As we merrily dance into year 2 of the Donald, I will take a moment to add my 2 cents to the conversation.
The first penny is that, though it may be shocking to many, Trump is paradoxically seen by many as,and arguably is, the only honest guy in politics, and the second penny is how vividly he has exposed the grand folly of that supposed august business of legislating basic American needs.
We are a politics based on lies. Big lies. Little lies. That we are lied to is a given. Beyond the pale of years was a time where exaggeration gave way to forms of legislation that, while perhaps not completely benign or satisfactory, occurred with relevant frequency. To say that now would be a lie.
It is into the cesspool, swamp; whatever term you find appropriate, sauntered The Donald, our reluctant Commander-in-Chief, reluctant because he was just as surprised as we were that he won. But upon his victory he did march claiming a greatness because why not and be big about it because it is the way of politics.
Now, some of you may say that Donald Trump is an inveterate liar and he is, but, and this is important, they all are. That’s what his supports believe; it’s what many Americans believe. Promises are made; statements are made that bear no fruit or provide relief of the treachery we are made to witness. Some of this is willful delusion; some of it is scare tactics mean to immobilize us through emotion, but in the end what counts is action and proof seen with our own two eyes is as illusory as the rhetoric bellowed at us.
Most of it comes from the boobtube or the computer or the phone. The idea that our stalwart public servants would meet with us face to face continues to decline. So Trump lies, but they all do. He makes promises he has no intention of keeping; they all do. That he has mastered the means of present day communication is his genius. Whether Trump’s affinity for lying is his common state of affairs rather than a political affectation is in the eye of the beholder, but he is a true representative of our present political state.
To be in national politics is to be in a state of conflict, so much so that we’ve come to point where disagreement has crossed over into hate. And you can’t work with people you hate. Dislike? Sure. Don’t trust? Maybe. But hate is a vengeful thing and you don’t break bread willingly. There is no middle ground, there is no national commonality-though irrationally, many of us long for it-there is no America in the sense of our ideals because they have all the strength of paper and to share inevitably leads to the diminution of those who already have it. That is the great freight foisted on the weary and suspicious.
T compound our troubles, we demand little of Congress and that’s what we get. Only in the business of politics is that acceptable. Not from carpenters, or bankers, or engineers, or doctors would we accept such poor production; they’d be out the door. Yet we continue to vote them in, where they rig the congressional maps, to maintain their party’s power in order to work for the people who control the party, which has generally been the wealthy.
Hence the Donald.
Yet the Donald is the sturm and the angst, the fright and the malaise; the poke in the eye that the powers that be tolerate. If he is all smoke and mirrors, monotonous speeches and outraged tweets that captivate our attention, then the deconstruction of the government can continue out of view. That the Republican’s are obstructionists while the Democrats are apoplectic while we look on in a) horror, b) disdain, or c) glee is all part of the game.
And so long as the political parties control the means of candidate selection and vast amounts of money are required to participate, we are forever doomed to mendacious mediocrity in the name of democracy.
Hence the Donald.
Love him or hate him, he is the straw man of the big show; empty of innovation, insight, and leadership, high on grievance, mistrust, and tribalism. He is all over the map on issue after issue, at least in his official declarations or in his late-nite tweets, a populist, but not really. That he is a showman playing to his crowd is in clear view; it is the spectre of 21st century politics; the spectacle to enraptured or anguished alike.
He has exposed the hypocrisy of many and as such it should be noted, for however he is thought of or remembered, his will be a defining presidency, for good or bad, for change or stasis, for renewal or decay.
He is the fulcrum of our time.
©2018 David William Pearce