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kleinbl00  ·  431 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Dispatches from the shithole of Nambia

Most of this shouldn't have to be said, but you're welcome and encouraged to say it anyway. I would like to personally apologize to you for the fact that my national interests are represented by an abhorrent historical figure. I have never before been so thankful for the general inertia of the Republic to preserve what standards and customs we have.

That said, don't overthink it. Trump represents a dark, spiraling shithole at the center of a Venn diagram of awfulness, each on its own surmountable but taken together presenting a towering edifice of despair:

- A NEAR TOTAL LACK OF EMPATHY. Trump has never demonstrated an ability to empathize with other human beings. He is a species apart. "People" does not mean "People like me" it means "animals that we call people." What empathetic actions Trump has taken served the purpose of increasing his size in his own mirror, that of the press and social media. He is not the sort who helps others out of kindness.

- A NEAR TOTAL LACK OF CURIOSITY. Trumps father was a developer. Trump is a developer. Trump clearly has tastes for Slavic women and he clearly has tastes for junk food and these tastes are decades old. Trump's world, from horizon to horizon, is a known quantity filled with familiar items and people. The question about "shithole countries" was rhetorical - he wasn't interested in the answer, he was dismissive of the problem. And, as a fundamentally non-empathetic individual who has never sought out anything or anyone, the statement made was not intended to be questioned or repeated.

- DEFICIENT EXECUTIVE FUNCTION. Donald Trump has neither the working memory nor the inhibitory control nor the flexible thinking to be a diplomat. Based on his performance as a businessman he lacks the executive function to be a businessman. "Norway" was on his mind because he met with the Prime Minister of Norway the day before. He said "shithole countries" because he lacks the inhibitory control to not say "shithole countries." He asked about "shithole countries" because he lacks the flexible thinking to understand that "good" people come out of "bad" (for purposes of illustration - not a judgement held by any rational, thinking human) countries.

But that's just Trump. In order for the trifecta of suck to end up as the world's problem, we also had to suffer from:

- ERODING TRUST IN TRADITIONAL ELECTORAL STRUCTURES. The past 40 years have not been kind to large portions of the electorate.

Both viable political parties have worked towards an agenda of globalization and enrichment of the upper class; education has been eroding and opportunity diminished. Much of the Brexit vote was in the form of a protest; much like the Brexit vote, distortions of the electoral process gave an outsized boost to a minority viewpoint.

- A FRAGILE AND OUTDATED ELECTORAL PROCESS. Most electoral maps show islands of blue in a sea of red, thereby giving the impression that America as a whole voted for this madness. xkcd has a better take on the actual distribution of votes; the fact of the matter is, our 200-year-old system no longer adequately represents the will and intent of an instantaneously-connected citizenship with global reach.

- A NOVEL AND EXPLOITABLE INFORMATION SYSTEM. 2016 was only the third election since the advent of Facebook and Twitter. Technological approaches to manipulating electoral behavior is almost always experimental because the technology changes so much faster than the ability to test. One of the most interesting things about the Wolff book, to me, is that it contains no new information. All it does is provide (ostensibly true) examples of the rumors we've all heard. Nobody wanted Trump to win, including Trump. Including the Russians. The entire Republican campaign was an exercise in obsequiousness and favor-currying by the lickspittle opportunists of the conservative movement but now, they're the dog that caught the car. And here we are, in the wreckage.

Don't overthink Trump The Man. What we're all dealing with is Trump the Series of Unfortunate Events. It is exposing the world to the worst America can offer and almost all of us are ashamed. Unfortunately, a discouraging fraction of us are also making hay while the sun shines.

Looters don't believe in your cause. They just want a free TV. And if they have to break a few windows to get one, well, someone else is going to have to clean all this up anyway.

Again, I'm sorry. We're working on it. I promise.