I have largely avoided the Donald so far. Not really worth my time, I figured. But, I was wrong about that. He is a force. No question. He is winning the hearts and empty heads of the angry, ignorant and bigoted. And there are a lot of them, it seems. The dark side is strong in him, Luke.
But rather than just look at the surface rot and stench, I thought it behooved me to consider what else he might be saying and what else he might be doing and how that might actually affect me.
But, before I do that, I just want to share one minor factoid as published by Forbes or Bloomberg. ‘Trump inherited $200 million dollars. He is now worth $5 billion. Had he invested his $200 million in an average mutual fund over the same period, he would be worth more.’ The point being: Trump is no genius nor is he a good businessman.
But what else is he? Any good stuff?
Well, for starters, he is a symbol of anti-establishment. It’s very weird that a rich guy living in New York can do that, but he has. He has positioned and marketed himself as a rebel of sorts. It may speak more to the dysfunctional American dream and their culture’s unshakable faith in the almighty dollar that a rich guy can still be seen as anti-establishment. I really don’t know. I never believed in the dream, myself. But I do know that ,many, many people who can barely feed their kids, pay their rent and run their car after working 60 hours a week still believe in the Horatio Alger fictitious myths regarding rags-to-riches stories. They think it can happen to them.
And, ironically, these are often the same people who so often do not now believe in God. “Why that’s just a silly myth, a superstition!” To my mind, you are much more likely to bump into a miracle a week (I do) than you are to ever get rich (unless you happen to own a house in Vancouver or win the lottery).
“So, Dave, what’s your point?”
Trump is a symbol (an erroneous one) of a desire for revolution. His prominence, his style, his angry message is a sign of massive discontent. He is the wrong person for such a revolution in the same way Rob Ford or Caitlin Jenner was or is, but he/they are ‘celebrity rebels’ nevertheless.
And, as misdirected as it is, it is actually – in a sick kinda way – a healthy sign. Like Howard Beale in the movie ‘Network’, “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!” , that speech was delivered because, “Things are bad. Everyone knows things are bad….” . Beale was insane at the time but the message rang true. That same message is being pitched by Trump (also close to insane) and bought by the hoi polloi because ‘the establishment is bad for your health’ has a loud ring of truth. “Things are so bad we need to build a wall!”
Another reason is that Trump is not politically correct. Most people hate political correctness. They love to poke fun at short people, coloured people, poor people, hill-billies…….anyone different than they are. If you don’t believe that, listen to any popular comedian doing stand-up these days. It is all essentially politically UNcorrect rants followed by swear words. It may not be right. It may even be bad. But it seems to be human. And stifling humanity will only grow hair on your palms and give you pimples.
Trump is just such a pimple.
A third reason is a scary one because it is a reason that might carry the day for him. He is preaching hope. It is an ethereal hope, a blind hope, a hope without details or plans or even so much as basic principles but it is hope, nevertheless. It is just an evangelical-style, come-to-Jesus, white-people-type hope that faith-in-Trump will somehow deliver the promised land.
Real plans, real details, real promises can be judged and analyzed. No one – especially Trump – wants that right now. They just want hope that their team will win the championship this year. Trump is the owner, manager and quarterback of team White Trash and they haven’t won in a long, long time.