A pint-sized bully who loved to pull girls’ hair and once lobbed rocks at a toddler in his playpen. A loud-mouthed classroom know-all who could never admit he was wrong and boasted of giving the music teacher a black eye. And a sporting show-off who yearned to hear the crowd’s applause… but who would smash his baseball bat in fury if he didn’t win.
Arrogant, over-bearing, thin-skinned, determined, and not exactly great with the ladies — does this portrait of a child growing up in Fifties surburban New York sound like a certain grown-up (well, sort of grown-up) currently strutting the world stage?
It was Aristotle who said ‘Give me the child until he’s seven and I will show you the man’, and Donald Trump, now 70, would certainly agree. The 45th U.S. President insists he’s much the same character now as he was when he was in junior school.
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“There’s a scene from John Steinbeck’s ‘The Pearl’ that’s been coming back to me over and over again ever since I started writing about US politics. ‘The Pearl’ is a short novel about a poor fisherman, Kino, who discovers the titular enormous gem in an oyster and goes to sell it to the pearl buyers in town. What he doesn’t know is that the buyers, while they have multiple offices and pretend to compete with each other, all actually work for the same owner. This is exactly how the two-headed one-party system works, in America and elsewhere. One party owned by one imperialist oligarchic class is placed in two separate offices ‘to give some semblance of competition,’ just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers. And just like Steinbeck’s pearl buyers they work together to deceive the people into accepting the lowest possible bid, in their case meaning the acceptance of virtually no change…
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