Today officially begins Donald JockStrapSuckster Trump’s tenure as the most powerful being in the known universe. I’ve spent the last too many months trying to make sense of how we got here. Even back when I was positive he didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Hell, I still wanted to know how this smear of cum, blood, and shit from the tip of Satan’s cock could gain so many followers. And I refused to let myself fall into the easy and fun trap of, “everyone but me and those like-minded are dangerously malicious, stupid, or apathetic. That sort of us versus them tribalism is usually our first impulse, and the last thing we need.
I’m going to dive right in to the rant because this is the second half of it. If I sound accusatory, try and remember that I’m basically talking to myself here. Yes, I know that there are some truly vile souls out there, and if they voted, they probably voted for Trump. But I don’t believe that everyone who voted Trump has a vile soul. So if looking at other people’s reasons for seeing things differently is the type of thing you’re into (either to find common ground, or to better use their arguments against them), the first half is here. And if not, there’s no point in wasting your time here. Go do something educational, like watch an SNL skit on the youtube.
When I was a kid, the Republican Party was the one for only the rich folks, and the Democrats were for the working-class. But somewhere over the past few decades the Democratic Party changed to the one of “coastal elites.” Folks from an upper-middle class background and who like to call everything else (The part that voted for Trump) the flyover states. The self-important ones who make jokes about seceding because they’re sure they couldn’t possibly need an anything from all those backwards, inbred, mouth-breathing, meth-crazed, hicks that inhabit the majority of the country. No coal miners who’re killing themselves so we can charge our laptops. No truck drivers getting raw materials to the plants, then food and goods to the stores. No factory workers, farmers, or anyone who needs to shower after work instead of before, like a civilized person. No one who disagrees with us because of their quaint, old-fashioned values. The future isn’t going to need those manual labor types anyway… And we’re right, it probably isn’t. That’s precisely why so many were desperate enough to vote for Trump. They want to be able to leave something for their children. It’s true the future might not need them, but the present does, and the Democrats are continually making it clear that they don’t want those low-class folk at its party.
(And to be clear, I’m in no way saying bigotry is a quaint old idea. It’s something that needs to die. But I stand by my statement about not giving up on others. It may be easier to write people off than educate them, but what’s easiest is rarely what makes the world better.)
“But Rev.” I can almost hear you say, “Don’t they know that rich Republicans are going to fuck them as least as bad as rich Democrats?” And naturally the answer is, yes. Of course they do. That’s why they decided to give Trump a chance. All the Republicans hated him too! Every time a politician, on either side, came out against him, it only made him more popular. And when the media, who only ever portrays rural folk as fools or monsters came out against him, it only made him more of a hero. The enemy of my enemy is my friend may be flawed logic, but it’s one we all fall for from time to time. Many thought, “If you’re struggling to feed a family keep ‘em healthy, with a roof over their heads, and unemployment’s run out, how much worse can it get?” And at least Trump took the time to lie to them.
For decades the only things bipartisan getting done has been shit that fuct the little people; trade deals, deregulation of banks, for-profit prisons, bank bail-outs, and wars. Who hasn’t though both political parties were basically the same? So a bunch of ’em found a guy they both hated. The biggest fucking monkey-wrench they could get, and threw him into “the system.” A lot of them are already starting to feel remorse; most will learn all too quickly. When they come around, try not to point and laugh and say “I told you so.” Not unless you haven’t learned your lesson. I have. And I still am.
I’ve spoken before about how we’re raised in a culture that tells us everything is zero-sum. That there’s only so much success, happiness, money, love, or whatever to go around, and we can’t let anybody get our share. It breeds competition, jealousy, and the very us against them, in-group/out-group shit I am forever rattling on and on about. And unfortunately there are a lot of straight, white, cisgendered, Christian, men out there who are shittin’ their britches because they fear others being lifted up automatically means that they and theirs will have to drop down. They don’t feel like out-dated dinosaurs; they feel like political correctness is driving them to extinction. And though I can’t empathize with that, I can try to see where they’re coming from. Because that ‘s how change starts.
It’s this tribalism/zero-sum thinking that makes them feel “thems” are taking their jobs. And the idea of illegal foreigners doing it is easier to wrap one’s head around than the truth. Some need to believe it because illegal immigration has an easy fix. Throw out the people who broke-in and stole your stuff, and lock the door. The reality is though, every recession people get laid off and bosses decide to automate more. Those jobs are never coming back, but you can’t deport all the robots yet, and it’s only going to get worse. To them kicking out illegals isn’t outrageous; it’s protecting one’s self and family. And when they ask blue politicians what their plan is for only allowing those who do what the law expects of them, they get called racist. And mocked for having jobs uneducated, non-English speaking migrants could take.
One thing us Lefties are good at is mocking people. We’ve turned cutting people down into an art form. Whether it’s sarcastically joking with our friends, or just kidding (not kidding) we can sling barbs and witticisms with the best of them. And still, for some reason, it’s not making us any friends on the other side of the aisle. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. I mean surely no one could’ve supported Trump they only watched The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, Keith Olberman, Bill Mahar, Rachel Maddow, the Young Turks, and all the other stuff I’ve been addicted to for months. All any Trump voter would have to do was was sit through the first few minutes of them being depicted as the worst ignorant reprobates on the planet, and then be receptive to our argument against their choice. But for some reason, people seem to turn off when they feel condescended to. (That means talked down to).
It’s no wonder it’s getting so hard for us to get along. We no longer see each other as anything more than dangerous caricatures. We spend too much time talking about each other instead of to each other. If you are really sure that you’re right about something, you can often bring most folks around with logic, and reason, and compassion enough to see where they’re coming from. That’s how one educates most effectively.
When one spends as many hours trying to dissect this latest, and seemingly worst, democracy debacle, they come across many hard truths and possibilities. Perhaps the most odious of all is that perhaps Donald JingoisticScumFuck Trump won because he is a kind of genius. A maestro of media. Prodigy of popularity. Pardon me whilst i go vomit up my liver.
To put it a better way, his run for office would’ve been one of the most amazing, inspiring stories ever – If you can forget for a moment that its star is a syphilitic baboon in a rotten pumpkin costume. Think about it: A political outsider fighting the establishment. Neither side wants him because they both underestimate him. They do their damnedest to keep him out, but he inspires so many people that the old guard of political heavyweights can’t do anything to stop him. Using his own money alone, he does the impossible and gets the nomination! The opponent spends twice as much on advertising as he does, and every scrap of media does nothing but talk shit about him day and night. Hurling scandal after scandal at him. Everyone says he’ll never do it, but he has a flair for fame, a strength for stardom, and he uses all the negative attention, their own weapon, against them, to do the impossible!
Everyone has been wrong about him every step of the way. So who knows, maybe he’ll actually do great! Or at least not as bad as we fear.
I’m obviously not saying that Trump deserves anybody’s respect. But being able to admit that he might actually be good at something, as difficult as that may be, is actually the first step in learning how to effectively combat him.
F.D.R was laughed at, but knew how to use the power of the radio to his advantage. Many say the turning point for Kennedy were the TV debates. Those who listened on radio thought Nixon won, but those who watched TV gave it to Kennedy. And Kennedy knew that more potential voters were watching than listening. Obama’s campaign was credited with being the first to really use the internet to get his message out and usher politics into the twenty-first century. And now, like it or not, here we are with Donald JaundiceTheHutt Trump and his social media. We were forever shocked when nothing he said ever disqualified him. As if saying outrageous things on twitter loses followers, or being a total douche-rocket on reality TV ever made someone less popular. He gamed the system and figured out how to turn the news, mainstream media, and life in general, into reality TV. And we all tuned in to watch. And help. He outraged us so much that we had to give him billions of dollars of free advertising.
He gambled and won. And in this results-oriented society, that makes him as good as brilliant. The scariest thing of all though, is now that it’s worked once, we’ll only up the ante. And If we don’t figure out how to keep it from happening, this very well might be the prologue to Idiocracy.
I was definitely one of those people who proudly and happily underestimated Trump. Whenever things got close I’d go and look at the polls to calm down, never once thinking they might’ve been wrong. As it turns out they don’t poll out where the bulk of Trump voters came from. All the pundits pontificating and prognosticating had Clinton so far ahead on Election Day I almost stayed in bed. After all, it was early. And I’d have to get dressed. Besides, she didn’t need my vote. I suspect a lot of people felt that way. People didn’t take the possibility of a Trump presidency seriously. I bet if instead of an Election one-shot we did a best-of-three I wouldn’t be writing this now. I’d be back to some happy friendly hippie shit. But godfuckindammit here we are.
I did force myself into protective layers and out into the cold that brisk Tuesday morning though. By then I’d already been researching and studying the Trump-Phenomenon for far too fucking long and had phrases like “civic duty” and “making a statement” stuck in my head. Ten that night, with the rest of the country, I watched the results come in. I’m almost embarrassed to admit just how much my reactions were like the SNL skit. After that, I doubled-down on the godawful media and I’ve been spinning my wheels in that same rut since then. Now I can’t seem to stop newsing and I fear this sick addiction is beginning to hurt me, and those I love. But now that Trump is SCROTUS I must retreat to the mountain top for a while and meditate, take some time, and decide if I want to come down as an immortal soul with a long view, or if I’m going to spend (at least) the next four years in the here-and-now spitting molotov cocktails.