Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Post No. 195: Why Those of Us Who Consider Ourselves to be “Pretty Smart” Should Not Be So Quick to Label Donald Trump a “Clown”

© 2015, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

A buddy of mine sent me a copy of a blog post by another blogger where reference is made to Donald Trump as the “clown genius.” Many other commentators have chosen to leave off the word genius. The following is my response, which I originally entitled, Why I Think that Donald Trump is Doing So Well in the Polls, after reading the other blogger’s post.

I have always felt that the political discussions (and almost all discussions about most anything for that matter) which take place on TV (and now other technological platforms) are dominated by those of us fortunate enough to have acquired at least some type of higher education, become professionals of some sort, read certain types of books, make enough money to consider ourselves truly middle-class, OR who are motivated for whatever reason to actively seek out information and analyze it with some degree of detachment.

Some years ago, there was a C-Span2 Book TV program where the author or authors discussed their book about how politics in particular is controlled by roughly 20% [if I remember correctly; it may have been as little as 10%] of the entire population here in the United States, and that ½ of whatever the percentage is considers themselves progressive, and the other ½ considers themselves conservatives.

We sit around talking about policy this and policy that, and position this and position that, just like we do (or did) in our respective professions, and we hang around, socialize, and live near people who might have different views than we do, but still have similar educational, class, and socio-economic backgrounds and experiences, and similar appreciations of history.

When I returned to my hometown in the South after living in Los Angeles for 30 years, and started teaching at the community college level, working day laborer jobs, selling watermelons and peaches (particularly to people in housing projects and poor communities), and traveled “down east” to interview people about the impact of unions and large corporate employers on their lives, it became very clear to me that those who I refer to as “regular folks,” do not have the discussions we “intellectual snobs” have. They have far more significant issues to face in life on a daily basis. When I started blogging, and coming across the views of those who previously did not have a voice which reached beyond their communities, I saw it even more clearly.

They could give a shit about listening to Charlie Rose, Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, George Will, or Face the Nation. I contend that they constitute about 80 – 90% % of the population, but that the vast majority of us within the educational or “higher interest” snobbish elite fail to really comprehend their size because we do not deal with them on a regular basis.

It is my position that Mr. Trump speaks to, and to some extent represents, those who have “real issues” in life on a daily basis and who have FEELINGS and positions which may not politically correct, but which are very real. We routinely minimalize their issues and concerns because we intellectual snobs are too busy controlling the agenda and the discussion, and telling others what to do, and how policies should be applied “for the benefit of society.” Donald Trump at least claims (whether rightly or wrongly) that he will get certain things done and take action, not merely talk about them or intellectualize ad nauseam. I believe that he speaks to the huge segment of society with whom we intellectual snobs have little regular contact – folks with REAL issues, and who fight REAL battles on a daily basis.

That so many of us in the rarefied air laugh at him and designate him as a clown speaks volumes in my view.

At the end of the day, big money interests and Super PACs unleased by Citizen’s United will control, and the vast, vast, vast majority of us will continue to be the pawns that we are. As a practical matter, 95% of us who consider ourselves "sophisticated" really have no more marginally significant power than regular folks. We’re just 5 or 6, or maybe 10 paychecks or Social Security payments from disaster, as compared to most of society which lives from paycheck or payment to paycheck or payment.

"There Are More Than 2 Or 3 Ways To View Any Issue; There Are At Least 27"™

"Experience Isn't Expensive; It's Priceless"™

"Common Sense Should be a Way of Life"™