30.12.16

DEGENERATING INTO A CULT?

Mr Obama might be more of a cult-like object, but that's more a matter of degree (and veneration as if a holy object by the secular chattering class.)  More seriously, pinning too many hopes on a president (and Mr Trump is already claiming credit for rising stock indices and consumer confidence) is contrary to self-government.
As American society grows less literate and the state of its moral education declines, the American people grow less able to engage their government as intellectually and morally prepared citizens. We are in the process — late in the process, I’m afraid — of reverting from citizens to subjects.
Yes, and what's with the recent practice of using courtesy titles on the public affairs shows? Mr Gingrich is "Mr Speaker." Mrs Clinton is "Madame Secretary."  Mr Trump is "President-elect."  Oh well, it would be easy enough to change one of the verses to America.  The British have provided suitable words.  Or you could translate from the German.  Or check out alternative verse 13 in the Wikipedia entry.  "Trump of glad jubilee," indeed.

I have maintained, and will continue to maintain, that the Cult of the Presidency is killing the republic.  Now, if Mr Trump spends more time on the links than Dwight Eisenhower, perhaps I will sound the trump of glad jubilee.

But Betsy Newmark, reacting to the same National Review essay, doesn't see in a reality-show regular any hope of smashing the icons.  "I don't think that a president whose business history revolved around marketing the slapping of his name on products and real estate holdings is not the man to reverse this trend." I think there's an extra "not" toward the end. Let's say I share her skepticism about Mr Trump governing modestly.

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