... so the dust is settling on this election (sort of), where yet another President and his VP-elect prep for office, having won via electoral votes, actual votes/hanging chads/best intentions/reality/whatever remaining the stuff of costly re-counts and fabulous, endless fodder for lively discussion....
My thoughts on this outcome are as follows, borne of my takes based on Paul Fussellian sociological perspective + Kurt Vonnegut expressionism, my observations as a Midwest American woman old enough to have seen plenty, and a grass roots breaking down of fundamental role playing a la Jane Goodall’s cast of characters. These great names invoke a platform that favors allowing for the ridiculousness of the animal that is Man, an inextricable aspect of who we are and what we do and why.
Trump threw shit on the walls, but he called it for what it was – he literally potty mouthed his way to the oval office. As an Arts/Free Speech advocate, I am no fan of puritanical shockability and regard salty speech as good spice. I am on record as disdainful of Tipper Gore’s Parental Advisory Label (PAL) legacy. “Explicit Content” translation by our young? “Buy ME.” The fact is, the majority of people in the world toss expletives into the ether much, if not all of the time - using it to curse, praise and most interestingly as endearments - yet persist in Victorian vernacular coverup at every level. (see below #1). Concurrently, I maintain that free speech remains most especially critical as a tool for expression as an alternative to violence, and have written on this previously. The freedom to speak openly with honesty has come under attack from both sides, causing basic differences of opinion to be denigrated and policed into silence. Trump’s lack of filters chips away at both far edges of PC quashing. It found support in open air venues of public support - and more importantly, as this is why he won - in the solitude of the voting booth, where many public naysayers voted, in private, “yes.”
Let’s fu#%-ing talk about it.
Additionally, Americans long ago merged show business with politics, most likely to fill the void left by the absence of bona fide American royalty. We, ever less discriminatingly star struck, eagerly go into the (flood)light and there remain at our own risk, faithful moths adhered to the brightest bulbs. As for our stars and celebs? Republicans elect them (Reagan, Schwarzenegger) and Democrats bank on them (Babs to Bono). On top of that, and more importantly at this point in our society, we Americans love our guys bad - really bad. Our entertainment addled psyches hold in sincerely warm, fuzzy regard the Tony Sopranos, and Walter Whites of the virtual world (and then there was Game of Thrones...), who we follow with the same devotion we once granted J R. Ewing. Trump, with his reality shows (pageants to apprentices) and entertainment holdings, passed with ease through the looking glass to join his Republican brothers, even though public service was low on his centrist agenda. Trump’s feasibility as president became an easy math for both moneyed conservatives and the low income Republican Faithful. And Trump’s entertainment quotient was, thanks to all that bombast and bluster, through the roof. In this country, for better or worse, it counts.
The End of Faux:
New – (see above, that we like our guys "bad") – was the absence of:
Faux Piety – More on that below.
Faux Egalitarianism – When gajillionaires say to the working poor and abject that "we get you," or “we are just like you.” And Millennials, the darling of demographics? They subsist on parental handouts so that they can budget for cocktails, dinners out and designer handbags. They know not for whom (Socialist Barney Sanders) they voted, the disconnect as genuine as is their posturing in society.
Faux Truthiness – Includes but is not limited to chronic denialism and the PC denigration of differentness and disagreement as being acceptable reflections of individuality.
Faux Modesty – Honest arrogance is more real, especially when one is talking from the proverbial, free-market top in search of a spot at the tippy-top. The American free market definition of success only by happy, evolved coincidence includes “The Good.” Success is $, Power, Voice, in that order.
As for arrogance: Sociologically, even basic survival mandates arrogance. The only fauxness Trump could be accused of (aside from the riotous faux baroque that dominates at home) might be his reasons for the undertaking of the candidacy – and now, of all things, the office of President of the United States of America – see my closing paragraph. I say Hmmm.
A New Honesty of a Very Certain Kind:
In its place, and in droves, we witnessed Honest Assholedness, and the masses, flawed as humans inherently are, ate it up. Compare it with Mitt Romney’s faux #1-4, and note the different outcomes. Nod then to Kurt and his famous, um, doodle and we are right back at paragraph 4 – we exist as veritable a galaxy of “stars.”
Is a biggie, invoking an assortment of ironies and spiritual dead-ends. Pious posturers publicly broadcast their faith and heavenly God/gods to gain earthly/elected favor but then contradict in private word and deed everything they say. Pious vanity deludes some into thinking they can act as god/judge of others. Even the tenants of grace are problematic, for they serve as golden tickets of insta-forgiveness no matter what, which is in essence a license/excuse to "sin." There are those think they can impose their personal beliefs on a nation of individuals, there are those who ( at times violently) champion unfettered conception and those who support that which violence reaps, from war to vigilante fantasy, but who refuse to care for those brought into, or left alive and struggling in, this world . Piety, which should remain founded on humbleness, fosters instead competition - every faith out there is alone the right one. And thanks to our Puritanical/Victorian/evangelical/ heritage and the current wave of PC homogenization, we Americans especially relentlessly attempt to impose virtue on everything (my 2015 article on this here) - upon doers, movers and shakers in every arena, to their deeds, works and products. Inevitably, because this ideal is impossible, we will always fail, angry, offended and disappointed - and projecting it onto others. And then we start all over again....
Those on the Hill:
Trump’s calling out of dishonesty works as a blanket statement because it is true in the broadest sense of the accusation and because he never stood upon faux #1 or 3 himself. It is standard accepted perspective to see politicians as crooked. Now, how awful is that? Trump talks of term limits – yes to that and good luck. But Trump talks of the further defunding of public schools via vouchers, a fiscal diversion that becomes forced taxation to fund religious education. Here more than anywhere we could use some supply/demand tweaking, on which have I written before as well. Pay public school teachers well so the best ones compete for the job and impose term limits - eliminate the unfair safety net of tenure and make performance/results the at-will qualifier for the privilege of holding this esteemed and all-important position.
If wishes could be granted, I would see Trump apply American mass appeal strategy and make a centerpiece out of an official branch of the military, a Cyber Security and Intelligence arm (ok, it’s Trump n TV: how about a real life CSI?), manned with the best of our very own geeks and nerds, likely recruited from within the military (re: TV, without any mom in tight jeans recruited as "moral guide," a la Scorpion - ick), so that we could proceed to out-tech and out-century (Medievals vs Millenials) the Enemy, whatever they call themselves. And let this CSI be outfitted as cool as they are covert (I too happen to be against unfettered full disclosure to the masses on military operations), with Nike Swoosh logo-level global awesomeness. Oh, and I would want them to be advised by a carefully culled comic (today’s most accepted truth speakers) and perhaps a senior editor or two from The Onion, as humorously tipped zings could help find the Achilles Heel we have so far not thought to locate.
As a proponent of diversity, societal variety and the sociologically skewed acceptance of the inevitable, I am no fan of the futilely pursued, fear-founded desire to hyper-homogenize everything we inherently are, stand for, look like, do, believe and prefer, and I say this as a pasty-faced first generation American off-sides art-kid who has always had some concept of what it is to be different, who needed nearly a half-c to figure out just how good different is. I also am aware of persistent ignorance + human wiring, which will always exist in equal measure to our sublimeness as living creatures and give rise to repeated over-zealous interpretation and allegiances in the name of loyalty to that which is little more than the familiar.
You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares… Carl Sagan
The persistence, to pretend and act as if we all believe we MUST be without exception inclusive and embracing ALL the time, under ALL circumstances to EVERYONE is in actuality censorship, upside-down and inside out. And it is impossible to achieve. The disconnects of diversity, as they cannot be erased, need to be channeled - infinite opportunities for fascinating discourse and greater understanding exist, even as platforms maintain their inherent distinctiveness. As Kurt said, "be nice." But "nice" is not a mandate to fall head over heels in slavish, submissive love. Civility can walk alongside Different. Civility can walk alongside Different and allow for the ever-shifting Venn diagrams of human day-to-day interaction.
To that, I add battles and having cows as needing to be picked more selectively. To persist in thinking we can and should eradicate all disconnects and all history (gads, cast a white Thomas Jefferson?) and their expressions thereof is akin to lobotomizing Mankind. For now, we are continuously forced to feel beholden to a social movement that mandates blind and broad spectrum affirmative action, generified non preferentiality, passivity, non-competitiveness and gender and historic erasure – and with it, the death knell of humor. We need to protect humor from censorship that can effectively kill off one of our greatest strengths, which is to laugh about It and ourselves.
Societal homogenization, if seen as an evolutionary goal, is the stuff of science fiction nightmares. It’s Borgian, for it’s not how we humans are wired. Some assimilation is inevitable and has its place in our evolution and there is no question that melting pot variegation strengthens the mix; but our entire evolution to this very day has been based on the biological reality that we are tribal, competitive, different and unique by default and by choice. It lies at the very core of our survival – if not always as a society, as a species.
Are mired in Faux items # 2 and 3 – and this will never be viewed as ills per candidate, but collectively as a couple, with what is now a long history of it. I consider myself a Democrat (a progressive, not liberal) and yet was not an active supporter of Hillary’s ever, outside of this one vote (aka no $ to her campaigns). King Bill, Hillary’s male door opener/road paver, dabbled with damsels like an old French royal, doubly foolish to go for a young/gullible gal who thought the dalliance meant something, who was also young/gullible enough to let herself be coached by a shrew whose loyalty to her employer/country was nothing compared to her revenge agenda against men. Feminist treason, it was she who should have been tried alongside King Bill. Here’s the thing, in the US, with its mores and conservative heritage, this salacious story still mattered more than anyone would ever want to admit, on many iffy and nuanced levels that called into question the right/wrong of every participant in this ménage a trop. And Hillary was a stale candidate; persistent running for the same office gets old. If we ever have a woman candidate, she will have carved her own path to the top - no apron strings, no shirttails. She will need to be as fresh and refreshing as is equal to the magnitude of her role in history.
With the advent of the Kennedy election and television, looks of our elected top seated came to matter. Hillary's Maoist cut, solid-color suits (I know they were costly, yet…) were anti-gender, unfeminine and unflattering. Her longish hair, though finally re-done, was an all-too prevalent style error in this ongoing era of long hair/blowout/extension mania. Her tendency to bellow when making big points didn't help. Elocution will always remain an essential component of public speaking. But do women need to employ muscled looks and/or delivery to maximize impact? I say no. As inherent looks were never Hillary’s premiere calling card I won’t quantify hers. But I will also not back off my position against the current backlash against the quantifying of looks to good-health markers (see my guest post at JudgyBitch.com). It is my belief that our 24/7 media is trying to force positive internalization – acceptance and preference – for ill health markers, in particular obesity, in addition to blinding and homogenizing personal taste/preference, which is against biological human nature. Melania, runway caliber in glam quotient and looks, there as a pretty typical wife/mother of a moneyed American, is being raked through the coals by the same nameless, faceless ones who feed/feed off this intentional inversion of contemporary aesthetic regard for humans. In the public realm, it remains savvy and smart to utilize whatchya got. Hillary could have afforded, literally and figuratively, to have presented herself better as a woman who was a candidate. Women do not need to masculinize themselves to convey intelligence, forthrightness and strength.
As for Trump’s looks? I do agree – his hair is style cud for the ages. But Trump wore his suits as well as any businessman, which has an easy standardization that is undeniably efficient as a means of self expression through fashion. In the world of feminine dress, the codes and visual manifestations are convoluted, inconsistent and mired in dregs of ancient social status (debilitating) markers. And whatever points Trump lost for his ombre comb-over, he more than earned back by the woman on his arm, who was and is there by choice. Melania is not Trump’s wife and mother to his child by force. To that I add Trump’s attractive, intelligent and very present offspring, at his side and firmly ensconced in his life and businesses prior to that and going forward. Sociologically speaking, quality of partner and offspring are undeniable gauges of a man’s superiority as male provider/progenitor, which though the characteristic$ have morphed over the millennia, are still founded on concrete humanistic, survivalist qualities.
Trump will take on DC establishment in many ways - it will be interesting to see if he can get anything done there as repub-nouveau, sans all faith-based posturing. This absence of a Christian mandate is huge, equal to the first ever absence of virgin-princess requirement in England. Will chose Kate the new-fashioned way, and the world notes their real bond in refreshed attentiveness. Just a few decades ago, the Brits, from throne to throng, still insisted on the illusion of virgin bride, which resulted in a tragic denouement and still iffy legacy (red-haired son #2).
Speaking of the Brits, their recent “Brexit” foreshadowed Trump’s win with such clarity, I am confounded by the ongoing bewilderedness of all pundits on this clue alone. But what about Trump’s faith? Unlike Obama, it was never brought up. Again, his broad spectrum non-faux-everything permitted a non-faith-based ticket. An unfortunate nutshell of racial double standards, as Obama also never sought to billboard his faith or religious affiliation, yet was and is accused and dragged through its mud, with “Muslim” being slung as if it were an insult by countless citizens and Trump alike. That Trump brought Pence + Frau on board is the obvious corralling of 20th c republican hold-over voters, those who hang onto their (unconstitutional) theocratic pipe dreams at ongoing direct cost to their self interests (republican serfdom). Acquiescing to religified rule, aka the Conservative Republicans on the Hill, will be the Trump administration’s most interesting challenge, as it will be the one area where he could be forced to bend over.
Speaking of Power:
The advisors Trump brings into his inner circle will have the power potential of European courtiers of centuries past – those dastardly elders who “advised” boy kings. But politics is famously dirty business – globally – so why should we persist in wanting to impose virtue into the mix? If megalomaniacal scheisters are seated on thrones the world over, why not try the “it takes one to know one” strategy? Endorsed by Putin, Kim Jung-un and the leader of the KKK? On whom could be the joke? While it makes me laugh at the massive irony of it all - it’s a veritable Vonnegut-ian knee-slapper - a quick nod to Art of War logic and one cannot deny the potential in disarming the enemy via knowing them, if not befriending them, at least in the global power sense.
Up Against a Wall:
As talk of "The Wall" will gently, eventually go by the wayside (my prediction + 100 day plan makes no mention of it + it’s just too Berlin, too ancient Empire), I hope he/we remain aware of those he enticed with those promises, who believed in this talk in the literal sense, who will want that wall, who might feel disenfranchised all over again, this time by someone they will have believed was truly with them down to every talking point, who might become very angry. Traditionalists and anti- feminists now have renewed platforms that might help re-balance the extreme PC homogenization trends of today. But bona fide racists and extremists, empowered by Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric and election, are feeling newly entitled to express themselves: What will they feel and do as Trump’s inevitable backpedaling commences and continues?
Feminism 4.0 Plz:
As woman/wife/mother/homemaker/creative contributor, it is my deeply thought through opinion that we are overdue for an official redux (new name and viralization thereof), one that allows us to also embrace and celebrate the differences of each sex regardless of gender preference, and allows women to prefer/vote for/choose a man without it defining them as anti-female. The element of anger has permeated too much of our discourse and perspective, and most of it is founded, imo, on fighting that which remains undeniable as it regards our sexes’ inherent differences. We are different because we as a species we are supposed to be different. Melania – the immigrant (duh people), wife, mother, First Lady elect – sported suffragette white alongside the most progressive pundit gals out there. In a realm where every last detail is calculated, its message and intent were clear, as was it being her choice to being presented as such. She’s no dummy.
Speak No Evil:
In the end, I believe it was our secret ballot that played the deciding role: Those who for whatever reason felt obliged to say they were against Trump or for Hillary could vote the other way in secrecy. As a red state citizen, Trump support was obvious, though still in some significant percentage, unspoken. Yard signs and bumperstickers served as 20th c adjunct promo to social media/internet buzz – Trump, I call the Social Media President. And Social media? I have dubbed it the Poor Man’s Citizen’s United (scroll down; my def is there now). I have friends, people I continue to hold in high regard, Pence pals no less, who will no doubt be dancing in DC in January....
I did not vote for Trump. I voted more symbolically against Pence (see above, End of Faux, items 1 and 4, combined with his theocratic agenda as regulated by Frau Pence per Hoosier insider buzz), than for Hillary. But I am not freaked out by the results, not like friends and folk everywhere, who are in active mourning and dread, so long as Trump too learns to pick his battles more selectively. For one, society has always taken two steps forward and one step back. This, one can construe as it suits them, no matter what side of the aisle they prefer, and as such it will continue. Second, despite Obama’s eight years and what he and his election purported to represent, Wall Street continues to manipulate the economy and undermine the welfare of all consumers. So long as all that which keeps us alive remains for-profit shareholder appeasement machinery, there is no real fix in sight. Third, the vitriol when Obama was elected was just as race-based, just as ugly, just as Four Horsemen invoking, just as foolishly/destructively protested against as it is now. “Nothing changes” rings true when the macro-political picture is viewed.
I cannot help but believe - for fact is indeed stranger than fiction - in the potential for this as having been part of something - a lark? a wager? an underhanded plan that only later on morphed into an actual run for office? a wag the dog-style ploy to block the NeoCons? - with a political backstory beyond anything we have yet seen, at least in the US. I don’t think Donald Trump himself ever imagined he’d actually win....
What a movie this will someday make.