26 January 2016 Coming To You Live From my Fallout Shelter
Donald Trump has been coming for a long, long time. He first popped his ugly head up in 2000, when George W. Bush “won” the Presidency. The sheer lack of urgency from the Democratic party, the inability to fight harder to allow democracy to work, allowed Bush to come into office. Imagine if more people got pissed off about Florida? But, you know what? We all thought that Bush wouldn’t be that big of a deal. How much damage can one person do to the United States? Queue up 9/11 and then we get the re-election of Bush, which was based solely on our fear that brown people that speak a strange language was going to come over and kill us while we watched television. Trump was there, too, lingering under the surface, coming up for air sometimes, then bopping back down.
I’m not talking about the Person that is Donald Trump. I don’t really give a shit about him. I’m talking about the IDEA of Donald Trump, the idea of a person that is loud, obnoxious, stupid, immoral and actually really mean becoming not the leader we need but the leader we want.
Trump was there in 2004 and he was there in 2008. He was a haze that coated the camera lens when John McCain spoke. There was something oddly sinister with McCain, that strange way he’d grimace when asked any question, even before that idiot Sarah Palin came along. Trump was absolutely there then, loud and clear. More than ever, we could see Donald Trump. When ever Palin screamed about America or guns or bombing this or doing that, whenever Palin showed us all that she was too stupid to be an elected official even though she was one, we saw Trump, lingering. Thank God that the sheer weight of Obama was enough to hold Trump back, not just in 2008 but in 2012 and we all saw Trump in 2012. We saw him finding a body, a voice, a form. When Mitt Romney would basically say “I’m rich” and that was supposed to be enough for us, Trump was there, coating Romney’s veins with the filth of ages.
The actual person that is Donald Trump was around, of course, asking if Obama was really born here, asking for a birth certificate, being a racist, but Obama still shined too bright for us to recognize Trump for what he really was becoming, which was Trump. And many of us, to be honest, thought that Obama was always going to be around in some way, that the possibility of having a person as President who didn’t make us sick to our stomach had finally happened. But then Trump found Trump and Trump became the very thing we thought could never happen. Trump became a possibility. With Obama fading to the end of his term, Trump found the ability to grab hold of the anger that has always been in America and push it up to the light.
People are very angry that you can’t work a normal, forty hour a week job and survive. People are angry that educated people keep showing how educated they are. They are angry that the promise of a house and a car and some children hasn’t given them the happiness that they thought they wanted. And, to be honest, there are lots of people who are just sick of seeing Black and Brown people all over the place. Take that hidden, buried racism and mix it with some xenophobia. Cook for ten minutes over low heat and stir with the stick of entitlement and let sit for 60 or 70 years after World War II destroyed the cultural structure of the world and then you have the undying, unstopping fear of ISIS! ISIS! A terrible foe even more abstract than COBRA, the sworn enemy of G.I. Joe. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen! Put all that together and you have Donald Trump sucking up the oxygen in every room in the United States, all of us holding our breath and hoping we aren’t actually crazy enough to do the unthinkable: elect that moron.
People have been writing many, many long form essays about where Trump came from. Trump didn’t “come” anywhere. He’s always been here. Always. Ask any Black or Brown person if they are surprised with the popularity of Donald Trump and they will tell you that they are surprised he took so long to appear.
Donald Trump could be President of the United States. I hope that makes you want to vomit.