The show, sixty-nine years in the making, has morphed itself, already, many times, by shifting from morality play to unreality television, to fairy tale. As it continues, however, more and more people realize that it’s a sham, a smoke and mirrors parlor trick, and that’s been a heartbreaking experience, one akin to learning that Walt Disney was an informant for J. Edgar Hoover.
What is it that keeps normally rational people from admitting that the two-headed baby in the side-show pickle jar is really made of wax, that the ghost in the abandoned house down the street is, instead, a scurrying creature with a long tail that climbed in through a torn screen, or that that Grandpa’s shiny old rock is fools gold and not the real thing? A psychologist might say that those who hear only what they want to hear, out of Trump’s mouth, are deceiving themselves in the same way a desperate cancer patient believes that apricot pits will cure his sickness.
We’ve been told that, during a Trump presidency, the poor will inherit the earth, that abandoned factories in the rust belt will reopen, if only we remove all computers and robots from more competitive, modernly equipped, assembly lines, and that Lemonade stands will always be profitable. We can expect newspapers to run only happy stories. Prayer will return to our schools and Christian observances will be mandatory.
It’s a world in which abortion will be criminalized and women will know their places as heels rise and bathing suits shrink. Under Trumpcare breast augmentations and facelifts will be covered by health insurance and all models will ride in limos and fly first class, for free. There’s no ill that won’t be cured, no good that won’t accrue, no beauty left unseen if, only, Trump is put in charge.
If you want more money, and a better job, vote for Trump because once golf is the national pastime there’ll be miles of lawns to plant and cut, hazards to make, as well as countless little holes to dig, so quit your day jobs, now. Those disturbed by how much we owe the Chinese should vote for Trump, too. He’ll renegotiate our debt downwards, once he reduces what he owes them, himself, of course.
If you’re tired of being afraid to say what you really mean, because it’s politically incorrect, or could be construed as hateful, vote for Trump. He says anything that crosses his mind, no matter how ignorant or odious, and gets away with it. During his presidency it’ll be legal to yell “fire” in a Bingo parlor.
Some people, however, may prefer a hereditary monarchy. Trump offers that, too. His gilded towers, in Manhattan, are full of princes, princesses, dukes and duchesses, all of whom will be graciously accepting of invitations to cut supermarket ribbons, tour hospitals, and do walkabouts for charity, so long as they’re paid, in advance.
Want to end all the fuss about global warning and pollution despite the evidence? Vote Trump and stop feeling guilty about the extinction of bees, little fish, and even big game in Africa. Such things don’t bother his sons, Eric and Don, Jr., as they have demonstrated, many times, by shooting elephants for their tails and endangered big cats for manly photo ops. Their father set them a good example, like when he bulldozed a sand dunes nature preserve, in Scotland, for links he never built.
Think, Trump says, about our crummy, third world, airports, our pothole filled roads and creaking bridges. They don’t have this kind of dilapidated infrastructure in Dubai, or Moscow. We won’t, either, after we take the Mideast’s oil for ourselves. That’s the Trump way. If you want it, there it is, go ahead and take it because it may not last.
Other nations, rightly or wrongly, may be annoyed at the renewed American imperialism set in motion by a Trump presidency. To dissuade them from getting too frisky with us, in return, we need to expand our military rather than putting more chairs around some dumb conference table in Paris or Geneva. We can rent out our military, too, to weaker nations unwilling to make the same investment in the machinery of war. Faster, higher-flying, airplanes with bigger payloads are a good start, as are greater battle ships, stronger tanks, longer guns, and thousands of new brigades and battalions. Mandatory military service, and guns for everyone, men, women, and children, alike, will make every home in America a fort. Who wants to mess with that?
Many Americans are disgusted with refugees, particularly, and foreigners, generally. They get stamps to eat our food for free, expect medical treatment if hurt, and gobble up government benefits that we could spend on ourselves. Many of them don’t even try to learn English, once here, basking in the comfort of sanctuary cities that coddle them with benefits.
While it’s true that our founding fathers, likewise, came over on boats, during the ensuing two-and-a-half centuries they, and their descendants, worked hard to build the country that foreigners, now, want to get for free. A strong vetting “means test” will stop this foolishness and insure that only the best of the best can relocate here. Trump has shown how this works by filling his New York towers with rich Russians, to cite just one example. They don’t bother anyone, and spend lots of hard money, thereby, boosting the economy of Fifth Avenue.
There is only one candidate this election who has the guts to ship the undesirables who’re leaching off us back to where they came from. That’s Trump. Sure, it’s heartbreaking to see dead children washing up on Mediterranean shores and bloody, wounded, babies in the war torn regions of the Middle East and Africa, but if God wanted us to make room for them all he would’ve made America a bigger place. Some things are just meant to be. If we take a stand now, however, and stop the surge of undesirables with drones and walls, it’ll help all American citizens who’ll line up, gladly, to work at 7-11 stores, and eagerly await the chance to pick fruit, wash dishes, sweep floors, and empty the trash once the job threatening illegals are gone.
Don’t worry about the cost of anything that Trump has proposed. He’s a genius! He says so; Putin says so, so it must be true. Donald can do everything he proposes without taxing us so much as one shiny new dime more. Look at the way he’s avoided paying his own share. Taxes are for suckers, the IRS is crooked, and if we cut everyone’s bills, especially the rich, they’ll be so happy that they’ll throw money all over the place, on bigger mansions, faster cars, flashier diamonds, better racehorses and our casinos will prosper, once again. It’s axiomatic. America’s money should stay in America; so quit fretting because regular people will be very happy with a couple hundred bucks more, per year.
For those disturbed by the idea of state dinners for dictators and strongmen, forget that, too. You’ll get used to Vladimir, Kim, and the rest of the gang noshing at the Trump White House. Nicer fellows you’ve never seen. Why is that? Because they’ve figured it out for us better than Clarissa ever could. Imagine, for just a moment, a world in which there are no back-talkers, and none of those ever-annoying dissidents, like Pussy Riot in Russia. The complainers should break rocks instead of engaging in all sorts of unseemly disruptions that just give everyone else a headache. They’re bad for morale and, besides, everything works so much better when people know their place, and does what they’re told.
Ask yourself this, though. How is it that the Republican party of Lincoln and Reagan, Ike and others, has bestowed its mantle on a man who insults war heroes and their families, demeans women, flirts with bigots, exalts his questionable wealth, threatens protestors, and has elevated lying to a virtue? How did this Grand Old Party come to embrace Trumpian totalitarianism? That is a conundrum.
A man who wants to subjugate people who disagree with him, bar immigrants, intern undesirables in expanded private prisons, and create a police state where no citizen is free to walk the streets without fear of search and seizure, now leads the a Republican party that touts itself as being compassionate. Trump claims to support the Constitution that he may have read, once, but is running on a platform that seeks to limit, rather than expand, fundamental rights. His speech betrays the dangerous view that there are just some documents, the Constitution included, that aren’t meant to be taken too literally.
Trump expects us to overlook the fact that making foreign trade more difficult, likely, won’t create more employment. He wants us to ignore the danger that harsh tariffs on imports will hurt the domestic economy once they are reciprocated and that, rather than protecting American jobs, they will decrease them while costing us more than we’re paying, already, for imports. Now is a good time, however, just in case, to buy Japanese TVs, German cars, Italian shoes, French perfume, and Trump ties made in China.
We’re been told that abandoning cumbersome, stupid, government regulations, particularly in the environmental and banking sectors, will make America prosperous again by freeing these institutions to act in our best interests. It is almost criminal, he implies, that they have to answer to Congress, and the people. This makes sense because currently regulated businesses have always had our best interests at heart. Wells Fargo is a case in point. They tried really hard to make a go of it and look at what Senator Elizabeth Warren did to them. It was shameful.
Trump wants to privatize education, too, though studies show that doesn’t make students any smarter and necessitates massive gifts of public resources and facilities. Forget that messy little fact, though, because we need to shut the greedy teachers, and their unions, up for good. Educators get three months a year off. Shouldn’t that be enough?
Putting lead back in gasoline, probably, won’t accomplish anything good, but it’s worth a try. Oil companies make more money when they don’t have to fuss with clean energy stuff, like additives, or have to worry about the Pelicans dying. When America ran on Ethyl it was a happier, if not healthier place. While we’re at it, perhaps we could strip mine a few National Parks. They’re full of goodies and someone will want to dig, or drill, them out sooner, or later, and that’ll pay off a lot of debt. People seem to forget that robber barons made us a great country and if something worked, once, we should emulate success and bring it back.
The police have been maligned, far too much, for a few honest mistakes of shooting unarmed people in the back, for giving criminals hot rides in vans and, allegedly, using excessive force on the mentally ill, from time to time. A better solution than rooting out bad cops, and paying good ones more, is to provide law enforcement officers with militarized weapons and the latest urban assault vehicles. That’ll work better than higher salaries, improved training, and more accountability. It will, also, be the end of street crime. What idiot with a Saturday night special wants to take on a bazooka?
If you believe we’re an out of control, lawless, country besotted with drugs and overrun by gangs, soldiers in every precinct will solve this Clockwork Orange problem, tout suite. Besides, if you haven’t done anything wrong, you won’t have anything much to fear.
Most people agree that candidate Trump talks recklessly, on occasion, though many of his adherents believe that he’ll reform himself in the next month or, at least, once he gets into the oval office. After all, the thinking goes, a man, or woman, can’t be truly presidential unless they’re, well, actually, the president so trust Donald when he says that he has it under control. It’s pretty basic. You can’t tweet on the hotline, or on the nuclear football, so what’s the big deal with a few careless words about an overweight Venezuelan beauty broadcast in the wee hours? She deserved it, just like fat ole’ Rosie. Make book, too, that the Big Bad Wolf doesn’t want to eat Little Red Riding hood, anymore, given half a chance, or that Humpty Dumpty will fix himself up after the fall.
Angst among the electorate is nothing new in America. We, always, have dealt with it, frustration, too, from the beginning of the Republic until now. Even Thomas Jefferson was unhappy with the Constitution because he didn’t believe it went far enough in securing citizens their rights in the new nation. But Jefferson’s, and every generation since, has worked, together, to forge a better country. It’s called being united and The United States is more than a geographic location it’s, also, a state of mind.
Americans do not, easily, succumb to prophets of doom. We’ve, almost always, believed that fear is the only thing to fear, that courage, tolerance, and forbearance are virtues. Our nation is not in grave peril, today, no matter what Trump says. Merrick Garland will not destroy the country if he sits in Anton Scalia’s chair at the Supreme Court and we don’t need martial law to save us from the bogeymen Trump dreamt up to scare us. Proposing to tear the system down, in response to his delusions of doom, is, in reality, nothing more than anarchy, itself.
Alexis de Tocqueville said, long ago, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
To support, or worse, elect a candidate antithetical to traditional American notions of decency, optimism, fair play, and morality, like Trump, will not be good and mark, instead, the start of a reckless social experiment, one that abdicates our responsibilities to the country, and to one another. Opposition to tyranny is what formed the ethos of this land. That fact should not be forgotten.
Between now and Election Day the country will examine its collective conscience to determine how we define what is good, for ourselves, and for the world. This time, if we embrace the illusory promises of a cheating charlatan who has bullied and lied his way through life, over a shared dedication to perseverance and hard work for the common good, we will have turned our backs on that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan so eloquently spoke about. John F. Kennedy’s, hopeful, ambitious, dreams for America, likewise, will be hollowed out and de Tocqueville proven right. That would be an epic tragedy for a nation as great as ours.
Mike Malak is an attorney, photographer and writer. He lives in California.