On the morning of November 10th, the day after our debacle of a Presidential election, I sat in the waiting room of my local Subaru dealer while they serviced my car.  I was alone until a man in his late 40s joined me, followed soon after by an octogenarian and a younger woman, possibly her caretaker.

All was silent at first because the TV was off.  I had intentionally chosen this empty and quiet secondary waiting room so I wouldn’t have to hear CNN’s pundits.  There had been enough talk over the last 17 months about the election – and the buffoon who somehow won it – to fill a dozen virtual landfills. I didn’t need to hear any more, not on that day.

But the silence didn’t last.  The elderly woman soon began talking to her companion about the election.  “He’ll hire the best people,” she said. “He’s a successful business man who knows how to create jobs,” she opined.  “He’s an outsider who will shake things up in Washington.”

Ugh.

The Blue State Blues

I live in a region of a very blue state in which one can openly discuss our moron president in many public places without fear of offending eavesdroppers. One can almost safely make disparaging remarks about him to strangers.  Many dark blue states are like this, as are, I can only imagine, my country’s dark red states.  People there probably talked about Hillary Clinton’s alleged high crimes and treasonous acts at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The polarization of politics isn’t just local, though.  Social networks have slowly become echo chambers of our own design, exposing us mostly to views which support our established beliefs.  How many of us have “unfriended” old friends or hidden the posts of social media contacts who hold the opposite view?  Finding a Trump voter with which to have a reasonable discussion, you see, has become challenging.

Yet, sitting across from me in my blue state was a real-life Trump voter.  Given her opening statements, I think she was also a good example of how propaganda and, perhaps, a lack of information had shaped a voter’s mind into believing Trump’s claimed virtues.

The distraught man sitting next to me was the first to engage by saying, as politely as he could, that Trump was a con man, and that we were screwed.  He lamented that America “wasn’t his country anymore.”  I could almost hear him groaning inside.

I went a different route, pointing out to my octogenarian waiting room companion my favorite Trump failure, his eponymous “university.”

Trump University

Politics aside, Trump’s failed business venture, Trump University, encapsulates so completely why I think Trump is a deplorable person and why I have never liked him.  According to Wikipedia:

Trump University was an American for-profit education company that ran a real estate training program from 2005 until 2010…After multiple lawsuits, it is now defunct…The company offered courses in real estate, asset management, entrepreneurship, and wealth creation.  The organization was not an accredited university or college.  It did not confer college credit, grant degrees, or grade its students.

To put it more plainly, Trump University was a business venture that attempted a half-assed replication of popular for-profit online schools, like University of Phoenix and Kaplan University.  It leveraged its owner’s powerful brand name to attract people into the program with the promise, from Trump himself, that “I can turn anyone into a successful real estate investor, including you.”

In its 5 years, it offered nothing of tangible value.  How could it? The secret to Trump’s real estate investing success is already known: simply inherit millions, take enormous risks in Manhattan real estate that pay off, and then have (love him or hate him) star quality that you can leverage to build an empire.

But one can learn those secrets if you just take this $1,500 weekend seminar!

All scams are repugnant, but Trump University was particularly unacceptable because Trump was (supposedly) already a billionaire when he formed it.  Presumably not in need of new sources of cash flow, he nonetheless created a scam that preyed on the gullible and desperate – people who are not likely to know better.  His “university” targeted people who might have been displaced by factory automation or by the increasing obsolescence of coal as a fuel source.  It appealed to many people who were simply more suited for blue-collar tasks in an economy that increasingly values white-collar work.

While some for-profit colleges offer a degree that carries a hint of credibility, Trump University offered only a bait and switch.  It’s a great example of his ego, greed, and disregard for the well-being of anyone but himself and his cronies.

Ironically, in my blue state mind, I imagine that the customers of Trump University were the kinds of people who thought of Trump as a self-made billionaire who will hire the “best” people, who knows how to “create jobs,” who will “shake up the Washington establishment.”

This is the long version of what I told the hopeful octogenarian Trump supporter in the Subaru waiting room that day, because when I asked her if she had heard of Trump University, her reply was almost predictable. “No,” she said.

Of course she hadn’t.

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2 Comments on "An American’s Thoughts on President Trump"

  1. Joanna Ellis | 13th June 2017 at 9:56 pm | Reply

    Taking a look at popular culture, aside from the power of social media and (Russian) attempts to interject “fake news” into our online media consumption, I do fear that Trump is a result of the current phenomena of society basically giving far too much credence and weight to even the most inane mutterings of a celebrity… as witnessed in Britain when a notoriously uneducated reality TV ‘star’ by the name of Joey Essex was sent by a large UK media outlet to interview the main political party leaders ahead of a national vote.

    The author of this interesting insight into the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is wise to acknowledge the fact so many people are perhaps unwittingly limiting their own knowledge by muting anyone who dares to voice an opposite view to our own. Add to this the fact that any real political debate tends to be stifled due to politicians fearing a media storm if they say anything remotely different to their party or leader, and we find ourselves in a world in which the cult of personality wins out above the far more important question of whether a potential leader such as Donald Trump has a proven track record of actually giving a damn about anyone other than himself and his family, and, more importantly, whether he has the ability, desire, and mental capacity to truly understand the ways of government and answers to the biggest political and social questions of today?

    In a similar way to how we British are expected to hand over hard earned money for, say, a book of photographs by “professional” photographer Brooklyn Beckham – who cares if he’s trained in his art, or is even any good, for this is the ‘celebrity’ teenage son of soccer legend David Beckham?! – perhaps President Trump is the ‘leader’ celebrity obsessed America deserves?

    After all, who do we all see on TV and in the media almost every day? A scientific genius such as Professor Stephen Hawkings? Or Kim Kardashian?

    Here’s hoping in 2020 America opts for a frequently boring, but wholly stable, effective and educated politician with years of devoted public service to their name, rather than the celebrity who much prefers to both enrage and entertain rather than educate future generations and the populace at large.

  2. Great points, but I do wonder if we American deserve Trump, in part because the more that comes out about Russian meddling into the software and databases of election vendors, the more I wonder if he actually won the election. The difference was 80,000 votes in the three states that gave him the electoral college, meaning ~40,000 of those made the difference. Sounds like a small number for sophisticated hackers to alter.

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