I’ve been trying to see the positives in the looming Trump Presidency. He does break molds. The Georgian leader manhandled by Russia who thought he would be a match for Putin piqued my interest. Trump’s call to the Taiwanese President to twit China did too. I think there is something to say for breaking the mold especially after the jello has dried out. But I keep remembering the last argument he used as his campaign successfully brought down Hillary Clinton’s vote count with nonsense accusations at crazed rallies – Vote for me “what have you got to lose?”
Many Native American tribes have a character in their pantheon called the Coyote. He is a trickster. In some ways he is to be admired for his cunning and creativity. But he is also a character to be wary of. For a few days I tried thinking of Trump as someone who might bring about positive change by shrewdly hiding his intentions – giving himself bargaining room for himself and America. In that world it might be permissible to tell little white lies in much the same way as a placebo can trick a sick person into feeling better. But the lies, while they may have been white – Obama was born an African!, weren’t so little. Such rot went down deep into Trump’s psyche.
What are we supposed to make of a Trumpster taking his AK-47 a couple hundred miles north to a DC Pizzeria to shoot the place up in an effort to learn the truth about a fake news story claiming that it was a front for a child sex ring protected by Hillary Clinton? What are we to make of the fact that this fake news was trumpeted by the son of General Flynn who Trump has tapped to be a national security advisor? This isn’t a Coyote at work. Its chaos.
I keep reaching for metaphors that make sense to me to explain what’s happening. I’ve got a new one. Its the short story I read in High School for English – Visit to a Small Planet by of all people, Gore Vidal, the trenchant pundit who drove William F. Buckley Jr. Crazy.
Hollywood made Vidal’s story into a Jerry Lewis movie that I recall finding stupid. Its a wily twenty minute read but not a great Lewis movie if there is such a thing. (The French of course gave Lewis a medal for his dim witted mugging which I have always suspected was predicated on their De gaulle-ist disdain for the USA.) An alien arrives on Earth and creates mayhem with his extraterrestrial powers. Spoiler Alert! – In the end an adult alien tracks down his errant child and takes him home. Its been a child causing all the mayhem. As a preview of things to come its right up there with the Simpson’s cartoon imagining a Trump Presidency ruining the land.
Oh and by the way. The Trumpsters who are now calling on disappointed voters to rally around Donald Trump after the vile campaign he waged. Hell, Trump set that course when he thought he was going to lose and cried that the election was rigged and made it clear he wouldn’t graciously concede. After his surprise win he became one of the most unpleasant things imaginable – a sore winner. He’s still bragging about thumping Hillary on his “victory tour.” It hasn’t helped that his shrill shill Kellyanne Conway told a Clinton supporter that her candidate would have resorted to the same means to get elected. If anything Hillary was hogtied by Michelle Obama’s exhortation “when they go low we go high.”
Clinton’s campaign aired videos of Trump behaving badly but they didn’t resort to fake news. To answer Trump’s question, what we had to lose was the confidence that our nation’s voters weren’t eating magic mushrooms. Second helping anyone?