TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT
— OF THE COUNTRY OF TV
The time has come for my endorsement. Come November, I’m voting for Donald J. Trump for President — of the Country of TV.
Throughout the campaign, we in the United States have been baffled. How could so many Americans — 40 to 50 percent depending on the poll and the need to boost ratings — vote for THAT GUY? Our bewilderment has a simple explanation. We, the Baffled, don’t live in the Country of TV.
The Country of TV lies within the U.S, but is not the U.S. The Country of TV is bordered by screens, and within its borders seethes a mean but simple nation. Though broadcast in color, the Country of TV is black and white.
In the Country of TV, illegal immigrants are pouring across our borders, stealing jobs, sucking up food stamps and health care. Welfare is skyrocketing. Never mind that this is not true. More immigrants than ever have been deported under Obama, and studies show that illegal immigration has no effect on unemployment. “Welfare as we know it” was slashed in the 90s. But citizens of the Country of TV will never hear any of this. They have their own facts — private, personal, truth-proof. These “facts” are the passport to the Country of TV.
In the Country of TV, crime is soaring. The economy is tanking. America has lost face in the world. The president is a socialist, if not a Muslim or a Kenyan, and TV’s citizens are outraged! Meanwhile in the United States, crime has risen slightly but is still at historic lows. The economy has made a steady recovery, and our moderate president and mighty military are respected by all our allies and most of our foes.
But such truths won’t be told in the Country of TV because they don’t feed fear and fear is the life blood of that apocalyptic country. Without fear’s numbing drip — “Will Your Cell Phone Explode? Details at 11!” — TV’s citizens would feel empty. Without looming chaos they would have to face the future. Without danger lurking after the next commercial, they would stop watching.
Chances are you pass through the Country of TV daily, but try a longer visit. Turn on your set, cross the border, and watch, like a native, for seven hours a day, week after week after week… You will see, as it was described long ago, “a vast wasteland, a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder…”
Such raw rage! Such innocence betrayed! Such a clear line between good and evil! Can’t anyone see? Won’t someone do something? If you lived in that country, you would cry out for a strongman to restore order, to seal the borders, torture the terrorists, lock up the drug dealers, and execute the murderers.
That’s why I’m voting Trump for President of the Country of TV. He was born on TV, nurtured there. He speaks its language, the language of innuendo and shock. He knows its customs and chaos far better than his opponent. In her own country, she’s a rational if slippery politician but in the Country of TV, she’s the anti-Christ. And when trapped inside its rectangular borders, she looks like a tourist after a bad meal. No one there can imagine her as president because she’s weak, wordy, not “one of us.” Likewise, none of us can imagine THAT GUY as president because we don’t live in the Country of TV.
After November, the two countries will remain rivals. But if we want one nation, governed by reason and not fear, one nation where truth trumps myth, where facts are not personal possessions, where slur and slander are not common currency, we’ll need a truce with the Country of TV. It was Abraham Lincoln, once President of the US but rarely seen in the Country of TV, who noted, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Bruce Watson is the author of Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age (Bloomsbury)