Donald Trump is the least chill person on the face of the planet. Had he been alive during the time of Buddha, the religious leader might well have illustrated the fundamental philosophy of his faith simply by pointing at Trump and saying, "So: Not this."
And yet! Nestled in the punchy morsels of Trump's speechcraft are little nuggets of wisdom that sound as though they might be at home within the stripped-down poetry of Japanese culture. Trump is no Issa -- meaning the poet, not the Southern California Republican congressman -- but even he cannot help but construct a haiku as he speaks, sharing unexpected wisdom where one might otherwise wonder if any exists.
As he said during the announcement of his candidacy:
We have to do it.
And we need the right people.
So Ford will come back.
"So Ford will come back." Did Trump mean that as a metaphor, for American industry? Or was he echoing, say, Kerouac, gazing at the horizon waiting for some jalopy to at last make its appearance? No one knows.
But in a tweet one month later, he offered a tantalizing hint.
If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right. -- Henry Ford
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2015
If you think you can
do a thing or think you can't
do a thing, you're right.
During his announcement, Trump also offered this mysterious set of lines.
But it could be he'd
want to be cool, and he'll wait
until the next day.
Who is the "he?" It doesn't matter. In a sense, the "he" is all of us.
During his big speech in Mobile, Ala., Trump explicitly embraced the idea of nihilism.
My whole energy --
who cares? We do a building.
It doesn’t mean anything.
What does, Donald? What does.
He expressed deeper wisdom about politics, too --
I was like the fair-
haired boy. Do I look fair-haired?
But I know the game.
-- and about the aesthetic qualities of the world.
Unbelievable! Thank you.
Oh, that’s so beautiful.
Thank you -- who? To the universe itself? Thank you, universe, for this beauty.
To Time magazine, Trump offered astounding insights into the nature of desire itself.
How does that help us,
and we give them a fraction — a tiny
fraction — and they don’t even want it.
During a speech in Phoenix in July, he captured the essence of modern life:
They want to go out.
They want to lead a good life.
They want to work hard.
And the irony of modern celebrity:
He's a great, great guy.
I saw him the other day
He repeated that devastating theme when speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet the Press."
What are we doing?
The other day I ordered
4,000 television sets.
His philosophical insights extend downward into the drudgery of politics itself. As he said to Time, presumably about dissatisfaction with the establishment:
People are surprised,
it’s the tea party, but it’s also
straight across the board.
And offered a curt, elegant analysis of his views on a controversial topic.
I've always hated
the concept of abortion.
Always hated it.
But without question, where Trump's insights are most potent -- most jarring -- are when Trump looks within himself. During his infamous interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt earlier this month, Trump revealed an emptiness we might not have expected.
No, I think nothing.
I’m a very public person,
even though I’m private.
And to Todd, a look at the strain of a private person forced to be public.
No, I want to run,
Well, it's more difficult, yeah,
it's more difficult.
But no other insight better captures the reflective nature of both the poetic style and the man himself than this evenly metered stanza, delivered before a rapt audience in Mobile.
Wouldn’t that be horrible?
So let’s assume somebody else
And deeper into the great void of space, our lonely Earth continues its voyage.