Trump Ends American Hypocrisy

Press button for Coke. Or nuclear war. Photo: AP via Gizmodo

Donald Trump is, in many ways, an old man yelling at the television. The President of the United States still yells at the TV for up to 8 hours a day, powered by a dozen Diet Cokes ordered via a dedicated button on the Resolute desk.

So what does he yell?

Grumpy old white man rants about immigrants, foreigners, and anyone outside the concentric rings of hatred around the core of what he values — himself.

This sort of personality is grating enough at Thanksgiving or in bar, but in this case he’s the President, and his words both shape policy and, in a very real sense, are policy.

And this is not how America has been. Not that America has always been a benevolent nation, but it has always expressed higher values than it practiced. And those values have slowly dragged it forward, towards freedom, equality and justice. America’s diplomacy, statecraft, and thought leadership in the world has always exceeded its actual leadership and action. But that thought leadership and the ideas they put into the world still mattered.

By bypassing the institutional filters of the Presidency, Trump has managed to change something very important, especially in terms of how America projects itself to the world.

He has ended American hypocrisy. That’s a bad thing.

Jefferson wrote the Declaration Of Independence. And this. Via Slate

The Value Of Hypocrisy

The United States Of America is founded on the most rank hypocrisy — a group of white, male slaveowners proclaiming that ‘all men are created equal’. In foreign policy the country claims to be a shining city on a hill, supporting democracy and human rights across the world, but in practice acts in its own self-interest.

While on one level this is galling and easy to criticize, this hypocrisy is also something to praise. Hypocrisy is hardly ideal, but at least a hypocrite acknowledges truth and justice before they betray it. There’s still some awareness of values, even if they’re not practical right now. That’s how nations (and people) move forward. By professing higher values before they can quite live them. In this sense, hypocrisy is a necessary part of morality among flawed beings.

How Trump Ends American Hypocrisy

Donald Trump isn’t known as an especially moral being, and nobody filters his worst impulses into diplomatic doublespeak. He just watches TV and tweets. He comes out and says the worst aspects of America’s behavior. It confirms the accusations of America’s enemies and throws America’s idealogical allies under the bus.

1. Peace In The Middle East LOL

No one really believes that the US is a neutral party in the Israel/Palestine conflict, but they have been pretending for years. Perhaps in time they could have become one. Not now.

Trump somewhat pointlessly recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Hence, it is not the capital of Palestine, nor would it come up in negotiations. Which bothers people invested in the peace process.

Unless you don’t care about the peace process. That’s what Trump is communicating on behalf of America now.

2. Racism Against Muslims Is Fine

Muslims must have suspected that America didn’t like them, but successive governments made statements that their beef wasn’t with Islam. Until Trump.

Trump retweets inciting, racist content about Muslim, blames them collectively for terrorist attacks and issued a (now established) travel ban on Muslim majority countries.

So, if you didn’t get the hint before, America doesn’t like Muslims. At least under this President.

3. American Murders People

In their lech-on-lech interview above, Bill O’Reilly says Vladimir Putin is a killer. Trump responds by saying ‘what you think our country’s so innocent?’.

Which is kinda true, but contrary to the values America expresses.

And So On

Those are just a few examples.

You can pick a tweet at random and you can see Trump’s private immorality rubbing off on America. His communication of America doesn’t aspire to anything better, doesn’t communicate any values, and it completely abandons the moral leadership the country built over hundreds of years.

It’s just a grumpy old man, yelling at the TV.

America has long been an empire clothed in a diaphanous fabric of higher values. Trump is stripping that away, the Emperor himself proclaiming that he has no clothes.

Written by

A writer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He/him. indi@indi.ca. Videos: tiny.cc/indication and podcast: anchor.fm/indication. patreon.com/indication

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store