By Dr David Laing Dawson
The collection of laughable, inane, grossly inaccurate, and stupid things that Donald Trump says grows by the week. They have become the fodder of late night talk shows and the target of journalists’ disdain. Satirists don’t have to satirize; they merely repeat what he says.
On the internet one can also find several collections of odd, funny, nonsensical things that came out of George W. Bush’s mouth. George occasionally mangled syntax; he created the odd neologism, mixing two words to make a third; he put his adjectives in the wrong place; he stumbled over language and grammar. One could make the case that he is a little dyslexic, or simply not gifted in the spoken language department.
He was on the Ellen DeGeneres show recently and he said, “…I’m going to use a big word now – symbiotic…” Ellen said, “Wow, four syllables..” The audience laughed, George smiled. And I rather liked him for a moment.
These days the journalists, the pundits, the comedians, the talk show hosts, pounce on the words of Donald J. Trump and point out their inanity, their inaccuracies, their wrongheadedness, and their untruthfulness. But beyond what he says and tweets, a true revelation of the depth of trouble we are in can be found in the way he says what he says. That is, not so much in the simple meaning to be found in his tweets and statements but the meaning hidden in the structure and form of his sentences (or lack thereof).
Whatever the subject, the reference point is himself. Whatever the subject, no matter the population actually affected, how it affects Donald is supreme. Whatever the subject, his words imply that he is supreme; they always imply that he is supreme.
Below is a list of things Donald J. Trump has tweeted or said. Let me point out what is happening in the first two. These two statements followed briefings by experts on the two subjects at hand. In them Trump indirectly admits that perhaps he didn’t fully understand the complex subject before, but then he quickly points out that “nobody” does. He has to say this to retain the fiction in his own mind that he is brilliant, superior, supreme, that he knows all there is to know, and all that anybody can know.
This is a very dangerous level of narcissism.
“It’s an unbelievably complex subject, nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” (Health Care Policy)
“It’s a very complex subject. I’m not sure anybody is ever going to really know.” (climate change)
“I know words; I have the best words.”
“I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me –and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border”
“I’ve never had any trouble in bed, but if I’d had affairs with half the starlets and female athletes the newspapers linked me with, I’d have no time to breathe.”
“I love the poorly educated.”
“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
“All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
“I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time.”
“Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure, it’s not your fault.”
“Cher is somewhat of a loser. She’s lonely. She’s unhappy. She’s very miserable. And her sound-enhanced and computer-enhanced music doesn’t do it for me.”
When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say China, in a trade deal? I beat China all the time. All the time.”
“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
“Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.”
“I dealt with Qaddafi. I rented him a piece of land. He paid me more for one night than the land was worth for two years, and then I didn’t let him use the land.”
“Number one, I have great respect for women. I was the one that really broke the glass ceiling on behalf of women”
These quotes (and much of what he says and writes in tweets) boldly display:
- An appalling lack of understanding of issues/technologies/events/history/the world…
- An appalling lack of awareness of his own shortcomings and deficits.
- An appalling (and child-like) lack of awareness of a world beyond himself.
He could do great damage to the world within four years if he stays energetic, active, engaged, provocative and disruptive.
But clearly he has a short attention span and he doesn’t particularly like to read, work, study, or listen. So while he is watching cable news, golfing and dining at Mar a Lago, some contemporary Rasputins (Bannon for one) will be able to do great damage to the world.
We are about to find out just how solid and resilient and principled American Democracy really is.