Saturday, March 12, 2016

Trump's "Hair" as Metaphor for his "Politics"

By Dr. Mitchell Robinson - Member of BATs Research/Blogging Team
Much has been made of that strange tangle of synthetic carpet fibers and dryer lint perched atop Donald Trump's noggin over the course of the Republican presidential primary: Is it real? Is it alive? Is it hair?

But that discussion obfuscates the real story here--what is the relationship between The Donald's mane and his positions on the political issues of the day?

Trump's Hair is...Flexible

Just like Mr. Trump's political positions, his hair starts on the left, then drifts to the right:
  • on immigration: "Trump doubled down on his immigration remarks Monday...“You cannot have ... illegal immigration. You don't have a country if you have that. So I told NBC, I can't change my stance,” Trump said.

    However, Mr. Trump appears to have somewhat softened his stance by the time of the most recent Republican debate: “In terms of immigration – and almost anything else – there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal,” Trump added. “You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation.”

    This stance varies dramatically from Trump's earlier pronouncements on immigration: “As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now."
  • on waterboarding: "He said Friday he understands the U.S. is “bound by laws and treaties” and he will not order U.S. military officials to violate or disobey those laws if elected president. His statement attenuated earlier comments that he would revive waterboarding in interrogations – which is now illegal – and “a lot worse,” and that he would target the wives and children of suspected extremists.

    "This was a switch of sorts from the debate the night before. “These animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding?” he offered in the debate. “We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding.”
  • on the war on drugs: "In 1990, Trump took an extremely libertarian perspective on the War on Drugs, stating, “You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

    "However, he has apparently had a change of heart in recent years. At CPAC earlier this year, in an interview with Sean Hannity, he stated that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana was “bad,” saying that he “feel[s] strongly about that,” and that Colorado has “got a lot of problems going on right now.”

Trump's Hair is...Messy

You are forgiven if you sometimes think you see a small, hairy mammal camped out on Mr. Trump's head. As hard as it is to believe, that's supposed to be Donald's hair. It's often unkempt, swirling, and untamed--much like his positions on controversial issues, such as...
  • Abortion: "In 1999, Trump stated that though he “hate[d] the concept of abortion,” that he was “very pro-choice,” and that he would not even ban partial-birth abortions. Trump later stated that after consulting with doctors that he would be in favor of banning partial-birth abortions.

    Today, Trump states that he is “pro-life,” with exceptions for rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger. His current stance became particularly muddled, however, when in the same interview, he responded that “it depends when” in the pregnancy a woman desires an abortion if it should be permissible."

    This is less a policy position that it is an "issue mamba"--an elaborate series of dance steps around, over and through a tricky issue, designed to provide sound bites of information to appease listeners on both sides of the debate, simultaneously. It's one thing to flip-flop; it's another to waffle so much that you don't really hold an internally consistent belief system.
  • on taxes: "In 1999, Trump called for a one-time 14.25% tax on individuals and trusts of over $10 million in order to pay off the national debt. Trump’s rhetoric at the time was eerily similar to that of the Occupy movement, as he stated that, “By my calculations, 1 percent of Americans, who control 90 percent of the wealth in this country, would be affected by my plan. The other 99 percent of the people would get deep reductions in their federal income taxes.” In 2000, he indicated that he was opposed to a flat tax."

    "In 2011, he indicated support for the Bush Tax Cuts, stating that President Obama would be “taking away a lot of incentives from a lot of people that produce a lot of taxes” if he were to allow them to expire. A few months later, he proposed a four-bracket tax system which contained rates of 1%, 5%, 10% and 15% and eliminated the corporate income and estate taxes. Needless to say, this is a marked shift from his prior position."

Trump's Hair is...Inauthentic

Careful study of Mr. Trump's hair reveals that it starts out at the follicles a shade of neon orange unknown in nature, fading to a wispy, washed out grey by the end of its frazzled tips. Dime store fright wigs look more natural.

And yet, Trump seems unnaturally proud of his unruly locks, as befits a man so neurotically concerned about the size of his...hands. So, what else about Mr. Trump is...um...er...inauthentic?
  • After the votes were in for the Michigan primary the other night, Mr. Trump gave one of the most bizarre victory speeches/infomercials ever seen on television. Among his claims were that his products and businesses, many of which were on gaudy display on a table next to the candidate, were of the “highest quality”: steaks, a magazine, an airline, a university, a winery and a water company.

    Here’s the “real deal” on these products:
  • The steaks are from a company called Bush Brothers--Mr. Trump has nothing to do with the production, marketing, or selling of these steaks.
  • The magazine isn’t published by Trump--its a "vanity publication" produced for his hotels, and comes out once per year as a marketing and promotional tool.
  • The airline defaulted and was sold to US Air.
  • The university went out of business and is now embroiled in multiple lawsuits.
  • The winery, according to Trump: "I own it 100 percent, no mortgage, no debt." The winery, according to the winery: “Trump Winery is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates."
  • The water is probably produced by another company.
Where I’m from this is called lying. When is the media going to call him out on this nonsense, and stop giving him free air time to spout his drivel?

What started out as an entertaining and harmless distraction in a seemingly unending campaign has now become dangerous. The office of President is not an entry-level gig. It requires a seriousness of purpose that an entitled playboy like Mr. Trump will never be able to understand. Being the leader of a world superpower requires restraint, self-control, and gravitas--characteristics that are foreign to a person who has never been told "no," and surrounds himself with sycophants and admirers.

A leader is a person who demonstrates a history of public service, not a lifetime of narcissism, self-aggrandizement and shameless self-promotion.

A leader is a person who unequivocally disavows the support and endorsement of racists and fundamentalists, and eschews violence from his followers, rather than encouraging these persons and behaviors through the escalation of his own violent rhetoric.

A leader is a person who appeals to the highest ideals and aspirations of a nation's citizens, not the lowest.

Enough is enough…the eagle is angry, and wants its country back.

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