Donald Trump Is The President Our Culture Deserves
This was originally going to be a Facebook post for all to read, like, comment and share, but that might contradict the exact point I’m about to make. I don’t want to just post something that will get likes from like-minded people, start a comment war with opposite-minded people where we both just emphasize our own points, get likes on comments and never listen to eachother, and then have the post disappear into the abyss of whatever people are scrolling past. Instead, I want to elaborate my thoughts and reach as many people as possible. We desperately need more real dialogue, rather than accelerated statements made with no intention of listening to others. If we don’t have that, we can only expect more elections like the embarrassing one we just witnessed. Now let me explain why we need better dialogue in the first place…
Like many in my political bubble, I was shocked and disturbed November 9 when I heard that Donald Trump would actually be our next president. After such a ridiculous election full of face-palms, dropped jaws and, I’ll admit, laughs, I never even considered the possibility of having to call Donald Trump the President of the United States. I was discouraged when Bernie Sanders lost the nomination, but I still thought another Democrat was a done deal and Hillary would surely stop Trump’s shenanigans and hatred.
Looking back now, I was probably a little too naïve and confident, especially for a guy who has never even been to a Republican leaning state. Still, I, and many others like me were angry, in denial, frustrated and saddened by the state of this country. The sad period ended quickly though, and the newly motivated period has strongly arisen in me. Since that day, I’ve done a lot of thinking and reflecting. The question I’ve kept seeing within my bubble is (all caps included), “HOW THE HELL DID WE GET HERE???” Well if you want the answer to that, just look in the mirror.
Many are shouting “not my president,” which I fully support and participate in for reasons I’ll get to later. But I must say to our culture as a whole, if you look at certain personality traits, you’re bound to find at least one mutual trait between yourself and Mr. Trump. There’s no denying that we live at an interesting time in history, and interesting times get, well, interesting leaders.
At a time when narcissism is very much on the rise, the most narcissistic candidate wins. We have an online social culture that expands your ego by someone, probably unenthusiastically clicking a ‘like’ button. I mean, for Christ’s sake, we have people whose full-time profession is to post pictures on Instagram, videos on YouTube, etc. just to get likes and make ad revenue. And every social media outlet, every gadget, everything is catered toward YOU. You only get what you like and you don’t even have to care about anyone else’s opinion, tastes or ideas, let alone acknowledge that other types of people exist. As a culmination, our president is now a manipulator of flashy headlines who’s only benefitted himself his entire life, loves to brag that he alone can fix everything, and gets all his information from the Internet. So many people criticize him for this yet display so many of those same qualities when they’re carefully forming their next Facebook post.
At a time when entertainment and media consume so much of our lives, the most entertaining candidate wins. The media gave Trump tremendous free advertising time and reported everything he said, no matter how false or outlandish, just to produce headlines and ratings. But we all couldn’t get enough of it and kept eating it up, so we’re all to blame. But this reflects a whole society where, for many, the answer to a crying baby is a phone in front of their face displaying their favorite show, a music video, or whatever else our gigantic Internet can provide. In our celebrity-crazed culture, we’re so wrapped up in being entertained rather than educated that we think we need constant entertainment wherever we are. So it makes sense that the candidate most seen on Celebrity Apprentice, WWE, Comedy Central Roasts, sitcoms and movies wins, rather than the one most seen on C-Span, or any other educational and unentertaining outlet that we never even bother with.
At a time when money, material goods and greed rule everyone’s lives, the richest, most materialistic candidate wins. You might think the white working class who largely voted for this man wouldn’t like that aspect about him, but I suspect you’d discover otherwise. A lot of these folks probably see themselves in Donald Trump because they simply want the lifestyle that he has, and they think making him president will somehow bring them the same wealth. They say money makes you crazy, and now our president is a money-crazed billionaire.
At a time when all you see on TV, social media and anywhere else in society are people screaming at eachother, the loudest candidate wins. They call us a potty mouth generation and we just got the potty mouth president to match. It was only a matter of time before the Jerry Springer Show type of conversation we’ve come to expect on news coverage invaded our politics. All we see now are people screaming past eachother on news and talk shows to get their point across. It’s even worse on social media, where people’s worst qualities shine brightest. We’ve all fallen in love with being heard, but we hate listening. Now our president does just that: screams and never listens to opposing viewpoints.
At a time when everyone is comfortable with lying to colleagues and even friends, the most untruthful and dishonest candidate wins. We’ve all seen videos of Trump lying, then lying about lying, denying he ever lied in the first place. And no one cares. We’ve all come to expect politicians lying to us, but now we do it as average citizens. We’re constantly lying to our friends about everything from looks to opinions about lovers to plans you make and the list goes on. Lying and dishonesty are so casual that some friends routinely start trash talking the other person immediately after they leave the room. No one seems to take offense to it anymore. And now our next president’s pants are very much on fire.
At a time when misogyny is considered normal for so many, the most misogynistic candidate wins. As a maker of hip-hop music, I may be a bit biased in this but I think hip-hop has a huge impact on our current society and culture. But even as a fan, I can’t ignore hip-hop’s casually thrown around sexually explicit and demeaning lyrics and imagery. Rap has always had a male dominance but this attitude has affected so much of society outside of hip-hop as well. It’s allowed dating apps where men judge women solely on looks, and it’s let the Brock Turners of the world go free. We can now see hip-hop’s impact on our culture as its traits of misogyny, materialism, unfiltered anger, and narcissism are very much portrayed in our next president. And when our society allows this misogyny, the incredibly more qualified female candidate gets, as our next president would say, “shlonged” by the incredibly less qualified, misogynistic male candidate.
And finally, at a time when we are indeed very divided, the most divisive candidate wins. Ronald Reagan was the original master of ‘divide and conquer’ in modern American politics, but now, despite just exploiting and furthering our divide rather than starting it, Donald Trump is the new master. Let’s face it. We can hardly stand “them” (whomever that may be to you). Our personally catered social media and Facebook news sources make us solely focused on what we like and let us pretend the other isn’t even there.
We’re taught that the previous generation’s liberation movements fully succeeded, but in reality, they simply lost steam and started the divisions we now see. Ronald Reagan was the victor of that era’s divide. Now we’re in this era, where so many elders have ignored the other side to fulfill their American dream of a peaceful life around “their kind” without interruption. The new generation has hardly even been exposed to the other side; we all just know what we’re taught.
Many left-leaning city livers are more tolerant of different people because they’re exposed to many kinds of people. However, because they’re so surrounded by others, they’re less willing to interact with other people. You’ll see it on any subway: people avoiding sitting directly next to someone, everyone staring into their screens instead of interacting, and the occasional verbal argument. Ain’t no love in the heart of the city?
Rural based right-wingers are often only exposed to people just like them, so they may not know about people with other backgrounds and walks of life. They may even end up despising certain people just based on what they do know, because it’s easy to hate what you don’t understand. But with so few people close by, you can bet that these folks are just fine interacting with those who do surround them. I believe ‘southern hospitality’ is the appropriate phrase.
The result of both of these: no one knows how to talk to eachother. So as a result, we often instead talk at eachother. And now our next president is one who has told us all that that person next to you on the train, or that person you saw on TV doing that thing you don’t like is the reason for all your problems and hardships.
Now there are other aspects of society that we could talk about. For instance, many people don’t read enough, and neither does our next president; our technology has driven us to demand perfection, as exemplified in the number of third party voters dissatisfied with their options. But our division seems to be our most important issue. It’s time we mend that division and do more to end not just a president despised by many, but also the culture from which he came.
I’m no saint. I have certainly displayed these traits. This piece was as much a self-reflection and a wake up call to myself as well. But we all have to make an effort to self-reflect and reach out beyond ourselves to start understanding eachother. I support those screaming “not my president” in an effort to make Mr. Trump realize that all the people he demeaned in his campaign aren’t going anywhere. However, we all must have dialogue to figure out why we think the way we do. Show that conservative how minority groups actually act in person. Teach that liberal how to have a genuine conversation with a neighbor. Understand the issues of a small town with little economic movement and development. Understand the issues of a big city with high crime rates and a frustrating bustle. Learn from eachother. This must happen, and it has to happen off the Internet, because it’s just too hard to have genuine conversation online. I’ll use the Internet to promote this message then urge others to also get offline to mend these issues face to face.
It’s going to be a rough presidency and a long road to equality and understanding. I can’t pretend like that’s not true. But if this presidency truly is that rough, then for one I do hope it’ll motivate the 46% of people who didn’t vote (I’m also looking at you Harambe voters) to actually get involved and take this seriously. Because at a time when so many people remove themselves and lose care, the most unpopular candidate of all time wins.
I hope people realize that coming together is the only long-term solution. Battling “the other” will only aggravate the other side further, and then back and forth and back and forth we go. I wrote a lyric that said, “The Revolution is not against people, but against the very ideas that make us less than equal.” Let’s fight the concepts and ideas that keep our culture divisive, oppressive and depressive, rather than people with different ideologies. In the end, we all want the same things; we just have different ideas of how to get there. If we converse, we might discover more commonalities than we thought were there, and we can figure out our collective path a bit more.
If we want our president and our whole government to be better, then we must be better. Obama’s slogan was “Yes We Can,” but little by little we let him down and forgot our end of the bargain. It’s time we fulfill that agreement. It’s time we imagine what future textbooks will say about our generation as we let history unfold. Times looks dark right now, and this election and our new president prove that. But they say the night is darkest just before dawn, so a dark presidency might be what we need right now. Because to ring in the dawn, all we must do is wake up.