As Americans head to the polls to select our next president, a selection by the by of false choices who differ on rhetoric but are almost identical when it comes to economic and foreign policies, I want to take a moment to observe the obscene phenomenon that is Trump.
For the record, I do not have a dog in this fight; outside of paying lip service and using tokens to either represent progress or what used to be, neither will do anything to address the wealth inequalities that has decimated the middle and working class and both will do everything in their power to keep enriching the already affluent.
However, for those who are either prostrating at the alter of Trump or flagellating themselves over his vulgarities, I just want to make this observation about the state of our politics and the put some context to the circus that is Trump. As grotesque as Trump’s behavior is, he is nothing more than a reflection of what we have become as a nation. He is trolling a society that loves to troll as a favorite hobby.
Trump’s narcissism is not an outlier but the norm; grown people acting like teenagers is now an acceptable conduct. Teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers and hardworking Americans who mostly act with decency and civility lose their collective minds when it comes to politics and get on social media to throw tirades in ways that are no different that Trump’s. People across the political spectrum hurl barbs and bombs at anyone who dares to think differently only to clutch their collective pearls when they see those same antics being displayed by the politician they oppose.
Always nice to hear from fans. https://t.co/YDjPqW3NF3
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 26, 2020
Debates are now slug matches and listening is but an opportunity to slap back. People who support Trump think that he is a truth teller sent from God, people who opposes him are shocked that others believe him and think Trump is a snake oil salesmen begotten by the devil. This is how demagoguery works; carnival barkers who are able to tread on the pains of their followers and channel their pains will garner the support of the marginalized community they emotionally manipulate. Click To Tweet
Now I know some will balk at the notion that Trump’s supporters are marginalized, the same way that his supporters balk at the thought that “minorities” are marginalized. But that is the cunning of splintering people based on identity and conditioning them to believe that only their pains are real. The truth is that unless you are in the 1% or have enough savings that you never have to worry about keeping up with the rent, you are in fact marginalized.
Most of Trump’s supporters live in abject poverty, yet instead of blaming policy makers like Trump and his democrat counterparts, his followers are manipulated through grievance and nativism to blame others who struggle too. Democrats do the same thing to their “base”, “black” folks, gays, women are tricked into believing that the broke “redneck” who has zero influence on policy making is their enemy and overlook the politicians on both sides of the aisle who are enacting legislation that is impoverishing everybody.
Alas, one can only see manipulation and propaganda when they are not the target of it and when it is working on a group that is not in their tribe. Most likely Trump will win tonight after a drawn-out battle, but whoever wins ultimately it will be the American people and innocent lives overseas who will lose. More riches for the wealthy, more bombs dropped in the name if a democracy we don’t have here in America, more spying against us and the continued militarization of the police, whoever is the president after the last votes have been counted, these policies will remain fixed.
But who has time to delve into policies when the addiction of politics is deranging us into a tizzy. And that is the nefarious brilliance of our system of governance and why Trump will be rewarded handsomely; he will not go to jail, he will not be prosecuted and he will not lose his fortunes. Not too far in the future, whether he loses now or completes his tenure at the White House, the same establishment that foamed at their mouth at his sight will be waxing poetically about him, democrats will be quoting his former staffers to foment anger at the next Republican bogeyman and the same liberals who drove themselves into mental maladies will be fawning over pictures of Jill Biden and Trump sharing smooches and kisses candy.
Gone are statemen, we are being led by a bunch of people who see it fit to act like adolescence and sling invectives at each other as if they are middle schoolers partaking in food fights. Of course all of it is manufactured drama, behind the scenes they all get along, but they do an amazing job riling up their adherents to take up arms and fight in a political war while Republicans and Democrats sip Chablis behind closed doors and laugh at us.
Trump played his part which was to play his supporters and detractors alike, he did so by channeling our inner id. So maybe the change we should be seeking are not the politicians in DC but our reflections in the mirror. You see, we end up getting the government we deserve ultimately, or in the case of Donald Trump we got the troll we projected.