the new irrationalism
The recent release of Woody Allen’s new film, An Irrational Man, along with the statements of numerous figures running for the President of the United States in 2016, particularly the almost completely irrational rants of Donald Trump, along with frighteningly absurd and, as President Obama himself commented, “sad” statements, such as Mike Huckabee’s latest rhetorical distortion (he described the President’s and other world leader’s proposed treaty with Iran as “marching Israel to the door of the ovens.”) and Ted Cruz’ outburst, who for days after refusing to say anything about Donald Trump’s outrageous commentaries, suddenly called House Leader Mitch McConnell a “liar.” Jeb Bush soon after spoke out for ending “Medicare.”
As it became increasingly apparent that Trump actually had the possibility to win the Republican election, his behavior became increasingly outrageous, badmouthing the other candidates (who had, in fact, descended into his own juvenile tactics of name-calling), and even refusing to thoroughly disavow his own campaign with the support of KKK-supporter David Duke and the Ku Klux Khan in general. Even the most conservative of the Republican supporters clearly had begun to question what their politics had begat. As many pundits noted, we were witnessing, perhaps, the complete collapse of the Republican Party.
With the death of Antonin Scalia, major Republicans, both those running for the presidency and those in the Senate were ready to even deny any confirmation of a new justice which President Obama might nominate. This further attempt to end any normal governmental action clearly represented why so many voters had become angry—even if they often worked against their own best interests by pushing for people with little or no experience. Government, it appears, had become permanently disrupted by our deep partisan divides.
The Republican “collapse” seemed to continue when a pact of major Republican donors and former Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney spoke out against Trump and threatened to support either Cruz or Rubio. Yet even these endeavors seemed to have little impact on Trump’s growing populist support, whose followers swore oaths to vote to him that reminded many of the Nazi salute to authoritarian control. It became increasingly clear that Trump was not as much interested in a presidential image as he was in presenting himself in the role as a smart ruler, ordering people to be removed from his gatherings not only for protests and interruptions but, apparently, even if the color of the attendees’ skin suggested that they “might” protest. Many of his supporters joined in denigrating these protesters, arguing that he (Trump), as their leader, had the right to do this, presumably supporting their “right” to further humiliate them.
Despite denials by some of his supporters, it became clearer every day that Trump was using racism to gain the vote of his primarily working-class, white supporters. In early March Trump again spoke out against Islam values, later restating it as a position against “radical” Islam cultural perspectives. His constant restatement that “we need to look into this” suggested that he had had not, himself, deeply investigated the values he was expressing. His, we must remember, is position similar to the satirical idiot of Jerzy Kosinski’s and Hal Ashby’s Being There, who gets all of his information from TV.