• Trump as a Hungry Ghost

    • Posted on Aug 21, 2016
    Here's this morning's (Aug. 21) column.  I'd really like to say it's my last column on this horrible candidate, but probably not. I can't help noticing his ego, and he can't help displaying it.   

    Anyone who reaches their teens knows about ego struggles.  Ego, that sense of self that people develop, protect, and defend, gives adults their identity, after all. 

     A healthy ego remains one of the keys to living a productive and happy life. 
    Yet that sense of self in some people goes wildly out of balance.  At some point it grows monstrous, seeking a larger identity, more praise, more adulation, more everything.   

     Garrison Keillor, when asked whether he found his considerable fame satisfying, replied, “It’s never enough. I want to be Sun King, the absolute and divine ruler of everything . . .”   

     France’s Louis XIV, the actual “Sun King” ruled France for 72 years, and his loyal subjects considered him all but divine, as did he.  He lived a long life convinced of his divinity.     

     French aristocrats actually paid to watch as their King Louis rose, dressed, ate and went to bed.  The King loved an audience, but it was never enough.   

     Never enough--that’s an unhealthy ego.  Buddhists call the unbalanced ego “hungry ghost”—always wanting more, never getting it.  Psychologists call it “narcissistic personality disorder,” and it’s marked by total self-absorption and an inability to empathize.  No one suggests putting them in charge.   

     It’s a form of addiction—a must-have daily fix of adulation and support.  Ego addiction, also known as Pride, became known as the deadliest of the Seven Deadly Sins.   Pride bullies all virtues into silence.   

     Therefore, at some point, wise people bring their ego under control.   They might see a “shrink,” to cut their ego down to size.  Better yet, they learn by recognizing that they’re not always right. Brave friends and family can help.   

     We can’t have it all.  We don’t know it all.  We need help.  We contribute to the common good without expecting praise or rewards.     

    Learning more selfless engagement and less self-promoting ego is called growing up. This is how smart people become wiser.  Our greatest leaders were wise because they faced great hardships and learned humility.  

     Which brings us to Donald Trump.  He may be smart, but no one calls him wise.  Until his followers move beyond their current fact-resistant state of mind, or until he’s roundly and soundly defeated in November, he’s a hungry ghost. 

     A hotheaded, violence-prone bully as a kid, Trump was rich enough to live an unchallenged life.  No humility penetrated his massive ego.  He’s only grown more hungry for adulation.  I pity those who mistake hungry ghosts for real leaders.   

    Trump reportedly never reads anything that’s not directly about Donald Trump.  

    This is a dead giveaway for hyper-egotism, since reading requires engagement with and concentration on someone else’s ideas. Narcissists hate this, since it takes their mind off themselves. 

    Trump’s followers keep feeding him just what he wants—unqualified adulation. Even if he committed murder in public, as he proudly announced awhile back, they would still love him. 

    That’s a hungry ghost, making himself absolute ruler of all things, immune even to basic ethics and morality.  

     Ego corrupts. Absolute ego corrupts absolutely.  

    Go comment!
  • Snake Oil is Still Snake Oil

    • Posted on Jul 31, 2016
    Here's this morning's Courier column--seems many of us are behaving like suckers buying snake oil from a billionaire salesman.  He's fooling a lot of a people a lot of the time.  

    We’re surrounded by problems and suckers for solutions.   That’s life.  

     So when we face problems, we seek solutions, and gravitate toward finding the best with the least effort and expense. 

     This makes us vulnerable to fake solutions, always and everywhere.   

     Old-time traveling medicine shows promoted cure-alls, often concoctions of alcohol and opiates.  Headache?  Two measures of Dr. Miracle’s Kure will fix it.  Ulcers? Dr. Miracle’s Kure has helped thousands.  Cancer? Five measures of Kure will make your tumors disappear. 

     Suckers, I mean customers, might feel cured for a day or two. Then problems returned, worse than before.   

     Snake oil, quackery, con, flim-flam, it’s been a constant.  Selling hope to the problem-ridden fearful.  

     The GOP behaved exactly like a traveling medicine show in Cleveland.   

     One drumbeat kept booming: Be afraid. We’re in big trouble. 

     Trumpeters passionately seem to believe in Trump’s vision: immigration laxity, ISIL fanatics, companies shutting down to move offshore for cheap labor, stagnant economy for the middle class.  Then there are gender/sexual orientation problems, the race problem—these falling under the category of political correctness and racial animosity.  

     These challenges were wildly exaggerated, made to look downright dangerous with misleading statistics and the usual bag of huckster tricks. 
    What’s the solution to this fearsome decline?  There’s only one: Donald Trump.  

    How does he know?  He consulted Himself.  
    Obviously it’s snake oil. When you ask for specifics, you get incoherent assertions that add up to “Trust me, I will make them happen.”  

     There are solutions out there, but they’re long-term, complex, and require collaboration. 

    Not once has he mentioned working with congress or our allies to move toward real solutions. Trump promotes his ego-based solutions—usually a fantasy of some kind (the wall) or illegal (torture, bombing noncombatants deliberately) that any real leader would seriously question. 

     Very wealthy people have to resist becoming states in themselves, virtual dictators.  

     A dictator, for a time, can impose his will on the world.  As the saying goes, 
    “dictators have nothing but friends until the last ten minutes of their rule.”  
    The U.S. President, in contrast, has limited power to change anything without congressional cooperation and collaboration.  Nothing Trump proposes could get done without it.   Is he a cooperator and collaborator?  No evidence so far. 

     A ghostwriter named Tony Schwartz recently confessed to having created a Frankenstein in his Trump book, “Art of the Deal.” 

     Having kept quiet until now about his research in 1987, he tells all in a recent New Yorker interview. Trump bears almost no resemblance to “Donald Trump” that Schwartz created in “Art of the Deal.”   Schwartz says he would have called it “The Sociopath.”  

     Here’s his conclusion: “If Trump is elected President . . .the millions of people who voted for him and believe that he represents their interests will learn what anyone who deals closely with him already knows—that he couldn’t care less about them”

     If elected, Trump will create the world’s biggest problem, with no solution in sight. 

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Politics
    • Conservatives/Liberals
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“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.


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