It is a sour-tasting reminder of the decline of American culture that an obnoxious, self -promoting loudmouth can not only beckon but also woo nonstop media attention by flirting with a presidential run.
What ever happened to substance? What ever happened to credentials? Let's see, Donald Trump versus John F. Kennedy. Doesn't a Senate seat, a lifelong commitment to ending poverty and an Ivy League education trump Trump? What about Ike versus Trump? Doesn't Supreme Allied Commander on D-Day and President of Columbia University trump Trump? Or Ronald Reagan versus Donald Trump. Doesn't having a run as a successful governor of a large state count? Same for FDR --who was New York governor before his presidential run.
How about a jewel mind and two years in the U.S. Senate---er, no comment.
Trump's credentials amount to a never-ending love affair with a reviling character -- himself. Let's see, then it was his ability to demean fake employees and signal their failures to them by yelling, "You're fired." Maybe he'd bring gaming to the White House?
Or bad toupees.
Yes, my friends. The fact that the media are crowding around him signifies one of two things or perhaps both:
-- 1. There is no other news.
-- 2. America is an empire on the respirator just prior to collapsing.
Much of the world may still see us as the global leader, but more and more countries are looking to China or India to overtake us quickly, if they haven't already. I met a friend visiting Washington this week who has spent the last year-and-a-half living in Europe. I asked her how she viewed life in the States from her new perspective as a European resident. She described the U.S. as one long, fierce party of over-consumption. She said everything here is over the top: big, gas-guzzling cars, oversized houses and conspicuously nouveau riche attire.
Elsewhere, people are worried about the future and downsizing, trying to be good global citizens. Not here!
But come to think of it, that's where Donald Trump fits right in. It's hard to imagine him without a tall, skinny, bleach-blonde beauty queen on his arm. It's hard to imagine him driving a hybrid or anything other than being chauffeured around in a rather garish limousine. It's hard to imagine him living in anything but a house that has wall-to-wall white fluffy carpeting and outrageously expensive pseudo-antiques covered with lots of gold paint. Picture Liberace in your mind's eye.
As president he would secure the services of the best investigators in the world to determine once and for all whether his predecessor, Barack Obama, was truly born in Hawaii. There's always the possibility of course, whether Hawaii has been conspiring with Kenya to cover up his true country of origin.
But you have to hand it to Donald Trump for having the temerity to come back swinging after losing so often. When Trump Resorts and Hotels filed for bankruptcy not just once but three times in the mid- and late part of the last decade, he called himself a success, not a failure (one of his many inept uses of the English language). And a scant few years later, a large part of the American public considers him a successful businessman. Now that's a talent for political remake if ever there were one.
The ultimate problem, however, is not Donald Trump, but ourselves. We have so cheapened our culture and we pray to such superficial idols that an empty vessel has been able to rise to be taken seriously. Polls show Trump gaining support among Republican voters.
Really? If that is not a sign that the end is almost here and we are in serious decline, I cannot fathom a clearer signal.
Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes a column for SHNS