Politics is a fact of my writing life these days. Events are too momentous to avoid and the noise of political chatter too loud to be ignored. So I did what I do about most things that bother me – I wrote. And Donald Trump’s presidency bothers me.
Donald J. Trump is The Man Who Would Be Famous; to be known as the ‘greatest whatever’ is the single purpose of his life. Intellectually challenged, he rode his determination and the support of a doting Dad over and through a succession of failures and financed reboots until he found his niche in the fantasy world of reality television. Inverting the premise of the Truman Show, Donald J. Trump rode the escalator down a parody and into the Presidency of the United States of America. He couldn’t believe it, at first. All he had to do was continue playing the character he’d developed for his reality t.v. show, now in this extended run for four wonderful years. And there was, at last, money to be made. Reality would mimic Fantasy.
Trump’s abandonment of our former allies is neither sudden nor impulsive. It’s part of his secret agreement with Russia and subsequent deal with Erdogan. Trump’s America has withdrawn from the Globalist deal into extreme Nationalist Isolationism. We’re out of global accords (Paris and NATO) and re-negotiating all existing trade treaties. Putin is happy to preside over the restoration of the Soviet empire and with Russian support, Erdogan is happy to find a new role in the realigned Europe. It’s all predicated on US withdrawal and has been very carefully orchestrated so far. Following the money reveals financial incentives, in both Turkey and Russia, for Trump’s behavior and decisions.
Trump’s base believes in his doctrine of ‘America First’ which amounts to what you and I might call Isolationism; it’s sustained by a rich aggregate of popular ‘conspiracy theories’ about Government activities. Post nine-eleven, many rational citizens have lost confidence in elected officials. Trump’s loud, crude, anti-government rhetoric plays well with this base. They are confident as well that he’s correct in his belief that America can ‘go it alone’ so – his betrayal of the Kurds; his green-light to Putin’s Napoleonic ambitions; his withdrawal from the Paris accords; his obvious disdain for NATO and the UN; his ban on immigration and, finally, his theatrical invocation of the ghost of a glorious American past, together constitute a platform on which his anti-intellectual movement, Trumpism, is standing.
Trump himself may be now in his own Führerbunker, but the grievances that give coherence to the diversity of his base will not go away. Time will turn him into an eccentric and aberrant folk hero.