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A Serial Predator

October 8, 2016

Donny Trump turned 13 in 1959. He never reached 14. What happened to that boy?

It’s Friday, late afternoon, and I just saw the news. I guess I should have approached this nonfiction novel gig with more trepidation. If you don’t know who the characters are going to be, about whom you will be narrating, you might at least expect the worst. Turns out I sort of did, but I didn’t.

Sometimes in fiction we use art to push our imaginations to the extremes of what we, as humans, are capable of imagining and capable of being. We try to present a character as a means of re-presenting what we are, clarifying the type, even the archetype. It’s a way of creating a more healthy consciousness.

It’s not hard to invent a character who is mentally-emotionally ill, and/or grotesquely self-absorbed, and/or serially sexually predatory. In fiction, as in movies and tv (a show in the “Sopranos” vein, for instance), we can present a character who brags in gross language about committing multiple sexual assaults; but we’re either doing pornography or we’re presenting a reprehensible type, whom we recognize as representing a potential inside ourselves and others. One who playfully assaults and insults humanity.

Well then it shouldn’t have surprised me when one walked into this nonfiction novel too.

(Frankly, although I’ve know this ugliness since I was 13—we started late back then—I don’t need to illustrate it in the text. For readers who missed the news, I can link to reportage, which they are not obliged to read.)

I take it that the language and tone used by this character produced the immediate shock. But over the next few hours people came to realize that much worse are the actions that he bragged about. Our character turns out to be a serial predator, who targets any woman whom he suddenly finds attractive. He claims that he cannot stop himself. He further claims that it’s okay, though, because it’s all consensual, they “let” him do anything he wants, because they are so gratified by being assaulted by a star. He’s irresistible. He suggests that it is all the more marvelous, more sporty, if his victim is married.

Let’s not pretend that we are dealing with anything less sordid and repulsive than the character whom I have just described.

And since our character is a candidate for the U S Presidency, we have an interesting trait, displayed on the grand stage. We are illustrating what a womanizer a guy can be (surely not new in American history), and/or how sexually insecure he is (surely not new in American history), even in an exulted position of high seriousness.

Such narration might well gross out some readers enough that they close the book; but in general the effect is padded somewhat by the fact that this is a matter of the aesthetic imagination, seeking to understand the truth of the human condition.

If you are writing a nonfiction novel, it’s the same human condition, and can even engage the aesthetic imagination, if rather ambiguously and ambivalently. But you may find yourself writing with a sickened stomach and a deeply saddened heart.

What, for instance, are the candidate’s wife and children going through, especially if they are intensely involved in the campaign to get their father the presidency?

Writing can be a very sad endeavor, for instance when writing about war, especially a war that the writer experienced. That sadness goes far beyond the low level of disappointment with humanity that someone like Trump provokes. Trump is more of a profoundly disappointing individual—his fusion of the very high and the very low simply threatens to drag everything into the mud. He’s creepy and should not be assaulting all of us with himself.

And yet, he’s all too representative, of a social dynamic that we have been striving, for decades, to seriously modify. We nominate a woman for the presidency, and this is what we expose about ourselves, and what a major party asks us to put up with.

More, they ask us to put our lives and the health of our society in his hands.

Really, this whole scene is so disappointingly regressive.

So then we have the matter of responses by his colleagues and supporters, many of whom have earlier failed the challenge of their party’s candidate. Will they respond differently now?

The Republican Party is the enabler here. Let’s not pretend otherwise. What it has brought our democracy to, is really quite discouraging.

Our democracy requires that that party either remake itself into an ethical, conservative political party, or be replaced by one.

(And you know, really, seriously, what about the parenting of Trump, and the Koch boys, for instance.  I’m thinking that those fathers were part of a “Lost Generation” of American fascists–displaced by FDR, who took their frustrations out on their kids.  Something like that.)

[And who can out-disappoint Mike Pence, who excused T’s behavior by focusing on the verbal and invoking PC? He knows the base.]

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