My Political Retardation

I confess that I feel a bit slow-witted in my backward attempts to understand, on any level, the phenomenon of our current president’s popularity from his voting base.  At the beginning of his campaign in 2016, I didn’t quite understand the frightening allure of the carnival medicine show so prominent in the media. The outrageous but hypnotic tactic of breaking all the rules of former decorum did catch our attention as a nation, but Trump’s vulgarity and transparent attempts to pretend thumbing his nose at the “establishment” appealed to the top and bottom levels of American voters.

First, there was the extremely wealthy upper two percent of Americans (Trump’s tax cut was, of course, for them). Then there was the lower echelon of our nation (those who struggle to make ends meet), who had seen Washington as greedy and corrupt as any other government in history. They knew Trump was a bully whose tactics would probably be questionable, but they wanted and needed to believe that he was authentic and on their side. Their wishful thinking was like that of children who still believe in Santa Claus, but for many it was the final thread they could grasp and believe would hold them up. Unlike President Obama, a man of eloquence, tact, and compassion, Trump is amoral, but that also means (to his base) that he can fight “dirty” for them, if need be. That is his persona, one that his base still believes will work for them, despite the fact that our country is being tarnished on the world stage by the effects. He convinced them that he gave a damn (which in Hollywood could have won him an Oscar). That is the irony that escaped me, despite one deception after another, accumulating finally into a stack of bold-face lies the height of Mount Everest.

I have been astonished over and over again at the TV coverage of Trump rallies with red-capped worshipers in the background wearing vacant expressions of empty adoration for a man who had convinced them all that he was fighting for them, despite the fact that his shining armor was empty of even the slightest bit of sincerity or authenticity and was to become part of a stage set of actors spouting endlessly outrageous but vapid accolades from the ventriloquist leader himself. Those audiences needed desperately to believe that Trump would be pushy, gritty, and even mean enough to fight what they all wanted to think was an utterly reprehensible government that had cared nothing before about the needs of the needy. They saw him as the rebel they wanted in order to shake up the old order they hated so much. No persona in the history of world literature could have been more deviously wrought.

Though the MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN logo has evolved into the delusional KEEP AMERICA GREAT, more folks have caught on to the carnival side show deceptions of a man whom history will remember in far different terms from those of the poor victims who now venerate him.  JB

About John

About John John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BS and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado, where he resided for ten years before moving to Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth book is, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014. John’s most recent book is a novel titled Resisting Gravity, A Ghost Story, published the summer of 2018 View all posts by John →
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