Saturday, September 23, 2017

President of their dreams

Posted Tuesday evening, September 19, 2017.

Trump 100 Days Rally Harrisburg Evelyn Hockstein via MySA

“President Donald Trump addresses the crowd at the Farm Expo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his 100th day in office…” April 29, 2017. Photo by Evelyn Hockstein for the Washington Post, via San Antonio Express-News.

The Republicans had been moving towards nominating Donald Trump for at least 30 years. He was their dream candidate, they just didn't know his name or his face. As in a dream, he appeared to them in indistinct outline. That outline was that of a big strong white man---although that he'd be white and a he went without saying---who would be tough and ruthless on their behalf in putting those people back into their proper places---that meant the grave for many of them.

We were supposed to feel sorry for them instead of feeling revolted and afraid, which is what we should have felt, and millions of us did feel, when confronted by their anger, ignorance, hatred, and desperate need for revenge that was producing among them a collective madness, and what else except madness can you call their fanatical devotion to an obvious conman and reprehensible human being whose overarching campaign theme was I Will Hurt Them and Make Them Pay!

The political press corps didn't seem to know to even try to make Republicans see themselves for what they'd become.

Hillary was wrong to tell them the coal industry was not coming back. She committed a gaffe. They weren't wrong in believing that time could be reversed and Trump wasn't wrong for promising he was just the magician who could do it. Hillary goofed by observing that the racists, xenophobes, and homophobes, and misogynists among them were deplorable. Trump was smart and savvy for encouraging them to be deplorable. And the pundits and analysts were simply doing their jobs as objective journalists excusing their deplorability as natural and understandable, given their "economic anxiety."

They don't care he's a con artist and a crook. He's their con artist and crook. They don't care he's a sexual predator. He's not coming after their daughters and wives. And, anyway, isn't that what certain women are for? Don't those women ask for it? Aren't men just being men when they do what he did, talk like he talked? Isn't that his reward for being rich, being successful, being famous, being powerful? They don't care that he's racist, because they're racist, because racism is to them simply a willingness to see them for what they are. And them is such an encompassing term. It doesn't only include black people, Muslim people, Mexican people. It includes...well, them, everybody who isn't "us". Everybody who isn't like "us". Because you know how "they" are. You know what "they" want.  "They" want what's "ours". Whatever "we" have. Everything "we" have. Everything that's rightfully "ours" by virtue of our being us. The only people who work and pay taxes. The only people who have children and raise families. The only people who love God and love America. The only people who go to church and fly the flag. The only good people.

Hypocritical and superstitious. Willfully ignorant, anti-intellectual, anti-learning, and smug about it. Self-satisfied and self-righteous. Distrustful and paranoid. Cynical and misanthropic. Racists. Xenophobes. Homophobes. Misogynists. All part and parcel of the hate and fear packages they are. They're small town bigots. Equally opportunity haters. They 're suspicious and afraid by nature, by upbringing, by religion, by tradition, by habit, and by way of unelightened, defensive, greedy self-interest. It's a mean sort of greed. Mean as in mean-spirited, mean as in petty and paltry. It's not money and things they want as much as they want not to have to share. They want it all for themselves, the country and the benefits of living here, the main one of which is the benefit of thinking well of themselves just because they live here and disdainfully of everyone else, in the country and in the world.

So, yeah, you bet they want the Dreamers kicked out. They want all ofthem gone and no more let in.  Stealing “our” jobs but that's not the worst of it. Stealing “our” sense that the country belongs exclusively to “us”, that the country is “us”. That's what Make America Great means. Make it all ours again. Make it mine again. Make it me again.

And they're fine with people losing their health insurance. They're fine with people dying without it. Their own fault. They didn't plan. They didn't save. They didn't take care of themselves, didn't work hard, didn't work. They weren't good, weren't like us. And what do “we” care about climate change? Things are all right here right now, and if the climate's changing it's God's plan, God's will. If we suffer for it, well, then, he'll provide, in this world or the next. In the meantime, the feds will bail us out. After all, it's our money.

And it's fine with them Trump's not up to his job, that he doesn't know the first thing about how to do it, that he doesn't even seem to know what the job is.What's there to know? Being good at governing doesn't matter. What's that mean anyway, being good at governing? Being good at raising taxes? Being good at generating red tape? Being good at passing laws and making rules we have to obey and they don't? Being good at giving what's rightfully ours to them?

What matters is being good at saying no. Being good at saying enough's enough. Being good at telling them Too bad for you. Being good at being angry. Being good at dealing out the pain and the punishment. Being good at taking it back. Being good at getting even.

Being good at hating.

Trump is really good at that. He's good at the other things too, but he excels at hating.

One reason so many decent and smart and sensible people didn’t see Trump coming was they couldn’t believe there were so many heartless, stupid, depraved, and hate-crazed Republicans. Political journalists were especially surprised, committed as they’d been for decades to covering Republicans in Washington as sensible, centrist, pragmatic cynics and Republicans outside the Beltway as just good, plain folks and “real” Americans.

Someone as vile and appalling Trump just couldn’t appeal to that many of them. He certainly couldn’t be the president of their dreams.

But he did. He does. And he is.

The President of their dreams.

Too bad he's the stuff of nightmares for the rest of us.


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