Back in the late 1960s, there was a movie called Putney Swope. The title character was a token black guy who was on a board of directors of a Madison Avenue advertising firm. The chairman of the board suddenly dies, and they have to elect a new one. The by-laws prevent the members from voting for themselves, so each votes for Swope. Some do it to show how fake-liberal they are, while most figure that it'll be a safe vote since they assume that nobody else would vote for a black guy.
Swope wins the election and the next day, the board is all African-American. It was a broad satire, one that served as an inspiration to Louie C.K. and Jim Jarmusch. (Odd fact: Putney Swope was written by Robert Downey Sr.)
I remember thinking about Putney Swope on Election Night. I wondered how many people had cast their ballots for Donald Trump, thinking that it was a one-off, screw-you vote. I mean, there's no way that giant pustule was going to win, right?
But win he did, fair and square, under the arcane rules of the American electoral process. After the shocking results, people such as I were encouraged to climb down off our smug pedestals and go out and talk to real people, perchance to find out why they voted the way they did. I tried that—I really did—but there was no epiphany, no moment of grand revelation.
I talked to right-wing radio talk-show hosts who had to twist themselves into pretzels claiming that there was no bigotry involved whatsoever. Do you realize what a ridiculous argument that is? If even one person voted out of bigotry, then that stance is bogus. Longtime political friends of mine were honest enough to say that they held their noses and voted for the misogynist in hopes that they could gut health care and give tax breaks to their rich homies. (To be fair, they didn't use those exact words.)
I had neither the time nor the inclination to travel to the Meth Belt to ask people if they really, really, REALLY believed that an East Coast hundred-millionaire gave even the tiniest crap about them. And I didn't waste even a second on Trump voters who also think that climate change is a hoax. Those people are a special kind of stupid, and I've got no time for stupid.
All that remained was to see just how big a mess he could make and how far his voters would go to support him. I figured that I would lay off him for a while. I even went all of Lent without saying anything negative about him. That was the toughest Lent since the one when I gave up soda and fried chicken at the same time.
Six months have gone by and my self-imposed moratorium has expired. But there is a sense of disappointment in the air. Back in the 1980s, there was a suicide cluster at Plano (Texas) High School in the upscale Dallas suburb of the same name. A kid would go to the funeral of a classmate who had committed suicide and go home and try to do the same thing. The school's football team made it to the state playoffs and fans of the opposing team put up a big banner that read, "Don't Kill Plano! They'll Kill Themselves!"
It's sad, but there is nothing I can complain about that he won't have already said about—or done to—himself. It's almost impossible to keep up with his blunders and self-inflicted wounds. And they keep coming so fast that it makes writing about them seem ill-conceived and positively antiquated.
As I write this, he's getting ready to embark on a trip to distant foreign lands. God only knows what trouble his ill-informed brain and undisciplined mouth is going to get him in. His first stop is Saudi Arabia. He'll probably see some Saudi prince in a long robe, think it's a woman, and grab the guy by the crotch. Interestingly, according to Saudi tradition, that then establishes a special bond between the two men and allows them to go out and try to find foreign-born hotel maids to molest. Then he's going to Israel, where his aides have been instructed to refer to the Jerusalem landmark as "The Western Wall." If they called it "The Wailing Wall," you just know that the Doofus-in-Chief would scan the desert landscape wondering where the orcas are.
I have to say that I'm in awe over the way his supporters are sticking with him. We all have those embarrassing family members, teammates or friends that we remain loyal to, even though it's cringe-worthy to do so. His voters and media sycophants are hanging in, acting just like the Orange Messiah, unwilling to admit to having made a mistake. (Orange Messiah should be the name of an Eegee's Flavor of the Month.)
Anyway, it looks as though the long national nightmare might not be as long or as nightmarish as I had feared. He's self-destructing at an incredible (and accelerating) pace.
I'll leave you with this: Quinnipiac asked 1,078 Americans "What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of President Trump?" The clear winner: Idiot (followed by Incompetent and Liar). Yeah, that's about right.