Selfishism is a far worse problem than either Capitalism or Socialism
“How is your 401K doing?”
That five-word challenge has been the battle cry of Trump supporters asked about the success of their President for the last three years. It is the ultimate “ends justifies the means” statement on what being a citizen of the United States is supposedly about.
It is also selfish and shallow as hell to think that the only pertinent thing about life is the near-term state of the economy. We all know how economics works. The markets go up and stay up for a while, then they go down again. These trends occur in cycles and none of the ups and downs have ever proven to be permanent. We certainly saw that at the tail end of the George W. Bush presidency when the economy went into the tank. Republicans blame Democrats who loosened lending laws that led to the housing bubble. Democrats blame Republicans for not holding big banks accountable for hiding and repackaging toxic assets. In other words, everyone involved acted selfishly rather than taking responsibility for their piece of the imperfect pie. And it’s still happening.
During that period, the economic markets experienced a “correction” as President George W. Bush left office and President Barack H. Obama became President of the United States. The economy recovered slowly and modestly at first under Obama’s watch. Then it solidified and set a course on which the economy has sailed during three years under President Donald J. Trump. Those are the facts.
Nothing Trump has done really led to great growth. The last three years of Obama’s term actually showed stronger job increases and economic growth rates than the Trump era. Yet somehow people who support Trump love to claim that their guy is the one who made America great again. If anything, Obama’s track record kick’s Trump’s ass, especially given the condition of the economy he was handed versus the glowing version Trump inherited.
The sad fact is that Trump and the GOP aggressively hinted that economic growth in the wake of broad-based tax cuts might reach the 6% range. That brand of white-hot growth never materialized. The result has been a projected increase in the national deficit of $8.3 trillion, ironic considering that Trump also promised to eliminate the national debt in eight years. That is one of the many glaring falsehoods the man has uttered along the way. Even his claims of being a member of the Uber-rich are questionable as his refusal to release any of his tax records suggests there is something to hide. Is there also Russian money propping up his so-called fortune, and what does he really owe those oligarchs? How does it make him behave? Those are questions Trump selfishly refuses to answer because he likely knows the truth is damaging and damning to his reputation, which he values above all else. And vainly.
None of these speciously protective attitudes has stopped Trump supporters from trumpeting the supposedly superior state of the Trump economy. But fractures in the Trump economic snow globe appeared when global supply chains ground to a standstill as the Coronavirus epidemic started killing people.
Trump is clearly panicked about his economic perch.
In response to the threat of the pandemic, his administration immediately censored press conferences and controls all messaging by funneling Coronavirus news through Vice President Mike Pence. That act alone is evidence of the selfish style of management for which the Trump presidency has become known.
That selfishness also showed up in his impeachable actions in trying to coerce the nation of Ukraine to conduct an investigation of his perceived political rival Joe Biden. Trump used governmental resources to pursue selfish ambitions of his re-election. One of the President’s lawyers even had the gall to claim that such selfish actions were in the nation’s best interests because anything the President does automatically qualifies in that category.
Yet it is those selfish instincts that seem to be most admired by Trump supporters whose cheering fealty at his rallies borders on cult worship. And speaking of worship, even Christian evangelicals have unapologetically excused Trump’s inherently selfish nature under the self-serving claim that “God works with flawed people.” How convenient it is to claim God’s authority and dispense it like soda from a vending machine.
That brand of Selfishism has a long tradition as the Christian religion took a faith built on disciples going town-to-town in pairs was consolidated with Roman power under Emperor Constantine. It soon became a force of its own, conducting persecution, fomenting, legalism, supporting slavery and even committing genocide under banners such as Manifest Destiny. All these were done in the name of tradition––and for selfish reasons.
So claims that America is a “Christian Nation” in law or spirit have proven wrong time and again by those claiming to be Christian. Nothing in the ideology of Donald Trump is remotely Christian in the earnest sense of the word. Yet many Christians have the gall to claim that Trump was literally installed by God to carry out his selfish whims, and that is precisely what they are. Trump is an opportunist and a demonstrated fraud when it comes to his business dealings. Even his own University was proven to be fraudulent, and so was his own foundation. Both were corrupted by his selfish desire to leverage his name without giving value back and to siphon money given for charitable purposes into his own coffers.
That’s how we got where we are today. Selfish religion and equally selfish politics are now fused with the Ayn Rand mentality of Capitalism that rewards selfish behavior in the powerful and punishes the poor and needy for their mere existence. For the last thirty years we’ve been listening to selfish turds like Rush Limbaugh claiming that hunger does not exist in America and that women seeking and minorities seeking basic human rights are destroying America. And when Limbaugh was not extreme enough, along came the likes of Alex Jones and Stephen Miller spouting conspiracy theories and racist policies while accusing the Left of being deranged.
This is all the opposite of what either Jesus Christ or the Founding Fathers expected from their respective revolutions. The fusion of hard-right Capitalism is on the verge of being unchecked by any sort of social contract. Leaders like Trump and Mitch McConnell and his former ally Paul Ryan all have worked tirelessly to gut the sane protections of the New Deal. These men are insensitively selfish bastards, and little else. Their smug demeanor reveal the fact of their ugly souls, and things aren’t getting any better the longer Trump stays in office. He’s got political whores working for him night and day and is in the process of a purge of “anti-Trump” federal workers while demanding absolute loyalty from anyone hired to work for him. These are the actions of an absolute fascist, a selfish narcissist and a proven sociopath.
Selfishism is what Trumpism is all about.
The United States of America will collapse as a democracy and a republic if the selfish instincts of these Trumpish people who claim to dispossessed while embracing and preaching the doctrine of prejudice, bigotry and rage. Trump selfishly flaunts those perverse motivations while mocking the free press for pointing out his lies and ridiculing responsible politicians for trying to hold him accountable.
He was impeached, but he is not the least bit contrite. It is telling that the faction of religious believers who love to blame America’s ills on gays or abortion or science are silent on the fact that the Coronavirus has suddenly emerged as a threat to Trump’s corrupt rule over the nation and the world. It popped out of the ether to threaten the autocratic stability of a President so concerned about himself that he can’t even admit that people are dying under his watch. Selfishism is the ultimate killer in this world, and it deserves its own political moniker. Sooner, rather than later.
We’ll have to wait and see what God has in store for this latter-day version of King David, whom even God denied the right to build a temple in his honor because the adulterous king had too much blood on his hands.