A Nation Afraid of Its Own Shadow

Last Friday, the Billy Bush tapes from eleven years ago featuring Donald Trump trash talking soap opera actress, Arianne Zucker, were leaked to the public just two days before the second presidential debate. The content as well as the frenzy of media attention it received had the desired effect of capturing the attention of the citizenry and setting off a firestorm of condemnation and collective disgust. Trump dropped faster in the polls than a cannon ball being foisted off the Leaning Tower of Pisa by Galileo.

Granted, the comments were slimy and pretty darn infantile when you consider they came from a guy who at the time was 59 years old. US presidential politics is a rough and tumble sport. I can understand why Trump’s detractors and opponents would have wanted the recording front and center prior to the debate. But what I don’t quite get are some of the corners public outrage coming from?

On social media it has turned into a contest of who could register the greatest degree of umbrage. Women I can understand. Women have been marginalized in this country since it was founded. (And before.) Then comes along big, brash misogynistic Donald Trump. However, I am perplexed by many comments I hear from men. Not that what Trump said shouldn’t be condemned, but the levels of pious, virtue signaling that are oozing forth out there are beginning to make me nauseous. Many, would have you believe they never in their lives engaged in conversations that objectified women!

Now, I have met men, fine gentlemen, men far superior to myself that I believe would never engage in such tawdry talk. But it has been my experience those paragons of virtue are few and far between. When I have confronted obvious acts of hypocrisy on this topic, I was met with comments such as, it is not about objectifying women; rather, what Trump said was “an assault on women!” REALLY, assault? Now that in my opinion is a stretch.

At this point I think what is required is a collective time-out. And for those men feeling the most indignant, I would recommend a quick read of Carl Jung’s thoughts on the “Shadow Self.”

As Wikipedia relates it, “In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” may refer to (1) an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Because one tends to reject or remain ignorant of the least desirable aspects of one’s personality, the shadow is largely negative, or (2) the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious.”

I think the above is an important concept to ponder while we are in our time-outs because it is believed by many a therapist, that unless we can accept that shadow part in ourselves, we can never move beyond it.   A psychologist once told me that unless she accepts her patient, unconditionally, and without judgment, the healing process cannot begin. She had to accept the whole person, not certain aspects.

As I stated earlier, US presidential politics is a rough and tumble sport. It is important to move beyond the emotionality of this incident so as to ask some bigger questions. For instance, qui bono (Latin for who benefits)? It’s important because if we are responding to a dog whistle, shouldn’t we know who is pushing our collective knobs and why? Julian Assange and others have revealed that the political, financial and media establishments have locked arms to support Clinton and defeat Trump. If it were a Jeb Bush vs. Hillary Clinton match up, I am sure we would have seen no where near the broad based support we are seeing for just one candidate. No doubt we would have the seen the establishment (deep state) secure in the knowledge they will be just fine regardless of who gets elected.

It makes me ponder, do they fear a Trump presidency could see a number of them behind bars?

It also should not be missed that the release of the Billy Bush tape comes right on the heels of some very, very damaging Wikileaks regarding Hillary Clintons activities that includes things like:

  • fraud investigations,
  • conflicts of interest,
  • political corruption,
  • wrongful pardons,
  • campaign and finance law violations,
  • business & political scandals.

It is time to inject some perspective into this maelstrom. One perspective I would like to share comes from Richard Sennett’s book, The Fall of The Public Man:

“A political leader is running for office is spoken of as “credible” or “legitimate” in terms of what kind of man he is, rather than in terms of the actions or programs he espouses. The obsession with persons at the expense of more impersonal social relations is like a filter which discolors our rational understanding of society; it obscures the continuing importance of class in advanced industrial society; it leads us to believe community is an act of mutual self-disclosure and to undervalue the community relations of strangers, particularly those which occur in cities. Ironically, this psychological vision also inhibits the development of basic personality strengths, like respect for the privacy of others, or the comprehension that, because every self is in some measure a cabinet of horrors, civilized relations between selves can only proceed to the extent that nasty little secrets of desire, greed, or envy are kept locked up.

“Intimacy” connotes warmth, trust, and open expression of feeling. But precisely because we have come to expect these psychological benefits throughout the range of our experience, and precisely because so much social life which does have a meaning cannot yield these psychological rewards, the world outside, the impersonal world, seems to fail us, seems to be stale and empty.”

I believe what Sennett is imparting is that we quickly get caught up in a cult of personality rather than a record of performance and arriving at a presumption of how a person will perform based on that record. For many an election choice comes down to – do I or don’t I like this person?

I have always believed liking a person is not a good reason to vote for them. What little I know of politicians is that most are quite likable when you meet them as I don’t think they could be elected if they were not. I would prefer they be afraid of me, afraid that if they don’t do what I and other voters need to have done, they will be booted out of office.

My big issue with the Clinton campaign is special interests seem to have created a firewall  around her that has enabled her to avoid running on her abysmal record in favor of a campaign that is centered on getting people to hate and fear Trump. Granted , Trump hasn’t been much help to himself here. He is probably as vile as most say. And his performance in the first debate would lead any rational person to question his suitability. BUT, when I look at Clinton’s record and the continuation of the train ride of neoliberal economic policies that place the pursuit of price and profit above all else and the its marriage with a neoconservative foreign policy that condones first use of nuclear weapons, the destabilization of countries and forcing them to collapse into civil war in order for the US to remain the world hegemon, I remain unimpressed with Hillary Clinton.

In closing, I would like to leave my readers with a transcript of the Billy Bush tapes. Yep, it is as nasty as all get over. But judge for yourself how it will influence you in voting for either Trump, Clinton, Johnson or Stein:

Following is an unedited transcript of the tape in which Donald J. Trump repeatedly made vulgar comments about women. Yep, what he said is laid bare for all to see and judge.

“Mr. Trump was filmed talking to the television personality Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” on the set of “Days of Our Lives,” where Mr. Trump was making a cameo appearance. They are later joined by the actress Arianne Zucker. The transcription is by Penn Bullock of The New York Times.

Donald J. Trump: You know and …

Unknown: She used to be great. She’s still very beautiful.

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.

She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —

I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!


Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.


Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.


Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s —

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.

Trump: Oh, it looks good.

Bush: Come on shorty.

Trump: Ooh, nice legs, huh?

Bush: Oof, get out of the way, honey. Oh, that’s good legs. Go ahead.

Trump: It’s always good if you don’t fall out of the bus. Like Ford, Gerald Ford, remember?

Bush: Down below, pull the handle.

Trump: Hello, how are you? Hi!

Arianne Zucker: Hi, Mr. Trump. How are you? Pleasure to meet you.

Trump: Nice seeing you. Terrific, terrific. You know Billy Bush?

Bush: Hello, nice to see you. How you doing, Arianne?

Zucker: Doing very well, thank you. Are you ready to be a soap star?

Trump: We’re ready, let’s go. Make me a soap star.

Bush: How about a little hug for the Donald? He just got off the bus.

Zucker: Would you like a little hug, darling?

Trump: O.K., absolutely. Melania said this was O.K.

Bush: How about a little hug for the Bushy? I just got off the bus.

Zucker: Bushy, Bushy.

Bush: Here we go. Excellent. Well, you’ve got a nice co-star here.

Zucker: Yes, absolutely.

Trump: Good. After you.

[Break in video]

Trump: Come on, Billy, don’t be shy.

Bush: Soon as a beautiful woman shows up, he just, he takes off. This always happens.

Trump: Get over here, Billy.

Zucker: I’m sorry, come here.

Bush: Let the little guy in here, come on.

Zucker: Yeah, let the little guy in. How you feel now? Better? I should actually be in the middle.

Bush: It’s hard to walk next to a guy like this.

Zucker: Here, wait, hold on.

Bush: Yeah, you get in the middle, there we go.

Trump: Good, that’s better.

Zucker: This is much better. This is —

Trump: That’s better.

Zucker: [Sighs]

Bush: Now, if you had to choose honestly between one of us. Me or the Donald?

Trump: I don’t know, that’s tough competition.

Zucker: That’s some pressure right there.

Bush: Seriously, if you had — if you had to take one of us as a date.

Zucker: I have to take the Fifth on that one.

Bush: Really?

Zucker: Yup — I’ll take both.

Trump: Which way?

Zucker: Make a right. Here we go. [inaudible]

Bush: Here he goes. I’m gonna leave you here.

Trump: O.K.

Bush: Give me my microphone.

Trump: O.K. Oh, you’re finished?

Bush: You’re my man, yeah.

Trump: Oh, good.

Bush: I’m gonna go do our show.

Zucker: Oh, you wanna reset? O.K.”

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