Novelist Walter Kirn tweeted after this week's GOP debate that
"Trump is simply channeling the bruised petty enraged narcissism that is the natural condition of Selfie Nation."
Okay. If that's yet another high culture slam on Millenials (and their beloved selfies), can we please have a national moratorium on mentioning either or both in tweets, blogs, essays and Op-Eds? Enough already.
But "petty"? Seriously? There's nothing petty about Trump. His ego is gargantuan and narcissism hardly describes it. How can Kirn be so dismissive?
Trump is a behemoth. He's a classic fire-breathing, hate-mongering, vulgar, vengeful demagogue. He pollutes the air with everything he says, but he doesn't care. He loves the stink of his own words which he imagines is perfume, and doesn't really care what he says. What links his divagations? Contempt, disgust, mockery, and sometimes nothing at all but a mind lost in its own titanic maze.
Look at those notorious remarks about Megyn Kelly. He started by saying she was bleeding from her eyes. Did he mean she was sweating blood? Out for his blood? Having a stroke? Wishing he could strike her and imagining blood dripping down her face? Thinking she was a bloody-eyed zombie on The Walking Dead?
It's all an unholy mess--but it would be a mistake to dismiss Trump the way Kirn seems to, as something less than what he is: extremely dangerous because he's so very popular. Trump was supposed to flame out weeks ago, remember? The talking heads were as sure of that as they were convinced Clinton would resign within a week after the Lewinsky scandal broke. Remember that prediction?
Trump isn't just a menace to the GOP, he's a menace to our entire political culture. As Teddy Roosevelt said many years ago, "Every time he opens his mouth, he subtracts from the sum total of human wisdom." Can we truly afford to get any stupider?
Lev Raphael is the author of 25 books in genres from memoir to mystery which you can find on Amazon.