The People v. Donald Trump

In the coffee shop, a fellow asked, “if we stopped giving him so much attention, don’t you think he’d go away?” It was an honest question, one made two weeks before Donald Trump picked up Alabama, Arkansas (my home state), Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Hawaii, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, and perhaps Missouri. It was the question before the wave of violent clashes at Trump rallies, before the cancellation of his Chicago stop due to escalating fears of riots. (Trump won Illinois despite the cancellation of his rally.)

He’s not going away. Mull this over for a minute.

The New York billionaire uses words like mallets–heavy, pounding–beats his opponents into submission, encourages his supporters to resort to bare knuckles and cheap shots. And aren’t his supporters ready for it? Aren’t we all? Aren’t we the throbbing mass of mixed martial arts spectators? Don’t we love a good brawl? Don’t We The People believe that all good things–all things American–come through blood, sweat, and tears? And when’s the last time we saw blood in politics? Bring on the blood.

The people–who are they? Media outlets speak of Middle Class Whites, the great throngs of the disenfranchised. The Mexicans take White jobs. The Blacks take White tax dollars. The Muslims take White babies, White airplanes, our gleaming Twin by-god Towers. These people, says the media, are potential energy, spilt gas waiting for a lit match. Donald Trump is the sulfur striking the side of the box. He’s the spark.

See him, this strongman who stokes the fire he’s lit. And when the fire has done the damage, who then throws the ball toward the surviving hornets’ nest just to see what might happen? (“Why did you throw the ball toward the hornets’ nest,” the responsible adults asks the petulant child. “To see what might happen when the hornets stirred themselves up,” he says, beaming.)

But this is what men like Mr. Trump know (men of power, one might say): fear and violence move people to action. Hollow, vague promises of power are actionable. The people stand behind his violent rants, because the people–the violent, MMA, WWE, Jean-Claude Van Damme people–have violence flowing out of their ears. And knowing this, Mr. Trump prods the violence to action. About not becoming the Republican nominee for the World’s highest office, he says, “I think you would see problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen. I really do. I wouldn’t lead it, but I think bad things would happen.” (Source)

He shrugs his shoulders. “Hey, I’m not telling them to riot, but who can stop the people?”

The people, he says. Invokes. Nudges. Gigs. Directs.

The Trump steamroller barrels across the country, grinds its dissenters into powder. Roll, baby roll; grind the bones of the establishment, the immigrants, the refugees, the minorities, the jobless, the silent protestors, the non-people into chalk. See the winds of change that would blow the chalk away. This is the political brand of Donald J. Trump; he wants you to believe his people are The People.

The People–who are they? They are the Latino man providing for his family, giving his pound of flesh to the United States Government, his blood sweat and tears for baby formula and rubber nipples. They are the Black boy in Ferguson, or Baltimore, or Whereverville, the one hoping for a small business in the hand instead of a bullet to the back. They are the Muslim refugee, the one seeking asylum from otherworld dictators (this refugee, trapped between too many dictators). They are the middle class white man typing on the keyboard, asking The People (yes, The People) to please keep shining the light on the demons of fear, the demons of violence, the demons behind both the symptoms and the causes. Shine the light on the problem of men who might foment fear for personal gain, for power, for the lesser kingdoms of men.

The People–we are better than this. And if we are not, God save The People.

***TINY LETTER***

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  • i have a friend in Germany who came to visit us a couple of years ago. He rented an RV and was taking his wife and kids around our country. I’ve never forgotten something he said to us one night in the Rocky Mountains as we sat around a fire while the children slept; “american’s are proud of their country, we see the flag flying in the neighborhoods on houses. in Germany you don’t see that much. we are only beginning to come away from feeling ashamed and embarrassed.”

    praying right along with you, that we the people will be saved from our foolishness.

  • He wants us to believe “his people” are The People. You’re right. He’s amazingly effective at that.

  • David Hendren

    Part of me wonders if we as Americans haven’t just had a deluded view of who we really are for a long time. Trump is our Saul. We want what we value.

  • pastordt

    Glory here, Seth. Powerfully said and so necessary. And I am inexpressibly sad that it is.