An appreciation of the Don’s alternative reality
“During a rally in Florida yesterday Donald Trump boasted about his plans for ISIS and said he will “be their worst nightmare.” Oh, wow, so he’s also running for president of ISIS?” –Seth Meyers
“At first Donald Trump came out with guns blazing, said he’s going to kick all the Mexicans out, he’s going to build a wall to keep them from coming back in. Last night during a town hall on Fox News he said he could be softening, which is normal, it happens to a lot of men his age. He’s now agreed to give immigrants a 30-minute head start before he tries to catch them with a net.” –Jimmy Kimmel
“I do think Donald Trump is honest in his own way. He is honestly an egomaniacal billionaire.” –Stephen Colbert
Harold McMillan, when asked what he thought might blow a government off course, said “Events, dear boy, events.” The art of brilliant quasi-governance is the ability to create a perpetual series of unfortunate (and cataclysmic) political events – whipping up such a perfect storm of resentment that the opposition becomes terminally exhausted. There are so many outrageous policy decisions to oppose that anger-fatigue sets in and one begins to experience the classic Kubler-Ross five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
The biggest political taboo is the lie. The demonstrable, naked, unashamed, all-ends-up whopper. The new regime uses the lie as its currency; they exalt implausible deniability to a crude art form. What you going to do about it? Lies are what the enemies of the state deal in, reality control is the new form of everlasting propaganda.
“And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed – if all records told the same tale – then the lie passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’ And yet the past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered. Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. ‘Reality control,’ they called it: in Newspeak, ‘doublethink.’
Kellyanne Conway & Sean Spicer:
The Guide To The Post Truth, Nothing Like The Truth and…
But is all as grim as has been painted? Does not every cloud, after all, have an orange lining? And is not the Don- much misunderstood – himself the inevitable product of an enlightened democratic process; is he not a benevolent, even liberalising force, appealing to visceral parts of our nature that we didn’t know existed?
A politician is not the servant of the people who elected him, but instead is vested with carte blanche to rule like a king. Democracy is the ultimate crap shoot wherein the winner takes all. Who needs checks and balances, after all, when appointing family members and business buds to the most influential jobs will provide all the disinterested advice that any Don might require?
The voting system self-evidently works, because when the majority of people do not vote for an individual let alone his programme of partially-baked policies and yet, by happy quirk of the system, that individual may do as he or she wishes and pretend that they have an overwhelming mandate to do so, a beautifully divided society is created – and a society of equal divisions is…perfectly balanced in every way.
The people themselves are hypnotised by the will of the people. Whoever the people are – perhaps it is the people who troll the chat rooms of this world or those exercise their itchy twitter fingers to proffer considered opinions on sundry matters. They feel that they belong to a community of the bile-venting forgotten-and-downtrodden. And to them the office of president is a projection of their authoritarian can-do fantasies – no matter what act is passed you must respect the Don’s authoritah, for he is the Cartman de nos jours, and we too are all pistol-whippin’ Cartmans. Respect the authoritah of the angry mob.
Trump himself is one who believes he is to-the-manor-born. He is the Vermicious Knid that dwells within a gold elevator. The only thing that is not gold in his tower is the statue to himself which he has had erected in the lobby of Trump Tower. Its neck is made from pure brass. From this gilded alternate reality, he issues his multiple political decrees with aplomb. With the most delicious sense of irony, he immediately appointed a climate change denier to look after the environment, a secretary for public education who has no experience of public education, and has ordered that wealth be repatriated to where it feels most naturally at home – with the wealthiest people. Trump that, he seems to be saying to us. And he will. These are fresh, original perspectives – expertise is indeed an encumbrance when making complex decisions affecting the future livelihoods of tens of millions of people.
Public services are only used by bleeding heart liberals. Going to be ill? Then hie thee to the nearest insurance company. Want something to read? Go read one of the Don’s haiku-like tweets. As for Washington, how better to deal with the quotidian bureaucratic logjams than to drain its swamp and fill it with one’s own brand of toxic sewage, which we would all agree would be far better than an empty swamp.
Those who would not take time to understand the Don might think he was a playground bully and a pathological liar, a thin-skinned, arrogant, self-preening man, who is also at the same time remarkably stupid and uninterested in detail. This cultivated ignorance and Philistinism is his true genius: listen to the Don’s speeches to discover how brilliantly he has economised on thought processes – one of Trump’s first actions was to cut meaning completely from sentences. Coherence is ideologically unsound – incoherence, especially angry incoherence, bathes listeners in a warm glow of infinite possibility.
His supporters rightly point out that he promises something and then he does what he says – he promises intolerance, interference and dismantling America’s great institutions. Isn’t it great when a politician delivers on his promises – what else would you expect from someone invoking the spirit of the super-villain Bane in his inauguration speech?
Was is not William Shakespeare who pre-emptively wrote about the Don’s genius in Hamlet:
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals…
The Don believes that “We don’t inherit the land of our ancestors; we lend it to our children” (or rather the Don’s children), hence the progressive environmental policies he has adopted. By effectively allowing areas of wilderness to be raped for resources, by promoting mass-consumption, he is going to make the environment an issue of the past. Because there won’t be anything to protect. Besides there are no votes in beavers.
And please don’t criticise or call into question his relationship with the truth – he never slept with it. Truth is a 3 at best. Using the 1984 playbook on doublethink, he overcomes a hostile media by calling them liars, the biggest lie being the winning hand in liar’s poker. The Don recognises that the average Joe wants more privacy, more guns, bigger fences, bigger guns, and sees every foreigner as a potential terrorist (or a job taker). That the United States were originally founded on rights of man (not woman), and that refugees once upon a time came to the country in search of liberty and a better life, is now less important than wrapping yourself in the Stars and Stripes and blaming Mexicans and Moslems for all the woes of country. The Don loves Robert Frost’s poem “Good fences make good neighbours”, another tract in his instruction manual of how to become a more effective president. Don is actually helping the refugees by banning them as it means that they are more likely to stay in their country and fight the enemy, which is after all what they want deep down. He is like the caring father who insists that his child gets back on the bike after falling off when first learning to ride it. Donald is just being cruel to be kind and does it regardless of the fact that it hurts him so much.
Is it not right to ban that poor Yazidi woman who fled an Isis massacre in Iraq in 2014 and whose husband lives in the US already? Anyone who lives in war-torn countries must be guilty by association, infected by the Islamic terrorist virus. The world is a safer place, reasons the Don, if you can keep Moslems, where you can see them – preferably a long, long away.
Targeting Moslems has a good historical precedent, as the Don, a keen historian, knows. This “play” is a direct lift from what happened in the US and Nazi Germany in the 30s and 40s. He’s even lifted his “America First” from the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the time, which shows the Don as a true environmentalist – he does believe in recycling slogans and ideas.
And, okay, he’s not averse to endorsing the use of torture. Nobody’s perfect.
As for Mexicans, the Don doesn’t want them working for below the minimum wage and doing jobs that no Americans would consider doing, so he is building a wall so they don’t have to come across the border and be subjected to these daily humiliations. That’s the kind of thoughtful guy he is. In true philanthropic fashion, he will even let them pay for it. He doesn’t expect them to erect a statue to The Great Orange Gringo in The North immediately; they can wait until after they have built the aforementioned wall.
He’s no isolationist. He does reach out too. His new bessie mate, Vlad Putin, is helping with his ABC on foreign policy. The Don has already become dab hand at delegating, allowing Russia to increase its sphere of influence by being the main power broker in the Middle East. (The Don always believes that plenty of oil oils a good relationship). Nor will the Don won’t lose any sleep over the fact that Vlad is perpetuating the reign of a dictator who has committed genocide and caused hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee Syria in fear of their lives. The Don thinks that all refugees should stay close to home, even if they have no home to stay close to. That’s because he has a world map that looks like an old-fashioned treasure map with “Here Be Terrorists” written all over the Middle Eastern countries (other than Saudi Arabia – some people are way too rich to sponsor terrorism).
As for treaties, the Don prefers a packet of sweeties. No need for NATO to exist – why guard against the interests of bessie mates? As for the EU itself – get rid – the world is not big enough for so many trading blocs, so the Don will assist in its unravelling by always offering succour to his highly savoury sane-and-rational and not-remotely racist friends: Marie, Gert – and chief cheerleader replete with pom-poms and florid fizzog, Nigel. Although he will play footsie with the UK’s Stepford prime minister, the dead-eyed Theresa May (no relation to the perfect Teresa- 10 that the Don and his team thought she was going to be). And she is his most desperate number one fan. Anyhoo, a little political anarchy is not a dangerous thing as far as the Don is concerned (channelling Bane once more), and it also very much pleases the Vlad who can take advantage of the break-up of the European Union to “reconcile” the disparate components of the former USSR (which sounds a bit like the US, so it must be a good thing).
Oligarch, dictator, vulgarian, piersmorgan – these are some of the words that Donald Trump can spell which have more than a single syllable – and also the people that the Don can do business with.
You too can help the Don realise his dreams. Don’t be shy – like him, you can withhold your taxes (the Don practically wrote the book on business acumen – he is like Mr Boffin, the golden dustman, in Our Mutual Friend – “scrunch or be scrunched”). Can pay? Don’t pay! He has a point – the more people who don’t contribute, the less that people can complain when things go wrong. You can also test every law to breaking point; the Don doesn’t respect moral or ethical law or international law, so why should you respect any federal law on the statute? They’re more like guidelines than rules as Captain Barbossa says in Pirates of the Caribbean. If you feel the need to perform acts of civil disobedience go ahead – by disavowing everything that makes a decent and functional society, the Don is giving you your cue to act. This is the Don’s ultimate gift – catharsis for an entire nation. To those who hate for him an opportunity to have one’s tummies tickled daily; to those who hate everything he stands for, a lightning rod for anger. So, do not ask what your country can undo for you, ask what you can undo for your country.