Paul Mulshine, NJ.com | Next time you hear some politician boasting about the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, consider this fact:
Beer vending machines are legal on the street in Cuba, while American senior citizens have to show ID in the Meadowlands.
Millions of people still alive in this country were born at a time when it was a federal crime to serve a glass of beer or wine.
I thought of that when I read reports of a study released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The study reported that drinking two glasses of beer or wine every day was associated with a decreased risk of premature death among senior citizens.
That made me think of President Trump and his prospects of serving a second term.
Trump’s long-term prospects for health …
As a conservative, I would certainly prefer him over any of the Democrats braying for his job. But his chosen life-style fits exactly into the mold of someone whose long-term prospects for health are not good.
Reports say the Donald’s diet is heavy on junk food and diet soda – or in other words on all those artificial concoctions that have led to an epidemic of obesity and heart disease in America.
If someone could persuade him to adopt, for example, the Mediterranean Diet – with a glass or two of wine accompanying fresh vegetables and meats – the effect on his health would be salutary.
This being America, however, such a suggestion would come up against the lingering Puritanism that led our forefathers to begin the dread “Noble Experiment” a century ago.
The only expert I have found even willing to broach the subject is Stanton Peele, a psychologist formerly from Morris County who has spend a good deal of his life attacking America’s abstinence culture.
Peele authored an article in Psychology Today last year under the intriguing title “Is Trump’s Abstinence a Personality Disorder?”
In it, he questions Trump’s oft-repeated assertion that he has never consumed a drop of alcohol in his life because of the example of his older brother.
“Trump has claimed that he abstains because his brother Fred died from alcoholism. But Trump (who was nine years younger than Fred) would have become aware of his brother’s drinking problem only in his own 20s, perhaps late 20s,” Peele writes.
By that time, of course, Trump would have made his way through college, where he would have had ample opportunity to indulge if he so desired.
Next time you hear some politician holding forth on America’s many freedoms, ask yourself why Cuba has beer-vending machines on the street – while American senior citizens have to show ID in the Meadowlands. Rick Shaftan
Peele goes on to write that Trump’s insistence on abstinence is an exception on the world stage.
“I’ll speculate there’s a good chance that not a single European or Chinese leader abstains. (Surely some of them have had a close relative with a drinking problem.) In the case of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, we don’t have to hypothesize. News photos show her toasting a long table at which everyone is hoisting a beer stein.”
Had he been at such a toast, Trump would have missed out on what the Germans call “gemutlichkeit,” which roughly translates as “fellow-feeling.”
That’s certainly not the Donald’s long suit. I gather there’s not much room for that sort of thing in the cutthroat world of real estate.
Furthermore my interviews with some of the people with whom he interacted in Atlantic City indicate that there is much to be said for comedian W.C. Field’s aphorism “Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.”
Interestingly, those A.C. locals who were shafted by Trump were also supporting him for president, on the thoroughly logical grounds that we can now trust him to shaft foreigners on our behalf.
As for me, though, I would suggest he might benefit from following the example of our European allies. I suspect that those 12 Diet Cokes he drinks per day are responsible for a lot of those thoughts tweeted out at times when the Leader of the Free World should be catching up on his sleep.
And as an amateur psychologist of some gifts, let me add a bit of my own speculation to that of my professional friend. I strongly suspect that many of Trump’s current problems concerning his past sexual exploits are linked to his habit of abstinence.
Most of the guys I know are more likely to be drinking a few beers and watching the NCAAs on television than to be running around accumulating ex-wives and alleged ex-girlfriends. Pent-up energy must be released in one way or another, I suppose. But Trump’s past in that regard seems to be catching up on him.
That’s something to think about as we reach the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 18th Amendment next January.
Now if we could only outlaw diet soda. Displayed with permission from NJ.com via Repubhub. Image Zuzu, CC BY-SA 3.0