(Click above on the .wav file for the audio version of this essay).
About 2300 years ago, Socrates was executed; amongst the charges against him was the corruption of the youth. Today we are very familiar with the works of Socrates; he corrupted no youth. So the question arises: How corrupted was the Ancient Athenian Society to charge Socrates with corruption? Was Socrates corrupting the youth or was Socrates really threatening the status quo? Socrates thought us to reason; perhaps in a society where reason is corrupted, then the one bringing the light of knowledge becomes a threat to the ruling power.
Now 2300 years later, the rich amongst us are seen as philosophers: Warren Buffet, George Soros, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Donald Trump, to name a few. So the question arises, how corrupted are our values? Since the media seek the rich amongst us for their philosophy; and it is common knowledge that the rich only understands greed, how corrupted are we? Bill Gates became rich because in one way or another he secured a monopoly of an operating system. He never invented anything; his wealth came from understanding monopoly really well.
Before Steve Jobs and the iPod, there was Akio Morita, who revolutionized Sony and the world with the “Walkman.”
Did you notice that I did not put Socrates and Donald Trump in the same paragraph? Oh well, I failed on this one by placing them in the same sentence. I was in my twenties when I read “The Art of the Deal,” I was young, his book was a bestseller and I never heard of the guy.
“The Art of the Deal” greeted me at the front of the store. At the time, I did not think it was a glorious waste of time, besides at the time I was fresh of the boat, and learning English; furthermore and the most important at the time Donald Trump’s corporations had not filed their first bankruptcy yet.
Technically, Donald Trump never filed a bankruptcy, his corporations did. Nevertheless, the fact that in some of the Federal bankruptcies, the Trustees had to reduce Trump’s ownership and forced Trump to return a lot of money, he took from his own corporation. Some will say that Trump’s bankruptcy or the bankruptcies of Trump’s corporations is a distinction without a difference. Wait a second! How does it goes?” You do it to me once, shame on you, you do it to me twice, shame on me?” or, “Three times is the charm?” Well five times, or five bankruptcies is not a charm, it is a pattern of doing business. By the way, bankruptcy was not included in”The Art of the Deal” because bankruptcy is not an art, but lack of art in dealing. Trump as the next American President, could we expect the United States not to file bankruptcy?
By the way, I hold no animosity towards Donald Trump whatsoever; I recognize that he may be not an ethical businessman, but a good businessman. Since today we have held the dictum of the Wall Street close to our hearts, which was made famous by “The Wall Street” character Gordon Gekko,”Greed is good,” then a greedy businessman is a good businessman. As a good or greedy businessman Donald Trump excelled not in creating a new product or a new service, he excelled in branding. Today, running a presidential campaign, he is destroying the Trump brand he took decades to create. The pattern to tie his name to five bankruptcies, it takes planning. Could Mr. Trump be planning: that he will recover his foot-in-the-mouth-losses once he becomes the next president of the United States? Will he stop being a good-greedy businessman and become an altruist president like FDR, Jimmy Carter or Abraham Lincoln? Could Mr. Trump really be more worried about the nation’s welfare than his own wealth?
Donald Trump was born with a silver spoon, and he was able to turn that silver spoon into a silver spoon to his offspring, not much of a challenge, right? I have met many people in Miami who left Cuba without knowing any English, with Spartan documentation and only the clothing they were wearing and they were able to grant silver spoons to their children. They neither had a ghostwriter on their dime to write “The Art of the Deal,” nor did their corporations file five bankruptcies. They are not presidential material, like I said, they came from Cuba. There is a difference in substance in the mind of whom came from rags to riches and the mind of whom came from riches to riches, and that difference in mental substance, it is referred as entitlement. Rags to riches is not exclusive to Cubans, one of my favorite actors, Kirk Douglas wrote a biography called “The Ragman Son,” and in an interview with Johnny Carson he mentioned that his success robbed his children from the drive to start from nothing, since having him as a rich father they are now entitled.
Would Donald Trump have the same billions if he were born in Cuba? That’s not a fair question, perhaps a fairer question would be: would Trump have five bankruptcies and eventually running for president of Cuba? The corruption of Donald Trump was not created by Donald Trump; he is also a victim of corruption. In fact, the best person to explain the corruption of Donald Trump would have been Socrates. In Plato’s “The Republic,” Socrates took the time to explain that each individual psyche or intrinsic human nature in an analogy called “The Allegory of the Cave.” I will summarize Socrates’ analogy; notwithstanding, I strongly recommend anyone to read “The Republic” including Kim Kardashian. In sum: A hypothetical person is strapped to a chair in a cave for life, that person has never had any human interaction except the shadows projected onto a wall from the light of a fire behind the chair. Socrates’ conclusion is: since the shadows are the only information the man in the cave possess, the shadows are his only reality.
Today, we continue to be cavemen; we evolved from the stone-pad to the iPad; conversely, the shadows of the cave’s wall are now in high definition, streamed in several screens and the images and information of these screens are controlled and patronized by the rich. The rich control the reality that each of us collects and turn into our perception of the world. “The Allegory of the Cave” not only explains Donald Trump’s corruption, the analogy also explains our own corruption. How corrupted are we? The media are giving a microphone to Donald Trump, a gentleman who never invented anything, has five bankruptcies to his name and has professed his racism towards Mexicans.
Our corruption does not stop with Donald Trump, the mores of the American people has been evolving or devolving according to whom is in control of the nation. We stated in our Declaration of the Independence “We the People;” however, the definition of who is a person has been changing according to our level of corruption. At first racism was included in our Constitution that only Caucasians were to be considered Americans citizens and able to vote, later women and later other races with the Civil Rights of the 1960’s. After the Civil Rights a new group has gained the right to vote. For instance, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. F.E.C. that corporations are to be considered people and their speech should be represented by the power to purchase (the shadows on the wall for us cavemen strapped to our chair be forced to watch while we eat our TV-dinners). Our Constitution was first corrupted by racism by turning humans into property and now our Constitution has been corrupted once again by greed turning property into humans. How corrupted are we? Once upon the time, humans were properties, now properties are humans?
If you don’t know the corruption in the American history here is a recap: Because the Colonists were disenfranchised by a”private corporation,” the East Indian Company, doing business under the charter of the British Empire, “We the People” declared independence, on corruption by greed. Immediately after, we disenfranchised the Negroes turning them into subhuman. It took a Civil War and a Civil Rights to undo the corruption by race. Now in our recent history (Citizen United v. FEC) we turned corporations into people giving them the right to speech disenfranchising the people in favor of the rich amongst us, once again corruption by greed. “We the People” are back where we started, once again we are corrupted by greed, and Donald Trump is just another”brick in the wall” on this education of greed and corruption cleverly illustrated by “Pink Floyd” in the song,”The Wall;” now you got it (what Pink’s “The Wall” was all about), right?
With each week we are corrupting Donald Trump (by listening to us), and Donald Trump is corrupting us (when we listen to him). It is a circular thinking! Just like Kim Kardashian is famous for circular thinking, she is famous because people like her, and people like her because she is famous. Kim and Donald have a few things in common, they never invented anything, they understand branding, they understand how to stay in the spotlight and they hire professionals to manage their stylish haircuts.
Rudolph Hurst once said,”The only news is bad news, the rest is advertising.” Donald Trump is bad news to the “Republican Party,” not to mention that he is also bad news for all the gullible merchants who sold to Trump on credit and had to face him across the tables in the Bankruptcy Courts. The media are bias to their own corruption for ratings promote bad news in the shape of Donald Trump; the media is not talking about Trump’s bankruptcies. The media also did not talk about Sarah Palin’s poor knowledge of world’s geography and world’s economics.
When the rich run the government, the rich will create tax exemptions to their corporations, also known as corporate welfare, and eventually they will be seen as philosophers and presidential candidates. Today’s presidential candidates are not chosen for their ability to govern, or their past ability to govern; but on their ability of raising money for the billion dollar media campaign. Donald Trump did not corrupt the Supreme Court turning property into people, we did. It took us decades, decades of being seduced by greed. We created our own corruption and now we deal with the consequences of having a new mercurial Sarah Palin back wearing a suit and tie claiming,”I can see Mexico from my luxurious golden trimmed penthouse!”