Rich White Trash

Of the 2,000 students I taught and coached during nine years in public high schools, I didn’t like about four of them. Most human beings have at least one redeeming quality, especially kids. The ones I couldn’t stand were the spoiled brats.

When I say spoiled brat, I do not mean a rich kid. Anyone can turn a kid into a spoiled brat. All you have to do is never let him suffer the consequences of his own actions.

Four students out of 2,000 = 0.2 percent: one spoiled brat in every 500 students.

Two thousand kids is a pretty good sample, from high schools on the South Side of Chicago, an Indian reservation, a mining town in Arizona and a farmworker town in California’s Central Valley.

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I met so few spoiled brats.

Today, as a news editor, I read the major news outlets every morning. (For news junkies, I recommend The Chronicle of Higher Education website, www.aldaily.com. Its left-hand column contains links to 25 daily newspapers around the world, to 110 magazines, 56 book reviews, 16 sources of breaking news and 56 online news sites: 260 sources of information from every angle of the political spectrum.)

It astonishes me that none of these sources, to my knowledge, has reported that the most salient feature of the Trump administration is that our president is a spoiled brat. That he has surrounded himself with spoiled brats as advisers, and appointed spoiled brats to most of his Cabinet posts.

That’s why Trump and his Cabinet are so dangerous.

Anyone who has read Martha Stout’s book, “The Sociopath Next Door,” will understand that this is not an ad hominem attack upon President Chester the Molester. It is a description of him, and of the people he has appointed to wreck the federal government.

Spoiled brats break their toys, then demand more toys to play with — and get them. They never earned their toys; they don’t know the value of their toys; they don’t really care about their toys, or know what it is to be a toy in someone else’s hands.

Look at Trump’s Cabinet: Almost to a man, or woman, they are people who want to destroy the toys Trump has given them.

Know-nothing Rick Perry, secretary of energy, who thought his job would be to promote the oil industry, not to keep track of atomic bombs;

Jeff Sessions, U.S. attorney general, so racist he couldn’t be confirmed as a judge in Alabama;

Betsy DeVos, secretary of education, who has tried for years to exterminate public schools in Detroit and feed black children to profit-seeking corporations;

Scott Pruitt, the oil industry’s house white man in the Environmental Protection Administration;

Andrew Puzder, fast-food sweatshop magnate and tax-dodger, secretary of labor;

Steven Bannon, white supremacist itching to go to war with China;

and Kellyanne Conway — please, no more. I am a gentleman.

Spoiled brats, every one. Their five Cabinet departments employ 163,000 Americans, and another 100,000 contract employees. That’s the population of Jersey City, the 75th largest city in the United States. And it’s just one-third of the Cabinet departments.

The second salient aspect of the Trump administration is a truism I have traced back to the pseudo Jerome, who wrote in the year 476 that men are most prone to denounce and punish in others the vices they indulge in themselves.

Thus Trump denounces “liars,” “failures” (but not bankrupts), “fake news,” and his new favorite, “haters.”

A master manipulator and sociopath — a man without a conscience — Trump pre-emptively accuses his self-proclaimed enemies of his own vices. And that’s a hard serve to return, when the president serves it up before sunrise every morning as he watches trash TV.

Trump and his minions are fifth-rate men. And power — not justice, not civil comity, not science or public health or beauty or art or love or nature or anything that makes life worthwhile to even second-rate men — power is the sole aim of fifth-rate men.

Ignorance and arrogance feed their self-certitude. The aim of fifth-rate men everywhere — Kim Jong-un is another example — is to do injustice with impunity, because that, to them, is power.

We are being ruled by rich white trash.