Is An Insane President The Result Of A Society Losing Its Mind?

To many, the president we have in the United States today is a crazy anomaly — just the result of decades of false but effective branding, decades of Hillary bashing, and a population hungry for change. However, I think the story is much more chilling than that. While I agree it’s important that Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million American votes, I also think Trump is a representation of much of our society, not just an anomaly.

On the one hand, Trump is the overly bombacious salesman that is an archetype of the United States of America. Yes, this salesman is often a con, and that’s been the case with much of American history, politics, and business.

Trump also signifies what is often considered a key “American Dream” — the ability to rise up and become a billionaire living in a gold-plated condo in NYC as well as a Florida resort and wherever else he feels like jetting off to at the moment. While people may be limited from ever achieving such a dream, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to live their life through his TV and Twitter shoes.

Then there’s the point that much of his campaign, “presidency,” and Twitter activity has centered around telling old white Christian men that they’re still in charge, that they are the best and they are the boss.

But I think the most interesting and perhaps even most relevant American symbol that Trump plays is as an aging privileged person who is losing touch with reality and trying to deny it.

The US, it is no secret, has a large aging population. It is also no secret that cognitive abilities have a tendency to decline in old age. Not always, but yes, there’s a higher likelihood of that. Combine that with the fact that our population has perhaps never been as drugged as it is today. Yes, drugs are another matter that tend to degrade cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills, and we’re apparently using them like never before.

My first article about Trump running for president was titled, “Could The US Really Elect A Conspiracy Theorist?” Unfortunately, my hunch at the time was that we could … and my hunch turned out correct.

Donald Trump gets away with blasting out insane conspiracy theories, trumpeting genuinely fake news, complaining about legitimate news he doesn’t like, and attacking democracy because much of the population is just as clueless and out of touch with reality as he is.

Beyond the points above, American culture has generated this meme that Americans are super special. Part of the result seems to be a deteriorated sense of civic duty and democratic responsibility. They just get freedom because they’re better. When the president doesn’t understand the importance of a balance of powers, a separation of powers, and the 4th estate, there’s a good chance much of the population doesn’t either. Perhaps it got lost along the way in too much Facebook scrolling. Perhaps it was lost much earlier, when California actors started leading the Republican ticket with dumbed down claims about how the economy works, or when a certain president employed the “Southern Strategy” to pit racist Americans against their brethren. Perhaps we are really just in an age of TMI (too much information) and overstimulation, and Trump is the result when the country is so large it is inclined to skip the details and elect a “larger than life” reality TV con than a genuine civic-minded politician.

Perhaps it’s all of the above.

In any case, my concern is not so much that Trump by himself will take the United States off a cliff (though, he seems to be trying pretty hard). My concern is that much of our society is running itself off a cliff, and has the rest of us locked in with ropes of institutional interconnection. How do we turn the crowd around? I think it comes down to many of us getting more informed and more engaged … but I’d be lying if I thought that was anywhere close to an inevitability.

Images #1, #3, and #4 via DonkeyHotey


Screw Science, Eh? ¯_(ツ)_/¯







About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009.

Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity.

To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

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  • Brian

    Zachary Corporations own both corrupt parties, and our media. While the Republicans are horrible, the Democrats aren’t much better. Hillary supported Monsanto, natural gas fracking, the Iraq war, the TPP 45 times, refused to support Medicare for All, refused to support marijuana legalization, refused to regulate the corrupt banks, refusrd to denounce the Dakota access pipeline, and took 21 million dollars from Wall Street, and refused to release the Transcripts. Donna Brazille, the disgraced liar who passed debate questions to Hillary admitted that Hillary used her enormous wealth to buy and run the DNC, which favored her from the start. So both parties are extremely corrupt, and the Democrats just fired all the honest progressives, and have no intention of allowing Bernie Sanders to have any power. This will cause this crook Trump to win agaon in 2020 unfortunately.

  • Brian

    This fraud Trump is an absolute embarrassment to the USA. His horrible healthcare plan, tax cuts for the rich, lies about climate change, and plans to keep us addicted to using dirty fossil fuels, are terrible policies. However it was the Democrats who cheated Bernie Sanders out of his primary, and who have become corrupt and cororate ownwed like the Republicans, who caused him to be elected. The Democrats should have chosen Bernie Sanders instead of their corporatist and war monger natural gas fracking lover, Hillary. Had they done that, Bernie Sanders would have beat this crook Trump.

  • john

    The leader of the west is regarded as a joke outside of the USA and more than likely by a large proportion of thinking Americans.
    There are undercurrents of political thought not seen from the 1930’s and this refers to other countries as well.
    Just reflect how it worked out last time post the 1930’s !