Friday, June 30, 2017

The Washington Hillbilly

Donald Trump's latest inflammatory tweet--yet another example of his total lack of impulse control--inspired an epiphany of sorts. It reminded me of the kind of people J.D. Vance wrote about in his book Hillbilly Elegy, and that the physician who writes under the pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple has written about for many years. Vance's kinfolk are "white trash" Americans and Dalrymple's subject is the English underclass, but members of both groups, like Trump, lack the same impulse control, and that, more than anything else, is how they end up sabotaging and making a general hash of their lives. The tragedy is that they pass on the same character flaw to their children and grandchildren, thereby ensuring that future generations remain trapped in the same dead end. (Vance was able to escape it, but he's the exception to the rule.)

Then, too, neither of these groups is exactly well-read. Lacking a vocabulary pool to draw upon, they have great difficulty articulating their thoughts and feelings, a limitation that results in great frustration and that often leads to violent outbursts (that no impulse control thing, again).

Now, of course, Donald Trump is a very rich man who has reached the very apex of success. And yet, in his inability to rise above the sudden, overwhelming impulse to lash out, and because of his pinched and limited vocabulary, he, the wealthiest, most successful of men, remains something of a hillbilly, and will likely remain one for the rest of his life. And because he can't control himself, he may also end up sabotaging and making a general hash of his presidency.

As Trump, in his own inimitable way, might say, that's sad.

Really, really sad.

Update: 'Hillbilly Elegy' author J.D. Vance talks about the appeal of Trump

Update: Does it matter if Trump lied about Mika's bleeding facelift? Jay Nordlinger weighs in on the matter.

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