Ladies and gentlemen as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. We're preparing for arrival into Trumplandia!
Here in Great New America, 11 million undocumented immigrants have been forced from their homes and deported. Muslim citizens wait in humiliating mile-long lines to register with the federal government; thousands of refugees have been blocked from entering this country. Gays no longer have the right to marry and women have lost the right to choose. And our President is firing verbal shots at the Vatican. This is the grand new country Donald Trump has promised us.
In Trumplandia, all the men are white, the women subservient and the children all grow up to be bullies.
When Donald Trump says, "Make America Great Again," he's harkening back to a romanticized 1950s, when our demographics were different. American life was simpler and 90 percent white. If you were middle class and Caucasian, your trajectory was on the upswing. If you were African-American, not so much.
We've become accustomed to the bully in the china shop. Outrageous policies elicit little more than winces. Trump offended South Carolinians with his foul language and by mouthing the word "pussy," while his intolerance causes not a peep. With the exception of Pope Francis, few question Trump's plan to deport millions. In Trumplandia! complacency rules.
To curate my book, Quotations from Chairman Trump, I steeped myself in Trump quotes from the stump, reading his tweets, statements, listening to his interviews and speeches in search of la crème de la crème of his messages. I rearranged and contextualized his quotes to create a different kind of narrative. Like the first little red book, Trump shares Mao's grandiosity and authoritarianism. But in compiling the book, I channeled the old Stephen Colbert and the new Larry Wilmore because satire has a way of revealing the truth.
Even while insisting Mexicans love him, on June 16, 2015, Trump told Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor, "The wall will go up and Mexico will start behaving." That sounds less like doctrine and more like a 1950s dad scolding his four-year-old for spilling cherry Jell-O.
On September 19, 2015, in a speech in Urbandale, Iowa, Trump declared, "I love the Muslims. I think they're great people." By the next day his love had subsided. Though he was still painting a group portrait with the same wide roller, he told Jake Tapper on State of the Union, "I mean it wasn't people from Sweden that blew up the World Trade Center."
After the San Bernardino killings, he went further, reading aloud his statement in third person: "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on." That disingenuous last clause allows Trump and TV personalities such as Sean Hannity to act as though the candidate is requesting a hiatus from human rights, as if it's nothing more than a break between seasons of VEEP.
For his obfuscation and tall tales, the media must harbor much of the blame. Reporters don't mind Trump tweeting that they're dopes, clowns, fat and have low IQs, but they won't risk a Trump boycott. Trump sells Viagra, Levitra and the news.
Few commentators are willing to push beyond Trumpian two syllable responses such as stronger, better, cheaper. Obamacare will be replaced by something cheaper and better. We'll bring jobs back from China. Rebuild the military. Care for vets. The world will fear us again. All you have to do is consult Carl Icahn and make deals. John Harwood was right, this is a comic book version of a campaign.
Even when he appears to be supportive, Trump's language betrays him. Forget his sexist remarks that Megyn Kelly "has blood coming out of her wherever" or that "sadly," Heidi Klum "is no longer a 10." He can't help but reveal himself when he speaks about women as a class. On August 11, 2015, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo, "When I talk about health issues, I will take care of women like nobody else can. I will be so good to women. I cherish women. I will be so good to women. I will work hard to protect women."
Because he surrounds himself with sycophants, it doesn't occur to Trump that women find his remarks paternalistic and repugnant. In 2016, women want freedom from harassment and equal pay for equal work. Who besides Melania wants to be cherished, protected or loved by Trump?
Still, plenty of Republicans applaud his bully politics. The higher a person's status, the better Trump feels about humiliating them, which explains why he insulted Mitt Romney -- "I have a Gucci store that's worth more money than Romney" -- and Ambassador Caroline Kennedy -- "She went to the White House, she said, 'I'd love to have a job. I have nothing to do.'" A chapter in my book called "Falling Stars," is full of cocktail party full of famous people Trump targeted.
For many of us, Trump is popcorn munching horror show we can't turn away from. Even if he fails to become the GOP nominee, his bloodstained politics will continue to discolor the race. And Trump's divisive politics will cast a long shadow on more Presidential races than the one he has so thoroughly disrupted.
Carol Pogash is editor of the new little red book, Quotations From Chairman Trump. An author and journalist, she lives in northern California where she writes stories mostly for The New York Times. Follow her on Twitter at @cpogash.
Images courtesy of RosettaBooks