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Sad how Trump has reduced American politics to a dumb reality TV show

Angshukanta Chakraborty
Angshukanta ChakrabortyDec 08, 2015 | 21:26

Sad how Trump has reduced American politics to a dumb reality TV show

Adjectives are hurled at Donald Trump, the Republican presidential "front-runner" whose "Muslims must not be allowed to enter America" is only the latest in a series of spurious and high-decibel racism-as-ammunition antics, at the same pace at which he produces the newer nadirs of American politics. Trump is at once the Mike Myers-enacted Dr Evil, while he's also Lord Voldemort (a comparison that has earned JK Rowling's mock ire), as he's Dr Strangelove, and, as front-paged by at least two news dailies, the "New Fuhrer/Furor".

American love-hate with fantasy fiction and Hollywood-style baddies comes pretty much alive in the awe and frenzy that Donald Trump - billionaire, real estate tycoon, sometime TV presenter, (failed) politician, ageing playboy and an unabashed Class I bigot - generates at the drop of one outrageous tweet or comment after another. Some even see Trump as a true-blue American comeuppance: a cyclical, karmic inevitability that two terms of Barack Obama-induced "political correctness" have now made almost too entertaining to resist.

After calling for "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States", obviously, Donald ducks. Donald Trump goes "I. Don't. Care." when he's confronted with even a mild critique of his flaunted positions, which merit a "Book of Donaldisms" for sure. Actually, such a book exists. It's called Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, penned by the Le Pen of the US of A. A veritable Bible for the far right, which Trump often reads from.

A sample, hardly exhaustive, of his cherished and much trumpeted beliefs include:

A.    Arab-Americans cheered the 9/11 attacks. [Lie.]

B.    Mosques should be under strict surveillance.

C.    Torture, such as water-boarding, is fine.

D.    Bombing the hell out of ISIS is feasible.

E.    "Great Wall" must be built along the US-Mexico border.

F.    Mass deportation, ending "birthright citizenship" are solutions to the "immigration crisis".

G.    No gun control, rather "mental health control".

H.    Black Lives Matter movement is "trouble"; police right to open fire on troublemaking black youth.

I.     Obamacare is a "disaster".

J.     Climate change is a "hoax": it's just weather.

K.    America no home for Syrian refugees.   

That's Trump in a nutshell, a Walt Disney of paranoia and prejudice, if you like. Famously, he even managed to tick off a Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly: he asked if she was menstruating when the latter shot him a "toughie". His presidential campaign, from the beginning setting fresh lows and fresh hysterics in American history, is one of sustained attack on the values of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Donald Trump is embarrassing even for the Wall Street kinds, purely because of a certain lack of erudition. Trump's "finesse" might impress Hugh Hefner and his Bunnies, and the sprawling "white trash" America that finds resonance in the neo-Nazi movements gaining ground all over Europe. He rides the surging tsunami of Islamophobia engulfing all of America, especially after the 13/11 attacks in Paris and the San Bernardino massacre. He spreads blatant falsehoods about 9/11, state of unemployment, integration, refugee crises, border anxieties and many other present-day ogres that turn majorities hostile against the religious and sexual minorities. In other words, Trump cultivates fear and psychosis in a way far more obscene than even the George W Bush years because he knows his so-called "flamboyance", despite its diminishing televisual quotient, will help him get away.

The triumvirate of Grand Old Party dunces - Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz - represent such a regress into paranoia, perpetually minting and circulating the anti-Muslim, anti-African American currency. It sells, for a while, because there are buyers, and whose numbers are going up by the day. Trump, in addition, is a master manipulator of social media, live-tweeting controversies, stealing spotlight and snatching up op-ed spaces across the board. He distills every possible intolerance and injustice into a political concentrate of hate and smear campaign against Muslims and immigrants. He fantasises about chumming up with Vladimir Putin and dreams of teaching Xi Jinping's China a lesson! Dangling the carrot of national security in times of ISIS, Trump manages to make the American way of life one of ritual exclusions and dangerous rage.

There have been a number of authoritarian American presidents and presidential hopefuls before, but none had the unique talent for selfhood as self-caricature like Trump. Some have been tempted to label "The Donald" as the "Kim Kardashian of politics", but I beg to differ. The mixed-race, internecine, cultural economics of the Kardashians might be the seamy underbelly of that country, but it's a far cry from the hideous wonderland of Trump's morbid vision for an insular, selfish America. That's a vision America must say no to, firmly, the endless hilarity notwithstanding.     

Last updated: December 10, 2015 | 11:37
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