Is Donald Trump bonkers or just a dangerous idiot? Either way, Trump is merely the symptom of a corrupt economic and political system that threatens us all. It is the ultimate madness.
SPARKED BY Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff's tell-all book about life in the White House, further questions are being asked about Donald Trump's state of mental health. Of course, Trump just had to respond. He was, he tweeted, not only stable but also a genius. Which made him a stable genius. Oh, okay then. Really. You know the loony who gets on the bus and you hope like hell they don't sit next to you...?
Trump is a narcisstic clown and an all round lousy human being but is he a sandwich short of a full lunchbox? The fact that he doesn't show up to work until 11am and spends an inordinate amount of time watching cable news shows, tweeting and phoning people doesn't make him ga ga - just a lazy president who is completely out of his depth. The fact that he has an attention span of gnat, doesn't read and wants to talk about golf when someone is trying to explain the U.S. constitution to him, also doesn't make mentally deranged. It just makes him President Dumbass.
Before the men in white coats arrive to take Trump away, we should also reflect on the fact that not all American presidents have been straight and true, headspace-wise.
Liberal icon John F. Kennedy was a drug user. The medical records show that he variously took codeine, Demerol and methadone for pain; Ritalin, a stimulant; meprobamate and librium for anxiety; barbiturates for sleep; thyroid hormone; and injections of a blood derivative, gamma globulin, a medicine that combats infections.
Ronald Reagan showed signs of dementia as early as 1987.
Bill Clinton was also reportedly advised to seek psychiatric help after the Monica Lewinsky scandal, when he saw an impeachment looming. Clinton, however, declined the offer because of the possible negative political ramifications and chose to consult Christian ministers instead.
I think Naomi Klein though summed up Trump neatly when she told the 2017 U.K. Labour Party conference that he was the political equivalent of a fatberg. She was referring to the giant 130 tonne congealed lump of fat and sanitary products that was blocking London’s sewers at the time.
She defined Tump as "“A merger of all that is noxious in the culture, economy and body politic, all kind of glommed together in a self-adhesive mass. And we’re finding it very, very hard to dislodge. It gets so grim that we have to laugh. But make no mistake: whether it’s climate change or the nuclear threat, Trump represents a crisis that could echo through geologic time.”
|Naomi Klein: Trump is the political equivalent of a fatberg.|
It made for good headlines and clickbait, but Klein was making the point that Trump was the product of a corrupt economic and political system. Trump is a creation of our culture, our capitalism. Well, their culture, their capitalism. Remove Trump and the system that spawned him remains.
So the liberal intelligentsia might like to speculate on Trumps's mental competency but what could be worse than the madness of an economic system that condemned over 43 million Americans to poverty in 2015? That was according to the US Census Bureau --other estimates have put that figure much higher. This is in a country where the top one percent own nearly own nearly 40 percent of all US wealth while the bottom 80 percent owns just 10 percent - the highest disparity in over 50 years.
As I watched yet another CNN roundtable discussion about Trump's mental competence I couldn't help reflecting that Trump is a far more convenient target than talking about the madness of the economic and political system he presides over in the interests of the ruling elite.
But capitalism's greatest madness, and one that represents an existential threat to humanity's very survival, is global warming and a looming environmental catastrophe - the signs of which are all too evident today.
A system premised upon competition, ceaseless growth and environmental exploitation is illogical and ultimately suicidal. It is the ultimate madness. As writer Arundhati Roy observed some years ago:
"When all the rivers and valleys and forests and hills of the world have been priced, packaged, bar-coded, and stacked in the local supermarket, when all the hay and coal and earth and wood and water have been turned to gold, what then shall we do with all the gold? Make nuclear bombs to obliterate what's left of the ravaged landscapes and the notional nations in our ruined world?'