The president America deserves
When you get right down to it, Donald Trump is America. There could be no better representative for this moment in the country’s history. Obama was too good for us; we never really deserved him. But Trump is just our style. He’s a swaggering, garish monument to ego meant to mask deep insecurity, depression, and trauma.
Trump is the perfect president for a country where no one is keeping score, where people settle for mediocrity, call it gold and don’t realize just how bad everything has gone to shit. The only thing scarier than Trump’s fucking numskull campaign is the fact that the public had its head so far up its own ass that it didn’t bother to hold him accountable. No one was minding the store. No one cared. You can get away with a lot when no one is paying attention.
After all, he’s really into bad food, unhealthy living, and cheap entertainment. He’s selfish, endlessly greedy, and obsessed with TV news. Like the majority of Americans, his brand is the most important thing to him. To paraphrase “Scream 4,” he doesn’t need friends, he needs fans. He lives within his own reality where facts are bent to tailor preconceived notions. He blames everyone else for his own failings. That’s American as fuck.
Trump’s a bully. No country has bullied the world more than America. OK, maybe Germany. But he’s a big fan of Germany too. He’s belligerent and moody, distrustful of experts and generally angry, and with a well-documented history of misogyny and racism. He’s desperate for approval, bloated, past his prime, and opinionated as hell. He’s obsessed with conspiracy theories. He lies constantly. He has no friends but a seemingly full schedule.
Trump pretends to have more money than he actually does. He denies he’s not in debt up to his eyeballs. He doesn’t like paying his bills. He’s egotistical and warlike but is an isolationist by default. He’s convinced he knows more than everyone else. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and isn’t really interested in finding out. He has no attention span. He doesn’t give a shit about foreign countries or the nuances of cultures not his own. He doesn’t believe in the rich, the poor, the press, or what remains of the country’s cheap, whoring politicians. He believes in the people; or rather, what the people can do for him. He’s a classic transactional American user.
Trump doesn’t know what he wants; he knows only what he can destroy. He’s a mainline brat who whines until he gets his way. Trump is the perfect American. Except he’s about to take over a country that behaves the same way. The people don’t know what they want. They only know what they hate. They know what they’re against. They just don’t know what they’re for. That’s the hard lesson that Trump is about to learn.
We’ve now had two consecutive presidents who were insurgents of their own parties. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the tranquility any president would hope to usher in. The kicker is that as much as Trump is a perfect representation of America, and as powerfully astride the system though he may be, he’s also about to become the face of America’s greatest enemy: itself. Like Trump, America needs someone to blame when things go wrong. And they’re about to go very, very wrong. You can be afraid of Trump all you want, but the people who elected him are the ones to truly fear. He may be bad, but we’re the ones who voted for him. Who is more dangerous?
People are going to get sick of all his whiny bullshit. That will not age well. Nor will all the suffocating corruption stories that Americans were willing to overlook during the campaign. Before it was a joke, a reason to vote for the guy who knew how to play the system; now the American public will be the ones putting the money in his family’s pocket. They may start to take it personally.
Until then, Trump is the American id, but it’s hard to find a governing path forward when you’ve just shattered politics as we know it. Throughout Trump’s rise to power I kept thinking about the Stephen King short story “The Man in the Black Suit.” It’s about a man who has a childhood run-in with the devil and how it haunts him even onto his deathbed. Throughout all the 2016 talk of Trump, and the destroyed norms and fractured political lanes, there’s a moment toward the end of the King story I kept remembering. It not only applies to the campaign, but also to the country Trump now inherits.
“And in the dark I sometimes hear that voice drop even lower, into ranges that are inhuman. Big fish! it whispers in tones of hushed greed, and all the truths of the moral world fall to ruin before its hunger.”
Good luck, motherfucker.