In the September 27th (Sunday) New York Times’ Review section, Seth Grossman, a film maker and reality television producer described Donald Trump as being exactly what reality TV producers look for when casting their shows.
Trump according to Grossman ,”…is exactly what we look for in our casting process. He is uncomplicated and authentic: You can understand his entire personality from a 15-second sound bite.”
After comparing Trump favorably to “Uncle Si of ‘Duck Dynasty’ or Kim Kardashian or Flavor Flav, he proclaims that Trump is “the presidential candidate that reality TV made.”
With that comment, the question is not why is Trump leading but how has the electoral process changed so that someone with such a “talent” be leading.
Let me first say that this situation is can not be blamed on millenials. In fact, they are the very people many of Trump’s supporters believe have caused America to lose its greatness.
It is the young who are comfortable in a society which is racially and sexually more diverse. It is the young who support Obama, who believe that women should have control of their bodies, who bear the burden when America intervenes in foreign lands and who face the earth’s changing environment.
No the people who have contributed to this situation are those who have come to believe that the past which they lived in was better than the present. Though hindsight may be 20/20 the eyes that see it are now shaded by age and a greater sense of mortality. Too often this results in an acceptance of people and ideas which only appear to be rational solutions to changing circumstances.
I offer this critique as a bonafide member in good standing of the “boomer” generation. However I do not believe that putting a wall across our southern border can be done nor will it solve the problem of illegal immigration. I do not believe that there is some magic action which can supplant diplomacy with force. More importantly, as a veteran I know that force in foreign affairs requires putting American troops in harms way and thus should only be used for the most drastic and evident of threats.
Our current reality television political system is based on the fiction that while problems appear threatening or dangerous, they can be resolved with no real costs (not counting tears, yelling and threats). Also, that they will be resolved if not in an hour at least within thirteen episodes.
Further, the central characters and issues must vividly stand out from their environment and be without any nuances which suggest any depth or complexity. We have taken the “KISS” concept (Keep It Simple,Stupid) and applied it to our entire political culture.
While I do not expect that there will be a sudden awakening of the American electorate to this change, I can hope that it is the younger generation, which will see where the current system went wrong, understand why and most importantly understand the need to set it right.