Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dear (Eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (#3)

Dear (E) G & GG (#3),

As promised, Here is Poppa's take on the recent, unexpected triumph of the Donald.

The Donald won because he's an expert in what I call gut first/brain later. Scott Adams, semi-famous cartoonist, one of my virtual gurus and (like me a perpetual) student of human nature, would say that the Donald grasps that H. Sapiens are meat puppets that react emotionally/instinctively/intuitively to most everything, and then rationalize their behavior afterward.

As Martha Stewart used to say (still says?), it's a good thing, or at least it was. Because...

H. sapiens have spent a lot more time fighting their way to the top of the food chain than they have enjoying the benefits of having won the real hunger games. Visceral reactions are dramatically faster than rational ones. Effective visceral reactions became innate biases because sitting around a cozy fire with the gang and eating -- rather than being eaten -- rocks.

"The press takes him literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally."
-Salena Zito

The traditional approach for a dude/dudette seeking to be elected/reelected to a position in The Gubmint, or even just the gubmint, has been to tell enough people what they want to hear and then if elected/reelected doing/saying whatever will get 'em reelected to the same or an even better position. There's an entire industry devoted to helping politicians/would be politicians do this.


The Donald, like the other Wizard of Oz, and who may be the best salesman the world has ever seen, understands that the quickest, most effective way to make the sale is by emotional/psychological manipulation. Capture the heart and the customer will invent a justification.

The word manipulation, to me at least, generally has a shady connotation. I use it here in a neutral sort of way. As my late wife, that sadly only one of you will remember, used to say, it's not what you do so much as why you do it. Example: Advertising that guilts you into donating to a worthy, legitimate charity v. advertising that manipulates you into buying a worthless piece of crap.

The customer, in this case, is the American people. The polls tell us that most of us think the country is on the wrong track, and they have for years. In my semi-humble opinion, this is true, because this is the attitude I encounter on a daily basis. What we're fighting over is what path to take and who should be the tour guide.

So, how does a politically (mostly) non-ideological, been there, done that gazillionaire with only one more prize left to win, one more achievement to add to his resume to obtain a sort of virtual/historical immortality become the CEO of the USA?

He turns himself into the political version of a TV wrestling superstar. Most TV wrestling fans over the age of 10 or so, understand it's not real, it's entertainment. They still enjoy it.

Most declared Trumpets understand, to one degree or another, that the Donald deliberately farts in church just to rattle the chains of the fat, smug, complacent church elders who run things primarily for their own benefit. They still enjoy it.

In TV wrestling, or soap operas for that matter, "good" guys persons become "bad" guys persons and back again at the flip of a switch. "Bad" guys persons are often quite popular characters.

America didn't just elect Donald J. Trump president, they elected a character he created, that I call (one of his wives thought it up) the Donald.

The Donald is what you get when the hyper-partisans of the left and right have managed to divide the nation into two roughly equal teams of bitter rivals.

The Donald is what you get when one out of every 15 jobs is a government job and the folks who have given up on finding a job aren't counted as part of the official unemployment rate. The Donald is what you get when millions of people who want full-time work can't get it.

The Donald is what you get when his opponent is a woman whose platform was "I'm a woman, and it's my turn, and I'm gonna' give you all sorts of free shtuff."

The Donald -- with his ever-shifting positions, the occasional lies, the hyperbole, the venom, the midnight tweeting -- is what you get when things are so screwed up America is prepared to take a chance on choosing a president based on the good show he put on.

For now, all we can do is wait and hope, because no one is sure exactly what he's going to do. In the meantime, we get to enjoy watching him torment the people that still take the bad guy/crazy person persona literally. I was one, I admit, for a minute or two.

I decided, no hoped, that it was a game prior to the election. But for the record, I didn't vote for him (or her), so if it turns out he is the Hitler of the new millennium, don't blame me.

Have an OK day.