In the Shadow of the Bully

Posted: March 21, 2016 in Debate, Ethics, Idle Nonsense, Manners
Tags: , ,

Sorry, there seems to be no end to the ink spilled over the presumptive winner of the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump. Everyone has a pet theory, and I’m no different. Actually, I have several competing theories, none of which are particularly exclusive from the others. My theory du jour is basically that Trump represents the schoolyard bully, though his sandbox is quite a lot bigger than those in grade school. His campaign came right out of the gate intimidating and bullying others in the most egregious way, so it was easy to believe for a long while that he would either undo himself or a bigger bully would come along to knock him down. Well, neither happened.

What seems to be more typical instead is that, in addition to indulgence in gladiatorial games and blood sport (i.e., the debates) that never lost their base appeal to the masses, a surprising number of supporters at all levels have fallen in behind the uberbully, happy to stand in his shadow lest his roving eye land upon them. So there are equal parts glee at witnessing others get bullied and relief that at least it’s not oneself on the receiving end. Before all is said and done, which could be years, I rather expect lots of people to seek refuge in Trump’s shadow, however temporary. The blood lust probably won’t wear off anytime soon, either. That’s who we’ve become, if indeed we were ever any other sort of people (which is arguable).

As an armchair social critic with neither audience nor influence, I can only wring my hands and offer a few pithy remarks. They amount to nothing. Likely, I’ll get sand kicked in my face (or worse), too, since I lack immunity. Further, I am not so willing to line up behind someone to save myself. I’ve had that experience before, though in small measure and less manifestly, and it was troubling to recognize in myself a failure of character. The troubling times coming will surely test all of us sorely. I can only hope that, when forced to decide, I demonstrate higher integrity than my own past. Others will make their own choices.

  1. I still struggle with how seriously to take Trump. Or, rather, how seriously to take a political process where no one is addressing, what I see, as the real problems. Or, to take seriously a people, a species who seem hell-bent on ignoring sirens echoing around the streets. The changes in the climate this past year are showing every indication of now going off the rails. How many “thousand-year floods” are we supposed to be experiencing within a six-month period, I ask?

    I think Trump is a rather logical direction to go for a people and their institutions who seem to have lost all since of direction, vision, history and sense of self-sacrifice (if indeed we ever had it). The bully-dom is just a sign of the path we will probably embrace. So, indeed, let us each hope we make the correct choices when push comes to shoving. But I’m not holding my breath.

  2. Clem says:

    I’ve no trouble with your assessment on this subject. And if there is a logical way to connect the dots between a Trump nomination (or worse) and NTE, then I suppose I need to rethink my stance on the latter.

    But before the notion of total global collapse is laid at the meager feet of a simple U.S. political outcome I’ll be scanning the horizon for some hopeful sign of any silver lining. It’s my nature. The Donald is a conundrum, no doubt. Enough of one to cause me to wonder whether the Cleveland of 2016 will in any fashion resemble the Chicago of 1968.

    Does your personal recollection trace back that far?

    • Brutus says:

      A connection between Trump and NTE? Only that he would likely hasten our trip to oblivion. Otherwise, no connection.

      My nature is pessimism, so it’s hard to find a silver lining in our current political debacle(s). We seem determined to bust things up just for the fun of it. If the Bush/Gore election being undecided for months until the Supremes stepped up wasn’t enough to plunge the country into chaos, well then, it’s hard to imagine disruptions in the street today except that Trump is already stoking the fire. Plus, there have been more than a few open calls for revolt or revolution. Still, I have a hard time picturing American lardasses getting up from the couch for anything more than chips and beer.

      My memory extends only a little beyond the 1968 Chicago riots but were at that point in time wholly fixated on kid stuff. That was a different era, far more volatile in many ways. We’ll see how things develop soon enough.

  3. toktomi says:

    My personal take on all of this presidential election noise is that the truth of what is happening is nothing like what is being presented. I don’t believe any of the little that I’ve seen and heard which I intently endeavor to strictly avoid. To me, it is nothing more than a huge steaming pile of crap, a theatrical presentation of the poorest quality. It is so overwhelmingly contrived that it is an insult to common sense and intelligence. It’s comedic. I read some of Bill Clinton’s words from Spokane and some of Trump’s words from AIPAC. Painful. I need to cease with those lapses in judgement.

    If we get to see 2017
    She’ll be standing up there,
    Smiling in her dirty underwear.

    Count me out. It’s all yours.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. While I agree with you that what candidates say is often a steaming pile, what’s happening with the electorate is probably not. As John Oliver has concluded, it’s probably no longer wise to ignore the ravings of madmen when those very men (and women) are in control of things. I don’t think we can change things, but I for one at least want to see the punches coming at me rather than be blindsided.

      • toktomi says:

        I cannot imagine that any hood ornament, that caricature of a POTUS could possibly be in control of anything. Presidents cannot possibly in my mind’s eye be anything more than the face, name, and signature for that post. The deciders would never allow it to be otherwise [ref: Dallas, 1963.11.22]. The stakes are simply too high and a president is too low in the pecking order. So, I would conclude that you are destined to be blindsided at every opportunity as has always been the case.

        But, hey, that’s just my opinion. Maybe there is something honest and believably real about some of this. That is simply not logical to me and I try to stay as far away as possible. One of my grandest fantasies is the election where nobody shows up to vote.

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