The Donald

The one thing I will say for Donald Trump is that he adds to the amount of slime, crud, drek, scuz, grime, stain, grunge, and feculence in the political order. I noticed this last night, when I called up excerpts from a televised “debate” in which there were seventeen aspiring Presidents of the United States; so many, they had to be presented in shifts.

Most of the others seemed clean-cut and hygienic, to a fault. I was especially impressed by Carly Fiorina, who seemed (superficially of course) the only full adult on the stage. Indubitably the leading woman in American big business through the Tech Bubble era, she was also widely celebrated as “one of the worst CEOs of all time” both before and after she was sacked by the Hewlett-Packard company. This could be her ticket to the country’s highest executive office, according to something called the Peter Principle. For she is not unknowable like the rest of them. She has a track record.

Trump, the other big businessman on stage — and he a roaring capitalist, no mere high-level employee — is by contrast a child in both mouth and gesture. He keeps rising in the polls, with another pip each time he says something exceptionally coarse and boorish. I had never listened to him before. I found him the audio-video equivalent to a face-full of ammonia. His aggressive tweets and call-outs after the “debate” (no such thing is possible on television, hence the giggle quotes) were duly noted. A “tough guy” with an incredibly thin skin, he does not seem capable of dealing with any criticism — at all.

Megyn Kelly once made an on-air mess out of me; I can easily understand wanting to get back at her. I would think Trump’s allusion to her menstrual cycle was low, however; his poorly-veiled threats to her and to others also seemed short on the wit and charm scales. But then, my history of failure in predicting what will work in politics is as long as the present century. Or longer: for I didn’t think a blackguard and guttersnipe like Bill Clinton could be elected; and thus shouldn’t have guessed Barack Obama wouldn’t last a week, once the cameras were turned on him.

My theory — or should I call it a hypothesis? — is that Trump is what you get, in response, after several decades of political correctness. I would compare the situation to that which has been brought about by obsessive cleanliness in the material environment.

You see, gentle reader, the human immune system requires education, rather as the rest of the creature through the body-and-soul matrix. Too, good bacteria lurk among the bad. Sterilize everything, the way the post-modern housewife and househusband have been taught to do, thanks to mass advertising, and your kiddies will grow up strange.

A little more than a generation ago, about one in ten North Americans suffered from known allergies. It is now something like one in three; rates for asthma now approach half of all children, according to numbers flashed by me; and the same explosive increase may be seen across the board from minor hay fever, eczema, hives, and the like, to major auto-immune diseases too controversial to name. Not only the proportion of the afflicted, but the degree of their affliction has risen dramatically. The mortality rates from asthma, for instance, have become impressive.

“Political correctness” is the spiritual equivalent of these hand sanitizers one sees everywhere. True, one is better protected today against minor, ineffectual germs in the environment. But then something like The Donald comes along, and we have no defences.