What, my dear friends, could compel me to post after so long?
Doesn't he just shake up the political landscape? To quote the best Eddie Murphy stand up from the 1980s: I gotta story to tell.
So, I'm sitting at my daughter's volleyball practice and, as I am wont to do, I am grading papers. Out of the periphery of my vision I see a man turn to look at me. I raise my head and without any inviting inflection (no smile, no nod - I don't know this guy) he begins to just just talk:
"I'll tell you what. This country is gonna be MUCH better when Donald Trump is president."
Um. What? I must have stared at him blankly because he went on:
"And I'll tell you what. When Obama was elected, I KNEW this country was gonna fail and it did. You know why?"
"Because he's not an American. And he don't even salute the troops!"
"I gotta friend at Letterkenny and he says Obama don't even salute the troops and my friend served in Iraq and he knows that Obama don't even salute the troops and he's not a real American."
"And I'll tell you what. I got nothing against women. I like women. My boss is a woman and she don't take no bullshit from no one and I like women. you know what I'm saying?"
"So I don't got no problem with a woman president. Not Hillary -- she's shady as fuck. But a woman president? I got no problem with that. You know who would make a good woman president?"
Okay. I know you think I'm making this up, and I have to admit -- when he threw down the Palin reference I started to look around for the hidden camera to see if Lonce Bailey was taping this for Facebook. I expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out and punk me. I started to think that he was a method actor from NYC who had come into town for a gig and got some extra scratch for messing with me. I didn't believe it was real for one moment because, honestly, I know no one who even thinks about Sarah Palin any more.
But then I realized that our media allows me to not know anyone who thinks about Palin any more. And therein lies the problem. We have stopped talking to each other and have started talking past one another. But I digress.
Most of my close friends who live in cities will think I am making this up for giggles -- but this guy is real as rain and he represents the 35% of the public who likes what Trump is saying. This is honest and raw and awful -- but it ain't no joke.
Remember how we used to chant: "We're here! We're queer! Get used it to and don't fuck with me!" Well guess what? Turn that on it's head and we have the Trump supporters.
My own personal Trump supporter (and apparent Palin aficionado) eventually ran out out steam (I will spare you the truly virulent racist stuff) and took a beat: "You a teacher? That's cool" wherein he went back to his iPhone and I sat in stunned silence. I hadn't ever spoken to him, nor had I had the chance to reply in any form, to correct the missteps or untruths and maybe that was for the best. He wouldn't have believed me anyway, and what's the point when talking to someone who had a
The point here is not that Trump supporters are dumb, but rather they are angry a hell and it doesn't matter how many fact-checkers take him to task for just making shit up. We can dismiss the supporters, call Trump fascist, but in the end The Donald is here to stay and we might just have (cheers to YOU Niel Brasher!) a brokered convention.
He will not win a general (we all know that) but he will change the conversation and I think that change is for the worse. Not to be too blunt about it, but just watch the 2008 language at work: It was hope. It was lovely and it was positive. And it was right.
"Yes we can."
Where are we now, 7 years later? A nation plagued with hatred and anger and bigotry and a hint towards the kind of intolerance that I honestly thought we had moved beyond. As a human it makes me sad. But I listen to the 2008 video linked above and it gives me hope again -- because we are America. "And if we stand together we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with the three words that will bring hope: Yes we can."
We just need to get past this character. Trump. How dare he do this to us? He has a right - the Founders said so and I trust them. But they also created a system where he does not have to take over.
He's here. Get used to it. But don't stand for it.
Yes. We. Can.