Well, it happened.
There were protests and marches, Alec Baldwin doing his impressions on NBC (owned by General Electric, up 1.23% at this time of writing), Meryl Streep calling him out for mocking a disabled journalist, and all those angry tweets.
Not your president? Really? The guy who just signed ten executive orders in like, three days, he’s not your president? I’m not saying you need to respect him; you don’t. What I am saying is, like it or not, he’s got the magic pen, and he’s using it.
George Bush installed the illegal surveillance and Obama greatly expanded it, but who cared? Bush was responsible for everything bad and Obama looked good on Fallon- you did see him on Fallon, right? So funny.
Our nation treats our leaders like celebrities, because they are. Trump won because he was on SNL. I realize SNL hates themselves for this, but they were the one who had him dancing to a Drake parody. It was his “Sock it To Me” Nixon moment, and no amount of Baldwin-parody is going to take that away. So, good job, GE.
Do you see?
“But,” you say, “what about the marches? Protest, man! Protest!” How’s that working out for you?
He’s still not that into you.
The Woman’s march was sexy, and I’m not saying that as a misogynist but a realist. Occupy Wall Street was sexy. Glad we got rid of Wall Street.
You may say I’m being cynical, and you would be correct, but the Women’s March didn’t do anything because Trump didn’t care, the same reason why Obama didn’t respond to the Tea Party protests about anything, the same reason why you won’t pull over to the side of the road and give that one old man holding a sign a five dollar bill; you know he’s just gonna spend it on booze anyway.
The marches were never about Trump anyway, they were about the people marching. It was a way to feel better about the situation. Group therapy. You even got to do some arts and crafts, if you were brave enough to knit a hat or construct a sign.
Trump is America’s relationship with entertainment in full bloom. You don’t think it’s detrimental to the office of the presidency to be on a talk-show? I’m speaking about Obama now, who was the media darling. Looked good, spoke good, great copy. You can yell at me all you want, but his aura was how he carried himself. I know, I know, politics is image, but the dude did a lot of drone strikes, and no matter how many mean tweets he read on Kimmel changes this reality.
Don’t worry, Barack, he’s just going to prove himself wrong.
If you immediately feel angry I’m bashing on Obama, because Trump is way worse, you’re not just missing the point, but are in a different reality.
It’s all about sides now. Are you for Trump or against Trump? It’s politics distilled down to the religious core. Are you a true believer or no? And this was the same with Obama. It’s not politics, it’s football.
Conservatives are absolutely giddy. Their dreams are going to happen. Finally, martial law in Chicago! Finally, Reagan’s ambitions fulfilled! Granted, their vessel for such actions is less than holy, but oh happy day, happy day.
Liberals are retreating deeper and deeper into themselves. Expect prescription drugs to go up in rapid number this year, but also know no amount of Klonopin is going to change the magic pen.
What’s the solution to all this?
It would require a deep rethinking of one’s responsibility as a citizen. Meaning, like it or not, you are responsible for Donald Trump being elected. I know, I know, I’m a jerk, but if you are drawing lines in the sand right now, hating your Trump-loving neighbors, you must know you’re the reason he won.
People didn’t vote for Trump. They didn’t even vote against Hillary. They voted against Hillary supporters. It’s not because she’s a woman, it’s because you accused somebody of being sexist if they didn’t support her. Trump is the giant middle finger. He’s the fire you light to burn down the old house. The flames hurt but it’s better than living in this dump anymore.
“But, fake news! It was fake news.” No, it wasn’t. The press wants it to be fake news because they want to believe they’re not responsible, but they are. “But they all hate Trump!” Nobody cares about the newscaster’s opinions, unless you’re retired from trucking in Alabama or sincerely like Rachel Maddow’s haircut. People have their tribal links. Meaning, if you have an NPR tote bag, I’m pretty sure you’re pro-abortion and anti-gun. If you have any item of clothing with the image of the American flag and you’re not from Williamsburg, you’re uncomfortable with the fact your single uncle isn’t “just” a bachelor and probably complain about the “inner-city” when you’re like, three beers in.
Only one of these people like quinoa.
Trump is the essence of tribal branding. “But he’s rich!” Yeah, you know who likes rich white people? Poor white people. “But his wife is foreign. It makes no sense!” It’s called a “Bond Girl,” and the moment you understand the average Trump supporter loves James Bond, not as parody but fantasy, you’ll understand why they don’t like Obama but have a weird crush on Putin (hint: Putin knows ju-jitsu.) “He’s crude.” So are they. Look, this is all aesthetic.
The wall is going to happen. Journalists are actually going to be silenced. Torture is going to be brought back. This is Bush-era America on the best growth hormones a completely Republican House and Senate can, er, buy. Making a hat, going on a march, tweeting your distaste- it’s all easy, all show. I know, you’re mad at me, but again, I don’t have the magic pen, and neither do you. He does.
The solution involves the branding. Aren’t you disturbed I know you chuckle at New Yorker comedy pieces (oh, that Borowitz Report!) because I saw you bought tickets to see a movie that didn’t involve a Marvel superhero? Or, likewise, I know you enjoy discussing trucks because you watch Fox News? This isn’t, to quote the Great Orange One, sad?
To fix this American descent involves a deep level of reality confrontation that, frankly, nobody has time for. There are too many Netflix shows to binge and too many insular worlds to stay comfortable in. The country hasn’t been talking to each other for a long time now, and Trump reveals just how deep the gap goes. You can complain about those who voted for him and stay happen on your side of the Titanic, but you’re still on the Titanic.
An actual change in U.S. politics will happen when every single American knows their neighbors. Yes, you heard me. That’s what it would take. What we have now are competing micro-cultures, various wandering tribes with whispered agendas and alternative facts. You saw what I just did there.
Talk to those you hate. Confront reality. And, if you can, try using love.
Love is the only thing that can conquer fear. And not just love towards those you love, but those you hate. Try that.
I will too.