Marolt: The resistant bacteria of national politics
Donald Trump is either a liar or an idiot — take your pick. Sorry, that’s not fair. He could be both. In fact, he is both. Please accept my apology.
He’s also a racist, a xenophobe and a misogynist, and he’s hiding something far more incriminating on his tax return than President Barack Obama wasn’t on his birth certificate. Trump is creepy, weird and mean in mien. He is likely the most uninformed presidential candidate since Snoopy but not anywhere near as charming. He’s so bad that about half of his own political party can’t stand him. The sole reason many Republicans support this boob is because he is a Republican and, if that ain’t business as usual in Washington, I haven’t a clue what that cliche he uses so often means.
Where have all the good candidates gone? Hillary is not one, either, by the way. The best you can say about her is only that she is about a zillion times better than Trump, but that still doesn’t approach even “almost good.”
My theory is data. There is far too much of it. It’s way too easy to extract and massage. It’s far too accessible to too many people.
We carry cellular homing devices with us everywhere; some won’t use the toilet without it in their hands. Credit-card swipes are as ubiquitous as and easier to trace than our own fingerprints. Stoplight cameras know not only where we drive but what songs we like to sing when we think we are alone and how often we pick our noses “in private.” Throw in a few shots from Google Earth, and you would have a hard time lifting a cookie from the jar on your own kitchen counter without getting caught if someone was hell-bent on keeping you on your diet.
Fortunately, nobody cares about our diets, what we sing or the current state of our regularity. Unfortunately, lots of people care a whole bunch about what would-be presidential candidates do every second of the day and are hell-bent on catching them in all kinds of incriminating acts in order to ruin their public lives to keep them from becoming the leader of the free world. What is their motive for this type of exposure? Depending on who is doing the damage, it is simply because the potential presidential candidate is either a Democrat or a Republican.
We live in the age of simple character assassination. If someone is willing to spend a million bucks, or maybe much less, they can gather enough data to raise enough questions to destroy the reputation of anyone on Earth, humanitarians, saints and devoted scientists not excluded.
In politics, this seems to have led not to the survival of the fittest but rather to the survival of the thickest-skinned, most self-aggrandizing, least humble, most selfish, most non-God-fearing people whom the country can expel from the infected intestines of national politics. The Information Age may well be promoting politicians to the highest offices who become most resilient to shame through repeated exposure to disgraceful acts and sordid circumstances.
Hillary has survived scandals around Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster and Benghazi. Trump has overcome Trump Airlines, the New Jersey Generals, four bankruptcies, Ivana, Marla and ample proof that much of what he says is irrefutable nonsense. Any one of these things would have driven a normal person into hiding.
Not everybody has something to hide, but most people who have risen to the heights of national politics do. You can’t get there without compromising yourself, exploiting someone else or ignoring what is right in order to do something regrettable. If not, many have things in their lives that can be twisted and tied and shaped to look like they need a convoluted and embarrassing explanation even though an innocent one would do. At the very least, almost everyone would rather not have this world’s legions of data miners sifting through the minutiae of their lives, not necessarily out of fear for what might be uncovered but for knowing that many markers in our lives are nobody’s damn business but our own.
My fear is that the honorable, the principled, the upright or even the mediocre want nothing to do with tempting the revealing of what massive databases hold. It is not quite business as usual in Washington. It is more vicious than ever, and the digitally stored lethal weaponry can be deployed in nanoseconds. Hardened megalomaniacs survive while the best and brightest keep out of harm’s way.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — I rest my case.
Roger Marolt believes everyone he knows would be a better president than Trump or Clinton. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just before the snow and frigid temperatures hit, I love wearing fall clothing and boots. And, these items can get you through the deep winter, as well.