The One Perk of Trump
We could have prevented this. Usually I deploy the ‘hindsight is 20/20’ mentality when reflecting on grief, but this time, I am happy to point fingers. What the media saw as a crackpot cash cow is now charging for the White House no thanks to millions of rabbling bigots propping him up, like a Golden Calf with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.
The Trump presidential campaign is a tailspin for the democratic process in the United States. What’s more, when you look at the intimidation tactics, scapegoating rhetoric, gross consumerist zeal, crass and frivolous (yet harmful) demagoguery, and most of all the desire to utilize instead of temper the militarized support base of the disenfranchised spawned out of his manipulation and fantastical promising, the GOP frontrunner Donald Trump embodies a massive leap backward in political, social, and cognitive evolution. But there is one upside: identification.
The 2016 election has exposed racists, bigots, homophobes, and disgusting, ignorant people in a way likely not seen since the 1960s (or 1860s for that matter). The dregs of our society have crawled out of the woodwork, Trump playing pied piper to the rats of America, corralling them together and bringing them into plain sight. While the immediate threat of violent, hateful, idiotic maniacs on ego trips (and I’m not just talking about Trump himself) is one that should be stamped out as soon as possible, the campaign’s expository effects are a blessing in disguise.
Ever wondered how your creepy or obnoxious co-worker really sees the world? What about the shop owners, mailmen, taxi drivers - people in your day to day life - who have made off-putting comments that you’ve just shrugged off thanks to the distance of etiquette? This election shows you. With people’s tendency for candidness online especially, it is now clear as crystal who sees the world as black and white, literally and figuratively. These are people that need to be educated, treated, or, frankly, ostracized. Hate and ignorance can be unlearned, but mobilized bigotry is as destructive as leprosy.
Kenneth Langone and Bernard Marcus, founders of The Home Depot, a company mired with discrimination lawsuits, both announced their support for Trump. Unsurprisingly, Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels in Las Vegas and blindly fervent supporter of the Netanyahu administration in Jerusalem, has fallen for Trump’s inauthentic, broad-stroked Israel support pledge. The fact that he’s turned a blind eye to Trump’s rallies regularly serving as Holocaust deniers conventions is an incomparable feat of irony.
As for the celebrities who have thrown their name into the support ring, Trump isn’t really raking in the great creative minds, but names like Hulk Hogan, Mike Tyson, and Kid Rock have unabashed followings who may have been deterred if their idols took a stand on morally higher ground. In another era, you might find these Hollywood wannabes and has-beens finding solace at The Church of Scientology. Now there’s a new entertainment prophet. They are C through Z list celebs ruthlessly desperate for any attention that might yield work, reminiscent of the Jerry Springer era. Like Trump himself, without the spotlight these individuals are powerless. It seems in the age of the Kardashians just switching off has become too difficult for too many Americans.
I see these endorsements instead as a filtration exercise and in all morbid honesty, it gets better and better. The epitome of the madness is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who decided to cave in instead of make his own bid for the presidency, which might have actually helped stop all this madness. Ryan decided to join the mob instead of stand in its way. I have no doubt more and more congressmen and senators on the red side of Congress will do the same.
I wonder what role the Trump team offered Ryan, the key to unlocking mainstream GOP support. I wouldn’t be thrown by outward bribery, like what basically happened when Texas Governor Greg Abbott received $35,000 in campaign donations from Trump after he dropped his probe of the Trump University fraud charges. There is, however, the even sweeter possibility that Republicans having become living caricatures, desperate to maintain power and wealth by any means necessary, which is not only a fruitless endeavor in trying to win future elections, but a hollow desire in life.
Like the business owners expecting a tax haven, the uneducated poor expecting an immigrant-free job market, and celebrities expecting a life where they are loved once again, Republicans are reaching out to their savior of deranged fantasy. Meanwhile those of us attempting to live in reality get to see the true colors of these people. Even the subtle, “you know, he does have a point” makes for a telling, coercive proclamation.
Now I know what businesses to boycott, shows and films to avoid, politicians not to vote for, and, on an immediate level, simply whose input not to trust - in matters beyond just race relations or governance in this country as well. There is no way that anyone who believes Mexican citizens will build and pay for a wall on US soil, meant for their exclusion, is a reliable source of advice or information. There is no way someone who stays silent on the massacre in Orlando knows anything about compassion or humanity.
This election cycle can be seen as a necessary evil; a revelatory wellspring of hate finally bursting forth after half a century bubbling under the surface. Political correctness was a well-intentioned rig that merely repressed hate speech without actually eradicating hateful thought and inhumane vantage points. Alas, after two decades of pushing harder and harder, the rig fell into disrepair, no thanks to the influx of inspired liberals unaware of the full scope of the ‘machinery’ they were handling and focusing more on rhetoric than actual education. As the rift between liberal and conservative widened, political correctness became a tool of shame and moral superiority instead of a well-articulated plan to edify through logic and exposure, releasing the pressure underneath and leaving hate dead and buried. Instead pressure built up on both ends and our social politics began to rust and decay. Donald Trump knew how valuable to his success the pressure underneath would be and he wanted it for himself. He didn’t loosen the screws of the machine, he ripped them out completely.
Trump is an instigator of destruction, a glorified cult leader trying to turn America into his own giant Jonestown. Still, as sociopathic as it sounds, maybe it’s a good thing that his supporters have all shamelessly ‘come out’ (ironic, eh?) as the bigots they are to grab some of the kool-aid he’s handing out. Their social suicide might be exactly what could “Make America Great Again.”