A recent "New Zealand Herald" OpEd by Paul Thomas said: "Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America: casual racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale." Thomas is right, of course. The Ugly American is alive and well...and his name is Donald Trump.
(Source: Occupy Democrats)
Foreigners aren't the only ones who see Trump's awful attributes. Americans -- even Trump supporters -- acknowledge he is brash, arrogant, egocentric, and opinionated. He believes in American exceptionalism and lauds himself as a prime example. He is never without an opinion -- whether he knows anything about the subject or not. Trump sees the world in black and white, with no understanding or appreciation of the complexity of an ever-evolving geopolitical landscape.
He is thin-skinned and petulant, indulging in public feuds over petty slights. When it comes to judgments and criticism, he can dish it out but he certainly can't take it.
He speaks in hyperbole, issuing grand pronouncements with dramatic, sweeping gestures and exaggerated body language. And he's loud ... oh boy, is he loud!
Trump is a caricature of the Ugly American -- a walking, talking outlandish cartoon character who seems right out of Central Casting.
Paul Thomas is right in saying that "Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America," but he is only half right -- for Trump also personifies everything the rest of the world admires about America: wealth, power, confidence, and an "I can do anything I set my mind to" attitude. He's a hugely successful businessman who's rich as Croesus. Every entrepreneur, every real estate professional, every MBA student, every small business person, every corporate executive, every go-getter in every field -- in the U.S. and abroad -- would give their eye teeth to achieve what Trump has. He's a deal-maker par excellence. In fact, he literally wrote the book on deal-making.
Trump has the Midas touch -- and if something he touches doesn't turn to gold, he gilds it.
Isn't that what attracts immigrants to America, the land of opportunity ... they come for the chance to strike it rich?
He's a risk-taker, unfazed by business failure and bankruptcies. He knows that failure is just a speed bump on the road to success. No one ever achieved greatness by playing it safe and Trump, of all people, knows that. His motto: "Go big or go home."
The world applauds risk-takers who dream BIG.
Trump marries beautiful women -- as many and as often as he likes. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, of course, and an alpha male like Trump can always have as many gorgeous women as he wants. He enjoys all the accoutrements of achievement and success: incredible homes in fabulous locations, private jets and impressive yachts, the finest custom-made suits and shirts, as well as expensive baubles for the missus and private schools for the kids. Nothing but the best for Trump patriarch and his family -- ex-wives included.
Isn't that what we all want -- an attractive spouse, a high standard of living for ourselves and our families, a great education for our kids?
If The Donald were just a loud-mouthed, arrogant jackass, it would be easy to dismiss him as an obnoxious blowhard. But for millions of Americans, that blowhard is a breath of fresh air. He's downright refreshing after all the empty platitudes of the other Republicans.
We hate Trump's brash ego, but love his irrepressible brio. We detest his rude insensitivity, but we appreciate his willingness to say what he thinks, political correctness be damned. We cringe at his braggadocio, but admire his wealth and fame. We have a love/hate relationship with Donald Trump, just as the rest of the world has a love/hate relationship with America.
BJ Gallagher is a sociologist and author of over 30 books, including "The Power of Positive DOING" (Simple Truths)