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The megalomaniac who would be king, emperor, dictator, or President

The megalomaniac who would be king, emperor, dictator, or President

The megalomaniac who would be king, emperor, dictator, or President

by The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher

TORONTO – There is always someone, not everyone, who aspires to be the leader of the pack. Ego is important. So is the talent to survey and rise above the field. As is the ability to pass the scrutiny of those who would be led.

In democratic societies, a gauntlet of tests (experience, service, debates…) serve as a measure of one’s worthiness for that top job.

A man whose mind was truly enviable – Dante Alighieri – admonished centuries ago that man’s goal in life should be to seek knowledge and strive for virtue (worthiness). In a formal selection/election process, “debates”, the exchanges of ideas and directions to follow are sometimes pivotal indicators of that merit or prowess.

No shrinking violet, Dante was the proverbial “man’s man” of the late Middle Ages-early Renaissance Europe. He was a political activist, scholar, poet, philosopher, soldier, businessman. For him, “virtue” meant exercising all the qualities that comprise “manliness” (or womanliness): what makes you who you are.

Dante’s Italy was a no-holds barred, violent society, even though the “country” was centuries ahead of the rest of the world in culture, business and innovation. Men did live like “brutes”: Darwinian, primal, intemperate and ruthless.

Such instincts, good for survival or success, did/do not leaders make.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump entered debate number two, Monday night, for the Presidency of the most important country in the constellation of Western Democracies. Dante would have been pitiless in his assessment.

Donald Trump, whose campaign is already reeling from the self-inflicted wounds brought on by questionable tactics designed to define and nurture a base of support seen in many circles as short on tolerance and vision, had one more chance to reboot.

The debate was actually only about him, about his cranial capacity to overcome testosterone impulses.

Not much to debate. His performance was a confirmation of all things negative that he brings to the table. He lashed out incoherently whenever tested by his opponent or by the moderators.

On the question of objectification and abuse of women, his response was nonsensical: that was 11 years ago…locker room banter… it’s not who I am today; and, by the way, Bill Clinton (Hillary’s husband) was worse (20 years ago) … an she covered for him … As proof, pre-debate, he brought forward 4 women who had brought accusations, at the time, against Hillary’s husband.

Clinton’s retort? This is about who YOU are. Americans have to decide if that is also who they are.

It went downhill from there. Trump blustered that she was a liar, an enabler, an incompetent, a devil, a criminal who should be in jail. In fact, he promised that upon election he would cause her to be prosecuted so that she would be jailed.

His aggressive tactics towards the moderators, and whining protestations of favouritism against him will not have won over may friends. Along with his bear-like hovering next to or over a comparatively diminutive adversary, this would more likely have contributed to the image of Trump as a menacing, thuggish street punk. His flippant dismissal of his Vice-Presidential running mate would have sealed that impression.

America has some serious problems. Trump insists that he alone can solve them – whatever they may be. Clinton preferred to lay low and let the Trump campaign implosion take its course.

The cavalcade of Republicans abandoning Trump’s ranks suggests that they have answered Clinton’s retort and that Trump’s America is not who they are.

(Tuesday 11 October 2016)

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