Convivium, 19 January 2017

Father Raymond J de Souza takes a look at empathy in the broader context of today's entertainment industry and socio-political sphere.

On Friday the curtain lifts on the greatest reality show of them all, Celebrity White House. Courtesy of social media, the whole world is invited to the spectacle of Donald Trump as president. For the past two months, his election victory has brought – as the Clintonian caterwauling rolled across the fruited plain and descended from the heights of the purple mountains majesty – a double measure of morose delectation, as the Christian tradition calls taking delight in the suffering of others. It is not a virtue.

Donald Trump has been in show business most of his adult life. At first the show was the business of Manhattan real estate, from which he quickly moved to the business of ostentatious luxury living, onward to the business of reality television and finally to elected politics. The show has always been The Donald, and just as some actors are versatile enough to do musical theatre as well as stage plays, Trump can take the lead role in golf course developments or landmark hotels or beauty pageants or professional wrestling. Now he has the office formerly known as being leader of the free world. (Having forfeited that title, Barack Obama will not be able to bequeath it to his successor.)

Trump has completed his three score and ten, yet is not looking for a lifetime achievement award. His is, rather, embarking on the role of a lifetime.

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