Quote: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” (attrib. P.T. Barnum, mid-1800’s); “Only the little people pay taxes.” (Leona Helmsley, 1989); “Nobody likes to be made to feel stupid.” (anon, ca. 1985)
In the news: Why is America’s Suicide Epidemic Hitting Trump’s Baso So Hard? (Rajan Menon, Common Dreams, 6.18.19)
In context: The Queen of Mean Leona Helmsley went to prison for telling a jury the truth. The members of the jury were obviously not her peers. They were the little people who paid the taxes that Leona Helmsley was shrewd and well-connected enough to evade. Leona Helmsley wsa small peanuts compared to Donald Trump, who fights tooth and nail to keep the truth from the little people, one third of whom don’t care that he’s a crook fleecing them.
In his 50 year career, Donald Trump has gotten the best of the best whose goal was to make money. He made his bones with a generous trust fund at the age of 5 and was a millionaire by his teens. He brashly broke into the high-end Manhattan world of real estate with ruthless ambition backed by the certainty of his father’s financial backing, regardless of merit or begrudgement on the father’s side. Ambitious achievement of the highest order seemed the family creed. Donald Trump has stayed true to that legacy regardless of decency, honor, morality or constricts of law.
Trump was supercharged for success and yet he kept failing from one business venture to another. Undaunted, he moved on to dark sources of finance and then made his mark by landing a gig on the Apprentice reality show in a genre quite the rage at the time. There, he displayed his ruthless prowess, coming across with the trademark kiss of death to strivers, “You’re fired!”
The fantasy of such decimating power over others took hold of the disenfranchised among the US mainstream. When interest waned and ratings faded, Trump took his skills on the road and turned his winnings into the US Presidency.
With the mighty presidential powers at his disposal, Trump continued his winning trademark creed, barking “you’re fired!” to every aspirant in his path. Those included needy immigrants, progressives working to better the world, aides who disagreed with him or news favorites who failed to support him strongly enough. In fact, since taking office, the Trump rage has gone haywire.
In the audience-rich rallies Trump favors, he doesn’t speak, he spews propaganda. His words fire a fervor that builds into hateful vocalizations in the form of crowd contagious chanting cheers. Whether true Trump adherents, paid attendees or constrained factory workers, the voices of the crowd spill over into the outside world where angry white men express their pumped up feelings through mass shootings with assault weapons at happy public gatherings.
Rage is contagious, just as good feelings. The difference is that rage destroys while good feeling leads to constructive action.
in line with that obvious equation, those of good will are trying too hard to unseat Trump. They need to relax and handily remind the public of Trump’s latest antics as the basis for why he is a mistake as US president. They can also point out ways the country could benefit from proper direction, as in progressing toward curbs on practices that destroy the environment and endanger communities. They can turned the ugly “You’re fired” trademark into the healthy one of “You’re hired.”
That’s a simple change of one letter in the two words, but what a difference a small change makes. That brings to mind an anonymous saying. “When you see someone digging his own grave, stay out of the way.”
Good does win out when the opponent is a desperate, failed self-promoter who stoops ever lower to protect his inflated sense of self. To err is human, as the saying goes. Trump prefers to doctor weather charts to produce faulty evidence that his authoritative prowess was right despite verifiable facts.
Those kinds of antics are spiraling out of control with Donald Trump. He now lies about phone calls never made and rapport between people who have never met. Born a sucker or not, and however hard to admit to having been made to feel stupid, there is relief in hitting the sweet spot of true reality, however fluid in today’s media filtered world.
The Leona Helmsley jury reached the truth stage and convicted her, proving that the little people do catch on. As Trump unravels and slips up, he just may blurt out the truth, that he considers the little people patsies for paying the taxes he considers beneath his station to honor.