I came up with an idea to write a blog post called “The Trump Card”. It would have been a sharp satirical takedown of presidential candidate Trump served up with vulgarity (unusual for me) and wit—stuff like I used to blog in my younger days when we lived in a more open and free society. But these times took hold of me, and I realized that such a post would miss the mark because we the people have changed. Trump rises because of the darkness in our collective heart. AND it is my fault and your fault more than it is the fault of other Americans who say they support him.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve watched America shut down intellectually and emotionally. We’ve become dumb (i.e., temporarily unable or unwilling to speak about things that matter) and dishonest about our emotions. The words we do speak about ourselves are less truthful than at any other time in my life. If there’s a problem, it’s because someone in office or someone with money didn’t do anything about it. Yet we rarely did anything about it either. As a writer who listens to us speak, I see this and I feel this. If I don’t join in and act like a court jester, all the ills of the world are thrust upon me. I’m abandoned. AND so the Trump rises.
Over the last 2 years in a new town, I have fallen prey to gossip, which slowly became malicious. I marveled as I watched it unfold and turn into something like I experienced from other kids back in elementary school. Fortunately, I had the benefit of an education in rhetoric to be able to follow it while not taking it personally. I kept waiting for reality to kick in (gossip is a form of fiction), for the women to become aware of what was going on. Some did, but others kept pushing it. My active listening was likened to passive aggression, sharing knowledge…an attempt to control, gifts of friendship…akin to stalking, ignoring seduction techniques like sexy baby voice…a symptom of autism, my thumb…a telltale sign of dick size. AND so the Trump rises.
As election year set it, the screaming at me started. “I need to be fucked!” “Isn’t this (a heated discussion) fun!” “I’m an easy-going person!” Maybe this was sardonic humour, but it’s enough to make a man seek out a dominatrix for a kinder talk session. So I thought about writing a satirical sendup (or a takedown) of myself and the community on a forum for a group where I met these people. I figured it was what writers used to do to stump the Trumps of this world from rising. The kind of thing where everyone would take a step back and look at themselves and guffaw and be humbled. All equally chagrined. I talked to someone about this idea, and he said if I were to do it, create a fake profile (basically, hide behind a pen name) so as to not create more drama. That seemed somewhat off-kilter to me, but then I remembered these times we live in. He knows the tenor of Tucson better than me. It would turn into finger pointing and blaming and more gossip. The attempt to create community, or have us realize we all need to be kinder, would backfire because of the darkness in our hearts, our inability to trust or to speak with care and honesty. We don’t do what we’ve been called to do anymore, we follow a template. AND so the Trump rises.
I write this blog and I put out a couple books under a pen name. Now I am wondering anew what people think of that. There’s an incredible silence about my book from people who know me, as if I am hiding behind a pen name or something. I write under a pen name not to hide, but to pay homage to my Irish heritage. I also think it’s helpful to delineate my academic and professional writing from my creative writing. So, do people think my autobiographical fiction book is some sort of manifesto? And if so, might it be the manifesto of a fictional character (not a writer with a master’s degree)? I don’t necessarily want to talk about my book. I learned that if you have to explain your writing it must not be that good. Just remember, it might just be you that takes it too seriously. Do I have to put on a plaid shirt and take over a wildlife refuge before you laugh at my fictionalized life stories?
So I find myself holding a trump card, a way of thinking that has surprised me. At this point I feel like I will vote for Trump in the general election if he is still a viable candidate at that time. It’s not that I agree with his views or think he would make a good president, quite the opposite. I think he has touched the darkness we hide in our collective heart. If we cannot identify it and let it go over this long, hot election year summer, then maybe the only answer is to give Trump the presidency. Political homeopathy. Let us see clearly what we think we are hiding. This is what our generation has put up. We traded our writers for politicians, satirists for news anchors, reality for gossip. This writer is thinking of playing the trump card to set the world right again.