long way since paganism, although we’re definitely reverting.
Trump exercised his prerogative as Commander-in-Chief, and he did the right thing – if for wrong reasons. Instead of saying honestly that boys who were recently girls shouldn’t serve in the military for reasons of both morality and morale, he cited a purely financial rationale. This was weak: the US army currently spends three times more on Viagra than on providing transsexual services.
Of course one could suggest that the army shouldn’t pay to strengthen GIs’ erections either, unless it can be shown that their martial spirit goes up pari passu. But that’s a separate argument.
Trump’s desire to stem illegal Mexican immigration can’t be faulted either. I’m not sure that building an equivalent of the Great Wall of China is the best solution to this problem, but there’s no gainsaying that a problem does exist.
Perhaps a better solution would be increasing the number of officers currently patrolling the border, from the current inadequate number of one per 10 miles. But at least Trump recognises that something needs to be done, which is more than one can say for most of his political opponents.
Another good law Trump tried to get through Congress was a repeal of the hideous Obamacare. This was defeated in the Senate yesterday by a vote of 51 to 49, with three Republicans joining all the Democrats, and the deciding vote cast by the cancer-stricken John McCain.
In common with other neocons, Mr McCain viscerally hates the president, which is an understandable feeling to have. What is less commendable is the concomitant opposition to everything Trump proposes, just because it’s he who proposes it.
Mr McCain’s explanation of his vote is feeble both intellectually and morally. The gist of it was that the bill didn’t go far enough.
“While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare’s most burdensome regulations,” admitted the oncological patient, “it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality healthcare to our citizens.”
Well, one has to start somewhere. Just because a three-star dinner isn’t available, a hungry man shouldn’t turn down a sandwich.
It’s no bad thing to reverse what the senator himself calls “Obamacare’s collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace.”
As to providing “affordable, quality health care”, good luck with that. In this world we aren’t blessed with perfect systems in general, and perfect healthcare systems especially.
I’d say that the US system, as it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s when I was one of its users, was better than anything European socialism has produced – and certainly better than Obamacare can ever disgorge.
Madcap litigiousness and unchecked greed on the part of both medics and pharmaceutical companies have made it prohibitively dear, but transplanting European-style socialism so dear to Obama’s heart clearly isn’t the answer. Trump may not have provided one either, not to McCain’s satisfaction, but at least he’s trying to do something.
And he isn’t a crushing bore, unlike most US and European politicians. He probably won’t achieve much – the bipartisan establishment he evidently despises wouldn’t let him even if he could. But he does have some entertainment value, which is better than no value at all.
3 thoughts on “At least he isn’t boring”
“Trump’s plebeian tastes must positively endear him to the country where wearing baseball caps and eating junk are practically synonymous with patriotism.”
At least from I observe and perceive Trump even as a billionaire and one who leads the high life and is born of wealth does seem to have the common touch. NOT forced.
“Perhaps a better solution would be increasing the number of officers currently patrolling the border, from the current inadequate number of one per 10 miles.”
The Border Patrol union endorsed Trump. First time EVER the endorsed a candidate. That does say a lot
“The Roman army had a different view on this matter. There the feeling was that sexual bonds between legionnaires might provide a useful boost to normal soldierly camaraderie.”
The Sacred Band of Thebes. Homosexual men organized into an exclusively gay unit. Died en mass every last one while doing battle with Phillip of Macedon. When he saw the spectacle of the dead Phillip is reputed to have cried.
“Just because a three-star dinner isn’t available, a hungry man shouldn’t turn down a sandwich.”
My Spanish girlfriend offered an opposing analogy – a common expression in Spain, or at least Galicia, where she is from and one that should have been aimed at Donald Trump when he was considering his solution to ‘Obamacare’:
“One doesn’t enter a brothel and ask to buy a hug”.
Ah, the 1970s! We were still being told that cigarettes would improve our quality of life (no downside mentioned). And apparently most Americans (even those with insurance) were convinced that sandwich poultices were a perfectly adequate substitute for most kinds of surgery and other therapies. Today the folks of the admass (as it used to be called) are not swayed by all that but are convinced that they deserve much better health insurance, preferably without paying any premiums. Also, the insurance companies are realizing that they will continue to make heaps if the money comes from taxation. I see that at least 3 Republicans have decided to give in rather than lose at the polls.
The Geordies can be true masters of irony as in the following.
When it’s ours, Jackie boy, When it’s ours
There’ll be changes, bonny lad, when it’s ours
When us colliers take control, no more 12 inch seams of coal
No more means test, no more dole
When it’s ours, all ours
When it’s ours, Jackie boy, when its ours
Oh, what holidays we’ll have, when its ours
California! Sante Fe!
Winter sports, an’ St Tropez!
An’ to hell with Whitley Bay,
When its ours, all ours!
When it’s ours, Geordie lad, when its ours
There’ll be changes bonny lad, when its ours
– Are you sure we’ll be all right? Is the future really bright?
(Oh, for God’s sake, man) We’ve won this bloody fight
An’ it’s ours, all ours!