By Donald Hutchins IV
“That is our greatest danger, becoming used to it and thinking that it is normal. It is not normal. It is an outrage. And never, ever lose your sense of outrage.” ~ Bernie Sanders
I heard recently about a woman who, since January, wakes up in the morning and finds her Twitter overloaded by Donald Trump’s feed. Initially, she was slightly bothered at the manner in which a supposed leader would represent himself, but as the days past with his inauguration on the horizon there seemed potential hope. But alas– nah. Trump’s actively tweeting as POTUS, and whether it’s him or a sly sociopathic small child is growing increasingly indiscernible. As the woman preps for bed at night, and as she awakes to the morning sun: it is always a wonder at what “the president” will say or do next. Never does she get a break, it seems, since he’s infiltrated a uniquely intimate part of her everyday life as a citizen.
I’ve been experiencing this similar phenomenon, and I’m certainly disappointed. The degree to which Donald Trump was an abhorrent and unabashedly disapproved choice for the position he’s claimed initially sparked outrage and a level of concern that America hasn’t seen since it became ‘Murica. Overnight, it seemed like the KKK and white nationalist groups, plus individual provocatuers and trouble-makers went for a rousing night on the town(when no one could see them) to spread fliers about their club, and desecrate homes and graveyards with petty hate-speak and horrendously drawn swastikas. (I mean really, how can they be a superior race if they can’t draw a swastika properly– it’s the symbol of your people and you haven’t even practiced it? Come the fuck on.)
The Donald’s got a monstrous PR issue, and it’s almost if he’s straddled it for his own undoing. While Obama’s lengthy pauses in speech mode and Bush and Clintons’ mental-deficiency touted “southern charm” were relatively painful with great focus, you could ignore them. The Tri-Hard dynasty of the last four decades made it easier to focus on the grander issues and topics they were addressing, even if getting to those issues was a tedious bore. Trump’s adoption of nightly Twitter escapades has brought the level of the presidency down to the level of a fourth-grader who didn’t read Treasure Island over break, was called on first day of class to discuss the book, and who stormed out of class to started a frustrated social media campaign for “Blue Beard the Pirate”, because “That is the pirate– he’s the best pirate, I KNOW HIM WELL!”
The youngsters’ mum and dad can’t get it through to him, but at least they can ground the child. Trump’s literally half a dog let off the chain– only half ‘cause a full dog would be more capable and intelligent in a position of leadership. There’s a mess being made of our country and of our entire image as Americans, and you can track it in real time on Twitter. You can also attribute it to the seriously impediments of our leadership. Just as appallingly quixotic: those in Trump’s cabinet are just as embarrassingly destructive and obstructive to reality as he is. Their ideals revolve around themselves and pay no mind to the infractions that, sooner or later, will be imposed on them, their character, their personality, or all of the above.
When you lie to an entire country about climate change and the need for a changing society, when you pander with 1800’s sentiment to the most vulnerable populous about “killers, rapists, and thieves” coming from afar to ruin what you have, when you yell at rallies for the little guy and then steal their health insurance, their PBS, their Meals on Wheels, only to allocate that funding to the military, where we spend billions on Tomahawk missiles that get dropped on Syrian children, and then tell the survivors to get fucked when they can’t stay in their country that we bombed. When you stoke the ages-outdated rhetoric that drives wedges in between folks, and when you’re left unbounded in your own ego to act out and run amok: you have become a danger to yourself and all those around you. You have become the greatest of all evils. Hitler harking from atop a barstool to start the Beer Hall Putsch had more credibility than our current president, senate, and congress. (And as a Grammar Nazi, I refuse to give them the privilege of being capitalized here. Their unprofessionalism doesn’t warrant it.)
Alas, however, I must admit that I’d seen this mess coming. In early 2016, I jokingly entertained the possibility of all efforts and power structures getting handed over to the GOP since they wanted them so badly. I thought “suuuuure, you can have it, you think you’re so strong and capable.” Then, resultant of their undoing, which is merely a matter of time in any period, they would never be given the chance again to even try. Obstructing Obama’s ideas for eight years, they take over, can’t do shit because their’s doesn’t actually smell any better than anyone else’s and that’s all they brought to the party, aaaaaaand the public makes them a mockery until a progressive steps in to get some real work done. Oh boy, do I wish I could’ve made that projection with a little less satire. While it was funny then, and hasn’t been now, there maybe something to the humorous nature of this whole situation. What’s a great way to piss off a child, after all: make fun of them. Laugh!
For the woman on Twitter, myself, and the rest of us, The Donald has become a sort of omnipresident: always there, lurking in our daily lives. He’s apart of every discussion and joke and struggle we face nowadays. Talking about climate change in a college class until someone sarcastically boasts “but clean coal’s the real future– climate’s a hoax from China!”; trying to help the hungry and the homeless while knowing full-well that funding for these causes is now going to make bombs to kill more civilians and create more refugees for Trump to ignore. Having folks bolster the “grab her by the pussy” mentality, whether you’re a women or man(I’ve had women defend themselves as “masters of the blowjob” staying in the kitchen until they can “grab their husbands by the dick”, and so on– ick.) If these haven’t been your experience, surely you’ve seen an article or post or comment about Trump and his ushering in of the end on social media. Surely you’ve felt the negative vibes each time he says something on Twitter or pushes another executive order, and the impending consequences plague your brain like a million unanswered pressing questions.
I see a normalization of the nonsense and negativity– confirming the subliminal unconscious nihilism that’s become an American value. I already see people rolling their eyes in silence when Trump takes another vacation or appears at another press conference, but I must encourage you to fight those normalizing behaviors. You’re not seeing the normal, and it’s doesn’t have to even seem normal– if you laugh. It’s hilarious that Trump and his cronies think what they’re doing is acceptable, and the greatest way to make them feel outright weird is to put them centerstage where they want to be, but to frame it as the joke it really is. “Climate change, Chinese hoax? HAHAHA, wow”, then ensues a constructive discussion that at least recognizes the 97% global scientists’ consensus on the matter. Everyone can laugh, everyone can learn something, but most notably: nothing ridiculous becomes normal, acceptable, and permissible. When ridiculousness arises, laugh at it! Make it known for what it is: a joke, whether good or bad.
As individual citizens, we have the power to determine what we accept to be truth, what we feel is acceptable in the world. Donald Trump, his cabinet, his supporters have no basis in reality. Bring them back from the 1860’s, 1920’s, 1950’s; bring them back from their delusions and unfounded rhetoric. When you tune out in class and begin floating in the ethereal for long enough to snore, typically the instructor will do something mildly embarrassing which, itself, either wakes you up or leads the rest of the class to laugh like an alarm clock. Very quickly, you learn not to fall asleep in class. Trump’s asleep at the wheel of the presidency– or rather, he’s golfing( like he said he wouldn’t be). Every chance you get, expose him. Make it obvious that he’s the joke, make his mistakes an anticipated punchline, make him a walking pun– the lowest and most powerful comedic tool. As soon as the laugher starts and grows to a roar, the sooner we can snap him out of his affluent trance of disintegration. As soon as he sees the moves being made against him, he’ll act even more irrationally than he has. Then our united front of humor can shift towards scrutiny, and that’s where we’ll see him squirm. That’s when he’ll be eating his own medicine.