Trump is a Mirror We Hate Looking In To
My friend Molly Cantrell-Kraig put this sentiment up on the Faces of Borg this past week and it hit me that no more pithy and dead-on accurate statement has been made yet about our embarrassingly bad and awful president.
No matter how you slice it, Trump is our President. He exists in that position because we either voted for him, voted against Clinton, or chose to sit on our disbelieving asses and not vote at all. If we want justify that Russia hacked into our media and influenced the election in his favor, it was we who were so malleable and gullible that we believed the propaganda. Cry that the Electoral College is a broken system all you want but we already knew that from our experience in Florida the fall of 2000 and we did fuckall to change it.
To misquote the oft-quoted meme, Donald Trump is not the president we need but he is the president we deserve.
As we stare at this overwhelming mistake occupying the same chair as great leaders of our past, we see ourselves reflected back in spades.
We see narcissism and unceasing self promotion.
We see a cracked sliver of an inability to admit when we are wrong.
The mirror shows a thin skin and a pathological need to use social media to punish those critical of us.
I read a clickbait article on Thought Catalog—save your judgment, I read everything—titled Zodiacs Ranked from Who Gives Out Second Chances To Who Holds Lifelong Grudges and landed on this description:
If you screw over a Scorpio, not only will they stay mad at you for life, but they will get other people mad at you. They do this by telling friends their version of the story and by sending screenshots of your conversations. They will make sure all of their friends are onboard with hating you—because if you fuck with them, you fuck with their entire group.
Sound familiar? Like someone you know or have been burned by in the past? Yeah, me, too. And it sounds like Trump as well and I don't even know if he's a Scorpio. It also sounds like an awful lot of us as well. And like a spiteful eighth grader.
Who among us wouldn't love to inherit millions? Who sitting down at a crummy cubicle gig reading this piece right now wouldn't sell their child to be able to then make a living simply branding themselves and selling the right to put their name on things? In the Age of YouTube fame being the Crown Jewel of the Neo-American Dream, who wouldn't love to be able to get up on a stage with Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush and call them names with the only consequence being an uptick in their popularity?
Donald J. Trump is like someone (probably Roy Cohn) took every aspect of being an American that represents us at our worst—greedy, conniving, emotional, jealous, lazy, racist, sexist, xenophobic, two-faced—stuck them all in a blender and pressed purée. He is us at our most base and unattractive in a thick milkshake of Ugly American.
The Great American Mirror shows us a man who wants other people to do the work while he takes the credit.
The Reflecting Pool of the United Stares presents us with someone who truly represents our careless disdain for those who look or think differently from ourselves and the casual racism of prejudging people by the color of their skin.
We see him fail to drain the swamp of DC and, just over our shoulder in the sightline, we see our own swamp of bottom feeders, abusive exes, shitty managers and cloying sycophantic followers that we forget to drain.
Obama was the person we wanted to be (because we all kind of want to be a brilliant, good-looking, eloquent black man with an super accomplished and gorgeous spouse with no scandals and the tendency to once in a while drone strike the shit out of people we can't see). Trump is who we are.
Democracy starts with the citizen. If the citizen is OK with being a fat, lazy asshole then we nailed it this time. If we want someone better, it starts with us.