July 31, 2016
For our sakes–Dump crackpot Trump
by Dean Johns
…what Donald Trump imagines he means when he claims to want to make America great again, it is anybody’s guess. Certainly the US can proudly proclaim its tremendous wealth, technological leadership, military might and democratic institutions.
But even an admirer of America on balance, as I am, has to have doubts about whether it has ever been truly great. Its tremendous wealth is accompanied by appalling poverty; too much of its technology is for military purposes; its military might too frequently misdirected, as during the Bush Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, and before that in Vietnam; and its democratic institutions grotesquely skewed in favour of big business.–Dean Johns
Nothing grates on me more than the word great, as in the deranged Donald Trump’s urging to US voters to elect him president and “make America great again” or acts of terror committed in the cause of an allegedly ‘great’ God.
Such claims to greatness are cover-ups for at best great self-deceptions, and at worst great lies.No God that was truly great would need supporters to commit killings and other crimes in His (or Her or Its) names. And no country with any genuine claim to greatness would seriously countenance a crackpot like Donald Trump as a candidate for any public office whatever, let alone its presidency.
Let’s face it, however sincerely we may aspire to greatness, human imperfection decrees that none of us or the countries we create or the divinities we invent are truly great all the way through or all the time.
So rather than shoot for ‘great’ and thus inevitably and often disastrously fail to achieve it, or to give up and go for the opposite extreme as some do, it seems to make sense to settle for ‘good’.
Or, as the eminent British pediatrician and psychoanalyst David Winnicott (1896-1971) famously proposed for parents, especially mothers, plagued by perceptions that they were falling short of perfection in rearing their children, good-enough.
The ‘good-enough’ mother, Winnicott claimed, in doing her best despite falling short of maternal perfection, let alone greatness, gives her children sufficient nurturing, support and encouragement to happily grow up to be their ‘true selves’, or at least their best possible ‘false selves’.
This relaxed, realistic and above all achievable ‘good-enough’ rather than impossibly great approach to seems to make sense to me, and better yet appears to work. For example, while neither I nor either of the mothers of my children would claim to have been paragons of parental perfection, our offspring, now aged 51 and 21, have both apparently turned out much better than ‘good-enough’ people.
And professionally, while I’ve never kidded myself that I could ever aspire to be a ‘great’ writer, I’m perfectly content to be good-enough to keep typing, and even to attract if not necessarily interest or entertain the odd reader.
Often proving to be the unholy grail
And just as the good-enough concept works for me, it also clearly does so, even if they’re not consciously aware of it, for the vast majority of my fellow humans who are sufficiently sensible to see ‘greatness’ for the unholy grail it so often proves to be.
For countries as well as for individuals, as witnessed perhaps most vividly by the tragic case of North Korea, cursed as it has been for decades by the self-styled ‘great’ leadership of its Kim dynasty.
And as for what Donald Trump imagines he means when he claims to want to make America great again, it is anybody’s guess. Certainly the US can proudly proclaim its tremendous wealth, technological leadership, military might and democratic institutions.
But even an admirer of America on balance, as I am, has to have doubts about whether it has ever been truly great. Its tremendous wealth is accompanied by appalling poverty; too much of its technology is for military purposes; its military might too frequently misdirected, as during the Bush Administration in Iraq and Afghanistan, and before that in Vietnam; and its democratic institutions grotesquely skewed in favour of big business.
Then there is the fact that this self-proclaimed ‘land of the free’ was founded on slavery, has long had by far the biggest per-capita prison population in the world, maintains a rate of death by gunfire far higher than many of the world’s most murderous dictatorships, a still retains a shocking record of racial injustice.
Not to mention an apparently incurable fancy that God is great, and on its side, in every whit as fundamentalist a Christian fashion as Donald Trump demonises Muslims for having faith in Allah.
Hillary Clinton –Making America Beautiful, Wholesome and Humane
In short, what the US needs right now is not a president determined to make America great again, whatever that might mean, but another good-enough President like Barack Obama, with the determination to make it better.
And as for Malaysia, which I suppose I might as well mention as long as I’m writing this for Malaysiakini, it is high time this country got itself a government that’s any good at all, instead of the UMNO-BN one that it has, which is no good whatever.
Or, to put it another way, it is a great disgrace that this gang of crooks has been systematically robbing Malaysia of its natural resources, and the Malaysian people of their funds, freedoms, rights and protections, ever since power was handed to it on a plate by the departing British colonisers.
And despite international action in the case of its latest massive crime against the nation, the 1MDB swindle, the chances of its reforming itself and doing something, anything good, let alone anything like good-enough, seems to remain a distant dream.