Writings and observations

Trump 64: An unmoored perspective

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Imagine a small boat, tethered to a dock. It also alongside other boats, similarly tethered, and all of them are linked in some common relationship.

Now image that small boat untethered, loosened, wandering around the ocean with not even a shoreline visible, with no frame of reference at all but . . . itself.

Now picture Donald Trump, candidate for the ultimate connected people – the single job that most directly affects other people – saying this:

“It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

He said those words on a long-forgotten video, from a 1997 interview with radio jock Howard Stern, that resurfaced earlier this year on the web site Buzzfeed.

The first thing that might occur to many people is that no real great or brave soldier would ever speak of himself in that way. It is true that Trump wasn’t specifically saying he was “a great and very brave soldier,” merely comparing himself to one. But the facts on both ends of the comparison specifically bear reiteration.

Trump spent time in a military academy and graduated from it in the spring of 1964. Though he participated there without comment in military-type activities, when he enrolled in selective service (the draft) in June of that year, just as America’s military was starting to gear up in Vietnam, he took and education deferment, to attend Fordham College. That was the first of four education deferments, and when that ran out after his graduation in 1968, he received a 1-Y medical deferment (over bone spurs in his heels).

He appears not to have been eager to make his way to Vietnam. Possibly the idea of being captured by the Viet Cong held little appeal, since he said of contemporaneous POW John McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

So – that’s the reality of Trump, the military and Vietnam. What was it he was referring to when comparing himself to “a great and very brave soldier”?

That, in his conversation with shock jock Stern, was about his years in the 70s when he was engaging in lots of sexual activity: “I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era . . . I feel like a great and very brave soldier.”

As a moral actor in American society, Donald Trump is completely unmoored. How else to explain this? – rs

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