It is the optimism of the young that is infectious, drowning out the cynicism of the old: the smiling faces, their enthusiasm, their energy, their sheer delight in being there. They are the spirit of the Olympics, drawing in the record audiences for the opening ceremonies and for the events.
The Winter Olympics of 2018 opened today in South Korea to a glittering ceremony showcasing the country’s technological wizardry, although, culturally and entertainment-wise, remaining in the very large shadow of the fantastic Sochi spectacle in 2014.
A constantly smiling President Moon Jae-in gazed benignly over the extravaganza, pleased that his ‘sunshine policy’ visibly portrayed in the joint South and North Korea team marching together, had had such an initial success. Rocket Man had been mellowed with charm, eclipsing President Trump and his threats.
President Trump was having his own difficulties … again. His White House appears to be more like a railroad station than a symbol of stable, responsible government with the constant arrivals and departures. This week two top aides, Rob Porter, the right-hand of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and speechwriter David Sorensen announced resignations amidst a scandal of wife-beatings, one ex brandishing photographic evidence of a black eye while the two men continued to profess their innocence.
Mr. Sorensen declared he had never ever been violent ‘against any woman in my entire life’. Instead, he claimed his ex-wife Jessica Corbett had been physically abusive towards him. He had photographs of his own scrapes and bruises, saying he wanted to highlight the much under-reported issue of female-on-male sexual violence.
Is this White House more tolerant of male aggressors? It was Donald Trump after all who was caught on tape boasting about grabbing women ‘by the pussy’ and getting away with it because he was a celebrity. At least 19 so far have accused him of sexual harassment and/or assault.
Is a certain type of personality attracted to Trump and vice versa? He has often notably risen to the defense of men accused of female harassment: a list including Roger Ailes, Corey Lewandowski (Trump’s earlier campaign manager), Roy Moore, Bill O’Reilly, and now Rob Porter.
‘Fire and Fury’ the Michael Wolff report on this White House, has some telling tales: When asked who he consults before an important decision, the not unexpected answer issues forth, “Myself.” On the subject of ‘white trash’, he explains, “They are people like me, only poor.” Who can disagree with him?
Dr Arshad M Khan (http://ofthisandthat.org/index.html) is a former Professor based in the U.S. whose comments over several decades have appeared in a wide-ranging array of print and internet media. His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in the Congressional Record.