I suppose that the lesson from Trump’s first week in office is that he’s going to do exactly what he said he’d do. Which is rather refreshing for a politician. Although, given that he’s never held any political office, he’s not really a politician.
I still see him as primarily a businessman, who has just become CEO of America Incorporated. For him the American people are shareholders in a corporation, and his primary duty is to them. So I watched his first presidential address yesterday as his first report to the shareholders: a terse 2-minute summary of progress to date.
Also yesterday he barred entry into the USA to people from a bunch of Middle East countries. I think it’s just for 3 months. There have been the usual howls of protest. But again, that’s what he said he’d do. And, once again, he’s doing exactly what he said he’d do. People from other countries aren’t shareholders in America, and they’re not entitled to anything at all from it.
This, along with an announcement earlier in the week about Building The Wall, is a re-assertion of national identity. We’re not all “citizens of the world.”: we’re citizens of one country or other. Or, as Trump would see it, shareholders in one corporation or other.
If Trump carries on in this manner, every country in the world is going to want an energetic CEO that does what he said he was going to do, and reports weekly to the people how he’s doing.
Lots of people don’t really like Trump. But my own opinion of him has been rising steadily. If nothing else, I think he’s an extraordinarily courageous man. Particularly given all the brickbats that have been thrown at him for the past 18 months, and which will carry on being thrown at him. People describe him as being “thin-skinned”, but I’m amazed how thick-skinned he is. The way I see it, he’s covered in rhino hide. Whatever is fired at him just bounces off.
I don’t think he’s racist, sexist, homophobic, or fascist either. Nor even a new Hitler. The shareholders in America come in all colours, and all sexes, and all ages – and they all count, every single one.
I wasn’t bothered when he said that Mexico was sending its rapists to America. Quite clearly some of them were rapists. And that needed to be recognised, and something done about it. And even the “pussy-grabbing” thing didn’t bother me. As far as I could see, he’d merely been stating the obvious, which is that fame allows considerable licence. Girls didn’t throw themselves at the Beatles when nobody had heard of them, but they did once they were famous.
But his advocacy of the use of torture was too much for me. Yet I can well imagine that that there are plenty of less tender-hearted men than me who would have agreed with him. And even if I disagreed, I could at least applaud his brutal honesty. He wasn’t going to pretend to be something that he wasn’t.
What I’ve always liked most about Trump, I suppose, is that he’s not in the least bit Politically Correct. And I am so, so sick of political correctness. I am so, so sick of the prison of political correctness, in which everyone must think and speak the same way about everything. Trump is a new Gulliver, breaking the ropes tying him down. And every time he crosses some boundary, breaks some taboo, there’s something refreshing about it, and also something invigorating about the accompanying wails of horror. Madonna detests him. Bruce Springsteen loathes him. Wonderful! Can we have some more, please.
I’m vaguely hoping that he’ll start tearing up smoking bans as well. But there’s no sign of anything like that happening. It wasn’t part of his platform. It wasn’t what he said he’d do. But smoking bans are another example – perhaps the prime example – of political correctness, and somebody who seems to have a vocation for being outrageously politically incorrect will surely manage to break that taboo as well, some time or other.
I wonder if Trump the non-politician has been teaching the professional politicians a thing or two about politics. He has, after all, run rings around all of them. Perhaps one or two of them will begin to consider changing the habits of a lifetime, and learn to speak their minds freely, and do what they say they’ll do, in the Trumpian manner.
It remains early days. Maybe one day he do something or say something that really will shock me out of my complacency. He just hasn’t done so yet.